During more than a quarter century at the helm of LookAfter Hair Company, Peter Hall has seen the styling industry gradually split in two directions—toward the high-end salon and toward the in-and-out fast cut place. With LookAfter, Peter decided to close that gap. There, guests can get premium salon services on a walk-in basis and haircuts from stylists who will gladly slow down for careful consultations instead of racing through trims with stopwatches in their hands. The name LookAfter is meant to reflect this blend and to demonstrate his vision for a place where the staff stands ready to serve all clients, whether they need keratin treatments, eyebrow waxes, or beard trims. This approach has helped LookAfter grow to more than 40 locations across St. Louis, Kansas City, and central Illinois, and the idea has also led to ongoing community outreach. Stylists have helped raise money for disaster relief, support breast-cancer awareness, and generate funds for veterans’ programs by carrying haircare products from American Warrior.
Founder Todd Beckman opened the first Tan Company location, then called The St. Louis Tan Company, in 1994 with a pair of average-size sun retreats. After perfecting a superstore concept with multiple levels of tanning beds and an intrepid-reporter alter ego, Beckman's bronzing business now spans 53 locations in 8 states, including 39 locations in the St. Louis area. Todd ensures each salon keeps the same high standards that won the 2010 award for Best Tanning in St. Louis from CityVoter.
A knowledgeable staff maintains each bright, highly sanitized environment and stocks shelves with Australian Gold, Swedish Beauty, and Designer Skin tanning products. The Tan Company also fashions UV-free tans with Mystic Tan standup booths that evenly spritz bodies with a paraben-free DHA solution infused with aloe vera.
At Glow Salon Spa, every aesthetician, hairstylist, and nail technician has an additional specialty: customer service. Manager Sandy Suter explains in her Patch video feature that all members of her small team undergo coaching to ensure that they emanate approachable warmth. Whether pampering hands with a sweet-almond and salt treatment or customizing a Redken conditioning regimen, they balance their expertise with intuition for the guest's aesthetic. Their tag line, "Define yourself," speaks to this personalized approach as well as a desire to exponentially increase the size of Webster's Dictionary.
The cosmetic team radiates a playful attitude as it adds fresh flair to primping rituals. Manicures and pedicures often conclude with nail art, which decorates digits in designs from swimming fish to polka dots, whereas hairstylists delight in adhering feather extensions and applying bold colors. Yet apart from aesthetics, the spa focuses on health—both for individuals and the community. Massage therapists unknot tense muscles and ease aches with Swedish and prenatal modalities, and hairstylists participate in community-bolstering programs, such as Locks of Love and cut-a-thons to benefit St. Louis Children's Hospital.
It would be easy to pass an entire week at Infinite Tan & Spa, lounging on massage chairs, gossiping with the nail technicians, and sunning in advanced tanning beds as stereos pipe in your favorite CDs. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the only people who are able to spend an extended period of time at this tranquil oasis are the staff of specialists, who perform professional haircuts, adorn nails in Shellac polish, and soothe muscles with Swedish, deep-tissue, sports, and prenatal massages. When administering professional facials, the expert aestheticians cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize skin to smooth wrinkles, reduce pores, and remove any last-minute shopping lists you might have hastily jotted on your forehead.
During the classic European facial, one of Eyebrows Threading's specialists administers soothing effleurage strokes to both relax and stimulate facial muscles. Next, the technician cleanses, exfoliates, and nourishes skin, encouraging the development of clearer, hydrated complexions. A microdermabrasion peppers faces with a stream of fine crystals that exfoliates and buffs façades to a reflective sheen that rivals the finish of a waxed soda can. The chemical peel also exfoliates, improving the appearance of sun damage or acne scars while also erasing the furrows of fine lines and coarse wrinkles.
Melissa Johnson developed a passion for beauty in early childhood, when she cut and coiffed fashion-forward styles for her first clients—Barbie dolls. Now grown up, Johnson has gained expertise in hair services including cuts, coloring, hair feathers, and hair tinsel, the latter of which suggests the cheerfulness of Christmas more tastefully than a headband embroidered with a gift wish list. Since she also performs waxing, makeup application, and mani-pedi services, Johnson fits right in at the newly remodeled Salon Couture, a beauty haven with both plush white chairs set before bedroom-dresser-like styling stations and soft black recliners in private treatment rooms.
The stylists at Ambiance Hair Salon ensure they stay steeped in the current trends so they can tenderize client's tresses with up-to-date techniques. Additional beauty services such as feather extensions, makeup applications, and manicures can add glitz before hot dates out on the town or in on the Foreman grill. Silhouettes of chandeliers stamp lavender walls with an elegant air, and vases of fresh blossoms soften the straight lines of the ebony-framed mirrors.