Dawn Fitch's path to the March 2012 cover of Black Enterprise is paved with all-natural, handmade soap. Strangely, her path to founding Pooka Pure and Simple and becoming a cover girl began with a mysterious illness. Her doctors' confusion led her to investigate the ingredients in nearly every product she touched and to seek out alternative health care, which is how she discovered the therapeutic properties of essential oils.
As part of a self-preserving lifestyle overhaul, Dawn began making her own body products from essential oils, shea and cocoa butters, and fruit powders, ingredients that now comprise her line of cleansers and moisturizers. Nourishing Elbow Grease dispatches dry skin with coconut oil and beeswax instead of threats veiled thinly in petroleum, and shower gels saturate steam with the scent of sugar cookies or bracing basil and citrus. She and three of her "Pookalitas"-a name Dawn's mother gave her as a child that has carried over to her best friends-also craft a line of moisturizing hair tonics that have been lauded in the pages of Essence magazine.
Workshops at the Pooka boutique teach visitors to create beauty products that are free of preservatives, dyes, and harmful chemicals. Dawn also shares her beauty recipes on the company's YouTube channel, and via the Pooka Giveback Program, an annual donation of raffle-ready baskets to four charitable or nonprofit organizations.
Trained in cutting and sculpting male and female manes alike, 8 to 8 Barber Shop’s stylists provide modern salon services in an atmosphere that evokes an old-fashioned barbershop. Wielding clippers, razors, scissors, and products by Paul Mitchell, they expertly execute everything from boy's hair lining to ladies' dimensional highlights and perms. Classic hot-towel razor shaves leave gents' mugs feeling soft and refreshed, while an in-house manicurist prettifies fingernails by pulling up to file, shape, and paint tips during the haircut.
In addition to coiffing hair and pampering facades, the team also relaxes tense muscles with five types of massage. Swedish massages gently knead soft tissue with circular, medium-pressure strokes; deep-tissue massages, on the other hand, deliver firm, cross-grain pressures to alleviate even the achiest of knots. Upon request, the team augments any massage with botanical essential oils extracted directly from plants and Swamp Thing’s tear ducts.
Beyond enjoying classic coddling services, clients with 8 to 8 membership cards can use them to score discounts at other local businesses such as V-Jeweled Designs and Glen Weber Drum Shop, as well as admittance to the secret amusement park hidden beneath the shampoo station.
Beauty Couture's facials are designed not just to treat the skin, but also the mind; the treatments integrate results-oriented skincare with deep relaxation techniques. Each session begins with a skin consultation, which allows the aesthetician to customize each service with acne remedies, collagen infusions, or whatever a particular guest might need. Specialty services include an organic renewal facial and a deep-cleansing treatment, as well as facials for men and teens. Add-ons allow for further customization, such as microdermabrasion or eye, lip, and hand treatments. The team uses Shiseido products, which, with more than 130 years in business, is one of the beauty industry's oldest and most trusted brands.
The menu also includes a succinct selection of body treatments, such as seaweed body wraps, body-slimming radio-frequency, and Swedish and deep-tissue massage. Furthermore, waxing and back treatments help keep bodies smoother than The Fonz after his usual bath of grease and pomade.
Sandy Silberman is an expert at keeping up appearances. That’s because she’s been doing makeup for more than 30 years, 25 of which she’s spent at her own store Let’s Make Up. Here, she and her staff rely on makeup that’s hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic, and cruelty free to enhance the features of everyday women looking to update or maintain their style. The cosmetic team pores over colors in search of the perfect matches for each clients’ skin tone before dusting cheekbones with blush or covering up alien birthmarks with foundation. The staff also shares their expertise during makeup lessons and monthly workshops that help teach clients how to maintain their new look at home.
“I’ve had a pair of clippers in my hand since I was 16,” says the eponymous Ray, whose passion for snipping locks drove him to found his own barbershop after years of working in others' hair studios. Now, he runs his own team of barbers, each of whom he trains personally. L’Oréal, Joico, and Paul Mitchell furnish the salon's services, allowing stylists to revamp manes of all hair textures and conditions, ranging from silken tresses to the hissing snakes of a gorgon. The staff enjoys challenges, from recreating classic styles to incorporating custom designs. Ray describes the microphone he once carved into a rapper’s hairscape before a photo shoot. “I like a challenge,” he explains. The design was challenging indeed—the mic's cord twined around his client’s head, down a sideburn, and across his face.
High Street Cuts separates itself by combining the barbershop and salon experience into one comfy chair. The staff?composed of graduates from schools such as Paul Mitchell and Parisian Beauty?can perform complex processes such as coloring and keratin smoothing therapy, and also ace barber styling with beard trims, fades, razor shaves, and surgically lowering the ears onto the chin. After preparing for a special occasion with an updo or a makeup session, clients also peruse the shop's beautification products.