As a girl of just 13 or 14, Amita perched in her aunts’ hair salon and watched with fascination as they snipped clients’ tresses. Today, Amita still watches the flash of scissors, but now they are in the hands of skilled stylists in her own salon.
Amita bustles through the shop, mixing honey, sugar, and lemon to create her own wax for hair-removal treatments, her specialty. She also mixes her own all-natural henna paste for embellishing hands and feet with elaborate whorls and loops. This attentiveness to the products used in her salon, combined with more than a quarter century of experience in the industry, has led Amita to insist that her stylists wield quality elixirs from Paul Mitchell and Biolage. The salon’s skincare specialists employ Repêchage products to renew visages wrinkled from a lifetime of frowning at a Rubik’s cube.
For more than three years, the artists at Ink House Studios have been decorating flesh with customized tattoos and piercings. Bold, bright floral designs, immaculate text, and traditional Japanese-style designs rendered in smooth gray and black are just a few specialties. Piercing specialists embellish bodies with gleaming jewelry or microdermal jewels.
Natalya—a certified permanent-makeup artist and a board-certified cosmetologist—draws on 15 years of experience as she embellishes the faces that find their way into her Permanent Makeup Zone. While working in New York and Europe, she honed her micropigmentation skills, which she uses to subtly accentuate lips, eyes, and brows. Under her adept hands, lips receive soft outlines and sparse brows regain their boldness, which she creates with her soft hair-stroke technique and cauldron full of natural hues.
In addition to elective adornments, Natalya also obscures scars and beautifies clients who suffer from makeup or Crayola allergies. She also primps men by applying small dots of color around their lash lines, which makes glances more seductive without hampering their ability to blink in code. While she works, she uses sterile and disposable supplies—as well as and topical anesthetics—all with the approval of the local health department. She also performs an allergy test on each of her clients 24 hours before she indelibly dolls them up, to avoid adverse reactions.
Perfect Brows NYC doesn’t just remove hair above the eyes; the studio removes it from all over the body using three different methods. Its threading services uproot follicles on the face with a twisted cotton thread. And during waxing services, a thin layer of molten wax covers fuzzy areas and adheres to hairs before pulling them from the root. The third method used, called sugaring, is an organic alternative that removes hair with a natural paste made from sugar, lemon juice, guar gum, and water. This method is proven to provide less breakage and ingrown hairs and to leave clients with skin as smooth as a newborn dolphin. Each method provides a blank canvas for the studio’s other services, which include henna work and facials.
Natural light floods through the salon's floor-to-ceiling windows onto cozy leather sofas and lush hardwood floors. Further into the space, hanging plants are situated at individual cutting stations, where owner Peggie and her skilled stylists have been transforming the tresses of downtown Westwood for more than 20 years with their 25th Anniversary coming up on July 27, 2014. Clients can solicit Patti, Jamie, or Tracy for elegant Matrix highlights or defrizz unruly hair with Dawn, who's certified in keratin straightening treatments. The staffers can also nix unflattering fuzz from upper lips, chins, and bionic metal limbs during personal waxing sessions.
Around the time he turned double digits, Damien Ramirez started drawing tattoo designs on family and friends. By 18, the self-taught tattoo artist had upped the stakes, tattooing himself and others with permanent ink. Since 2010, he's showcased his talents at Damm Nice Tattoos and Fine Art, where he covers human canvasses in customized designs that cover everything from exaggerated new-school cartoons to spiritual iconography. Damien can even tweak or enhance tattoos you already have by subtly modifying the design, rather than covering you in skin-colored ink. Besides the art he applies to bodies, Damien creates masterful fine art pieces which he sells from the studio.