Before she was behind the stylist chair at Renew Hair Salon, Diane Gonzalez was behind the scenes at The Oprah Winfrey Show during many of their makeover segments. This, along with a tenure at Mario Tricocci Salon and Day Spa, readied Gonzalez for her own salon. Along with her specialization in hair coloring, Gonzalez excels at customizing each client's look to their lifestyle with haircuts, extensions, and straightening treatments. She also offers bridal packages complete with updos and makeup applications with wedding vows painstakingly inscribed on eyelids.
Francesca D'Ambrosio's first job in the beauty biz was answering phones at a salon and spa in Naperville. Once she earned her cosmetology license, she jetted to New York to work alongside prestigious stylists and make her way to the top from the bottom of the barrel. Fortunately, her first gig as a stylist was anything but at the bottom of the barrel—she started at the Bumble and bumble salon, one of the Big Apple's hubs for celebrities, fashion-industry elites, and globetrotting wigs. She stayed in New York for about a decade, shaping the famous hairs atop Fran Drescher, Mark Wahlberg, Joan Jett, and Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas.
When she relocated to Oswego, Francesca opened a salon of her own. Located on Main Street in the historic downtown area, the space has the simple sophistication that befits a transplanted New Yorker. The black-and-white scheme extends to the walls, where portraits of Audrey Hepburn and other style icons supervise haircuts, keratin treatments, and color services.
A cadre of accomplished students mans hp: the college's three Chicago-area salons, where they learn the beauty trade while enhancing client appearances for less than at standard studios. Founded in 1979, the college instructs fledgling stylists in the latest trends and aesthetic remedies with products from Moroccanoil, Wella, and Dermalogica. At all three locations, sleek black styling chairs contrast with colorful bottles of hair products and OPI nail polish set amid the comfort of plush pedicure chairs. As students ply their skills on ravishing haircuts and clarifying facials, aesthetics pupils use carefully blended botanicals to add aroma, hydration, and palm-sized zen gardens to manicures and pedicures.
Like many beauty professionals, Taromina Perkins has a handle on hair. But instead of beautifying heads with blowouts, color treatments, and cuts, the licensed aesthetician focuses on hair growing from the eyebrows downward. Eyelashes adopt a more dramatic pop with Reese Robert lash extensions, which come in three tiers ranging from natural-looking to glamorous and, unlike mascara, are waterproof and smudge-proof. Eyelashes may also be tinted to match newly groomed eyebrows, which Taromina custom shapes to flatter each client's differing bone structure and varying appreciation for Groucho Marx. To whisk away hair from the rest of body, she uses an organic wax to leave lips, chins, bellies, and backs smooth for several weeks, and she also offers waxing for bikini lines, Brazilian bikini lines, and other hard-to-reach spots.