Named a Top Salon by Milwaukee Magazine in 2006, Bella Lei gives clients an upscale spa experience in an intimate setting. Take advantage of these environs and spend 60 minutes the Swedish way ($70 value), as trained massage therapists use firm pressure and complicated kneading techniques to untie knots and burst stress bubbles. Twitching muscles frequently relax after these sessions and show a marked improvement in standardized testing scores. For clients looking for a fresher front, the Vivo Facial ($70 value) uses a marine mask to create an even tone, while a full hand, arm, face, and décolleté massage carries the glow up through your neck and down to your fingertips like a carrier pigeon on a Fantastic Voyage.
At Northern Lights Tan Spa, technicians prevent autumnal pallidness with a bevy of sunless and sun-simulating options. Bask in the warming glow of the UV beds and booths or dance a jig in front of a spray-on My Myst Mystic Tan booth, thwarting the efforts of pale, petty clouds jealous of human melanin. My Myst allows customizable copperfication, and the oscillating spray ensures a dark, even coating. UV tanning comes in an all-brown kaleidoscope of options, from the longer-lasting tans provided by the contoured platinum-level beds ($25 plus tax) to the economical three-session packages of the silver-level beds ($22.50 plus tax).
Seated in one of Allure Salon & Spa's plush salon chairs, visitors look out over the bubbling brooks of the Milwaukee River as skilled stylists and aestheticians tend to their hair and complexions with a long list of beautifying services. Swathed in earth tones and adorned with rustic accents—from redbrick walls to wooden cabinets that hold the aestheticians’ very own additive-free products—the upscale salon attempts to capture the peacefulness of the river outside with exfoliating facials, soothing aromatherapy massages, and rejuvenating body treatments. Stylists design hair for men, women, and children, coloring or highlighting longer strands before arranging them into shapes inspired by the bold, fin-like structure of the nearby Milwaukee Art Museum.
The beauty advisors and aestheticians at Merle Norman Cosmetics and Spa work with popular brands including OPI, Footlogix, and an in-house line that has been featured in publications such as Town & Country. Part spa, part storefront, their space functions as a destination for everything from skincare products to facials and makeup applications for special events or breakfast dates.
Since becoming a certified stylist in 1997, Frances has been an educator for Matrix International and has worked international beauty shows and New York’s Fashion Week. Committed to continued education, she has also pursued advanced training with both the Aveda Institute and the Redken Exchange in Manhattan.
Frances continues to propel standards at her own salon, Belleza, particularly with her signature Brazilian blowout treatments. In an attempt to reduce clients’ contact with formaldehyde, she has modified her treatments in two ways—first, she offers clients the option of using Zero+ or lite formulas. The Zero+ solution is formaldehyde-free, and lite treatments are applied in an express time frame that minimizes exposure to the product. Secondly, Frances has invested in two modern technologies that reduce airborne pollutants: Izunami fume irons, whose built-in suction components draw fumes from the air, and the Pure Air chemical-fume extraction system, featuring a 16-inch hood that is positioned above a client’s head to oxidize chemicals while also suffusing her brain with new vocab words.