Elie Esper, the creative director and founder of his eponymous salon, has shown off his talents on magazine covers and runways from Paris to the Middle East, and was the official hairstylist of Couture Fashion Week in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Though his avant-garde designs have won international acclaim for more than 16 years, he still takes pride in beautifying brides before their trips down the aisle. Drawing on professional products from Kérastase, he washes away dirt and wig powder before infusing strands with color and sculpting shapes that defy both gravity and convention. His ability to bridge the gap between elegant and edgy attracts brides from around the world to Elie Esper Salon for wedding consultations and trial runs.
At Morningstar Healing Center, muted lighting and soft music work in unison to create an oasis from the outside world. In a tranquil and calming atmosphere, the staffers work to relax and beautify the body with a range of services for the corpus and face. They specialize in seven types of massage, including exotic treatments such as Polynesian massage, which combines pressure from the hands, thumbs, and forearms with soothing coconut oil. They also smooth faces with microdermabrasion and facials that harness the power of vitamins and special antioxidants to help reduce wrinkles and obscure fine lines.
With whimsical wall decals, pink and white draperies, and treatment beds upholstered in shimmering satin, Stylash looks more like a doll's dream house than a stuffy salon. It's a fitting setting for the shop's aestheticians, who use hypoallergenic glue and an extra-light touch to doll up lash lines with long, individual eyelash extensions that can last up to one month. But the comfy, feminine atmosphere also serves a purpose—the more relaxed clients are, the better their eyelashes adhere. To that end, the staff recommends that clients keep talking and yodeling to a minimum during application and encourages them to bring in personal music players to help quiet their minds.
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Korean spa's massive 40,000-square-foot facility houses multiple floors, which each feature saunas aimed at providing visitors with relaxation and health benefits. Heated to a pore-opening 200 degrees Celsius from burning oak-tree wood, the dome-shaped hot-steam room—bulhanjeungmok in Korean—features floors made of yellow soil and salt that replicate a 500-year-old therapy designed to treat illness and pain. On the complete opposite side of the temperature spectrum, the ice sauna uses freezer-like frosted walls to cool the air around patrons sitting on log stools or standing on their hands. In between hopping from sauna to sauna, visitors may hang out in one of the lounges, get a haircut, or even grab a warm Korean meal or refreshing dessert.
Within a newly remodeled spa, licensed beauticians trim tresses, shellac nails with CND gel polish, wax away bits of bristle, and assuage tension with massage therapy. Flowers and live plants bloom from nearly every spring-green corner of the salon space and candlelit massage room, and staff members with 10–20 years of experience each coddle bodies and top crowns with the hairstyles of celebrity lions.
The staff of massage therapists and aestheticians at True Spa keeps clients’ skin smooth and muscles loose with a full menu of bodywork and beauty services. Massage therapists untie the muscle knots that have burrowed into the shoulders and back using deep-tissue techniques, and they provide all-over stress relief with gentle, flowing Swedish massage. Aestheticians use facials and body scrubs to cleanse clients’ pores and buff away dull cells. They also adhere to squeaky-clean hygienic practices during men's and women's waxes that leave nearly any part of the anatomy smoother than chocolate mousse in silk pajamas.
Inspired by childhood playtimes spent giving manicures to her aunts and sisters, cosmetologist Madeleine Rajkovich opened Madeleine Salon & Spa to finally realize her lifelong passion for beauty. Continuing education is the backbone of Rajkovich's business, and she regularly attends conferences to stay up-to-date on new techniques, products, and uses for leftover cucumbers. The multilingual salon offers everything from haircuts and highlights to mani-pedis, microdermabrasions, and cellulite-reducing massages, as well as highly personalized facials that begin with an in-depth skin analysis and end with a moisturizing mask.
Inside the salon, geometric cherry-red chairs create a modern tableau among sleek metal tables and white walls. Green walls, fluted glass-pendant lamps, and landscape paintings evoke a sojourn in the country on the spa side of the business, where body betterments are overseen by framed certifications and vintage portraits of Audrey Hepburn taken before photofacials finally cured her colorless complexion.