Black-and-white portraits pop against walls of silver damask. An antique love seat sidles up to a zebra-printed chest. A chandelier's light glints against a table's gilded filigree. Although The Beauty Dive's historic-cottage setting radiates all things vintage, there is nothing dated about the pampering that occurs at the able hands of owner Yvette Reese and her staff. Yvette suffuses her studio with an atmosphere of creativity, encouraging her stylists and aestheticians to heed their own artistic inspiration as they forge modern hairstyles, eye-catching nails, and captivating cosmetic applications. To keep the image artisans up-to-date on the latest techniques, industry experts arrive every few months to lavish the staff with hands-on training and lessons in split-end psychology.
As stylists sculpt coifs to flatter individual faces, pedicure clients melt into oversize armchairs and bask in the skills of a master Shellac nail technician, who dips feet in fresh bowls of lavender-infused water before refining nails with sterile implements, unused files and buffers, and Opi and CND polishes. The beauty experts wield serums by Eminence Organics, Rusk, and Kevin Murphy, each of which are available for purchase to aid at-home primping. Between services, clients sip on wine, champagne, and martinis as they browse the boutique's collection of accessories and apparel from Johnny Was and 4 Love and Liberty, savoring a better union of sparkles and spirits than the wedding-ring speakeasies of the 1920 diamond prohibition.
Brenda Castillo taps her 11 years of hairstyling experience to realize clients’ aesthetic aspirations with deft haircut, styling, and coloring services for men and women. The skilled stylist shears down overgrown hairstyles with steady scissors and keenly honed aesthetic instincts, snipping strands before whipping them into keratin-based confections that frame faces and discretely disguise skull tattoos of precious treasure maps. During partial-highlighting services, Brenda reanimates hair one lock at a time, and full coloring treatments yield vivid tones all over. During eyelash-extension services, Brenda studies clients' lash lines before replicating their fluttery prowess with synthetic extensions culled from an assortment of sizes and textures for a fringe to rival even the most outrageous 1970s suede jacket.
Scott Sachnoff's passion for hair color began 20 years ago in Santa Barbara, California, where he began his career by assisting a head colorist for Schwarzkopf. It took a move to New York City to fully catapult him into the high-fashion world of hairstyling, however, and a stint spent training with Redken soon found him ascending to assume the title of Master Hair Colorist. While his time in the Big Apple earned him a loyal customer base, Scott soon caught the traveling bug again, relocating this time to Texas to establish his own salon and a reputation among the state's politicians, professionals, and celebrity line dancers. Today, he credits Austin's vibrant streets and nightlife with inspiring his signature cut and color treatments, which he creates using low-ammonia formulas by Italian color line Framesi.
Envy Salon's team of beauty professionals touches up appearances through hair-styling and nail-grooming services. The staff shows off their expertise while performing mani-pedis that call on the power of a nail file and colorful polish to trim rogue cuticles and ho-hum keratin, and hair designers snip and streak strands to accent facial features. With any service, the staff will retouch makeup and add a lip-gloss shine by applying MAC products instead of having clients kiss a disco ball.
Large wood-framed mirrors rest against the salon’s rustic stone walls, which technicians use to test the strength and pitch of newly rounded nails. Before appointments, customers plop down on red leather couches and bask in the glow of lights strung through wooden planks overhead.
Leave it to best friends of 14 years to share everything, including a lifelong passion for beauty and a business partnership that allows them to explore that passion. That’s the case for Misty Hill and Julie Pellizzaro, who worked in the beauty industry together for 10 years before they opened Halo Hair Salon. Now, inside their own studio, the duo transforms appearances with hair-color services, makeup, lash extensions, and airbrush tanning. The point of these services is to help women exude the power of the salon’s mascot, the pinup girl, who symbolizes independence, confidence, and America’s love for affixing things to walls. Pellizzaro and Hill are also certified DreamCatchers hair-extension artists and educators for Sexy Hair Co.
Inside Simply Irresistible, expert nail tech and independent contractor Maria Mock keeps phalanges looking polished with more than 20 years of nail-care experience, a skill she has taught throughout the world. Maria’s dexterous fingers coax tension and miniature squadrons of army men out of feet during soothing pedicures, which treat parched two-steppers to several gulps of lotion. After whittling nails to desired forms, Maria dresses them up with a glitzy layer of polish. The spa Shellac manicure similarly dotes on hands with a massage but goes the extra mile by sloughing off dead skin cells and sealing in moisture with an exfoliation and paraffin hand dip. Maria files talons into shape and finishes with a coat of durable, high-gloss Shellac, which, like a sugar-cookie purist, resists chips. Groupon-holders can upgrade to a french Shellac manicure or a regular french polish pedicure for an additional $5.