If you walked into Diva Nail Lounge with a blindfold on, your nose might mistake the salon for a farmers market. The scents of mint, papaya, chocolate, and avocado drift through the space, wafting from natural scrubs and masks. Feet steep in milk baths dappled with rose petals and slices of citrus fruits, and lavender and rose essential oils condition cuticles. Technicians aren't employing the organic ingredients for their aromas alone—they choose them for their nourishing properties, such as antioxidants that combat aging and proteins that hydrate the skin.
The technicians' devotion to earth-friendly formulas is matched by their commitment to hygiene. The salon doesn't stock spa chairs because of sanitary concerns, and the staff throws away disposable tools after a single use. For example, during each Diva house treatment, techs buff calluses with a new pumice stone. To preserve more durable utensils, they sterilize their surfaces with hospital-grade treatments.
The menu covers luxurious mani-pedi services and add-ons that range from paraffin dips to peppermint clay masks. Treatments typically culminate in vibrant coats of nail polish, including the hues of SpaRitual nail lacquer—shades that avoid synthetic dyes in favor of all-natural colors harvested from the inside of kaleidoscopes.
Mixing beauty and business comes as naturally to Trang Warden as it does to any dealer of fine art. Her father was a man of great entrepreneurial spirit, and her mother was the owner of a San Francisco salon, giving Trang the seeds of two complementary passions. After earning her business degree and gaining a job at a Fortune 500 company, she still worked weekends at a spa with her sister, honing a talent she’d discovered with a part-time manicurist position at age 17. Today, she continues to blend commerce with cosmetic savvy—though now in one place: Zen Day Spa.
At the wheel of her beauty haven, Trang pampers hands, feet, and faces with an extensive treatment menu that relies on botanically sourced products from brands such as Epicuren, Murad, and Yonka-Paris. Tropical scents waft from mani-pedi stations, where toes soak in a signature jelly bath sprinkled with rose petals and nail technicians massage limbs with a papaya-pineapple scrub. Other body therapies incorporate volcanic clay and propolis mined from plants and flowers by bees wearing hardhats in Brazilian rainforests.
Jennifer Clark doesn't believe in sweeping skin problems under the rug?or, rather, under layers of foundation. As the head aesthetician at Skin Lounge, she much prefers to tackle concerns with a customized regimen of DermaQuest products and spa procedures. Her services strive for a symbiotic relationship with the skin, building on its natural processes and beauty so that makeup becomes an afterthought.
Jennifer modifies these treatments based on the client's skin type and the condition they'd like to address. Her facials range from a 40-minute Glow on the Go service to an Ultra Luxe treatment, which adds microdermabrasion and a light chemical peel to the standard cleansing, steam, and extractions. Stronger chemical peels, such as the power pumpkin peel and the TCA glow peel, reduce signs of aging with clinical ingredients rather than by taping a forged birth certificate to the forehead. Even when waxing away unwanted hair, Jennifer maintains her devotion to healthy skin: she never double dips, and her knack for nigh painlessly removing strips has earned her the nickname "Wax Princess."
Inside Salon Belle de Soir, which resides a hair tie's throw from the shopping hub of Fillmore and Union streets, stylists revamp tresses with premium products designed by celebrity stylist Oribe, who has visited the salon to teach a styling class. The salon's moniker means ?beauty of the evening,? which suits its romantic style replete with Parisian-inspired portraits, a chandelier, zebra-striped upholstery, and fur rugs that duplicate the thickness of Fabio's five o'clock shadow. During an interview with the San Francisco Examiner, owner Tracy Stanwick described her styling philosophy as "putting movement back into hair," emphasizing that her staff teaches clients how to properly replicate the styles they receive in the salon. The stylists prioritize hair's health as much as its style with restorative procedures such as Ionic Rescue Pro treatments and Brazilian blowouts. Salon Belle de Soir also offers free consultations, which allow staffers to recommend dubious horse-racing tips as well as face-flattering dos and colors.
Veteran beauty specialist and licensed aesthetician Steve Crovo and his team tackle all of men’s hairiest areas at his studio that specializes in aesthetic services just for men. Garden-green walls set a tranquil setting inside the salon, calming anxious nerves as Steve—or fellow waxing specialist Alan Williams—coats nether regions, limbs, and backs in warm wax and swiftly removes hair using cloth, muslin, or powers of coercion.
Though specializing in waxing, Steve also calls upon indulgent ingredients, such as caviar and coffee, to treat men to the relaxing comfort of skin-rejuvenating facials. To help aching backs to feel like themselves again, he enlists his training in deep-tissue and trigger-point massage to soften clients’ muscular aches caused by injury or trying to wax their own backs. Skin specialist Linda Sanchez also helps acne sufferers to find results as she coats faces with potent cleansers and divulges skin-clearing diet tips.
From their cozy hair haven in Noe Valley, the stylists of Lisa's Beauty Salon welcome men and women of all ages into a bright space warmed with natural light and rich yellow walls. As clients perch in cushioned salon chairs, the team updates manes with expertly shaped cuts and a spectrum of hues furnished by Goldwell. Using formaldehyde-free Keratin Complex products, they smooth the texture of clients' tresses for three to five months, ensuring curl-calming results more durable than singing coifs nightly lullabies.
In addition to its styling services, Lisa's Beauty Salon treats clients to an array of facials that use organic, paraben-free beauty products. An aesthetician analyzes skin prior to administering a classic european facial, an eye contouring treatment, or a resurfacing peeling session. Alternately, one-hour reflexology sessions are known for stimulating and balancing select nerves in the body while reducing stress.