Laura Leakhena Ley is living proof of what you can accomplish with a little hard work. After moving to American from Cambodia with her family, she trained at Hayward College of Cosmetology and became a licensed nail technician and aesthetician, and then spent five years perfecting her techniques in other salons. When she and her husband, David, opened Orchid Nails, they had only two employees. Since then, that number has more than quadrupled as customers continue to pour in, thanks to the salon’s reputation for friendly service and strict sanitation standards.
Those standards include disposing of every file, buffer, slipper, and toe separator after nail services, which end with the customer’s choice of more than 1,000 colors of polish by OPI, China Glaze, and Essie. They take equal care when waxing away hair from chins, sideburns, and bodies, or while threading it away from brows and lips or onto balding teddy bears. Facials scrub and steam away imperfections such as blackheads, while massage services soothe away tension and muscular congestion with techniques ranging from deep-tissue pressure to reflexology.
Maisie Dunbar feels that she was born to be an artist, though the human body is her canvas and her palette is made up not of paint, but of makeup and quality skincare products. Within her artist's studio, Maisie Dunbar Spa Lounge, she and her staff take a holistic, nurturing approach to everything they do—whether they are smoothing rough skin, massaging stressed muscles, or coating nails in OPI polish. Maisie’s dedication to the beauty industry has earned her numerous celebrity clients over the years as well as appearances at the Grammys and features in O, The Oprah Magazine and the Washington Post, according to the Silver Spring Patch.
Although Maisie’s toolbox contains trusted, high-end products from Essie and Moroccanoil, her continuing search for quality led her one step further than most spa owners to create her own makeup line—BluffaJo Cosmetics. These oil-free, mineral-based products allow skin to breathe normally while still managing to protect it from airborne pollutants and abrasive AM radio waves.
Newly opened Bonbon Nails' skilled technicians soothe finger stress and relieve toe-carried tension with deluxe mani-pedis. Over the course of 90 minutes, hands are equipped with shiny new finger helmets to help them suppress finger puppet riots. Renegade cuticles clean up with a straightedge trim as symmetrical tips take the place of unruly edges. After a calming soak and cleaning, gnarled hands and feet reemerge as fresh and radiant as a blushing Aphrodite. A deliberate polishing in the color scheme of your choice finishes up the digital transformation.
A long row of plush, khaki-toned pedicure chairs on raised platforms lines a bright yellow interior lit by hanging lamps. The studio's service list includes waxing and facials, although the Solar pros specialize in nailcare. A warm paraffin treatment or french tips can be added to classic or Solar Deluxe mani-pedis, or clients can opt for acrylics or shellac gel polish for longer-lasting color that, like a selfless poker player, resists chips. Solar's technicians also gussy up nails with colorful patterns and intricate freehand designs.
The certified professionals at Alight Spa believe that spa treatments should rejuvenate guests by nourishing their mind and spirit, in addition to their body. The staff soothes all three by relieving stress, diminishing headaches, and boosting circulation with massage styles, such as Swedish, deep tissue, and scalp. The spa's steam-sauna sessions detoxify bodies and hydrate skin, and body wraps slim and soften clients with mixtures of herbs and minerals. Skin undergoes more reinvigoration with facials and chemical peels, during which cleansings, massages, and moisturizers clear up acne, even out pigmentation, and reduce wrinkles. The staff administers each procedure with a stock of professional products from brand-name manufacturers, such as Dermalogica, whose wares are also available for purchase.
The technicians at Nail Perfection cosset tootsies with the soothing heat of hot stones before polishing all 20 digits with high-quality hues. First, foot-fringe steeps in a warm bath to soak up hydration and the remnants of one dissolved gummy bear. Next, technicians trim and shape nails, and then hot stones radiate gentle heat through fatigued feet to relax their teeniest muscles. Once nail caretakers have finished buffing away rough skin and calluses, they crown fingers and toes with a selection from a rainbow of hues, including fiery reds, subtle pinks, and old-cheese greens.