In the late 1920s, the Great Depression was rendering most Americans professionally and financially paralyzed. But in a small California kitchen, Merle Nethercutt Norman was putting a plan in motion to formulate her own skincare products and share them with family and friends. She truly believed in her formulas, knowing that by getting them on as many faces as possible, she would develop a following of customers. She was right—within a few years she and her nephew were opening their first studio in Santa Monica, and they eventually unveiled a series of independently operated stores that enabled women to take ownership during a time of gender-based limitations such as men-only restrooms.
Today, in approximately 2,000 stores across three countries, the three basic principles of Merle's original vision still apply. Each studio is independently owned and fosters an in-depth knowledge of the company's own line of makeup and skincare products. Just as Merle shared her creations with close friends and sallow mannequins more than 80 years ago, today's aestheticians embody the business's "try before you buy" philosophy. A menu of complimentary studio services—from foundation checks to express facials—allows patrons to sample the lauded brand before committing to the purchase of products or full spa treatments.
The stylists and aestheticians at the full-service Salon West and Body Works Spa aim to make clients feel beautiful, empowered, and worthy of every minute of pampering. They perform a variety of services to help purge minds and bodies of impurities, from microcurrent facials to acne-clearing scrubs. The salon’s master stylists shampoo and blow-dry hair before sculpting it into busts of George Washington, and steady-handed nail technicians tend to hands and feet with luxurious manicures and pedicures.
While awaiting simple trims or hair-smoothing keratin infusions at Salon Orlin, guests lounge in comfy leather chairs and pipe in music through their smartphones from the salon's Internet jukebox. Skilled stylists nourish tresses with vitamin C, create stunning styles with flatiron curling or updos, and manicure brows and faces with waxing. Tanning beds add healthy splashes of color to skin, and "juicing" adds healthy splashes of color to hair.
It might be hard to believe considering its vast array of products, but Sears, Roebuck and Co. began with one accessory: watches. In 1886, Richard W. Sears bought a box of unwanted watches from a jeweler, thinking he could turn a profit by selling them. He was correct and committed to the watch business by hiring Alvah C. Roebuck, an experienced watchmaker.
As time went on, though, their business expanded its umbrella far beyond what people wore on their wrists. Sears became known as the place to shop for almost any appliance, from sewing machines to those magical boxes that create water from nothing and clean your clothes.
Today, the stores stock clothing, accessories, electronics, kitchen equipment, tools for outdoor living, and home decor. This variety is sustained by Sears's proprietary brands—Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard, to name a few—and other national names that populate the shelves.
Brenda Miller, licensed aesthetician and owner of Face West Skin Care, uses only glo therapeutics skincare products during her facial treatments. She has pledged allegiance to this brand due to its potent ingredients and thoughtful omission of parabens, dyes, and superglue. In addition to classic European facials, peels, and microdermabrasion treatments, Brenda also offers microcurrent facelifts, LED light therapy, and waxing.
Groom for Men is a 2007 Best of Citysearch Hair Salon guided by the expert eye and skilled hands of original owner Theri DeJoode, whose studies took her to Vidal Sassoon and back again. The salon's talented staff of barbettes take modern styles and apply them to classic men's heads with a detailed cut and styling (up to $46) compounded by the soothing treatment of deep shampooing and conditioning, scalp massage, a neck and shoulder rub, brow and ear trimming, and a smooth neck shave. Reinvention blossoms from the shoulders up as gentlemen's cranial silhouettes become eye-catchingly dapper and their cheeks become positively edible to the adoring kisses of household pets.