Waxing isn't typically equated to relaxation, but Hands of Serenity Spa is anything but typical. Body and facial waxes are performed in private treatment rooms by licensed aestheticians, who use numbing agents to maximize comfort. Clients can also brighten their complexion with a restorative facial or solicit a licensed massage therapist for an extended hot-stone bodywork session.
A cadre of accomplished students mans hp: the college's three Chicago-area salons, where they learn the beauty trade while enhancing client appearances for less than at standard studios. Founded in 1979, the college instructs fledgling stylists in the latest trends and aesthetic remedies with products from Moroccanoil, Wella, and Dermalogica. At all three locations, sleek black styling chairs contrast with colorful bottles of hair products and OPI nail polish set amid the comfort of plush pedicure chairs. As students ply their skills on ravishing haircuts and clarifying facials, aesthetics pupils use carefully blended botanicals to add aroma, hydration, and palm-sized zen gardens to manicures and pedicures.
At Stephen Alan Salon, the beauty team not only works their skills to make people look great, but keeps the environment looking good, too. When foil strips are removed after hair highlighting, they're balled up and tossed into the recycling bin, not into the trash. Then, hair is styled with cruelty-free Paul Mitchell products and energy-efficient hair tools. And if the client wants a drink? They get it in a reusable glass instead of a paper cup or a coal-powered mug. Even hair clippings here are spared from the trash and donated to Matter of Trust, a renewable resource organization.
Though Stephen Alan Salon's record of sustainable practices and eco-friendly measures draws its own fair share of clients, many visit for a simpler reason: the stylists are experts at what they do. From perms and haircuts to platinum-blond treatments and extensions, their main talent is in getting hair to look its best. But the beauty options don’t stop at 'dos. Manicures, waxing, sugaring, and makeup artistry are also among the team's strengths, along with bench-pressing their salon chairs.