When they first cut the ribbon on Milvali Salon & Cosmetics' namesake location in Mill Valley, beauty experts and best friends Jessika Adams de Vazquez and Deb Monti couldn't have guessed where their partnership would lead. In the nearly 10 years since, the dynamic duo has opened a second location in San Francisco and guided the salons through three expansions. The pair also filled both locations? shelves with their own signature line of mineral- and botanical-based skincare products, which their experienced team of aestheticians incorporates into a variety of custom facials.
But skincare isn't the only thing that Milvali is renowned for. The salon was voted the best place to go for hair extensions on the 2012 Bay Area A-List and was a finalist in the Best Bikini Wax category. To earn this regard, the beauty gurus specialize in Brazilian bikini waxes, using imported wax from Italy that is delicate enough to use on sensitive skin or between the Mona Lisa?s eyebrows.
Equipped with 25 years of international experience, Jon Paul rejuvenates visages with anti-aging glycolic peels or hydrating natural-enzyme facials. Epidermal layers bask under the intensive glycolic treatment, a chemical peel that saturates skin to help whisk away wrinkles loitering around eyes, mouths, and cheekbone arcades. By shucking off superficial dead cells, the resurfacing peel can smooth irregularities in skinscapes, minimizing age spots, blotchiness, or freckles configured as unpopular constellations. Taking a gentler route, the natural-enzyme facial buffs cheeks with exfoliating fruit enzymes before opening clogged pores with antioxidants and hydrating agents for an irritation-free deep cleansing.
A peek through Elements Salon's floor-to-ceiling window reveals an airy salon in which light-colored walls accent a smooth hardwood ceiling. This casual atmosphere carries over into the styling chairs, where natural sunlight spotlights shears as they craft styles as up-to-date as a clairvoyant's roulette bet. From traditional haircuts to skin treatments for the face and body, the team members help ensure glamorous results with products from Tru and the high-end, Italian-born Davines haircare line.
Ongoing education keeps Studio 4 staff up-to-date on hair and makeup trends, as well as safe products and techniques. Stylists spritz hair with gentle sulfate- and paraben-free products from brands such as Kevin Murphy and Unite, and aestheticians custom-blend skincare concoctions to pamper acne-prone or menopausal skin. In addition, feather extensions supply locks with avian flair, and Brazilian-blowout keratin treatments smooth frizzy strands by up to 90%, with results visible on Studio 4’s before-and-after page or in bowls of suspiciously flattened rigatoni noodles.
In 2001, the Coopers opened the doors to Cooper Alley, a contemporary hair studio where the duo preaches that technique is just as important as creativity.
More than a decade later, Rick and Ali (the owners) still uphold their high standard for technical skills. As a result, each stylist must pass the salon's intense two-year training course and show that they can trim a hedge into the shape of a lion while blindfolded. This ensures that hairdressers can keep up with the demands of creating exceptional designs from precision cuts to custom-blended color using ammonia-free INOA dye. Cooper Alley's team also is well versed in balayage highlights, wig trims, and hair-smoothing treatments.
Paul Mitchell– and Redken-trained hair sculptor Shideh Nouri uses her 17 years of experience to trim, color, and coax tresses into flattering face frames. During haircut sessions, scissors prune overgrown headscapes before Shideh styles them into an artful ’do. Customers can play favorites with select strands during a highlighting session or opt for a single-process coloring treatment to make hair more uniform than a penguin dressed as a maitre d'. CHI Enviro paraben-free keratin treatments elicit smoother locks by coating hair in a cuticle-targeting formula that contains silk and pearl. Newly straightened tresses embark on a honeymoon with de-frizzed living, which usually lasts about four months, the length of actual honeymoons.