The gentle stroke of a brush. The artistic flourish of ink. As an award-winning Chinese calligrapher during her childhood, the owner of Faces Plus Skin Spa learned how to control her hands, a skill that she has seamlessly transitioned into her work as an aesthetician for the past 20 years. Now, the owner and another experienced aesthetician?who received advanced training in Paris, Milan, and Hong Kong?use their skills to restore complexions with exfoliating chemical peels, seasonal, antioxidant-rich facials, and permanent-makeup applications. The duo customizes each service, educating spa-goers on proper skincare regimens and using natural and organic products to help complexions glow brighter than a sun-powered campfire. Faces Plus also provides advanced beauty services such as the photorejuvenation treatment, which relies on a combination of LumiFacial therapy, crystal microdermabrasion, and light energy to erase fine lines and hyperpigmentation.
Burrowed among such historical downtown sights as Union Square and the Chinatown gates, Moth and Dagger Tattoo Studio leaves its own permanent mark on San Francisco by outfitting the city's residents with custom tattoos. Well-rounded inksmiths Mario Delgado and Justin Davis run the shop, and both are trained in their own unique styles. Mario specializes in realism, sprawling familiar images across limbs and buzzing them to life in full color or black and gray. Justin represents a more familiar approach with traditional American and Japanese designs. When they're not sketching new images, the duo is fixing or covering up old tattoos, allowing clients to finally have the confidence to leave the house naked.
The body-modifying coterie of artists at Mom's Body Shop calls upon professional techniques and individual specialties to provide custom tattoos and piercings. Since its inception on Mother's Day in 1998, the shop has grown to include seven skin-tinting artists, each skilled in setting traditional, color, and shaded tattoos. In addition to adorning birthday suits with multidimensional roses, intricate back pieces, and shimmering koi, Mom's Body Shop hosts two professional body piercers. A team of award-winning guest artists also visits the shop frequently to decorate patrons or nearby loaves of bread in original art.
When the parents of Bulldog Tattoo SF's artist told him to wait until he was 18 until he got another tattoo—they found out he had been lying about his age and getting inked since he was 14—there's a chance they thought he'd grow out of it. More than 20 years later, that's clearly not the case; his passion for the inked arts grew so vast that he found his way to the other end of the needle. Inside of his clean and sterilized parlor, the artist doles out a wide range of tattoo styles—from his favored traditional tribal artwork from exotic locales such as Borneo, French Polynesia, and the basement at Macy's to celtic knots and colored portraits. His versatility and skill, which can be viewed in his portfolio, can meet many requests, from black and gray designs to heavily colored artwork.
Cyclops Tattoo, in the very heart of San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood, is worth every penny of their $120/hour rate. After all, it’s not advised to skimp on something so permanent. The small two-person team of artists on staff at Cyclops are exactly that: artists. They’re painters, to be precise, and their friendly attitude and colorful demeanor creates a rich, entertaining experience, which makes getting your first ink job done a little easier to handle. The simple second-story studio should also put newbies at ease, with bright colors and lots of knick knacks on the walls to draw your attention away from the work at hand. No dark alleys or dirt-cheap work being done here, just quality tattoos from two Mission locals with a background in fine arts.
Shannon Archuleta Tattoo is much more than just a late-night, neon-signed parlor for anyone looking to ink up and move on. Housed within the arts collective Activspace on a quiet block in the Mission, Archuleta’s small studio is replete with detailed examples of her work, showcasing a seriously impressive versatility across styles and themes. Whether it’s a design honoring a cultural heritage or an example of visually witty Pop-Art whimsy, Archuleta will emphasize perfection, without reducing sensitive tattoo-getters to tears with painful, indelicate handiwork. Of course, this being a happy collective of soulful artists that share space with Archuleta’s studio, there’s always the stuffed Ouchy Otter to squeeze if a tinge of pain does come up.