A.J. and Allison had really important napkins. Over a few glasses of wine, the pair scribbled ideas and notes onto the normally disposable squares, and what began as a dream over drinks quickly grew into Poco Hair Company. Today, the ladies give hair the attention they once gave napkins, creating dazzling 'dos via cut and color services. Their irreverent decor engages the eyes of patrons as trained stylists expertly detach split ends, add desired layers, and remove stray pelican feathers for a variety of styles, from bohemian to natural to punk.
Founder Todd Beckman opened the first Tan Company location, then called The St. Louis Tan Company, in 1994 with a pair of average-size sun retreats. After perfecting a superstore concept with multiple levels of tanning beds and an intrepid-reporter alter ego, Beckman's bronzing business now spans 53 locations in 8 states, including 39 locations in the St. Louis area. Todd ensures each salon keeps the same high standards that won the 2010 award for Best Tanning in St. Louis from CityVoter.
A knowledgeable staff maintains each bright, highly sanitized environment and stocks shelves with Australian Gold, Swedish Beauty, and Designer Skin tanning products. The Tan Company also fashions UV-free tans with Mystic Tan standup booths that evenly spritz bodies with a paraben-free DHA solution infused with aloe vera.
Technicians at Shine Sunless Tanning help clients darken epidermises evenly with a customized plant-based mist in VersaSpa sunless-tanning booths. The tans are so effective that in 2011, Shine was named the official tanning provider of the St. Louis Rams cheerleaders. Inside each private booth, automated airbrushes apply even coats of a pigmented formula to the skin, which is automatically blown dry. The enclosed environment diminishes the orange or yellow tinge traditionally associated with spray tanning since it controls some environmental factors such as temperature, light exposure, and percentage of orange zest added to the air. Clients get to choose which shade of tanning formula will be used during their session, as well as whether they’d like to cap off their session with an anti-aging mist.
Unlike stylists who do only hair, nine-year beauty veteran Amanda Bluestein coaxes out clients’ beauty from many angles. Trained in cosmetology and drawing on years of hands-on expertise at Elayna’s and Tuscan Sky Salon, Amanda can resculpt tresses one minute and get skin glowing with a Norvell custom spray tan the next. She holds a special affinity for dolling up brides and ladies prepping for other special occasions. The precision updos and makeup involved require a steady hand and a keen eye, and Amanda excels at using all three.
Exquisite Threading's eyebrow-fashioning operation is led by a team of certified threaders plying their art in a soothing environment. Brow bearers seeking a refined look recline in the studio's comfy chairs as expert weavers adroitly lasso loitering hairs, expelling them at the root. A natural and chemical-free treatment, threading spares patrons much of the discomfort, swelling, and redness of waxing. After the shaping session, clients leave with a set of suave eyebrows to suit their countenance, making for crisper smiles and frowns less prone to getting stuck upside down. A second treatment after three to four weeks keeps disciplined forethreads in line.
During more than a quarter century at the helm of LookAfter Hair Company, Peter Hall has seen the styling industry gradually split in two directions—toward the high-end salon and toward the in-and-out fast cut place. With LookAfter, Peter decided to close that gap. There, guests can get premium salon services on a walk-in basis and haircuts from stylists who will gladly slow down for careful consultations instead of racing through trims with stopwatches in their hands. The name LookAfter is meant to reflect this blend and to demonstrate his vision for a place where the staff stands ready to serve all clients, whether they need keratin treatments, eyebrow waxes, or beard trims. This approach has helped LookAfter grow to more than 40 locations across St. Louis, Kansas City, and central Illinois, and the idea has also led to ongoing community outreach. Stylists have helped raise money for disaster relief, support breast-cancer awareness, and generate funds for veterans’ programs by carrying haircare products from American Warrior.