NOTE: This is our 2007 Top Salons feature. Our 2013 Top Salons list is here.
RED DOOR SALON AND SPA
The Village of Cross Keys, #42 Village Square, 410-323-3636
We were thrilled when Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door Salon and Spa opened their doors in Baltimore two years ago. Why should the gals in D.C. (and Europe, for that matter) have all the fun? This elegant retreat, which caters to a sophisticated clientele, has been a favorite of powerful women for decades. When a place offers six different pedicure treatments (including the therapeutic Essence of Lavender), eight different body treatments (including the Warm Shea Butter Body Melt), five different hair and scalp treatments, and nine different facials (including the salon’s exclusive Ceramide Anti-Aging treatment), you know they mean business! Indeed, they do—and with Elizabeth Arden’s exclusive products line, you’ll find skin treatment and rich nail colors that are seen nowhere else in Baltimore.
817 S. Bond Street, 410-327-1300
Between Alpha Studio’s fabulous scalp massages and the soothing, hot cups of herbal tea employees hand you when you walk through the door, it’s tempting to never leave this cozy Fells Point salon. The vibe is low-key, and the place—a 131-year-old corner rowhome (and former brothel!) renovated by owner Jill Sell’s husband—is gorgeous, and redolent with the plant-based perfumes of Aveda. Although the small salon’s three stylists are well-versed in cutting-edge styles, Alpha Studio is relaxed and unpretentious. Gentle-voiced aesthetician Paige Shuttleworth, perhaps the friendliest in the business, is as close as one can get to an Aveda guru, and is happy to extract stresses of both body and mind with exotic treatments like self-heating seaweed masks. Alpha Studio’s welcoming aura has everything to do with the philosophy Sell had in mind when she opened the salon in September 2005. “I wasn’t interested in having a factory,” she says. Clients are treated like friends. “It’s very natural,” Sell explains. “It’s not forced.”
11270 Pepper Road, 410-771-1500
Time was, if you were a guy, getting a haircut meant bright lights, loud music, uncomfortable upright barber chairs, and the smell of color chemicals, all under the duress of making idle conversation. But at FX Studios, you might find yourself getting a haircut for the “shear” pleasure of it. F/X provides the ultimate escape, with its low lights; cavernous, private hair-cutting rooms; tastefully decorated massage rooms; and intimate mani-pedi stations. While enjoying a complimentary glass of wine, free Internet service, stacks of the latest magazines, or one of many movies (from Jaws to Ocean’s Eleven), you’ll have so much fun, you might forget why you came in the first place. From facials to massages to Botox and Restylane therapy (overseen by Sinai’s Chief of Plastic Surgery, Adam L. Basner) to a new $1 million expansion, which includes a workout studio with kickboxing, personal training, yoga, and Pilates, FX is equal parts playland, wellness center, and salon.
BLUE CEILING SALON
8631 Loch Raven Boulevard, 410-882-6404
Guys, we have some bad news for you: The Blue Ceiling Salon and tea bar is for ladies only. “I wanted it to be a haven for girls,” chuckles the salon’s co-owner, Kelly Brooks. And a haven it is. Let’s start with the tea bar concept. “Teas have a healing effect,” explains Brooks. “I’m an avid coffee girl, but I’m not going to bring that here—this place is about relaxation.” Indeed, with its pumpkin-colored couches and vibrant art on the wall (and, yes, a blue ceiling), the salon feels more like a groovy lounge than a hair studio. And that was precisely the point. “I wanted it to have that Asian, zen-like feeling,” says Brooks. “I want this whole place to project an atmosphere of calm and peace.” Mission accomplished. While the salon caters mostly to an African-American clientele, Brooks says that everyone is welcome. Uh, everyone but boys, that is. (Although we’re sure Brooks will give you a cuppa tea if you’re really well-behaved!)
101 Annapolis Street, Annapolis, 410-263-1812
From the outside, this Annapolis salon looks more like a summer home than a fashion-forward spa and salon. Once you set foot on the animal print carpeting, though, you suspect that your hair and beauty needs are in the right hands. Combining the most modern of spa treatments with time-tested styles, Morgan Gerard has been drawing customers from all over Maryland for years. The salon is more than just a place to stop in for a haircut: the spa menu has offerings that rival those in New York and Los Angeles. The pinnacle of luxury—and the most popular service—is the Ultimate Retreat, a five-hour deluxe package offering a manicure and spa pedicure, the spa’s signature Refresher Facial (which co-owner Todd Morgan August describes as a deep pore cleansing, hydration, and treatment mask), a one-hour massage, a body treatment, and a blow-out. Is it too early to place next year’s Christmas gift request?
BELLA OF CANTON
2809 Boston Street, 410-327-7872
The sassy little space may not look like a throwback, but if you long for the days when beauty parlors were social headquarters, when women sat in a row of hair dryers flipping through magazines and idly chatting with their stylists, then maybe Bella of Canton is the place for you. The newly remodeled Bella boasts a staff that is not only seriously talented but uncommonly friendly. There is none of that “too cool for my haircut” attitude you find at some local salons. (They know who they are.) Still, don’t let the homespun vibe fool you; the stylists at Bella are some of the most highly skilled around. Hairdresser Andrea Clayville, who has been with the salon since 2003, has led color seminars for some of the most prestigious salons in the country, including Vidal Sassoon. “We are constantly learning and teaching,” says owner and stylist Kristen Chandler. Though the salon specializes in hair, it has recently added a reflexology-based massage to go with those hair treatments.
15 W. Allegheny Avenue, Towson, 410-583-1500
In this age of high-end, multi-service “themed” salons, this aptly named little jewel box of a beauty shop is both unassuming and quietly impressive. With its silver walls, deco-style chandeliers, and intimate setting, the salon feels like a modern take on an old-fashioned beauty shop where one might go seeking calm and good conversation. Co-owned by Dean Krapf and Mario Rentuma, both of whom trained at the famed West Coast Vidal Sassoon School of Hairdressing, Krapf and Rentuma stick to what they know best: cut and color. Their appointment books are the best testimonial of all. Krapf and Rentuma have coiffed and glammed up a star-spangled list of celebrities, including Nicole Kidman, Bo Derek, Camryn Manheim, Portia De Rossi, and Benjamin Bratt. The salon’s guiding principle to keep everyone happy? “The celebrities want to be treated like real people,” says Krapf, who has 25 years of styling experience. “And real people want to be treated like celebrities.”
JAMES BRYAN SALON & SPA
We’re tempted to classify James Bryan as an “Old Friend.” Although the certified Bumble and Bumble salon has only been around for seven years, most of the staff—including co-owner Bryan himself—are old friends, transplants from the late, great Lola’s (the first of Mt. Washington’s mega salons). “Almost everyone here used to work at Lola’s,” chuckles Bryan, who still keeps in touch with his old boss. Better still, almost everyone on staff has been with Bryan since the beginning. It’s one big happy family. “Everyone takes care of everyone else,” Bryan says. This, along with Bryan’s simple philosophy—“keep clients happy, keep hair healthy”—seems to work well for the salon’s celebrity customers, who include Kendel Ehrlich, news anchor Marianne Banister, and artist Grace Hartigan (who gets her nails done there). “I thought it would be nice to buy a piece of Hartigan’s for the salon,” says Bryan brightly. “But have you priced one of her paintings lately?” Hmmm. Maybe they can work out some sort of trade? A thousand manicures should do the trick.
GLOW SALON DAY SPA CAFE
2603 Housley Road, Suite 213, Annapolis, 410-571-6601
Let’s face it, sometimes after a grueling day of herbal body wraps and calming facials, you just want to sit down and have a glass of wine and a roasted veggie wrap. Thankfully, at Glow, you barely have to walk out of the zen-like spa area to take the first bite: the salon has a cafe, complete with a wine and beer license. Though the cafe and bar certainly make Glow a special treat, there’s more to this place than its hybrid concept: The salon prides itself on its ultra-hip feel and fashion-forward services. Lusting after JLo’s lashes? Glow offers those red-hot permanent eyelash extensions. “They look and feel like your actual eyelashes and it’s a very relaxing procedure,” explains aesthetician Christina Sweeney. Glow also offers makeup airbrushing with custom-blend cosmetics—the aestheticians can blend the foundations and lip colors to perfectly match your skin. And, of course, the salon’s artful team of stylists offer everything from a wash and blow dry to the latest in thermal reconditioning. Just remember: Come on an empty stomach!
LA CLINICA SALON & DAY SPA
So how does La Clinica stay ahead of the trends in hair and skin care after 30 years in the business? Simple. “It’s personal!” chuckles Jayne Gary, who owns the salon with her mother Joan Zulanch. “If there’s something out there, we want to know about it!” Clients can certainly be inspired by Jayne and her mom—gorgeous, the both of them—but also by La Clinica’s ever-updated roster of services and impeccably appointed salon and spa rooms. Attention to detail is the secret to La Clinica’s success: The pedicure chairs, for example, offer heated massage, and are pipeless—which means there’s no bacteria. So what’s hot today at La Clinica? Lash extensions, hair extensions, thermal reconditioning, and the newest line of cosme-ceutical products by Jan Marini. And you can be certain that if there’s some new beautifying strategy out there, La Clinica will find—and perfect—it.
200 E. Pratt Street, 410-576-9090
If you think a high-end lunchtime facial is out of reach in Charm City, think again. With the arrival of Washington, D.C.-based bluemercury, time-crunched 9-to-5’ers and tourists alike can experience what Barry Jon Beck, COO and co-founder of the 16-location apothecary and spa chain, calls “express luxury.” Located at the Inner Harbor’s Gallery at Harborplace, the beaming, high-tech shop and spa is a cornucopia of deluxe—and oftentimes hard to find—beauty products that any of bluemercury’s immaculate employees will gladly tell you how to apply—after they shower you with samples. The spa menu features face and body waxing along with makeup applications, but it’s the famous bluemercury purifying facial that has the beauty-savvy buzzing (apparently, both Oprah and Anna Nicole Smith—strange bedfellows!—are fans). A Baltimore location has been a longtime goal of bluemercury’s husband-and-wife management team, and both wholeheartedly promote the chain’s democratic approach to beauty. “We want to be a place people think about when they need advice,” says Marla Malcolm Beck, CEO and co-founder. “Everything’s very touchable. Don’t be shy about asking for samples.”
1131 S. Charles Street, 410-685-0089
Feng shui was on the top of the list when Marion Lambropoulos and her crew were setting up shop this summer at Federal Hill’s M Salon. It shows too, because the place just feels right. From the clear Lucite chairs in the reception area (“we didn’t want to block the chi from coming in the window!” Lambropoulos, an effervescent hostess, explains with a laugh) to the stained concrete floors and flat screens flickering with round-the-clock Fashion TV, it’s thoroughly obvious that this is the salon Federal Hill has been aching for. M Salon’s five longtime stylists all came from Otterbein’s Chas Salon, and all are friendly co-owners in the new business, which also includes M Vanity (“Everything you need for your vanity”) next door. With a wide selection of luscious products (Lucky Chick, Principessa, and Osis) the shop definitely deserves its confident catchphrase. Walk-ins are welcome, and Lambropoulos suggests giving some of their soon-to-be legendary highlights a try.
SPA IN THE VALLEY
118 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley, 410-771-0200
Sure, Spa in the Valley has the requisite menu of hair care, skin care, eyelash extensions, waxing, and makeup lessons. But it’s the Sugar Plum and Spice Facial, the Mango Mandarin Body Masque, the Lemongrass and Ginger Ache Away Treatment, the Seaweed Manicure, and state-of-the-art Vichy massage “steam” tables that keep us coming back for more. Whatever your guilty pleasure, the Spa in the Valley is one-stop shopping for instant de-stressing. Best to make an appointment for a day when you have plenty of time—with any body treatment the Spa offers up to a one-hour complimentary visit to the beautiful Tuscan Room, where you can melt your cares away in eucalyptus steam or soak in the 90-degree jet pool. One caveat: readjusting to the real world won’t be easy after this escape.
1501 Sulgrave Avenue, 410-664-3800
You may wonder: How does Studio 1612 consistently churn out some of the top hair stylists in town? After all, the roster of stylists changes over the years (most to start own ventures, with the blessing of 1612 owners Judy Weidell and Karen Bialozynski) but the quality remains the same. The answer is twofold: First, of course, it’s the consistent presence of Judy and Karen, who are not only extremely talented stylists themselves, but big-sister-type figures to their employees. But it’s also the salon’s time-tested apprentice method. Apprentice stylists are developed and guided through the ranks by the more senior employees. That way, says 1612’s ace stylist Gabrielle Hart, “you have a common language when referring to techniques and a camaraderie within the ranks. Apprentices grow at their own pace but are consistently tested and nurtured, so that they can reach their goal of being on the floor full-time with secure knowledge of their craft.”
DREAMERS DAY SPA
226 Main Street, Reisterstown, 410-833-9999
Owner Susan Feinberg took a chance when she opened Dreamers Day Spa nine years ago. “Reisterstown has never had anything like this,” she says. “Somebody had to do it.” Those looking for an elegantly comfy alternative to increasingly slick and minimalist salons are certainly glad she did. Dreamers’ showcase building is a four-floor Victorian home that feels neverending in its selection of private spa accommodations. The newly Aveda-fied salon-spa pampers clients from head to toe in the glow of stained glass and hand-painted murals. The winding staircase leads up, up, up to soothing room after room—including what owner Susan Feinberg claims is the largest Vichy shower in Maryland and a breathtaking turreted facial room—where clients can get exfoliated, rubbed down, and detoxed while looking forward to a cup of hot tea in the Dreamers tea room. The second building also features massage rooms, but focuses mainly on manicures, pedicures, and hair. Combined, the two buildings feel like an endless homage to all things beautiful.
5722 Falls Road, 410-323-2222
We only hire happy people,” pronounces Laura Sweeney, the manager at Edward Amato salon in Mt. Washington. Or do the employees simply get happy when they set foot in the salon’s door? Whatever the case, the good vibes are contagious at this hippie-chic salon, with its wall length windows (revealing a cooperatively leafy corridor of Falls Road), dented-with-character hardwood floors, and that lovely, lavender-tinged Aveda aroma. (Edward Amato was the first Aveda concept salon in the city.) Edward Amato’s concept is, essentially, “keep it simple, stupid.” All their products are 100-percent naturally derived, they offer limited services beyond hair (one aesthetician and one mani-pedi station), and there’s a scalp massage with every shampoo. “We just want people to come in and chill,” says Sweeney. How could anyone resist?
SIGNATURE HAIR DESIGN
10132 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, 410-750-2200
Only 1 percent of salons in the country are Bumble and Bumble network salons. Signature Hair Design is one of those. Owner Skip Siperko explains its significance: “It’s not just a product line, it’s an educational system,” he says. To that end, Signature’s 16 stylists are often jetting off to Bumble and Bumble’s New York City academy to learn the newest, most innovative styling techniques—and to brush up on the basics. Bumble and Bumble is not just about teaching; the academy consults on fashion shows all over the world and is credited in many of the fashion and beauty magazines that are piled on the coffee table in Signature’s waiting area. That doesn’t mean that every look that comes out of Signature is edgy and au courant. “We have a very diverse staff,” says Siperko. He assures us that one of the most important aspects of the salon is making sure clients are comfortable, whether they’re looking for the hottest new style or simply want to maintain a classic look.
THE PEARL SPA, MODERN SPA AND BOUTIQUE
8171 Maple Lawn Boulevard, Suite 100, Fulton, 301-776-6948
If you want the latest in fashion, you go to New York. If you want the latest in spa treatments, you go to . . . Maple Lawn? Hey, don’t laugh. The Pearl Spa offers the most luxurious spa services on the market, with twists you probably didn’t even know were possible. Owner Kassi Buscher notes that “the in-room iPod docks are a favorite feature of guests.” It’s not just that you can create your own playlist for your hydrotherapy—a massaging jacuzzi tub in one of the spa suites actually synchronizes the jets and color therapy lights to the beat of your music. Trippy. The Pearl has also become a favorite couples destination. The Blue Grotto, a softly lit, heated, blue-tiled room, is a romantic and recharging experience. The room has a selection of deep sea clays that do everything from hydrate to firm your skin. Once you have immersed yourself in clay, you get to relax in a steam room while the nutrients get to work. Afterwards, the steam room becomes a shower to rinse off. We’re relaxed just thinking about it!
2616 Taylor Avenue, 410-665-4490
It started as a small, one-room operation. Twenty-five years later, Giuseppe’s is Parkville’s preeminent salon, with rooms for massage and aesthetic procedures, as well as a new wing for manicures and pedicures. Though the space has grown, owner Giuseppe Castellano has made sure that the “small salon feel” is still intact. “I’m the owner and I still have a chair, I still work with everyone,” he explains. The familial air among the employees is not just imagined: Giuseppe’s daughter, Pasqua Kramer, is the salon’s longtime manicurist and makeup artist. The close relationships at Giuseppe’s, however, are not limited to the staff: Clients are treated like family, too. “We have our younger Friday-night customers who come every week, and our older crowd who get just as rowdy getting manicures and coffee on Saturday mornings,” says Kramer. “We have lots of repeat clients.” Not hard to figure out why.
STUDIO 921 SALON AND MEDI DAY SPA
921 E. Fort Avenue, Suite 108, 410-783-7727
Some salons focus mainly on hair, with a side order of spa services. And some spas focus mainly on indulgence, with a soupçon of hair thrown in. But Locust Point’s Studio 921 manages to be equally strong on both fronts. As you walk in to the right, you’ll find the Studio’s warehouse-style hair studio (think hardwood floors and exposed pipes), where Bumble and Bumble is the featured line and such services as the “Blow Dry Boot Camp” (where they teach you to create that salon look at home) are offered to all clients. To the left, you have the fabulous spa area—which (anniversary gift alert!) features Studio 921’s famous his-and-her spa room and offers the enzyme-based Epicurean line of professional skin care products. With 12 hair stylists, five aestheticians, five massage therapists, and a facial plastic surgeon (who comes once a week), it’s clear that this is one salon that takes its hair—and its spa services—equally seriously.
ROBERT ANDREW—THE SALON AND SPA
1328 Main Chapel Way, Gambrills, 410-721-3533
Bigger is better. Okay, so maybe that statement doesn’t always apply to hair (unless you’re on your way to the Country Music Awards, that is), but it certainly applies to this 22,000-square-foot, award-winning salon. It’s the largest in the mid-Atlantic region; it offers every imaginable hair, skin, and body treatment; it’s even been written up in Vogue. Despite its daunting credentials, Robert Andrew still maintains that small salon feel, with close attention to detail, like a gorgeous Tuscan-style fountain in its entrance, a crackling fire that greets guests in the private spa area, and super-friendly customer service. One of our favorite aspects of this salon-spa? Their new multi-cultural center (located down the street), which offers braiding, relaxer, and texturing hair treatments. They also have a medispa, so you can get the latest in Botox, chemical peels, and laser treatments in an environment that is as clinically safe as it is gorgeous. Worried about getting lost in a such an unwieldy space? “We have our escort system, where clients are taken from one service to another,” explains spa director Kay Wright. So leave the compass at home.
THE ESCAPE DAY SPA
1777 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, 410-602-1108
The staff at Pikesville’s Escape Day Spa will not only serve you bagels and coffee as they tend to your every need, but they’ll probably know your bubbe’s name, ask how she’s doing, and walk you through their newest collection of handbags and handmade jewelry. In other words, you’re amongst family at this salon-spa, which features not only three “lounges” (hair, nails, and body) but co-owner Joe Eckenrode, a neighborhood celebrity (and former florist) known for his fabulous up-dos—which, if you’re lucky, may include a flower or two. Most of Escape’s 11 stylists are former salon owners who focus on the “classics,” explains Eckenrode’s female counterpart Jane Caplan. (So if you’re searching for that cutting-edge fauxhawk, it’s probably best to look elsewhere.) Tucked in between a mini-mall and the brakelights of 695, Escape is about unwinding and socializing as much as it is about beauty, so no one will be pushing you out the door. Especially popular here are the gift packages, which can include an array of lovely services including hot stone massages, “sea spa” pedicures, and you guessed it: lunch!
1429 Aliceanna Street, Suite 100, 410-534-0009
It’s just a hunch, but we imagine that the same in-the-know urbanites who spend a day lounging at Spa Santé—getting their nails done, or perhaps indulging in a haircut, a facial, a massage, or the salon’s Best-of Baltimore-winning eyebrow wax—later head over to Pazo, which is right next door. After all, it seems the two places share the same philosophy—that it’s best to unwind in design-forward industrial spaces, and look gorgeous doing it. Rest assured, Spa Santé has substance to go with all that great style—a medispa for Botox and Restylane injections, a Vichy shower, and even an in-house chiropractor. And if we we’re choosing one local spa for a girls’-night-out spa party, it might very well be Spa Santé. Their ladies’ relaxation room is a vision of contemporary cool, with taupe velveteen couches, mesh curtains, a Japanese screen, and classical music piped in on the stereo. But why are we suddenly craving Pazo’s blood orange martini?
925 W. 36th Street, 410-235-2269
Clients at Hampden’s brand-new Sprout salon can rest assured that when they visit the freshly rehabbed storefront, they’ll not only get a super-stylish cut but will be supporting a sustainable environment, as well. The salon, which opened in late November on “The Avenue,” bills itself as “an organic salon,” which means that almost everything—from shampoo to styling products—is 100 percent natural. The salon is also virtually paperless, aluminum coloring foils are recycled between uses, and even the rustic molding along the shiny bamboo floors (salvaged from the building before they renovated) has found a second life. “We are as green as we can be while being a functional salon,” Epstein says. Sprout uses and sells certified organic product lines such as Druide, Aubrey, and John Masters, and is equipped to service “hypersensitive” clients—individuals that are allergic to many, if not most, common man-made chemicals usually found in haircare products. Stylists are even prohibited from wearing scents other than organic essential oils, in case clients have sensitivities to everyday perfumes.
ABOUT FACES DAY SPA & SALON AT CANTON CROSSING
1501 S. Clinton Street, Third Floor, 410-675-0099
The local About Faces Day Spa chain has been consistently reliable, but until now, it was lacking a little pizzazz. All that has changed, with the opening of their stunning new signature spa at Canton Crossing. If you’ll pardon the cliché, this is not your mother’s About Faces Day Spa. Instead, it’s a buzz-worthy, industrial chic headquarters, with cool views of the city, funky styling stations, and state-of-the-art equipment. A lot of planning clearly went into every inch of this spa, from the elevated shampoo stations and the large mani-pedi room, to the tranquil waiting lounge where cucumber-infused water is served to guests. Of course, it’s About Faces, so that means you’ll find a Vichy shower/hydrotherapy bath capsule, and the latest in just about everything (including those permanent eyelash extensions).
UNO THE SALON
10751 Falls Road, Suite 106, Lutherville, 410-821-9080
With his long black locks and beguiling Turkish accent, Unal “Uno” Tuluoglu is a hairstylist straight out of central casting. Put him in his design-forward Greenspring Station locale—it has dramatic terra cotta walls, large mirrors, dark wood, and brushed metal accents—and it completes the picture. But looking the part can only take you so far, and Tuluoglu has become one of the most trusted names in haircare, drawing celebrity clients (like makeup artist Trish McEvoy and news anchor Sally Thorner) as well as many of the Baltimore’s most stylish mavens to his salon. Uno’s now offers thermal reconditioning and removable hair extensions, and his team of 10 stylists are always keeping abreast of the latest techniques and trends. Uno is particularly proud of his highly-sought-after blow-outs. Even his own staff can’t resist. “I came in this morning and he made my hair look great in, like, five minutes,” gushes salon manager Lorie Paul.
MT. WASHINGTON SPA & SALON
1600 Kelly Avenue, 410-664-3400 (spa), 410-664-4610 (salon)
Want your salon to be as gorgeous as Vesna Stojanovic’s? Well, first you’re going to have to get a hubby who is also a craftsman—he made the salon’s cabinets, benches (with their secret stash of champagne, which is complimentary with all guest services), and Venetian-style shutters. Oh, and it might also help to have a business partner and son who is an amateur artist and tile maker—he painted the Tuscan scenes upstairs in the spa area (downstairs is where they cut hair) and even did a splashy, cameo tile display in the salon’s entranceway. Of course, good looks would be for naught if Mt. Washington Spa & Salon didn’t deliver the goods, and they do. From the delightful Vesna, who is Baltimore’s premier waxing expert (she invented her own soothing recipe using beeswax and essential oils), to the salon’s state-of-the art equipment and services (look for a brand new spa-jet Vichy shower and a revolutionary cellulite-reducing infrared blanket and herb treatment), to the homey touches like Grandma Stojanovic’s famous chocolate chip cookies that make the customers swoon, it all adds up to quality. “I like to make things look nice,” says Vesna. She’s referring to both her salon and her clients.
18821 Frederick Road, Parkton, 410-357-0833
It’s 25 minutes from the city, but oh what a difference those 25 minutes make! Tucked away in a historic cedar building, right alongside the Little Gunpowder Falls, Elizabeth Jacob truly feels like a destination retreat. Start with the retail store in the front, where they sell Votivo candles, chocolate, and GloMinerals makeup. “Anything to indulge yourself,” says owner Lisa Pucci. And that’s basically the point. Somehow, it’s just a little easier to indulge in this country-chic spa—with its gorgeous tile fountain and beautiful private rooms featuring dramatic orange lights. Services are all state-of-the-art, and include the hydro-active mineral salt scrub, the Swiss collagen facial, and the Danne Enzyme treatment (called a “non-surgical facelift” on the spa’s website). Now, if they could just put a golf course on the salon’s lot, you’d really have a day trip!
217 Albemarle Street, 410-244-0647
Can a trendy salon actually thrive in defiantly old school Little Italy? Debbie Ingrao is proving that it can. It helps that she lives in the ’hood (her husband and partner Richard used to be president of the neighborhood association) and offers discounts and perks (free bagels on the weekends!) to the locals. It also helps that her salon is so charming—with tin ceilings, gilded mirrors, and Tuscan-inspired décor—and that Ingrao herself is so gracious. As for the services? Hair is the main focus here (Ingrao trained at Studio 1612) and the salon offers the exclusive J Beverly Hills line of all-natural haircare products. But she does makeup and skincare as well (she worked as a makeup artist for Estée Lauder) and will even moonlight (for no charge) as a personal shopper for her regular clients who want to update their whole look. So how does Ingrao lure outsiders into Little Italy? By reminding them that parking is plentiful, and that tonight’s Italian dinner is just a take-out menu away.
1830 York Road, Suite C, Timonium, 410-561-0000
Proving once and for all that soccer moms don’t want to look like, well, soccer moms, is textür, the edgy new venture from the dynamic trio of owner/stylist Marcus Ficacci and head stylists Rena Kazmeirski and Woody Pitman. “This area was just craving this,” says Ficacci. The concept was simple: Bring urban styles and a trendy setting to a Timonium strip mall (next to a Starbucks, no less). The studio’s design—chocolate, turquoise, and copper elements set off by a blond bamboo floor—is more Melrose Avenue than York Road, but the hard-working, friendly gang (all trained TIGI educators) are all about great hair, with no attitude. As for their decision to focus mainly on hair (they do makeup as well), Ficacci puts it like this: “We feel it’s better to be great at a few things, than mediocre at too many things.” Amen to that.