The extra-long cold and rainy season (and the stormy political climate) has us stressed out, dried out, and in need of a serious refresh. So, we've polished up our annual Guide to Bay Area Beauty with a bevy of new body treatments, facials, hair trends, mani/pedis, makeup, products, and more at the best spas, salons, and boutiques around. There's something for everyone—you too, guys. So, put your best spring foot forward.
SKIN DEEP: The Best Facials, Dermatologists, and Medspas in the Bay Area
HYDRATING & ANTI-AGING TREATMENTS
In San Francisco: For medical-grade facials in a boutique spa setting, make an appointment at Skinworx(2102 Union St., Cow Hollow), where founder Cheryl Pierce combines her nursing background and passion for skincare in a scientific approach. Her signature service? The Hydrafacial($199), wherein a gentle vacuuming of the skin removes impurities and a cocktail of potent serums leaves you plumped up and glowing. Take home a hyaluronic acid from the spa's eponymous collection of products. // The Complete Ultrasonic Facial($160) at Gunilla Eisenberg's Gunilla Skin Alchemy (2165 Union St., Cow Hollow) utilizes ultrasound waves to help anti-aging and pigment-balancing products penetrate your skin. For an everyday fix, we swear by her custom-made Balance skin oil ($90/oz) and cleansers. // Ready to bring out the big guns? Book a Triple Potency Skin Rejuvenation Facial($185 for 75 minutes)—which sloughs away rough, dry tissues through microdermabrasion, increases moisture with a peptide-rich mask, and improves circulation with LED light—at Beate Comment Retreat (450 Sutter St., Union Square). // If all-natural ingredients are a top priority, get thee to the Tata Harper Spa at Credo Beauty(2136 Fillmore St., Pac Heights) where green is glamorous. The 60-minute Hydration Therapy Facial($95) combines avocado peptides, beetroot extract, and Biocompatible Hyaluronic Acid to quench skin's thirst. // Presidio retreat SenSpa (1161 Gorgas Ave., Presidio Heights) offers a steam room, sunlit loungers, and a fireplace to encourage deep relaxation. We're booking the SenZen Lifting Facial ($195), which employs gentle microcurrents and LED therapy for anti-aging results that leave us hydrated and energized. // Not your usual luminous self? After your next workout at Equinox Sports Club SF(747 Market St., SoMa), slip into the spa for a Caudaulie Vinoperfect Radiance Facial($205 for 70 minutes). Skin will be cleansed and smoothed with essential oils and small hot and cold basalt stones before a deep-action peeling mask does the heavy lifting.
In the East Bay: The Ultimate Age Defying Facial($250) at Simply Organic Skincare(2416 San Ramon Valley Road, Suite 200, San Ramon) includes the deep exfoliating benefits of wet microdermabrasion, muscle toning/firming and hydration with microcurrent, and wrinkle/acne reduction using LED light therapy for soft, clear, bright, firm, and radiant skin.
In the South Bay: All dried out from what seemed like an extra-long winter? The Organic Luxury Facial ($225) at The Spa at Four Seasons Silicon Valley(2050 University Ave., East Palo Alto) is perfect for your dehydrated dermis. Its ultra-oxygen infusion and collagen-boosting ingredients work to give you firmer, more youthful-looking skin. // Make up for the recent dry spell by treating your skin to Champagne and flowers at LaBelle Day Spa & Salons(36 Stanford Shopping Center and 95 Town & Country Village, both in Palo Alto; or 233 Grant Ave., Union Square, in SF). The Royal Rose Facial($175) will charm your pants off with a deep cleanse, Vino Resveratrol and lactic acid exfoliation, and rose extract mist. For maximum glow, a Champagne-infused facial massage and signature Age Reverse lifting mask seals the deal.
In San Francisco: In the last couple years, Kristina Holey(864 Post St., Tendernob) has landed on the speed dials of SF style mavens who want truly Customized Facials(90-120 minutes, call for pricing) and lots of attention. The process begins with an in-depth discussion about your habits, diet, and lifestyle before moving on to deep cleansing, nourishment, facial massage, masks, and broths. When it's all said and done, Holey will work with you to craft a better beauty regimen. // Need to get your rosacea or fill-in-the-blank-issue under control? Make an appointment ($115-205 for 60-75 minutes) with Kayla Franzblau, owner of one-year-old Kayla Jeanne Aesthetics(1905 Union St., Cow Hollow) and just let her do her high-tech thing. Franzblau works with infrared LED light, microcurrent lifting, medical-grade oxygen, and diamond microdermabrasion. // Adult acne got you down? Send your skin to Acne Bootcamp($260 initial consultation) at AES Acne Clinic (222 Columbus Ave. Suite 320, FiDi), where the fully customized program is lauded for producing real results through recommended dietary changes, a personalized regimen, and proprietary non-comedogenic products. Expect the compliments to start rolling in after just six treatments. // We like our aestheticians like we like our mates: intuitive, gentle, and in it for the long haul. For over a decade, Lori Anderson(1801 Bush St., Suite 113, Japantown), who specializes in problem skin, has seen us through better and worse. Order up the Ultrasonic Facial($145)—follow-up quickies are on the house. // At Aesthetics by Veronica(3641 Sacramento St., Suite G, Inner Richmond), skincare expert Veronica O'Sullivan pampers clients with facials that combat a plethora of problems, from Proactiv-resistant acne to sudden-onset sun spots. The Custom Signature Facial ($115 for 90 minutes) incorporates luxury products by San Jose–based Jan Marini. // For a treatment that's anything but superficial, book a Personalized Clinical Facial ($135) with Thy Pham, founder of Aria Skin & Body Studio(310 Sutter St., 2nd floor, FiDi), whose super-intuitive energy work aims to align the body's chakras for an overall sense of wellbeing. // Since 1976, Spa Radiance(3011 Fillmore St.. Cow Hollow) has been one of the most booked destinations for A-listers seeking flawless skin. This spring, we're going all out with the Super Duper Facial Plus($285 for 90 minutes), which includes the works: a custom peel; diamond dermabrasion; a personalized mask; medical-grade oxygen; and collagen-boosting LED light therapy.
In the East Bay: The Rejuvenating Facial ($85 for 60 minutes) at Slinsense(3800 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Suite 102, Lafayette) is customized to your specific skin conditions and includes deep pore cleansing, exfoliation, extractions, a facial massage with a nourishing serum, and a mask. Add a 94 percent pure oxygen serum to to deeply hydrate and help heal acne. // For those with limited time, The Express Facial($75) at Simply Skin Esthetics (2363 Boulevard Circle, Suite 15, Walnut Creek) is the perfect solution to a busy schedule. The 45-minute service gives you a fruit enzyme exfoliation treatment, no extractions, and a custom mask.
In Marin: For a holistic approach to skincare, look no further than Melanie Traub, founder of Bellasante(89 Center Blvd., San Anselmo), who believes that good extractions and extra massage (for your neck, décolleté, hands, and feet) go a long way toward overall health. Book the Bellasante Facial($120-$140 for 75 minutes); a teen version ($100) is also available.
In the South Bay: One-hundred percent natural ingredients, including essential oils harvested at an organic ranch, promise clean, clear results for your Customized Organic Facial($175 for 60 minutes) at Rosewood Sand Hill Sense Spa(2825 Sand Hill Rd., Menlo Park).
DERMATOLOGY & MEDSPAS
In San Francisco: Whatever the problem—wrinkles, eczema, sun spots, a cyst from hell—we've long called Dr. Kathleen Welsh. Her team of fresh-faced nurses at Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology (2299 Post St., Suite 312, Lower Pac Heights) knows all there is to know about getting gorgeous. Go for just about everything—basic peels, Botox, Fraxel, Ultherapy—or don't: The new eVisit online consult allows you to phone it in with a physician's assistant. // Now that Botox is de rigeur for everyone from style mavens to tech giants, the needle-wielding clinicians at Gentle Star Medspa(14 Mint Plaza, #110, SoMa) are honing new treatments that won't produce stone-face results. Dr. Thomas Ellis and Craig Shishido have created a unique formulation that improves the appearance of wrinkles for up to four months, leaving us with more youthful facades. // Union Street MedSpa (203 Willow St., Suite 503, Western Addition) offers FDA-approved services including microdermabrasion and photorejuvenation. For a quick, natural-looking lift, opt for Juvederm, the injectable dermal filler that restores contouring in the face. It's a subtle makeover that lasts six to eight months.
In Marin: Take a dose of dazzling design in the loft-like interior at Alchemy Marin(925B 4th St., San Rafael), a medspa with a holistic approach. Go for nutrition, B12 shots, and vitamin and IV therapies in addition to the usual suspects—there are plenty of laser skin treatments, photo facials, acne solutions, fillers, PRP injections, and hair removal on the menu.
Bay Area–wide:SkinSpirit's five luxurious Bay Area outposts—including a San Francisco address (3325 Sacramento St., Presidio Heights) opened just this year—have all the offerings you'd expect from a medspa. The Power Hour Facial($235) is no laughing matter, combining exfoliating enzymes and a light surface chemical peel guaranteed to bring life back to your overworked facade.
NEXT: Our Favorite Mani/Pedis
Additional reporting by Emily Holt, Leilani Marie Labong, Anthony Rogers, Michaela D'Artois, and Sarah Lee.
HOT TIPS: Our Favorite Mani/Pedis in the Bay Area
(via La Petite Nail Shop)
In San Francisco: Adorable neighborhood salon La Petite Nail Shop(601 Kansas St, Potrero Hill) checks all the boxes: charming and relaxing environs, topnotch talent, every color of glitter under the sun, and a scrumptious treatment menu. Our current fave is the Land of Milk & Honey pedicure ($50)—45 minutes of bliss starring a super-duper scrub, callus eliminator, and massage that leaves feet like buttah. // Sporting a modern atmosphere that literally turns heads from King Street, Mizu Spa (274 King St, SoMa) is the perfect spot to get pampered before an evening Giant's game. Add to the fun with circulation-boosting hot stones and hydrating oil; the Hot Stone Manicure ($45) hits it out of the park every time. Pro tip: If your polish chips, head back in and get touched up for free.
In Wine Country: Weekend R&R in Wine Country wouldn't be complete without a little chill time at the spa. Do yourself a solid and head to SpaHotel Healdsburg(327 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg). Go for the seasonal "farm to spa" nail treatment: The Meyer lemon and sage mani/pedi ($125) comes with scrubs and potions made from locally sourced citrus, as well as a sublime hand and foot massage and perfect nail sculpting.
In San Francisco: We love Haight Street Nails(1795 Haight St, Lower Haight), a cute salon and neighborhood fave. Stop in for an express mani or indulge in the full luxury treatment—owners Stacey and Kay will make you feel right at home. The gel mani ($28) application is damn near perfect. // The interior atPolished Nest(470 Third St, South Park) is undeniably shabby chic and girly. But the go-to treatment here is of a more sporty variety: The Refresh Sports Pedi($45), which received has a shout-out from Vogue, is heaven for active and tired feet. Targeting rough spots and fatigued muscles, it includes an essential oil soak, callus exfoliation, minty scrub and lotion with extended massage.
In the East Bay: While not exactly the most luxe manicure experience, All About Nails($12, 3606 Grand Ave, Oakland) is the affordable go-to nail salon that every woman needs in her life. The family-owned salon is staffed by friendly aestheticians who remember your name, listen to your woes and will even order specific polish colors just for you—all while shaping your nails to perfection. // The Nail Shop's (3326 Grand Avenue, Oakland) welcoming tropical vibe makes this place more like a resort than a busy nail shop. And it's not uncommon to see businessmen with Bluetooth headsets in tow make deals while getting their feet scrubbed. // Pinkie's Nail Salon($18, 3333 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Lafayette) provides all the comfort, colors, and affordable treatments you need to actually want to get your nails done every two weeks. Walking down the aisle soon? They also offer parties for your and your bridesmaids to get pampered before the big day.
In Marin: The one-year-old Dolls & Dandy($30, 67 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley) celebrates pampering for all...girls, guys, and kids. The large sleek space features unique, nontoxic polish brands and shades, all-natural organic body products, and iPads at each station (so, you can get your digital magazine fix). What really sets D&D apart is the membership concept with special pricing and lots of perks.
CLEAN + GREEN
In San Francisco: If cleanliness is a top concern, give your hands and feet over to Cocoon Urban Day Spa(330 First St, Rincon Hill), part of the Healthy Nail Salon Program for businesses that go above and beyond regarding health and sanitation requirements. You can't go wrong with any service in this Zen space. Try the Cocooning Signature Mani/Pedi ($42 and $58 for 50 minutes each). Along with all the basics, it includes a lavender mask, a paraffin dip, and serious massage time. // Health and pampering come together in tranquility at the nail clinic inside Recharge Medical and Day Spa(1456 California St, Nob Hill). As clean as any medical office, the staff is trained to work safely with those who have diabetes, bunions, and a host of medical conditions. Classic and hydrating manis/pedis($30–$60) include complimentary shoulder massages and a cup of herbal tea. P.S. Fancy nail art is also at your, ahem, fingertips. // Van Hoang, owner of New York Nail(3483 Mission St, Bernal Heights), is a poster child for the safe cosmetics movement, having advocated for the government regulation of personal products before Congress. She's also the protagonist of the documentary Painted Nails, which looks at the effects of toxic chemicals in nail care products. No surprise, she prides herself on carrying only 3-free varnishes, including celeb-approved Butter London. // A hometown classic, ZaZa(543 Second St, SoMa) is our go-to for all things organic. After all, the nail spa has been recognized by the San Francisco Green Business Awards. Schedule the Signature Manicure and emerge the freshest girl on the block. We give it two (painted) thumbs up.
In the East Bay: Pure Organic Nail Salon (6754 Bernal Avenue, Suite 760, Pleasanton) is so environmentally conscious they even formulate their own scrubs, creams, and lotions from locally sourced and organic ingredients. Sit back, relax, and and stop worrying about your well-pedicured carbon footprint.
In San Francisco: The services at the cozy Hayes Valley salon Lux SF($30, 490 Hayes St, Hayes Valley) are topnotch to be sure—those of us who love an outside-the-box mani will find plenty of glitter and sweet decals from which to choose. But it's positively unmatched for its selection of chemical-free and vegan varnish brands in every shade imaginable—think Deborah Lippmann, Smith & Cult, and USLU. // Known for its signature Milk Soak mani/pedi, Milk+(2500 Polk St, Russian Hill) integrates the healing remedies of essential oils with soothing aromatherapy. Plus, the stylish spa offers complimentary tea and has an extensive collection of colors from OPI, Chanel, and Essie—all 5-free we might add. // Desperately seeking designer polish and luxurious treatments at affordable prices? Schedule an appointment atSilk Nail Salon(1425 Franklin St, Lower Pac Heights), a regular atop the list of chic city types. Along with rows of the latest It colors from Chanel, YSL, Deborah Lippmann, and Dior, the impeccable results and speedy service are addictive. We're obsessed with the Warm Lotion Manicure/Pedicure. (The mango lotion is everything!)
NAIL ARTIn San Francisco: At Sparkle(1193A Valencia St, Mission), owner Mia Rubie and her team of experienced nail artists (make that artistes) will take your nails on a magical journey. Whether you're down for Japanese 3D nails or a stylish French tip, let these ladies lead you down the rabbit hole. We're not sorry. In Oakland: East Bay women testify to the miraculous powers of the nail-saving Bio-Sculpture manicure at Cosmo Spa Lounge(259 12th St, Oakland). It's a semi-permanent gel restoration system that helps promote strong, healthy, natural nails. Plus, this is the best spot we've found for intricate nail art in the Bay Area.
NEXT: Haircuts, Color & Blowouts
TRESSED TO KILL: The Hottest Haircuts, Color & Blowouts in San Francisco
(via Stuff She Likes)
In San Francisco: If beautiful everyday hair is what you're after,ORO (305 Grant Ave. Floor 2, Union Square) is your BFF. Founded and led by superstar stylist Jarr Von Samuel, the comfortable surroundings of the space reflects the staff's focus on creating cuts (starting at $75) and color that are lived-in, wearable, a little sexy, and 100 percent you. // For 20-plus years,Joseph Cozza Salon(77 Maiden Ln, Floor 2, FiDi) has been a hotspot for the city's top-coiffed ladies and gents who like their hair services to feel luxurious. Go for meticulous cuts ($80–$160 for women), a myriad of color options, and extensions. //A haircut from sought-after celebrity stylist Jon Reyman of Spoke and Weal(850 Greenwich St, Russion Hill) is akin to a religious rite: He has a deific instinct about what our hair needs and how its shape can take your look up a few notches. His unusual practice of lightning-fast dry cuts ($65-$250) is easily the best thing you could do for your locks. // Salon-meets-apothecary Veer & Wander(6 Brady St, SoMa) is our go-to for expert hairstyling and artisanal skincare products, makeup, and aromatic candles. Owner and stylist Connie McGrath is a known expert in both cut ($85) and color—pick up some of her tricks of the trade during public workshops on Tuesdays. // With more than 20 years in business, Cowboys and Angels (207 Powell St, Suite 400, Union Square) has amassed a serious cult following for its chic cuts and team of international stylists, including owners David Tolls, Louise Baranowski, and Tracey McAllister. The bright, airy salon and laid-back vibe belie the precision haircuts ($100), designed to help even the most unruly strands fall effortlessly into place. //When it's time for a chop, we need to know who we can trust. At mainstay salon diPietro Todd,(177 Post St, 2nd Floor, Union Square) the well-trained stylists have warm chairside vibes and deft scissor hands (starting at $105). // If you dream of gorgeous voluminous hair and bouncy layers, join the club—and then head to Population(537 Divisadero St, Alamo Square). Local bloggers and cool girls swear by this place. Want to save a few bucks? Become a hair model: Every Monday from 11am to 3pm, women's cuts are $25; men's are $20 and partial highlights are $40. // David James(600 Fillmore St, Alamo Square) is a welcoming salon co-owned by brothers Daniel and David Karvaseles, hair gods trained in the Vidal Sassoon haircutting method. Along with sleek cuts and killer highlights, the siblings and their staff have a very clear philosophy: "We believe in being honest with you so that what we deliver will make you feel like your best self every day." We're all for tough hair love.
In San Francisco: Archer Salon(33 Grant Ave, Union Square) is a quiet haven just off bustling Grant Avenue. But don't let the cozy vibe fool you—expert colorists, stylists, and aestheticians run the salon like a well-oiled machine. For baby blonde highlights, owner Gari Cuevas is the pro; for banging balayage ($225), the masterful C.K. Karkhanis knows best. And for a meticulous cut? Savanna's our girl. //Along with the sunny environs and reasonable prices, senior colorist Lori Dylan is one of the main reasons to visit Posh Salon & Blow Dry Boutique(2444 Fillmore St, Pacific Heights). Particularly amazing with every shade of blonde (platinum to sun-kissed), she has more than 15 years working her magic withbalayage, highlights and all-over color (partial highlights start at $155). // The tag ine at boutique salon Hair Collective(11 Tillman Pl, 5th Floor, FiDi) is "where hair happens in San Francisco." It's spot on for so many reasons, beginning with the skilled scissors and balayage brushes of partners George Falcon and James Mackey. We're particularly blown away with the color services—we're talking the kind of highlights, blondes and ombres that will elicit Instagram likes aplenty (partial highlights start at $165). //In the same way we like to dine where off-duty chefs do, we want to get our hair chopped where stylists go. Harper Paige Salon(11 Tillman Pl, 2nd Floor, FiDi) is one such place and the "dream child" of two former colorists from Cowboys and Angels—Katie Casey and Marie Warden. Color reigns supreme (tints start at $100). // Here's a stylist who will give it to you straight, no chaser: Hedy Lavinsky(1506 Vallejo St, Marina), a graduate from the Cinta Aveda Institute, coaches her clients to make wise color choices for their hair types. Whether you want light highlights or full-on color melts, Lavinsky promises you will love your look (color consultations are complimentary). Don't hesitate to show your Pinterest board—she'll make you look like the mermaid of your dreams. // Trend-conscious style mavens look to the Grant Avenue mainstayCinta(23 Grant Ave, Union Square) to keep their locks au courant—balyage (surface balyage starts at $105) and pastel tresses (color starts at $86) are still the look this spring. //Barrow Salon(256 Sutter St, 4tth Floor, FiDi) is a mecca for good hair on the West Coast. Proprietor and stylist Michelle Snyder has cultivated a talented team with experience from New York Fashion Week and beyond: Barbara Thompson is our color expert of choice. Sit back with a made-to-order cup of coffee or a generously poured glass of bubbly while she does all the work (color and styling starting at $100).
In San Francisco: Bloom Blow Dry Bar(819 Ulloa St, Forest Hill) is our go-to when only beachy waves will do. Summon your inner surfer chick and chill out during the shampoo—only Unite's cruelty-free products will touch your tresses in this salon—and read magazines on an iPad while receiving that perfect, tousled blow dry ($45). //We book ourDrybar(1908 Fillmore St, Pac Heights) appointments through its easy-to-use app. The upbeat Pac Heights salon has pop music on the stereo and classic chick flicks on the flatscreen. Choose from seven blowout styles ($40) in its lookbook, including the wavy Dirty Martini (a favorite). Enjoy coffee or champers while the stylist works on your locks, It's as easy, and addictive, as that.
EXTENSIONS + SPECIAL TREATMENTS
In San Francisco: Hair extensions are the name of the game at Milvali Salon & Cosmetics(2040 St, Marina), which offers both micro-link and tape-in extensions. Whether you're looking for a natural look or an over-the-top Kardashian coif, the stylists got your
back hair. // Dumping tomato sauce on your head may sound like only a small step up from mayonnaise, but the Organic Tomato Hair Mask($85) at Edo Salon(601 Haight St, Lower Haight) promises to deliver a hearty dose of vitamins C and E, as well as protein extract from the tomato's base. Those damned split ends will meet their maker. // We're not sure how hip Dekkosalon (1325 Indiana St, Potrero Hill), with a loft-like space and peaceful vibe, manages to stay under the radar after 15 years, but we do know that the creative cuts and color services make us happy. This is your go-to for Brazilian Keratin Treatments($300) and Thermal Reconditioning($500). // Now there's even more to love at the happy hair place known as Patrick Evan Salon(55 Grant Ave, Union Square). The busy and buzzy salon just added 13 more stylist chairs and expanded to another floor. Its crackerjack team of stylists serve up virtually every service under the sun, including, notably, Japanese hair straightening, extensions, Keratin smoothing treatments and more.
Online: Glorious home hair color that doesn't leave you smelling like a lab rat? Yes, please! We're big fans of the SoMa-based Madison Reed's ammonia-, resorcinol-, PPD-, and paraben-free colors that leave our hair soft and silky. And this year, there are more new products to love, including the just-released line of Vivids, including brilliant red shades of the Radiant Cream Color and Bombshells, perfect non-harsh lightening for blondes and light brown heads. If you're coloring your hair at home but aren't yet a Madison Reed convert, give their color translator a try: Simply enter your current brand and shade, and MR will match your hue...only without all the smelly toxic chemicals (color kit is $20 for subscribers, $25 for one-time orders).
NEXT: Brow Waxing, Threading, Brazilians + More
HAIR BE GONE: Brow Waxing, Threading, Brazilians + More in the Bay Area
In San Francisco: Eyebrow waxing, shaping and tinting are all on the menu at Love Your Face($18-$45, 1075 Pacific Ave Apt A, Nob Hill), where aesthetician Anastasia Holbrook will make your brows the stars of the show... and your face. // Christina Orman-Benitez of Eyebrows Anonymous($25-$40, 1472 California St, Nob Hill) has serious skills when it comes to grooming even the unruliest of pairs. // At the Westfield Mall outpost for celebrity brand Anastasia($30, 865 Market St, SoMa), brow master Tiffany Clifford has garnered a reputation for her friendly consultations, thorough shaping, and straightforward lessons on maintaining your new look at home. // For the tech crowd, CODE Salon's ($45, 370 4th St, SoMa) popular brow bar offers precision eyebrow waxing and sculpting in a chic, loft-like space.
In the East Bay: The entire body is on the waxing menu atSkin Ovations (931 Hartz Way, Suite 100, Danville), where aestheticians can have you smooth and sassy—from calf to brows—with minimal pain.
Bay Area–wide: Benefit Cosmetic's brow bars ($21, multiple locations) are famous for their fast and flattering signature wax. No matter which location you visit, Benefit is staffed with licensed professionals so you'll always have somewhere to go in case of brow emergency.
In San Francisco: The skilled threaders at Zaza(543 Second St, SoMa) deftly shape brows in less than 10 minutes ($25), making the whole process a coffee-break endeavor with results that can last up to six weeks. // Lucid Beauty(427 Hayes St, Hayes Valley) offers a variety of services, from threading and waxing, to tweezing and tinting ($28) in a cozy Hayes Valley salon.
In the East Bay: Especially good for those with very sensitive skin or who use retinol in their skincare routine, Miracullum Spa(1355 N. Main St, Walnut Creek) can use threading to remove any unwanted facial hair from brows to chin.
BROW COLOR + MAKEUP
In San Francisco: The ladies at Eye Candy Lash and Brow Bar (1506 Vallejo St, Russian Hill) use a semi-permanent Brow Embroidery technique to determine your most flattering, eye-framing shape and filling in sparse brows ($35-$65). // Blink Eyebrows and Cosmetics(166 Geary St, Union Square) specializes exclusively in eyebrow design and makeup application for well-defined arches that last long after you leave the shop ($40-$45).
In San Francisco: SF's first wax-only salon, Habit(3212 Fillmore St, Cow Hollow) specializes in sugar waxing ($20-$150). The treatment is slightly more expensive than a standard wax, but gentler and less painfu . Upon making an appointment, you'll also received a code for the private entrance. // La Tira(1301 Church St, Noe Valley) eases the physical and mental pain of waxing with its cheerful decor, a soothing Enya-free soundtrack, and a friendly staff who expertly applies (and strips away) quick-drying hard wax for minimal redness ($28-$68). // The Social Beauty Co. (712 Fillmore St, Lower Pac Heights) is the sassy girl's go-to for more intimate services such as the Sweet Spot—a surprisingly painless Brazilian wax—and its follow-up companion, The Pretty Kitty ($65), which treats stubborn in-growns. // Andrea at Dermaplus Skin + Body(1728 Union St, Marina) is both a great waxer and a great conversationalist, and the budget-friendly bikini waxes ($25-50), make this a go-to spot for many in the Marina. // Estheticians use a combination of hard and soft wax ($30-60) to leave you baby smooth and beach ready at Stript Wax Bar(39 Washington St., FiDi). // Pretty Parlor(3150 18th St #109, Mission), an adorable salon in the Mission, will keep your nether regions looking nice with a basic wax ($30-$65). // Looking for a painless permanent option? Tamra Bedford (2416 San Ramon Valley Blvd. #200, San Ramon)offers laser hair removal for a smooth bikini line that will way longer than your tan ($95-$1000).
NEXT: Massages, Scrubs, Wraps + Couples Treatments
THE RUBDOWN: The Best Massages, Scrubs, Wraps + Couples Treatments in the Bay Area
THE BEST MASSAGES
In San Francisco: We couldn't help but treat ourselves to the 7x7 Hot Oil Massage($265-$280 for 75 minutes) at Remède Spa(125 3rd St., 6th Floor, SoMa), the gorgeous relaxation haven inside the St. Regis Hotel. Inspired by the city's 49 square miles and plants native to the Bay, this massage anoints the seven energy centers along the spine with different essential oils, followed by a rhythmic massage with gentle streams of heated oil. // We can never get enough of the sheer luxury and impeccable service at the Loews Regency Hotel, and, despite another change in management, the spa, now Maack Spa (222 Sansome St., FiDi) remains a serene space to hide out from the hub of surrounding downtown. The Traveler's Tonic($160 for 50 minutes), with eucalyptus inhalations and a customized full-body massage, hits the spot for anyone battling fatigue. // Although anyone could benefit from the hands of holistic massage therapist Michelle Bravo, the EOS™ Lymphatic Massage($165 for 60 minutes)—which includes therapeutic-grade essential oils to help soothe, detoxify, and heal the body—at EOS Massage(450 Sutter St., #2011, Union Square) is particularly healing for people seeking post-operative support for oncology, plastic surgery, or orthopedic procedures. // We're all for the lavish, luxurious spa massage experience, but when we need something down and dirty, we go straight to Suchada Thai Massage(multiple locations), for a 90-minute beatdown Thai Therapeutic Massage($80 for 60 minutes) that leaves us feeling like jello. // Need an amazing massage therapist specializing in wellness and pain prevention to make house calls? Carlos Aparicio (415-374-1989) is your guy—name your knead, from reflexology to sports massage, he can provide it.
In the Easy Bay: The popular Danville Classic Massage at Jolie Salon and Spa(551 Hartz Avenue, Danville) focuses on relaxing the mind and muscles with fluid motions and firm pressure. Perfect for commuters who need to unwind after Highway 24 traffic. Feet killing you after a long day in heels? The Head to Toe treatment atBodylines(2330 San Ramon Valley Road, San Ramon) includes a 30-minute foot massage to stimulate the circulation and relieve any aches in your feet. Want to bond with bae? Book the Couples Candlelight Massage at the Lafayette Park Hotel (3287 Mount Diablo Boulevard, Lafayette) for a sexy and relaxing date night. Couples will be massaged side by side amidst romantic candlelight and finish with a special treat (ooh la la).
InMarin: We've long loved Pac Heights spa International Orange for its private yoga classes and spate of massage services. Now, Marinites are getting the IO treatment at a new location at Marin Country Mart (2421 Larkspur Landing Circle, Suite 43, Larkspur). Add hot stones to the IO Signature Massage, or select a deliciously scented body balm designed to invigorate for the IO In Fiore Massage($145 for 45 minutes), designed to balance, sedate or invigorate according to your own particular needs.
In the South Bay: Couples, get ready to slip into the Spirit of California($850 for 3.5 hours), a nearly four-hour decadence fest for two at Sense Spa at Rosewood Sand Hill(2825 Sand Hill Rd., Menlo Park). You and your honey will kick back together for soothing foot treatments and chill time in your own private outdoor whirlpool before being scrubbed, wrapped, and massaged with aromatic California Woods body products. Finish it off with a hot bath, bubbly, and snacks.
In Wine Country: After you've eaten your way through Yountville's restaurant row, get some rest at The Spa at Bardessono(6526 Yount St., Yountville), where there's even wine on the treatment menu. The Vinotherapy Massage & Soak($160 for 60 minutes) includes a customized massage using grapeseed oils, a salted bath, and a bottle of Champagne. // Foodies who overindulged at The Restaurant at Meadowood and opted to stay the night may seek R&R in at the all-suite Meadowood Spa(900 Meadowood Ln., St. Helena), complete with soaking pools, relaxation gardens, private steam rooms, and tranquil natural surrounds. The Essential Journey($225 for massage/body, $235 for facial) is a 90-minute refresh sesh that includes a wellness consultation. You'll have your choice of products including vinotherapy from Caudelie and Swiss skincare line Luzern.
SCRUBS & WRAPS
In San Francisco: For an all-encompassing ritual that throws in a little bit of everything, the Rejuvenate Body and Face Ritual($225 for 80-minutes; $450 for couples) at Nob Hill Spa(1075 California St., Nob Hill) begins with a detoxifying and oxygenating chia seed scrub and a smoothing-over of Matcha tea body cream. A hydrating peptide facial treatment finishes things off. // Pain is beauty, and nowhere is this truer than at the Korean-style Imperial Spa(1875 Geary Blvd., Pac Heights), where the vigorous Purification Body Scrub & Oil Massage($90 for 80 minutes) obliterates dead skin cells and stimulate circulation in every bodily nook and cranny. Those of us who can handle it will emerge with perfectly creamy skin, made even smoother with a soothing smattering of oils, cucumber, yogurt, and milk. // If you've been there and done that, be sure to check out the new Pearl Spa(1654 Post St., Japantown), another Korean-style bathhouse that specializes in intense exfoliation. Order up the Pearl Special($150 for 100 minutes), a 100-minute combination full-body scrub, 24-karat-gold gel body wrap, and massage. // Just down the street at Kabuki Springs & Spa(1750 Geary Blvd. (Japantown), the new Signature Body Polish($105-$116 for 50 minutes) is a 50-minute crown-to-toe pampering. Get started with a deep avocado-oil scalp massage, lush hair wash and deep conditioning, followed by a cucumber gel body wash, a loofa exfoliation, and almond-oil and tangerine salt scrub to ensure velvety softness.
In the East Bay:Atthe gorgeousClaremont Club & Spa (41 Tunnel Rd, Berkeley), you'll feel like a glamorous water nymph with the deep-cleansing Energizing Spirulina Wrap($165 for 50 minutes). Begin with a salt scrub imbued with juniper essential oil to promote detoxification and circulation, then lounge in a wrap of spirulina, alpine herbs, and algae. Cap it off with dip in the famous pool. If your skin is looking a little lackluster after months of rain and fog, enjoy an exfoliating massage at Changes Salon and Day Spa(1475 North Broadway, Walnut Creek). The Changes Spa Glow uses a green tea/white tea scrub to remove dead skin, improve circulation, and bring a healthy glow to the skin just in time for spring.
In Wine Country:Go au naturel with Farmhouse Inn's (7871 River Rd., Forestville) farm-to-massage-table treatments. This spring, the Turmeric and Honey Rub, Scrub and Shrub($260 for 90 minutes) is awakening our senses with organic lemons and honey sourced from the garden. When it's all said and done, have toast to your good health with a seasonal shrub mixed up the by estate chef.
HAMMAMS, HOT TUBS & BATHS
In San Francisco:Move over, Kabuki—bathhouse devotees are loving the intimacy, design, and delish Japanese tea room at Onsen(466 Eddy St., Tenderloin), opened in Fall 2016. Just 13 guests at a time can make reservations for a dip in the 104-degree communal tub plus time in the redwood sauna, steam room, and cold plunge ($35 for 105 minutes). Afterward, tuck into a bowl of warm rice porridge with soft-boiled egg in the restaurant. // Miles from downtown, Archimedes Banya(748 Innes Ave., Bayview) is an urban sanctuary with a clothing-optional hammam that offers globally inflected treatments for more adventurous spa-goers. When we're feeling brave, we brace ourselves for traditional Russian treatments like the Venik Platza($30), a light "massage" (read: beating) with birch branches in a hot steam room. // Prefer something more private? We've never regretted booking the Bathing Ritual($85 for 25 minutes) at Spa Vitale(at Hotel Vitale, 8 Mission St., SoMa), where the rooftop tubs, infused with lavender milk and salts, are a divine place for an after-work or pre-date soak with little nibbles of chocolate and fruit.
In the East Bay: For a relaxing afternoon in the Town, head to Piedmont Springs(3939 Piedmont Ave., Oakland) where you can melt your problems away with a steamy Sauna Session($17 for 45 minutes) in one of four private outdoor tubs. To experience the best of both worlds, opt for the combination room, which includes both an outdoor redwood tub and a trip to the sauna room ($25 per hour).
In Wine Country: For a bit of exotic pampering, check into the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa(100 Boyes Blvd., Sonoma) where the Moroccan Hammam Ritual($279 for 90 minutes) combines ancient traditions with detoxifying, organic aromatherapy. Enjoy a full-body polish with purifying traditional black soap and a kese exfoliating mitt, as well as a signature hair treatment and luscious body oil application. // When urban style mavens find themselves in need of a bohemian-chic weekend stay where they can unplug and reflect, they escape to Indian Springs Resort & Spa(1712 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga), where two pools are filled with heated (and healing) mineral water from the property's natural geysers. Of course, many come for the resort's most famous enchanted element, the volcanic ash Mud and Mineral baths($80-$95). Post-treatment, pull up a chaise and say "om" at the tranquil Buddha Pond. // A short bike ride away, Spa Solage (at Solage Calistoga, 755 Silverado Trail N., Calistoga) also taps into the area's famous hot springs for its signature three-step Mudslide($110 for 60 minutes). Your skin will get a coating of essential oil–infused volcanic mud before a soak in a claw-foot tub filled with warm, lavender-salt water. Finish with a snooze in a reclining chair that vibrates to the tune of New Age music (a REM sleep-inducing technology developed by NASA).
NEXT: Makeup, Fragrances + More
Additional reporting by Leilani Marie Labong, Michaela d'Artois, Anthony Rogers, and Kristen Haney.
VANITY FAIR: Bay Area–Made Makeup, Fragrances + More
Memebox Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask ($9)
Memebox Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask ($9) (Courtesy of Megan Joy via meganjoy.ca)
Beauty individualists will go gaga for the new Bite Beauty Lab(2142 Fillmore St, Pac Heights, appointments recommended) where creating custom lipsticks ($55) is the raison d'être. With a help of a Lab artist, you select a shade from 200 colors, pick a finish (glossy sheer, matte cream, or Amuse Bouche), and an all-natural scent. Then watch your lippie being made (so fun) and leave with your chic tube in about 15 minutes. // When we learned the classic makeup brand Clinique had teamed up with Crayola, we nearly lost it—and then immediately got our hands on the Crayola for Clinique Chubby Sticks($17, available at Sephora, Ulta and Macy's). The verdict? They're the
bomb balm: moisturizing, sheer and available in 10 fun shades inspired by the crayons we adored back in the day. // Elizabeth Street Cosmetics, known for naming its yummy lip balms and glosses for San Francisco streets (hiya, Guerrero and De Haro), most recently debuted a new category of lip color: the Street Crayon($24): "It's a hybrid between a stick and a gloss," explains founder Kelly Crispen. "It's sheer and lightweight, paraben-free and serves up high shine while gliding easily on the pout. The jumbo crayons come in four shades—violet Balboa always brightens our day. // A lipstick that's equal parts Chapstick and color? It sounds too good to be true, but that's indeed what Skinn Cosmetics Plasma Fusion Full Pigment Lipstick($20) has achieved. The outer layer is filled with rich pigment (in four different colors) that goes on smooth and even, while the inner core is infused with argan oil and rosehip oil to sooth and nourish lips. It's the best of both worlds.
To get the kind of eyelashes that other girls swoon over, first start with They're Real! Tinted Primer($24) from Benefit Cosmetics (multiple locations) to dramatically boost length and separate hairs for va-va-voom lashes that will make your eyes sparkle. Now all you have to do is perfect your flirty wink. //TheBalm(788 Valencia St, Mission) is possibly the friendliest store in the Valencia Corridor. The brand's makeup mavens demonstrate all the techniques we've been hoping to master, from cat eye to red lip. Your session will be taped, and the video emailed to you free of charge. While you're there, pick up a few paraben- and cruelty-free products in cheeky, girl-power packaging: We love the Nude Dude Volume 2 Eyeshadow Palette($36). // The Mac Pro flagship store (45 Powell St, Union Square) is a fantasyland for beauty buffs. In addition to the brand's standard fare, the store is teeming with all the MAC Pro tools we need to tackle even the most theatrical makeup looks. Add to that a Try-On Lash Bar, private makeover rooms, and 45-in store makeup artists, and we're dizzy with all the gorgeous possibilities. // Tired of wiping off mascara from under your eyes every morning? Try lash extensions from Lashes by Christina(391 Sutter St., Ste. 206, Union Square) for natural-looking, fuller lashes using faux mink extensions. It takes only an hour to apply, and last for three weeks. But be warned, you'll be obsessed with your makeup-free lashes and shorter beauty routine.
When we're in need of a Korean beauty fix, we surf on over to Memebox, the Y Combinator-backed startup that's dedicated to all things K-beauty. What sets this on-the-rise e-tailer apart: It sells both the most popular beauty products straight from Korea and its own in-house brands (Bonvivant, Nooni, Pony Effect and I'm Meme) created with the help of top YouTube beauty gurus. If you're utterly confused by what masks, makeup and, eek?!, snail products are the best, start with one of the boxes or value sets. // Last summer, Space NK(2000 Fillmore St, Pac Heights) opened and we've been happily shopping it ever since. You'll find sparkling shelves upon shelves of hard-to-find skincare, makeup and haircare brands such as Eve Lom, Lipstick Queen and Natura Bissé. We're not gonna lie, shopping here can be overwhelming; don't be afraid to seek out one of the friendly and knowledgeable beauty consultants for help. // How many times have we wished for perfecting cosmetics that are good for us too? // Think of Volition Beauty as the Kickstarter for pretty creams and potions. Both a skincare brand and an online platform for the democratic creation of new products, Volition brings the ideas of labs, chemists, formulators, and artisans to a vote by a community of beauty enthusiasts. Users can read the creators' profiles; vote for the products they want to see manufactured; and, if the product is accepted into Volition's collection and manufactured, voters receive a hefty discount.
Drugstore makeup brands are always A-OK in our book, but we've never been quite as taken with a drugstore beauty section than the one at Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy(925 Cole St, Cole Valley). The bright, easy-to-shop space is filled with natural beauty and skincare products that beckon at every turn. Find all the non-toxic sunscreen, chemical-free nail polish, Jane Iredale lip glosses and Dr. Haushka eye cream you could ever want. Bonus: There are frequent specials and sales on said products, as well as a fantastic rewards program (lots of coupons). // Never will you catch us without our lilah b. Divine Duo Lip & Cheek Color($46) safely tucked in our bag. The bestseller from the Sausalito biz is made with natural, good-for-you ingredients, plus it's creamy, hydrating, and available in eight shades. If you're like us, once you touch the smooth, pebble-like vessels they come in, you'll be hooked. // Do you really know where your go-to makeup is made and what ingredients are in them? If not, there's no telling what kind of toxic junk you're putting on your face. Get thee to Fillmore Street's Credo Beauty(2136 Fillmore St, Pac Heights), where a gorgeous array of all-natural and organic cosmetics is ready to replace the yucky stuff in your makeup bag. Credo's team is knowledgeable about all your beloved brands and is ready to help you make clean beauty swaps of your entire regimen by advising you on eco-friendly alternatives. // Say hello to something truly fresh this spring: Juice Beauty relies on the power of vitamin-dense botanicals and an eco-chic philosophy in its highly acclaimed line of cosmetics, skin, and hair care products, all bursting with antioxidants and essential oils. We love the Phyto-Pigments Liquid Lip($24), formulated with the highest concentration of plant-derived pigments and fruit stem cell serum, which makes our mouths über-kissable in one colorful swipe.
The nose knows what the nose wants. Or does it? Whichever way you're nodding, SF-based Pinrose, a luxury fragrance brand, can help. All you have to do? Answer a series of sense-based questions, including your shape, color and sound preferences, and your fragrance personality will be sniffed out. If you're more of an I-need-to-smell-it-first type, we suggest The Starter Kit ($9) that's filled with 12 samples. Our schnoz is partial to Cuddle Punk ($55), a playful mash-up of apricot and vanilla. // Not in the mood to make a department-store run but in desperate need of a Lime Basil & Mandarin candle? Head to Cow Hollow, home to the first Jo Malone Londonstore (2157 Union St, Cow Hollow) in Northern Cali, opened last spring. Along with said signature citrus scent, the quintessentially British perfumery is chockfull of classic bestsellers and newbies alike. We're hardcore devotees of the Earl Grey & Cucumber Cologne($130). // Walking through SF's Westfield Centre, you'll notice a decidedly British scent in the air thanks to the still newish, street-levelPenhaligon's (865 Market St. Union Square). Do yourself a favor and check out the iconic London fragrance maker's sleek 600-square-foot space starring the full collection of original women's and men's fragrance, grooming, and bath and body products. Make sure to take advantage of the complimentary profiling service to be matched with your perfect scent mate. // When you first step intoTigerlily Perfumery(977 Valencia St, Mission), it's easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of bottles lining the walls. When seeking your signature scent, however, owner Antonia Kohl will guide you along the packed shelves of her shop until you're certain you've found a sweet new smell. (The complimentary fragrance consultation is so worth it.)
NEXT: Face Serums, Body Creams, Haircare + More
GLOW ON: The Finest Face Serums, Body Creams + Haircare in the Bay Area
Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum ($185) (Courtesy of March SF via popsugar.com)
Read the label on Pure Nilotica Melt($62) by LXMI, founded by former 7x7 Hot 20 honoree Leila Janah, and you'll find one ingredient: 100 percent organic Niltoica Reserve—a rare East African shea butter. Rich in vitamins A and E and doing quadruple duty as a lip balm, hydrating mask, eye cream, and overnight facial mask, this is a skin savior of epic proportions. // Marin-based founder April Gargiulo took two years to develop the signature product for her line Vintner's Daughter. TheActive Botanical Serum($185) is a wonder potion with a cult-like following, made with the finest nutrient-rich botanicals and essential oils, and designed to help with a range of skincare needs from fine lines and wrinkles to redness. // Need help for hungover skin? When your face feels parched, Tatcha's Luminous Deep Hydration Lifting Mask($25), with an ultra-concentrated gelatinous layer of red algae and botanicals, is your new bestie. // Guys, we're not kidding, we found the shoppable fountain of youth. Known as the Korean Sephora, KPOP Beauty(1 Peace Plaza, Japantown) stocks the kind of trendy Asian beauty products you've only heard about—think pig collagen sleeping masks and the Master Lab Snail Mucin Mask($4). Don't know where to start? The lovely ladies at the store are happy to divulge their secrets. // What do you get when one of SF's most sought-after facialists joins forces with a respected Berkeley-based organic skincare formulator? A brilliant new collab: The Kristina Holey + Marie Veronique Skincare Collection addresses inflammation through natural means (no highly fragrant oils here). Start with the Barrier Restore Serum($110 for 1oz.; available online at Marie Veronique Lab and Store, 1820 Solano Ave, Berkeley). // BareMinerals is known for its lightweight cosmetics that actually improve our complexion. Now the brand is doubling down with a youth-affirming serum in the new mineral-packed Skinlongevity Vital Power Infusion($48).
Aussie skin, hair and body care brand Aesop (445 Jackson St, Jackson Square) is one of the main reasons we heart shopping in Jackson Square. The gorgeous storefront, situated in an annex of the historic Hotaling Building, opened last summer and is the perfect spot for ladies and gents to load up on fresh-scented serums, creams, fragrance, etc. Our particular addiction? Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm($27). // Did you know Stella & Dot had a beauty sibling? Meet Ever, an all-natural skincare brand made with good-for-you ingredients including antioxidants and a patent-pending complex from the magnolia plant. The upshot? Cleansers, masks and moisturizers are designed to combat aging, brighten and lift the skin while protecting against damage from the environment. We can't say enough about the Reveal Biometric Peel Pads($70), which leave our skin smoother, firmer and more radiant. // After 22 years in business, we still can't get enough of San Rafael–based EO, loved for its extensive line of lavender-infused products—the French Lavender Body Oil rocks our world. Shop the brand's stylish storefront in The Market on Market (1355 Market, St, Mid-Market).
Yeah, yeah, we all know that coconut oil is a miracle worker. But with SF brand Cocokind, the results are real. A minimalist's dream, line' facial oils, body butters, and lip balms are made with just a few powerful ingredients and star virgin coconut oil (naturally). Everything is USDA-certified organic, fair-trade-certified, and vegan—no chemicals, parabens, or preservatives here. The last thing we do before going to bed every night? Apply the Organic Eye Firming Oil($14).
Ayla Beauty founder Dana Kennedy's dedication to offering the best natural, organic and "nasty ingredient-free" skincare products is well known to most Bay Area beauties. What's new(ish) for the online retailer with a Japantown studio (1825 Bush St.) is the addition of natural and hard-to-find haircare products, including UK-based Boucleme for curly and wavy hair, TEK brushes from Italy, Josh Rosebrook, Evolvh, Reverie, and One Love Organics. Who's ready to rock seriously healthy locks?
NEXT: Barbershops, Beard Trims, Manscaping + More
FOR MEN ONLY: The Bay's Most Dapper Barbershops, Beard Trims, Manscaping + More
(Courtesy or Peoples Barber)
SHAVE & HAIRCUT
In San Francisco: Ditch your Mach3 and head to J.P. Kempt(351 Divisadero St., Lower Haight), where one soothing swipe of a sharp blade will make you appreciate the luxury of a straight razor shave ($45). We especially dig the soulful retro setting, which hums with good music and playful banter. // Public Barber's North Beach space (1528 Grant Ave.; also at 571 Geary St., Tenderloin) looks more like your favorite independent bookstore than your typical chop shop. Four-thousand books along the walls make for great entertainment as you get your hair cut ($50). // Run by third-generation master barber Salvatore Cimino, 1512 Barber Shop(1512 Pine St., Nob Hill) not only keeps up the family tradition of excellent cuts and shaves ($39), but Cimino also took over his grandfather's bootlegging practice and makes his own wine and grappa.
In the East Bay: Trust your tender bearded locks to the pros at People's Barber (2337 Broadway St, Oakland) and sip a complimentary beer or shot while you get your beard trimmed ($20). // Take a trip back in time to Temescal Alley Barber Shop($40, 470B 49th St, Oakland) where the stylists pride themselves on haircuts and shaves($40) that grandpa could recognize. // You're in good hands at Mark-Jason Sofola(2211 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley) where a Gentleman's Haircut ($50-$65) will have you looking like Jay Gatsby in less than an hour. // Russian native Niko (his last name is a secret!) runs no-frills barbershop A Man's Choice(3533 Plaza Way, Lafayette, 925-283-1363). Don't expect to get shampooed, but you can expect a good cut ($22) and stories from the U.S.S.R.
SKINCARE + FACIALS
In San Francisco: One too many negronis last night? The bargain Haircut & Hangover Facial ($65) at Fellow Barber(696 Valencia St., Mission; and 973 Market St., Mid-Market) helps cover up evidence of too much elbow-bending. After hot and cold towel wraps and a facial scrub, you're practically good as new. // If you've never set foot in a skincare boutique, Aesop on Fillmore (2450 Fillmore St, Pac Heights) is a good place to start, with everything from organic hand creams to powerful facial serums. Aesop skincare specialists can help you custom tailor a regimen based on your specific skin type and routine. // To repair serious sun damage, head toCaesar Jimenez(490 Post St. #647, Union Square), whose super-antioxidant corrective Sun Damage Relief Facial($130) helps prevent pigmentation from overexposure to harmful UV rays. // Diamonds are a man's best friend at the just-for-guys M Spa(2187 Market St, Castro), where the microdermabrasion facial ($159) uses a diamond-tipped wand to buff away damaged, dry skin cells for a bright, youthful, unscarred look. // Barney's Men's boutique(77 O'Farrell St, Union Square) is a one-stop shop for any grooming aficionado. Go forth and shop handsomely.
In San Francisco: Expert aesthetician Gilbert Colorina at SF Manscaping(660 Market St, FiDi) ain't afraid of no beastly sasquatch. In his small studio in the FiDi, Gil will shave or waxthe wild tendrils on your chest, legs, and back (pricing varies). Plus, there's an array of spirits on hand to help calm the nerves. // Waxing 4 Men(500 Sutter St. #614, Union Square), a men's-only salon, is a safe space for taming the jungle on your face (and beyond). A men's summer Brazilian ($100) is probably needed after the past six months of winter. // La Tira(1301 Church St, Noe Valley) eases the physical and mental pain of waxing ($12-$95) with its cheerful decor, a soothing soundtrack, and a friendly staff who expertly applies (and strips away) quick-drying hard wax for minimal redness.
In San Francisco: We love Haight Street Nails(1795 Haight St, Lower Haight), a chill salon and neighborhood fave. Stop in for an express mani or indulge in the full luxury treatment—owners Stacey and Kay will make you feel right at home. // Hand Job Nails & Spa(565 Castro St., Castro) caters to its crowd. Go for extra exfoliation with the Gun Oil Hand Job($45 for 30 minutes), and look for the salon's second location to open nearby on 18th Street soon.
In Oakland: All About Nails(3606 Grand Ave.) is an affordable go-to nail salon staffed by friendly aestheticians who remember your name, and you won't be the only man in the shop. Promise. // The Nail Shop's (3326 Grand Ave.) welcoming tropical vibe makes this place more like a resort than a busy nail shop. And it's not uncommon to see businessmen with Bluetooth headsets in tow make deals while getting their feet scrubbed.
In Marin: The one-year-old Dolls & Dandy (67 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley) celebrates pampering for all...girls, guys and kids. The large sleek space features all-natural organic body products and iPads at each station (so, you can get your digital magazine fix). Order up the Dandy Classic Combo ($55 for 55 minutes) and get an anti-aging hand mask and massage in addition to being clipped, cleaned, and filed.
Additional reporting by Brock Keeling and Anthony Rogers.