Boutique salons and day spas let you retreat from busy into bliss
»By Kim Fuller »Photos by Dominique Taylor
There’s a special feeling on the days when you carve out a couple hours that are all your own, especially when you can fill in the time with some self-care. Whether for a routine visit or a certain occasion, the little spas around the valley are perfect spots for pampering.
Hands and Feet
Digit’s Nail Salon has been open in Vail Village for six years. Owner Karen Jacobson is available by appointment only, but if you walk by and she’s there, say hello and she may be able to fit you in.
Jacobson is all about happy hands and feet. Her manicures last an hour and pedicures are 75 minutes.
“Everything takes longer,” she explains. “It’s just me and the client so it’s really private, which is totally different than going to a busy salon. I am in a beautiful location, I play nice music and use good product, and I take my time to make your nails perfect.”
Lager nail salons like Lovely Nails and Jazzy Nails, both in Avon, are a couple of the more affordable staples for locals. Lovely Nails has been in business for over a decade, and manager Cindy Do says the business makes cleanliness and comfort a priority.
“We try to pamper clients after their work, after their skiing, after their hiking,” she says.
Manor Vail Spa in Vail bases nail treatments on their cancer-aware standards, avoiding harmful fumes and artificial nails. Additionally, their pedicures don’t use jets in the tubs to ensure high levels of sanitation.
“If someone has a low immune system they can pick up anything through their nails and are more prone to infection,” explains Kordi Schmidt, Manor Vail Spa owner.
Hair Design and Style
Whether your daily style is time-intensive, or if it’s throwing your hair back into a bun or ponytail, the health of your locks often relies on using proper products and getting a good dose of nutrients.
Linda Wilde, owner of West One Salon in EagleVail, believes your salon or stylist should give you knowledge and tools to take home, rather than just style you up and send you out the door.
“My goal as a salon owner and a stylist is to really teach my clients that science behind hair,” Wilde says.
Education on your hair can include how you use products or hot tools, or the longevity of the color in your hair. Wilde shares how hairdressers know all the tips and tricks about hair, and although it’s easy to assume that women (and men) also know the ins and outs of their own locks — they often don’t.
“We’re mountain women, so we’re rough and tough on our hair, and regardless of how well you think you take care of it, the elements here are extremely harsh,” she says. “So if you are going to a salon that’s not educating you on how to properly care for your hair while you’re here, you will come back to the salon a mess every single time.”
Wilde has a good reputation as a colorist in the valley — a stylistic element that she says is her favorite aspect of working with hair.
“There is so much art that can go into coloring that complements a haircut,” she says. “Like shading and texturizing — things of that nature that you can build in with hair color, without having to cut it.”
If a client wants to look more slender, for instance, Wilde would put darker color around her face, and lighter on top. She says the results create a sort of optical illusion.
“I enjoy the whole mystery that people really don’t know how that happens,” she says. “And it’s really like a science for me.”
There are plenty of local hair salons and talented stylists, and to name a few faves from valley residents: Nick Mahaffey at Bliss Studio in Edwards, Leigh Tarrant at Fusion Hair Studio in Eagle, and Christopher Ralston at Bang’lz Hair Salon in Avon.
From spray tans to waxing, makeup and more, finishing touches are the cherry on top at boutique salons.
Whether you’re looking for a full facial or products to purchase, the Eminence line that Schmidt carries in the Manor Vail Spa is fully organic as well as clinical and results-focused.
Schmidt and her team also keep to their green spa standards with their waxing by using Outback Organics from Australia.
“It’s hard to find organic wax,” she explains, “and we have finally been able to find something legit.”
Manor Vail offers facial waxing, as well as arm and leg waxing, but according to Outback Organics from Australia, the full Brazilian is by far the most common waxing service booked.
Elements, A Day Spa in Eagle is a small space with an urban edge. With three treatment rooms and a long list of services, Elements focuses on giving women a little time to themselves.
“It’s a nice place for women to come in and have that hour that they need, and then they go off and back into their busy day,” says spa owner Alisa Galehr.
On top of massages and facials, Elements has face and full-body waxing, as well as makeup lessons and spray tanning.
For brow waxing and tinting, the spa uses a brow stencil system with six different stencil shapes to fit over a brow’s natural shape. The Eye Makeover service includes a brow wax, brow tint and eyelash tint.
“I think your brows are a very important aspect of your face,” Galehr says. “We make both brows the same and don’t take too much. Rather than just eyeballing it, we use a technique that our clients love.”
And for the finale, the South Seas Spray tan works with your natural melanin, so you don’t get any darker than you would in the sun.
“I tend to be very fair-skinned, and I do like this formula because it doesn’t make me look orange,” says Galehr.
When it comes to your spray tan, orange will never be the new black. This airbrushed tan lasts about five to seven days, and you can also get the tan-extending lotion for even longer results.
Even the finishing services don’t last forever, but perhaps your monthly trip to a boutique spa is that appointment you can look forward to the most.
“There is so much art that can go into coloring that complements a haircut. Like shading and texturizing — things of that nature that you can build in with hair color, without having to cut it.” Linda Wilde, West One Salon