Slide behind the chair with Delaware’s beauty experts. They know your secrets. Now, here are some of theirs.
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How did Delaware’s best-known spa and salon owners get their starts? What were their inspirations and challenges? Here they share the stories of their paths to fabulousness, their best beauty tips and yes, their yummiest spa treatments (including their personal faves).
Laron Thomas started in the beauty biz by doing a girlfriend’s hair. The two were in junior high school, and a dance was approaching. “My friend wasn’t going. She said, ‘I don’t get asked to things like that. I’m not one of the pretty girls.’ I said, ‘We’ll see about that.’” Thomas cut her friend’s hair and colored it. “When she looked in the mirror, she said, ‘I’m beautiful.’ And that changed me,” Thomas says. “I realized that I could help women feel beautiful.” She does that still, at Cielo (600 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 575-0400), her salon and spa.
Michael Hemphill was bitten by the beauty bug at age 11, sweeping floors at Clifford’s Hair Fashions, his father’s salon. Hemphill’s parents let him go to beauty school—in Canada—at the age of 14. “I was kicking and screaming that I wanted to go,” Hemphill says. He opened his first salon in 1975 and now presides over Michael Christopher Salon and Day Spa (2006 Pennsylvania Ave., Wilmington, 658-0844). In his 35 years, Hemphill has become godfather of Wilmington’s beauty industry, training legions of stylists, technicians and managers.
Two of them are Ann Tasker and Natasha Latina, co-owners of Salon Pasca (512 Greenhill Ave., Wilmington, 428-1388). Latina was already an award-winning stylist when she emigrated from Moscow. The two met at Hemphill’s salon, where Tasker had worked for 30 years. Tasker and Latina opened Pasca in 2006. (Pasca is an anagram of their children’s initials.) Tasker’s top beauty tip? “Individual false eyelashes,” she says. “Apply two or three to the corner of the eye, at the end of the lash line. They make the eye pop.”
Perry Scarfo spent his youth popping eyes. “Boxing, karate—you name it,” says Scarfo, owner of Perry Anthony Salon & Spa (5331 Limestone Road, Wilmington, 239-6161). If not for an ankle injury, Scarfo would have gone to college on a soccer scholarship. Benched, he turned to the chair. I realized that this was what I was meant to do,” Scarfo says. “Everything clicked, so I went with it”—though not without some ribbing from his buddies. “One day, my boxing trainer was wrapping my hands and he said, ‘What is this? A manicure? Ah, jeez.’”
Men getting manicures is exactly what’s happening at Studio One Eleven (111 W. 11th St., Wilmington, 225-8365). Dapper dudes flock to the men-only salon for services such as the Gin Experience, named after owner Ginny Rodgers. It includes a massaging shampoo, haircut, nose hair and eyebrow trim, aromatherapy hot towel treatment and five-minute chair massage. While they wait, men can practice on the salon’s putting green.
Men and women get manicures, pedicures and hair styling at Chez Nicole Hair and Nail Salon (1901 W. 11th St., Wilmington, 654-8888). Chez Nicole offers hair services like highlighting, extensions and a treatment called micro mist, which repairs hair with ultrasonic waves. The salon offers faux nails for women, including gel, acrylic and silk sets, and manly manicures.
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