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Everything did: Big city beauty trends arrive in SLO 

My own daily beauty routine is admittedly minimalistic. Still, I feel a twinge of envy when friends in the LA area talk about the latest hair, makeup, or skin service to hit their neighborhood. San Luis Obispo has a salon on nearly every corner downtown, yet it can take a while for other trending beauty services to trickle into town. Read on to find out about a new way to remove body hair that involves less skin irritation and fewer ingrown hairs, the one-stop shop for a glamorous up-do or Instagram-worthy braid, and how to get your lashes a little longer and your brows perpetually defined.

Sugaring

click to enlarge POUR A LITTLE SUGAR ON ME Masha Schroeder, of The Skin Boutique in SLO, holds a ball of sugar paste that is used to remove body hair in lieu of hot, painful wax. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SKIN BOUTIQUE
  • Photo Courtesy Of The Skin Boutique
  • POUR A LITTLE SUGAR ON ME Masha Schroeder, of The Skin Boutique in SLO, holds a ball of sugar paste that is used to remove body hair in lieu of hot, painful wax.

Masha Schroeder, a local aesthetician at the Skin Boutique in SLO, was at a loss for what to do for her friend, whose sensitive skin couldn't cope with being waxed—it would stay red and inflamed for days afterward.

"Every time she would wax, she would have extreme irritation so we were trying to find alternatives," Schroeder said.

That's how Schroeder came to find sugaring, a hair removal process that uses a sugar paste, typically made of organic sugar, water, and citric acid, that's used to strip hair from the body.

About a year and a half ago, Schroeder offered to try this sugaring method on her friend and the results were like day and night compared to waxing.

"It was really amazing," Schroeder said, noting that her friend's skin wasn't irritated by the sugaring. And when she tried it on herself, Schroeder happily realized it hurt way less than waxing, and her skin wasn't sensitive for days after.

"I thought, 'Well, I'm never going to wax again,'" Schroeder said.

While sugaring can sometimes take longer than waxing, it's gentler on the skin and easier to clean up. It's so popular that Schroeder now only does sugaring for hair removal on clients. Rates range from $12 for the upper lip area to $70 for a full Brazilian bikini wax.

"For people who want to go more natural and have less sensitivities, that's the perfect treatment," Schroeder said.

Dry styling

click to enlarge COOL 'DO SLO Blowout Bar offers services like blowouts, formal up dos, loose curls, and fancy braids. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SLO BLOWOUT BAR
  • Photo Courtesy Of Slo Blowout Bar
  • COOL 'DO SLO Blowout Bar offers services like blowouts, formal up dos, loose curls, and fancy braids.

Who among us hasn't thought, "I can style my own hair," and then suddenly you're the bridesmaid with limp curls before the reception has even started? Yup. That's where SLO Blowout Bar comes in.

The salon that does everything except cuts and color opened up downtown about two years ago and is the first of its kind in the area.

Dolly Bhatia said she and her sisters (whom she co-owns the business with) knew a blowout bar would do well in SLO since it's such a popular wedding destination.

"It was something that wasn't here even though there's a million salons in SLO, and there's definitely a need for it," Bhatia said.

According to Bhatia, their services are cheaper and faster than a traditional salon, with clients getting in and out in an hour and paying anywhere from $35 for a blowout to $80 for a more complicated up-do. Bhatia said they also offer braiding and makeup services and will work onsite for weddings.

At the moment, Bhatia said their Beach Goddess style, a messy, tousled look; fishtail and Dutch braids; and a basic blowout are all popular styles among clients who come in for anything from weddings, to sorority formals, to a spruce-up for their everyday look. Even if you're not sure what look you're going for, Bhatia is confident you'll walk away looking good.

"We'll recommend something, we'll show you pictures, but we'll make sure you leave happy," she said.

Lash extensions and eyebrow tattoos

click to enlarge FILLING IN If shaping and filling in your own brows seems too overwhelming, Wink Lash + Brow Bar offers micro-blading, which lines and fills in the eyebrows with a semi-permanent tattoo. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WINK LASH + BROW BAR
  • Photo Courtesy Of Wink Lash + Brow Bar
  • FILLING IN If shaping and filling in your own brows seems too overwhelming, Wink Lash + Brow Bar offers micro-blading, which lines and fills in the eyebrows with a semi-permanent tattoo.

While once just making sure you had two eyebrows rather than the dreaded, fuzzy uni-brow was all it took to beautify the hair above your eyes, the world of brow care is now a dramatically more complicated place, with retailers like Sephora devoting an entire rack to various products designed to fill in and line your eyebrows.

It's a lot of time and work. And if you're not good at drawing, you're kind of screwed.

Kristen Kundrat, owner of Wink Lash + Brow Bar, and busy mom knows all this. That's why she only has one or two appointments a year to maintain her eyebrows. What sorcery is this? It's called microblading.

"It's a semi-permanent way to alter the shape of your brows," said Kundrat, who opened SLO's only salon that focuses just on eyebrows and eyelashes about two years ago.

Essentially it's a semi-permanent eyebrow tattoo. A bunch of tiny needles are lined up to look like a blade and pierce the skin with pigment, achieving the look of lining and filling in eyebrows.

Kundrat said the effects of microblading last about a year, and most clients will come in once or twice during that time for maintenance. The first appointment costs $250 and touch-ups are $150.

Kundrat said the service is for "anyone who just really wants to simplify their morning routine. I'm the mom of two young girls, and it just makes my day so much easier."

Wink Lash + Brow Bar's other specialty is eyelash extensions, specifically the volume method, which offers clients more options for how full they want their eyelashes to be. They cost $200 for a set and touch-up appointments range from $100 to $120.

"You get more plush and dimension and drama," Kundrat said. "We can potentially double the amount of lashes you have." Δ

Arts Editor Ryah Cooley is ready for a spa weekend at rcooley@newtimesslo.com.

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