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Want a view with that haircut? 

Coco Body Lounge occupies a modest space with polished wood floors and a spectacular view, upstairs from Avila's promenade "across from the ocean," owner Terez Autrand chimes.

A line of shoes arranged neatly outside the door signals that it's time to relax and stay awhile. Fresh air and delicate essential oils mingle with natural light that pours through the salon's open glass doors. For those who enter Coco Body Lounge, the rest of the world seems to melt away as the colors, the ambient sound, and the snapshot ocean view come into focus.

Coco is not a spa, insisted co-owner Michelle Aragon.

"The word 'spa' is just so thrown around," she said. "A spa is someplace that has spas. We are a place for relaxing your body."

Coming to Coco should be like an event, a self-prescribed holiday right in your back yard. But it's not merely for relaxing your body it's for the mind, too. Aragon and Autrand encourage clients to come early to appointments, bring along a good wine, and stay late.

The pair has known each other since they met as employees at a "haunted" bed and breakfast more than a decade ago. Autrand was doing hair back then. Now, she's been a stylist for more than 20 years. She uses Rene Furterer products exclusively a line of essential-oil-based shampoos, conditioners, and lotions and she knows that making a customer happy means more than giving a great haircut.

"We come from a service industry background," Autrand said, "so we are definitely into making each person feel completely pampered and unique."

Aragon has more recently become an esthetician, and in her words: "The more I do it, the more I love it." She offers several types of healing, purifying, and firming facials, using only soothing, natural products no chemical peels, no microdermabrasion.

Coco has two rooms that act as both facial and massage rooms, affectionately called "Tangerine" and "Aqua" because of the color scheme. Or you can opt for their specialty, a Thai massage on the patio. Thai massage is from the Ayurvedic tradition and involves simultaneous stretching and focused pressure.

Coco will celebrate their grand opening this Sunday, Feb. 11. Everyone is welcome to come and relax with drinks and hors d'oeuvres between noon and 4 p.m. For more info, call 595-2639 or stop by 360 Front Street in Avila Beach.

Kylie Mendonca compiled this week's Strokes and Plugs. Send your business news to

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