Best Beauty 2012
Hotel Palomar Spa
New Hotel Spa: Hotel Palomar
Cavernous and cool, the spa inside downtown’s newest boutique hotel feels luxe, even from the waiting relaxation area with flavored waters and cozy couches. Treatments are pricey (most massages start at more than $100) but you get access to the whole hotel, including the swanky rooftop pool. Oh, and the pedicure room is private and perfect for a small party.
1047 Fifth Avenue, downtown
Best $20 Mani/Pedi: Fashion Nails
This spot’s $20 mani/pedi is one of the cheapest deals around. The women are friendly and work fast. They also stock an array of OPI colors, and offer a no-chip gel mani for an added charge. But beware: They love to put bright colors on you!
1333 Rosecrans Street, Point Loma
Spray Tan: Faces+
Chelsie Dillard will hook you up with a golden color so even, you’ll almost believe it’s real. The spray is natural and the tan lasts for five to seven days. Here’s to no streakage!
4510 Executive Drive, UTC
Organic Mani /Pedi: Bellemani
This “non-toxic nail salon” feels peaceful and un-claustrophobic as you sit in super-wide club chairs and have your hands and feet worked on simultaneously. Get shellacked on Sundays, when it’s gloriously empty.
7462 Girard Avenue, La Jolla
Smoothing Treatment: The Lab salon
North Park seems like the last place you’d expect to find high-maintenance blowouts and such. (Do hipsters care about salon-beautiful hair?) Nevertheless, straight-hair addicts seek out the pros at Lab Salon because they really spend the time with every lock, using the flat iron correctly and avoiding breakage.
3034 University Avenue, North Park
New Nail Bar: 20 Lounge
Just opened last fall, this neighborhood nail bar wins for its offerings of a la carte add-ons and upgrades, alcohol (beer, wine, champers), and jumbo TV entertainment, all of which make “watching paint dry” more fun.
2025 San Elijo Avenue, Cardiff
Detox: Detox Lounge
Hung over? Try a 30-minute footbath known as the Aqua Detox. The charged water turns different colors, as it draws toxins out of the 4,000 pores in the bottom of your feet, restoring oxygen to your cells and tissue. Next, spend 45 minutes in the infrared sauna—you will sweat out all the junk and feel like a new woman (or man).
910 J Street, East Village
Eyebrow Wax: Melissa McDougle at Salon De Marcus
One of our staffers calls McDougle’s waxing “phenomenal”—and she says it with a straight (perfectly plucked) face. McDougle, having worked for years with brow guru Anastasia Soare, has set up a cute shop where she executes fast, gentle, and painless waxes.
685 Second Avenue, downtown