Best of the East Bay 2016: Beauty
A Hollywood hair stylist in Lafayette; an old-school barbershop.
Day Spa: Changes Salon and Day Spa
Perennial Winner The expansive menu of spa treatments and services at Walnut Creek’s Changes Salon and Day Spa is constantly being fine-tuned. New offerings include makeup lessons at the Smashbox Beauty Bar (the $70 session includes a complimentary color palette update) and the herbal, chemical-free Deep Sea Peel (for smoothing, firming, and improving tone). 1475 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek, (925) 947-1814, changessalon.com. —Caitlin McCulloch
Women’s Clothing Store: Vici
The New Kid When Vici’s owners started advertising their sales on Instagram, business flowed into their tiny shop on Olympic Boulevard so fast, they needed to expand. The new shop in Walnut Creek’s Mercer building has three times the floor space to flaunt flowy kaftans, cool resort wear, and hard-to-find rompers. In a hurry? Place a phone order, and a Vici associate will bring your bags out to the curb. 1683 N. California Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 954-7475, vicicollection.com. —C.M.
Consignment Shop: Labels Luxury Consignment
Labels is a fashionista’s dream for clothing and accessories by Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Prada (to name a few). “My favorite piece is a camel-colored Hermès clutch,” says owner Lynn Nice. “It’s a piece of art.” The last weekend of every month, Labels serves champagne and chocolate, and discounts select items an additional 50–75 percent. 2629-A Ashby Ave., Berkeley, (510) 356-4144; 1367 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 952-4566, labelsluxury.com. —C.M.
Before every SkinSpirit facial, a specialist evaluates your skin to recommend an individualized treatment. For $135, the custom facial includes cleansing, exfoliation, extractions, and finishing products. The more advanced $200 dermaplaning facial removes dead skin cells and unwanted facial hair, then replenishes the skin with a light massage of serums and hydrators. 1647 N. California Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 952-9200, skinspirit.com. —Rachelle Cihonski
Men’s Clothing Store: Venture Quality Goods
This swanky Lafayette shop offers a solid selection of national and local brands. Earlier this year, Venture owner Tom Stenzel cohosted an event with Patagonia, and created T-shirts designed in Berkeley that feature Lafayette’s iconic water tower—both benefiting Sustainable Lafayette’s eco-friendly efforts. Patagonia is one of more than two-dozen designers available at Venture that make or design clothing in California. 3571 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 385-0259, venturegoods.com. —C.M.
Women’s Hair Colorist: Caroline Wiseman of Caroline’s Salon
Five years ago, Caroline Wiseman was cutting hair in Hollywood for such style luminaries as Hayden Panettiere and Lisa Marie Presley. Then, Wiseman packed her combs, colors, and clippers, and headed to the East Bay to open Caroline’s Salon. While she occasionally has famous faces come to her Lafayette shop (90210 actress Christina Moore has been known to fly in for a cut), she gives every guest the celebrity treatment. 57 Lafayette Cir., Lafayette, (925) 284-1474, carolinessalon.net. —R.C.
Women’s Shoe Store: Tootsies Shoe Boutique
Tootsies Shoe Boutique lets customers book the store for after-hours shopping and pedicure parties on Thursday and Friday evenings. While you must bring the bites and bubbles, Tootsies provides the pedicurist and a hostess to help you shop the store’s selection of Vince Camuto, Jeffrey Campbell, and other top brands. $360, 1350-A Park St., Alameda, (510) 545-4422; 175 E. Prospect Ave., Ste. 100, Danville, (925) 552-6638; 5525 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 595-7272, tootsiesboutique.com. —R.C.
Beachwear: Drift Co.
Editor Pick Updating your beach wardrobe will be a summer breeze at boho-chic Drift Co., on Pleasanton’s Main Street. Score a tropical one-piece bathing suit by Amuse Society. Then, layer on a crystal fringe necklace and a flutter T-dress or a Nantucket romper. The shop also stocks a nice selection of men’s T-shirts, shorts, and casual beachwear. 711 Main St., Pleasanton, (925) 789-7345, catchthedrift.co. —C.M.
Women’s Hair Salon: Tribez Salon
Reader’s Quote “I’ve been with Hebba Brylowe [at Tribez] for 10 years,” says Danville’s Whitney Brinton. “I believe a salon is successful based upon the individuals who work for the company. They are the soul of the environment. And Tribez has a good soul.” Locations in Danville and Livermore, tribezsalon.com.
Nail Salon: Lavande Nail Spa
Big Number: 420
Approximate number of nail polishes and gels available at Lafayette’s Lavande Nail Spa. 3589 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 299-8877, lavandenailspa.com. —R.C.
Long Story Short: Old-School Cool
Barbershop: VIP Barber Shop
Step into Ruben De Avila’s old-school barbershop in Concord, and you might just find yourself in a swivel chair next to a legendary athlete.
“[I bring my sons] 20 miles for the great vibes and the awesome environment at VIP,” says former 49ers running back Ricky Watters, whose signed jersey hangs on the wall. The shop is also adorned with vintage guitars, and American blues plays through the speakers all day. De Avila, an accomplished musician, will sometimes strap on a six-string and dazzle patrons.
The soft-spoken De Avila still finds his greatest satisfaction following his family’s tradition of cutting hair: His grandmother ran a beauty shop in San Francisco, and his father still owns a barbershop in Concord.
The other barbers at VIP refer to De Avila as a father figure due to the gentle wisdom he offers during cuts and shaves. In fact, De Avila approaches his day job with the kind of calling often associated with the clergy.
“Serving people is my favorite part,” says De Avila. “[I love to see] people leaving the shop feeling better than when they walked in.” 1810 Colfax St., Concord, (925) 676-5865, vipthebarbershop.com. —Darrin Jones