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Where to Find the 'Nicest' Manicurists, Nipple Tattoos and Fertility Massages: America's 15 Favorite Local Spas and Beauty Businesses All over the country, these beloved mom and pop businesses have won over customers who need a little TLC.

By Entrepreneur Staff Edited by Frances Dodds

This story appears in the July 2023 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Courtesy of Mudra Massage & Wellness | Yelp
Mudra Massage & Wellness om Portland, OR

Entrepreneur asked Yelp to dig into its data, to reveal which ones America loved the most. Together we created America's Favorite Mom & Pop Shops™, a list of 150 local, independently owned and operated businesses across 10 categories — including, yes, beauty and spas.

To see every category, as well as the methodology behind the list, click here. Below are the 15 companies included in the beauty and spas category.

Note: Some businesses may have multiple locations. Only one location is listed for each.

1. Vintage Barbershop Hawaii

Honolulu, HI

Company website | Yelp page

"After trying a few barbershops around the island, I almost gave up, bought clippers, and started buzzing my own head," reads one Yelp reviewer. Then, he writes, a friend directed him to see Aaron at the old-school Vintage Barbershop on the border of the Arts District. "I will be a lifetime customer," the person writes.

Owner Aaron Fune opened the shop in 2019, and admits that he — along with a great many businesses on the island — had a rough go of it during Covid-19 lockdowns. But he survived, and sports an ever-growing clientele. He looks impossibly young, yet has racked up eight years already at this craft, and so offers a correspondingly diverse list of services, among them the Line Up (line up hairline edges, with a straight razor finish), a traditional beard trim or shave, the Haircut & Shave combo (complete with hot towel) and kids cuts. For all comers, just about any requested style will be in his and his staff's wheelhouse.

2. Oakwell Beer Spa

Denver, CO

Company website | Yelp page

If the words "beer" and "spa" seem in surprising and alluring juxtaposition here, then the formula created by co-owners Jessica French and Damien Zouaoui is having its intended effect. At pains to bring a concept fractionally more common in Europe (more specifically, Poland) but pretty much unheard of in the States, they built out a space just southeast of the River North Arts District and since 2019 have offered "beer-inspired spa services" while customers sip on local craft beverages.

What are these services? There's the Beer Bath Hydrotherapy, for example — a soak in a cedar tub filled with hops, barley and herbs. Rhe infrared sauna and Zero Gravity Full Body Massage are also bliss-inducing. But let's be honest: For many, the end destination is still the tap room, where the labor of makers like High Hops of Windsor, CO flows like redemption.

3. Hollywood Nails

Fairfax, VA

Company website | Yelp page

One Yelp reviewer wrote, "Best and nicest service I've ever experienced at a nail salon!" And as you read the rest of the reviews, you realize — that's no hyperbole. The rest of the reviews are uniformly in agreement.

There are more than 60 treatments available in this small spa (just over ten miles west of Washington, D.C.), from the customary mani-pedis to nail coloring, dip powders to repairs. But there are also surprises, like a kids section, which gives younglings a chance to indulge in polishes and both manicures and pedicures — with corresponding joyful hues on hand.

4. Plan9piercing

Las Vegas, Nevada

Company website | Yelp page

Though its name might seem better suited to a sci-fi novel or Ed Wood movie sequel, this full-service shop — just west of the Strip —wants to make you a work of art, prepared as it is to pierce and ornament damn near everything from the rook (the uppermost ridge of the inner ear) to back dimples and lips, the navel, and regions further south.

It'll all happen under the watchful eye of Kelly (or "Kellz"), the owner/practitioner. "The piercing was as painless as he could make it," wrote one Yelp reviewer. "He was so calm, positive… patient and sweet."

5. EverTrue Microblading Salon - Flatiron

New York, NY

Company website | Yelp page

Ramon Padilla opened EverTrue in 2015, drawing from his experience both as an executive at L'Oreal and from Harvard Business School. At the New York location in the Flatiron District (there's also one in Chicago), microblading isn't the only treatment available, but it is honed to a unique art. The process makes eyebrows appear fuller and thicker, thanks to pigment injected into the skin in small and precise strokes. (Guys, incidentally, are increasingly keen to take advantage, and so Padilla offers a Guybrow just for them.)

There are also eyeliner treatments and True Lip Coloring services, as well as areola and nipple tattooing and a special Hairline Rescue, in which hairlines are recreated/restored "stroke by stroke." Describing Master Therapist and Training Director Michelle Wu's expertise, one Yelp reviewer offered that she "is a true artist. I am in awe of her talent."

Related: She Gamed Groupon to Make $300,000 Doing Massage Therapy. Now She Runs a Million-Dollar Business Helping Black Spa Owners Do the Same.

6. Skull & Combs Co.

New Haven, CT

Company website | Yelp page

Just about three blocks from Yale University, this salon and barbershop — its name a riff on Yale's secret student society, Skull and Bones — is owned and operated by Jason Bunce. He promises, for those brave enough, to style you in a way that fuels your "most radical" self, with a menu of services that starts with traditional barber and stylist cuts, but drifts into the more complicated and esoteric, such as Color Melts, Bayalage Face Frames and Brazilian Bond Builder Conditioning Treatments.

"I went in for a balayage to fix a disaster that another hairstylist left me with," recalled a Yelp reviewer. "Jason spent hours… and it came out exactly how I wanted. It's obvious they take pride in what they do." And for those who live west of the Havens, there's a second location in Norwalk, CT.

7. Mudra Massage & Wellness

Portland, OR

Company website | Yelp page

This Kerns neighborhood spa has been around for 16 years, which is no small feat — most businesses never last that long. But it has, by performing traditional therapeutic/relaxation massages, to be sure, but also lesser-known treatments like Ashiatsu, in which deep massage is applied with the therapist's feet. Then there's the popular Fusion option (a combination of Ashiatsu, Swedish and hot stone modalities, succinctly described in a Yelp review as "two hours of bliss") and a massage specifically tailored for those who are pregnant.

Mudra makes a point of welcoming what it calls people of all "ages, races, genders, religions, ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientations." Because if you're human, you sometimes just need to feel good.

8. Bare Arizona

Scottsdale, AZ

Company website | Yelp page

Glenna Horowitz is the owner/operator here, and she specializes in facial and body waxing and pigmentation reducing/lightening services. In the waxing category, there are no fewer than 26 treatment options, from eyebrows to neck, full arms to hands and feet (many of which are also available for the guys). Lightening services encompass underarms, thighs, neck, elbows and more private areas of the body.

"Glenna really lights up the room with her energy," reads just one of many glowing Yelp reviews, "and makes the entire process so smooth, quick and easy. She also responds very quickly to Instagram messages."

9. Bluebell Spa DC

Washington, D.C.

Company website | Yelp page

In the middle of the Columbia Heights neighborhood, owner Carlos Machado's spa divides its range of treatments into massage therapy, skin care and waxing categories, and is at pains to create a true oasis in which they are done. He requests, for example, that all electronic devices be turned off and that kids who are not receiving services keep clear of treatment rooms.

In addition to Swedish and aromatherapy massages, there are CDB-inclusive and deep tissue options, among others, while the roster of skin-related therapy encompasses deep cleansing, a Nano Infusion Facial, peels and a Gentleman's Facial, plus six other skin selections.

10. Secret Garden Nails & Beautique

Bellevue, WA

Company website | Yelp page

"My friends and I were looking to not only get our nails done, but to pamper ourselves in a lovely environment," one Yelp reviewer recalled of this little sanctuary, just across Lake Washington and about six miles east of Seattle. "Secret Garden was the perfect spot."

Notably quiet and decked in soothing earth tones and oversized screens displaying soothing natural vistas, its approach to services is spiced by both innovation and intricacy. For both those attributes, look no further than the Longwood Garden Luxury Spa Foot Treatment, which combines an aroma foot soak, an antioxidant and hydrating scrub/polish, an egg white treatment to clarify pores and tighten and firm and natural warm wax (paraffin alternative) to "destress the foot muscle," among other wonders. A full range of hand-based services is available, too, including one of our faves, the Therapeutic Hot Stone CBD Healing Hand Treatment.

Related: Helping Out in My Mom's Hair Salon Taught Me the Secret to Resilience, Even When Declaring Bankruptcy

11. Sana Skin Studio

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Company website | Yelp page

Part treatment studio, part product shop, this two-location business (the other in Miami) was founded by Valentina Hernandez to make skin care "natural, supportive and fun." In pursuit of that first attribute, her product line is rigorous in avoiding, as she describes, "harmful endocrine disruptors and toxins."

In fact, some 25 chemicals often used in beauty products are forbidden in both the studio's in-house facials (including SuperGlow and SuperDetox) and its hair and skincare take-home options. Also novel are Hernandez's 20-minute Virtual Skin Consults, in which clients' needs/goals are analyzed remotely and product/treatment recommendations made (if needed).

12. Life Stage Massage

Hoboken, NJ

Company website | Yelp page

Hoboken is a popular New Jersey city just a short subway ride from Manhattan — and although, yes, Hobokenites go there to inhabit slightly more of a refuge from the roil-and-rush stress of the big city, they still need ways of letting it slip. This is especially true of those who are either seeking to be or are pregnant, life stages that Owner/Founder Mollie Bollers was particularly interested in addressing.

A licensed massage therapist and doula for twenty years, she offers, for example, a Fertility Massage Treatment to "reduce stress and balance hormones, as well as enhance egg quality and quantity by increasing the supply of oxygen rich blood to reproductive organs." For those expecting, there are Prenatal and Post-Natal Massages, Labor-Inducing Acupressure treatments and additional services. Other clients can choose the Signature Massage (30 to 90 minutes) and/or Partner Massage Instruction.

13. All About Hair

Artesia, CA

Company website | Yelp page

The wonderfully minimalist interior design scheme of this salon — just six miles or so northwest of Anaheim — belies the complexity and breadth of its stylists' expertise. With G San as creative director, it offers bridal hair services, cuts and coloring, extensions, chemical treatments and more. There's also a menu of services for the guys, along with blowout treatments and a variety of products for sale.

Referring to a recent appointment, one Yelper noted being "extremely impressed by the customer service. G San is very knowledgeable about head shapes and the types of hair styles that compliment the customer. He doesn't use electrical clippers, but instead scissors, which is an art in itself." Bonus: they serve wonderful coffee, too.

14. Akalonnie Salon

Katy, TX

Company website | Yelp page

We simply can't recall a style portfolio (including photos and videos) as comprehensive as this salon's — and under the watchful eye of owner Lonnie, its stylists have an eye for the exuberant, and occasionally daring. Among its services are Balayage Ombre, Color Correction Fantasy, Babylights Teasy Light and Topcoat Colors.

The place has acquired a devoted following. "I went here because I saw that they specialize in blonde and balayage," writes one Yelp "I have always wanted to be full blonde and have gone to other salons in the area and have never received exactly what I wanted… They knew exactly what to do… recommended extensions to achieve a full blonde look without damaging my natural hair. I absolutely love them."

15. Ringpfeil Advanced Dermatology

Philadelphia, PA

Company website | Yelp page

Owner Franziska Ringpfeil, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Sidney Kimmel Medical College, has assembled a team that include five dermatologists (one a surgeon), two physicians assistants and five licensed aestheticians. One of its distinguishing assets is that, according to the practice's site, it is the only cosmetic and laser surgery center of its kind in Pennsylvania to feature the PicoSure laser — which can treat a variety of pigmentation issues, as well as perform tattoo removal.

The list of additional services is considerable, from cancer screenings to hair loss solutions, nail fungus and poison ivy treatment to addressing shingles and vitiligo. On the cosmetic side of the practice, options include facials, chemical peels, CoolSculpting and dermal fillers, along with no fewer than 38 others.

Related: Building an Emotionally-Invested Customer Base

Entrepreneur Staff

Entrepreneur Staff


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