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Archive for the ‘Beauty’ Category

Dueling Dry Bars

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

When it rains, it pours. In addition to Blast, the blow dry bar opening two locations this spring at Shops at West End and Aloft, another blow dry bar–name not yet revealed–is in the works for 50th & France, and this one has some big names behind it.

Twin Cities attorney and philanthropist Parrel Caplan has assembled an A-List team that includes one of the Twin Cities’ best known stylists, Jason Deavalon–who has a cult-like following among local notables–and Rick Goldberg, a beauty industry guru who co-developed Cost Cutters, has consulted with Aveda and developed lines for Target and CVS. Deavalon, who has his own full-service salon in Uptown, won’t actually take appointments at the new spot, but Caplan says he will train the stylists.

The new blow dry bar will occupy the former Marty’s Barber Shop space on France Avenue in Edina.

It’s worth noting that both Twin Cities blow dry bars are being launched by business women, not stylists. Blast is owned by Kristin Neafus and Heidi Brownlee. They, like Caplan, say they see opportunity in focusing exclusively on hair styling–a trend that has caught fire on the coasts with women who crave movie star hair that lasts them for days. Meanwhile, Twin Cities salon owners like Jon Charles, who is known for his blow dries and has earned national attention for his blow dry boot camp, have shied away from the blow dry bar concept, saying it’s tough to make money on styling alone.

Like Blast, Caplan also plans to charge $35 for a blowout.

“Big salons have higher overhead, so they have to charge higher prices,” Caplan says. “My business plan is based on getting people in the door for $35. We will be open long hours, seven days a week.”

I know I’ve complained about Twin Cities salons charging as much for a blow dry as they do for a haircut. But is $35 the magic number–in a market where consumers are notoriously reluctant to pamper themselves? That may come down to whether women view professional hair styling as a necessity, or an indulgence.



Flawless Adele

Monday, February 13th, 2012

It was Adele’s night at the Grammys. Besides the stellar performance and the six Grammy wins, you couldn’t help but notice how radiant she looked. For that, the credit goes to makeup artist Daniel Martin, who used Koh Gen Do Cosmetics on the powerhouse singer. His top products for Adele:

Moisture Concealer ($54) — A sheer layer to even out the skin

Aqua Foundation ($62) — Moisturizes while covering imperfections

Manifanshi UV Face Powder ($42) — The fine pearl powder fits into uneven skin surfaces, camouflaging pores and fine lines

Fresh Face Cheek Color in Apricot Peach ($41) — A natural wash of healthy color

Available at select Sephora locations, or order online.

Mpls Gets a Blow Dry Bar

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Minneapolis is finally getting a blow dry bar–two, actually. A pair of local entrepreneurs have signed leases to open Blast Blow Dry Bar at the Shops at West End in St. Louis Park and Aloft hotel in downtown Minneapolis.  Like the blow dry bars that have become popular on the coasts, Blast will stick to a simple regimen: wash, blow dry, style, for $35. They don’t want to replace your salon, rather, become a destination before events, or even as part of a weekly routine (ah, dreamy), where you can “Blast in, blow out” in 45 minutes or less.

The owners are not stylists, but they’ve hired manages with extensive salon experience and plan to employ experienced stylists from salons around town on a part time basis. They’re also planning their own product line. Blast will open this spring.

Their ads are about to start showing up around town…

Galleria Nabs a New Salon

Friday, January 27th, 2012

The Galleria has signed a deal with a local salon to replace Rocco Altobelli. Lili Salon Spa will offer cuts, color, nail and waxing services and skin care. It’s a niche the Edina center could not go without, especially for guests at the adjacent Westin Hotel.

Lili will open in late spring in a 5,000 square foot space. That’s smaller than the Rocco salon, which Galleria vice president and general manager Jill Noack says has not yet been leased. The Rocco nail salon on the lower level is also up for grabs. (Meanwhile, Rocco is opening a new salon/spa a block away.)

Galleria will be the third location for William & Friends, whose salons include Lili Salon Spa/Minnetonka and Tonic Barbers, opening soon in Minnetonka.

The announcement comes amid a flurry of changes at the usually stable center. Schmitt Music, Que Sera and Pea in the Pod are leaving, while Ohio-based furniture chain Arhaus and national shoe retailer Marmi are coming in. Several current retailers are moving within the mall.

“This is unusual,” Noack says. “We just had several things come to a head. So much planning always goes into this. I first talked to Marmi 10 years ago.”

Noack is known to be extremely choosy about Galleria’s tenants and has a long track record of making decisions that add to the center’s appeal.

Marmi, she says, hits a lower price point than designer shoe store Pumpz & Co., and complements the dugo and Chico’s customer. “You can never have enough women’s footwear, and we were light there.”

The Galleria was not light on furniture, with Gabberts, Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn, but Noack believes the popular Arhaus rounds out the mix. No doubt, there’s also a defensive element to the move. “There’s the old adage, you either fight ‘em or join ‘em,” Noack says. “If they’re going to be in Edina on France Avenue, I’d rather have them all under my roof so the customer doesn’t need to go anywhere else.”

All the shuffling still leaves Galleria with a few holes to fill—notably, the large Smith & Hawken space in the center of the mall. Rest assured, Noack has candidates in mind, and in talks. More options for the 25 to 34-year-old customer who shops at BCBG is a priority for Noack.  “We don’t want her waiting until she’s her mother’s age to shop at Galleria.”

Another Galleria Exit…

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Just hours after Galleria issued a press release Monday about new stores, some shuffling within the mall and a few exits, Rocco Altobelli Salons took to Facebook with an announcement of its own–curiously absent from the official list:

“Yes the rumors are true: After 37 years of being a fixture in the Gallera mall, Rocco, Dianne and Nino have taken the option of not renewing their lease…We are moving!”

The Rocco Altobelli Salon and Day Spa is slated to open in April just a block south of Galleria at 3509 Hazelton Road. Features will include a color bar, a computer bar with WiFi, a nail drying bar, and space for larger groups. Plus parking right outside the door.

It was definitely time. Rocco Altobelli is an institution, but as they in the beauty biz know all to well, even institutions need an occasional makeover. And after all these years of nail services being in a separate space on the lower level of Galleria, it will be nice to bring that piece of the business into one brand new salon.

Get a Makeover Already. It’s On Sale.

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Resolutions are so much easier to keep when they’re on sale (and don’t require eliminating sugar from your diet). The renowned ReVamp! Makeover created by beauty magician, author and salon owner Christopher Hopkins, is  up to 20 percent off this month at ReVamp! Salon Spa in Uptown. (Regular prices start at $199.) The package includes silhouette analysis, color, cut, makeup application and lesson. And, with any makeover, you get a $20 gift card for Crave restaurants and a free V-silk Hydrating treatment valued at $29. Become a ReVamp club member to take advantage of other weekly deals. 2910 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls., 612-341-0404

Farewell, Elizabeth Dehn

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

The serum has sold out, ladies. Less than a year after its well-received launch, By Elizabeth Dehn is out of business. The pretty skincare collection was manufactured locally by Galen Labs, another highly lauded Minnesota brand, which abruptly shut its doors last year. Finding another manufacturer proved too difficult and costly for Dehn, author of the popular blog BeautyBets.

A lifelong product fanatic, creating her own line had been a dream come true for Dehn. I spoke to her about the experience as she packed for her next adventure in Seattle, where she has accepted a position as a senior writer for, curating beauty and fashion content. I’m going to miss her dewy glow around town. But she plans to continue blogging, so we’ll be able to keep up with her product recommendations and tips at BeautyBets and @beautybets on Twitter (where I stalk her when I need the latest bronzer -STAT.)

Dehn’s parting words of wisdom are a must read for other would-be entrepreneurs.

Q. Favorite thing about being a beauty mogul for a year?

I’ll ignore the mogul part and just say that there’s nothing better than getting to play with product all day, whether it’s mine or someone else’s. Who gets to do that for a living?!

Q. Hardest part of starting your own line?

As with many entrepreneurs, I am my own staff, help desk, accountant, trash-taker-outer, etc., in addition to all of the other demands of running a small business. It can be exhausting and incredibly isolating. Which is why you shouldn’t go out on your own unless you REALLY love what you’re doing.

Q. Best or surprising lesson learned about the beauty biz?

I thought I knew what was required to bring a product line to market, but to truly play with the big brands requires far more capital and man power than I could’ve ever imagined. Had I known, I would’ve never attempted this. For once in my life I’m glad I was ignorant.

Q. What’s your advice for other wanna-be product developers?

How are you going to differentiate yourself in this over-saturated market? If you can answer that question confidently, then start talking to manufacturers. They are going to help you determine what’s possible, how much it’s going to cost, and how long it will take. If you still want to proceed after those findings, then get ready for a wild ride!

Q. Which of your products will you miss most?

The serum. It’s been the real game-changer for my skin. Younger customers would probably say the Face Spray, and more mature skin types would say the Shea Cream.

Q. Have you stashed away a supply of your products for yourself?

Absolutely. I have a box of “factory seconds” for my mother and closest friends who’ve been on the By Elizabeth Dehn bandwagon from the very beginning. Thankfully the products have a shelf-life of at least two years. After that, we’re all screwed.

Q. Oh dear. What will you replace them with?

I was a facial oil junkie before this, so I can honestly say it’s going to be next to impossible to find something as equal parts hydrating and brightening as the serum. I’ve already started testing out potential replacements for the Shea Cream, and while there may be something as moisturizing on the market, it won’t have the soothing and anti-aging benefits that only shea butter can provide—especially not in the quantity we used. The Face Spray will be much easier—but nothing else will smell that yummy!  Short answer: There are no replacements.

Tabatha’s Take on New Season

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

I spoke to Tabatha Coffey, the no-nonsense hair dresser turned TV host, author and business coach, in anticipation of her season premiere tonight on Bravo. This season, Tabatha’s Salon Takeover becomes Tabatha  Takes Over as the tell-it-like-it-is queen of common sense tries to save a gay bar, a doggie day care, a bed and breakfast and a beauty school.

“So many people have written to me to say ‘I wish you would come to my business and help me,’” Coffey says. “It’s a natural progression. Business is business–especially when you’re dealing with the customer service industry and all the problems small businesses face.”

She starts the season true to her roots, by taking over Jungle Red Salon in Minneapolis. Bravo’s plot summary says “Owner Suzanne Erickson seems more interested in acting like a teenager than a boss.” Coffey is actually gentler: “Suzanne got off track. She was one of the girls, which is really a problem. You have to be a leader and hold your staff accountable.”

Coffey, who is still in touch with Jungle Red, says things at the salon are going much better now. She applauds Jungle Red for getting organized, getting better educated and dreaming up a signature hair cut, “The Sex Kitten.” “It’s very fitting for Jungle Red,” Coffey says. “And anything that helps you stand out in the market is a great thing. I think they’ll do well.”

She was less optimistic about H Design Salon at Lake and Lyndale, which will also be taken over by Tabatha later this season. “It was a unique situation. The owner is not a hairdresser. He didn’t know what he needed to give his staff to do their jobs effectively.” And it sounds like he didn’t take much advice.

“I do my best to go and try to help people see things from a different point of view,” Coffey says. “At the end of the day, as much as I try to get the staff to be honest about their problems, if the leader of the team doesn’t want to listen to that advice, things aren’t going to change.”

Attend a Tabatha viewing party tonight on the second floor of Seven, 700 Hennepin Ave., Mpls. The Jungle Red staff will be there to reveal “The Sex Kitten” cut in a runway show, and watch the episode, which airs at 9 p.m. on Bravo.

Want more? Listen to my conversation with Tabatha on Shop Girls, myTalk107.1 (halfway through hour 2 of  Jan. 7 show.)

Cleaning Up Movember

Monday, November 28th, 2011
Bless you, Kiehl’s, for turning your Mall of America grand opening into a grand clean up of Movember, the national grow a moustache in November movement which has hurt our eyes (and relationships?) with many a creepy patch of upper lip facial hair. On Wednesday, the last day of the month, for one day only, Kiehl’s will offer complimentary moustache shaves for men from 4 to 7 p.m. And for every shave, Kiehl’s will donate $50 to the Minnesota AIDS Project. Ladies, dragging your mustachioed man into the store adds up to another $50 donation by Kiehl’s.
A Barbershop Quartet will create the mood and food and drink will be served. The first 160 customers in the store on Wednesday will receive a complimentary full-size product. And participate in raffles throughout the day. Mall of America, first floor, north side, 952-854-9541

Great Gift: Minimergency Kit

Monday, November 21st, 2011

You’ll find five full pages of great gift ideas from Twin Cities stores in the December issue of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. And still, there were more worthy items we couldn’t fit in print. Here’s one I just love: the Minimergency Kit from Ms. & Mrs. The compact patent pouch comes in a fabulous array of bright colors, each adorned with a good luck charm. Inside, find 16 must-haves on the holiday party circuit, including hairspray, clear nail polish, lip balm, earring backs and a deodorant towelette. Makes a perfect hostess gift or stocking stuffer among girlfriends. $15 at Epitome Papers, Galleria | Mpls.St.Paul Magazine © 2008 MSP Communications, Inc. All rights reserved