People • Community
Celebrating Latin America: Self-Care Businesses Transforming the Industry
Sep.07.2023By Boulevard Staff
For Hispanic Heritage Month, Brazil Independence Day, and beyond, check out these 7 Boulevard-powered, Latin American-founded salons and spas
Latin American entrepreneurs have a huge impact on the self-care industry. With Brazilian Independence Day on September 7 and National Hispanic Heritage Month here from September 15 to October 15, it’s the perfect time to catch up on just a few of their many contributions to salons, spas, and more. We’re proud to count many Latin American-founded businesses as Boulevard customers, each of which makes its presence known on local and national levels.
Here are seven self-care businesses we’re delighted to partner with and highlight throughout September 2023 and beyond.
Before Joanna Vargas was the skin care specialist of choice for Constance Wu and Michelle Williams, she was a little girl watching her Puerto Rican grandmother do her daily beauty ritual. Vargas, who is also of Mexican descent, attributes her guiding belief in the power of self-care rituals to the consistency and glamour of her grandmother’s routine. That consistency has helped her open The Spa by Joanna Vargas in West Hollywood, the Joanna Vargas Day Spa in New York City, and to craft her own eponymous skin care line directly inspired by the needs of her clients.
Joanna proudly touts the diversity of her company, which she says was done solely by hiring the most qualified employees available and by encouraging growth and advancement within the organization: “As Latinos, we have always felt that education and opportunity are the keys to the success of the individual. For us, it’s a company mantra.”
Star Lash Extensions
Star Lash Extensions may have done more to shape lash trends than any other beauty business in the last decade. High-profile clients such as Kylie Jenner, Ariana Grande, and Selena Gomez happily attribute their fluffy lashed looks to Star Lash Beauty Bar in LA, and to Star Lash founder Yris Palmer. But the child of Salvadoran immigrants didn’t start out catering to the stars — having worked since she was 15, it wasn’t until Yris took a lash extensions class in London that she was inspired to offer them as a side hustle to her acting ambitions.
Nearly a decade and countless satisfied clients later, it’s fair to say that Star Lash Extensions and Star Lash Beauty Bar are no longer a side hustle. Yris isn’t resting on her success, either. As her growing lineup of national franchisees can attest, this is still only the beginning for Star Lash.
Nova Arts Salon
Nova Arts Salon was founded on the belief that “creative expression is essential to building community,” and owner Sal Salcedo remains committed to the Los Angeles Arts District where the business is based. Salcedo, known throughout the beauty industry as “Sal Sal,” moved to the United States from Mexico when he was 13 years old, and soon after discovered his passion for barbering. A far cry from his humble beginnings cutting hair in his garage, Salcedo has worked at some of the top salons in the United States, among them Sally Hershberger, Ramirez Tran, and Salon Benjamin. Creating iconic hairstyles “for everyone from celebrities and artists to moms and grandmas” has made him a leading voice in the self-care space, and he created Nova Arts Salon to provide “a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone feels comfortable to explore and grow their sense of self.”
With a team of expertly trained stylists and colorists carrying out the salon’s core values of transformation, sustainability, and community, Nova Arts Salon has earned a reputation as the place to go for “edgy-yet-effortless” cuts and next-level color. As one client put it, “The talent is overflowing and the joy and community within the salon is contagious!”
From the outside, Mare Salon may look like a chic West Hollywood bungalow. And those are the location’s roots — but from the inside, you’ll see satisfied clients having their roots touched up by Mare co-founder and master colorist Denis De Souza, a native of Brazil. It all takes place within a fashionable interior that combines a commitment to comfort, style, and the ideal lighting to witness your hair’s transformation at the hands of De Souza, fellow co-founders Mara Roszak and Alex Polillo, and their team of colorists and stylists.
Mare’s client list of Hollywood staples includes Brie Larson, Zoe Saldaña, Cara Delevigne, and many more. One regular still has a very special link to De Souza’s journey as a colorist: Rachel Bilson trusted him when he wanted to recreate the “brighter ends” look he saw on many of the women in his native Brazil. This bold move helped kick off the ombre trend and launch his own career into stardom. And that inspiration from Brazilian beaches lives on today with his signature style of sun-kissed and natural highlights.
The Mark Spa
Led by founder Dr. Victoria De Vito, The Mark Spa’s mission is to surpass the typical spa concept of “quality of life” through personalized services and a commitment to details. Its menu includes massages, facial treatments, corporal treatments, wax services, and salt service. Its forward-thinking monthly membership program, for instance, offers members a free one-hour massage or facial and salt therapy services.
Satisfied clients have called out The Mark Spa’s soothing pre-massage relaxation room, the ease of its booking options, its beautiful Miami-based location, and its friendly staff as some of the many highlights that will keep them coming back again and again.
Miami Nail Bar
Founded by Miami-based entrepreneur Penelope Espaillat Jimenez, Miami Nail Bar proudly spotlights the skills and artistry of its nail stylists across its social media platforms, as well as featuring fun and informative videos (please don’t peel off those old nails, no matter how satisfying it may feel). The business offers pedicures, manicures, nail extensions, and even chiropody services to help clients soothe their aching feet, as well as eyebrow shaping, sculpting, and more through its accompanying Miami Wax Bar brand. As a sign of love and respect for Miami’s Hispanic community, The Nail Bar posts on Instagram in both Spanish and English.
One particularly clever innovation adopted by Miami Nail Bar is the ability for clients to speed up their check-in process by pre-selecting their polish color — talk about a great client experience! Oh, and it really is a bar, complete with a complimentary drink for your service. A drink in one hand and a relaxing manicure treatment for the other, all in sunny Miami? That sounds just about perfect to us.
Onyx on Madison
Located in Pasadena, California, Onyx on Madison bills itself as a “client-focused, education-driven” salon. Co-founder Daniel Mora was born and raised in Mexico until the age of 15 where he was inspired by his mother who did hair. Daniel’s mastery of hair color has helped him amass an Instagram following of over 200,000 fans, and he prides himself on his attention to detail and leadership skills. Those skills have helped make Onyx on Madison a premier full-service hair salon in the artsy Playhouse Village neighborhood of Pasadena. The salon exudes luxury and relaxation, with a team of highly skilled colorists and stylists making clients look and feel their best. But Daniel’s work doesn’t stop there; he’s also spent the last six years teaching his techniques to other stylists around the world.
Mora, who describes himself as “self-taught and self-made,” used the onset of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to “create a space where he and other stylists could grow and feel supported.” He teamed up with his best friend, master stylist Chaie de Jesus, and Onyx on Madison — “a place of inclusion, creativity, education, and success” — was born.