By Amy Tara Koch
August 20, 2014
Caleb Condit/Arch Apothecary

Beauty devotees will all agree that getting gorgeous is a full-time job. You have your hair to style (elegant curls; sleek blow-out) your nails to paint (french tip; the season’s hottest shade) and makeup to perfect (smoky eyes; rosy lips). For some, being away from home means leaving behind the security of your favorite hairdresser on call for an evening out, or your manicurist on speed dial for the emergency chip-repair. For others, traveling is the excuse to get dolled up in it of itself. Consider this my little black book of salon essentials. Without the right intel—knowing the city’s best cosmotologist for brow-brushing eyelashes or the woman who can wax the perfect arch into your eyebrows—your glam ambitions can turn into grooming gloom and doom with one false slip of the shears. Happily, Chicago is a primping paradise. With countless films, advertising campaigns, and television shows being taped in the Windy City, there is no shortage of celeb-approved experts to perform every service imagineable. These easy-to-access downtown spots are author-tested and approved.

Exhale Salon + Spa

Exhale Chicago is known for their hardcore workout clasees. But to caterpillar-browed women across the city, the spa’s true claim to fame is browmaster Alessandra Rosa. A Los Angeles-bred protégée, Rosa can whip the most wayward unibrows into well-arched submission. Her namesake line of brow products are great for DIY grooming.

Anthony Cristiano

Known for soigne editorial work, ad campaigns, and a celebrity clientele, Anthony Cristiano is Chicago’s shear genius. His hair salon at the Trump Hotel is super glam (glossy white furnishings selected from Italy) with a stunning panorama of the city. The best-kept secret? Room service and cocktails can be ordered from the hotel during services.


This airy, bright salon is the spot for a simple, inexpensive, no-nonsense blowout. The process is simple. Bring in a picture of your desired tresses, or pick from a menu of foolproof styles. Order The Magnificent Chicago for classic body and wave, or The Fifth Avenue NYC for pin-straight, high-shine locks. No more than 50 minutes later, your hair will be coiffed and polished.

Arch Apothecary

If your vacation fantasy includes getting glammed-up without the stress of coordinating multiple appointments all over town, Lincoln Park’s beauty boutique Arch Apothecary is your one-stop spot. This coveted address streamlines the grooming process by combing all your essential preening needsunder one roof. Services range from lash extensions to makeup applications, and feature a curated selection of hard-to-find makeup and skincare lines.

Spa EMilia

This spotless Gold Coast spa takes a decidely European approach to nail care. Translation? Eagle-eye attention to detail and endless pampering. Pedicures are enhanced by a refreshing foot soak, skin-polishing salt scrub, and relaxing massage. Recline in your leather armchair and admire your manicure: a no-chip gel polish or your hydrated “Winter Revival” palms during Chicago’s most brutal season.