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It's all about making people feel better about themselves without paying an arm and a leg - and without leaving Hampton Roads.
Daniel Alan Salon & Spa aims to expose as many people as possible to its unique variety of massages and facials.
The salon is one of the few, possibly the only, in the area that offers Vichy water massage. This French massage therapy is done over a fiberglass bed with sides that fold up to drain water away from the client.
Several faucets suspended over the bed pour warm water onto the client while he or she is getting a massage.
This treatment is especially helpful to clients with circulatory or muscular problems because the warm water relaxes joints and muscles, according to Don Branch, a massage therapist who also does facials, body care and massage therapy. Branch was trained as a physical therapist and has been at the salon since it opened five years ago.
"It's a little intimidating, because you do get wet," Branch said. "But once they have the Vichy water massage, they like it."
The newest addition to the salon is facial Microdermabrasion treatment, in which dead skin cells are sloughed off through gently abrasive crystals combined with an air stream. The painless process, which takes about 30 minutes, leaves skin looking years younger, the salon owners say.
Not only are these treatments unique to the area, but they are offered at a much lower price than average. After the two months that the Microdermabrasion facial made its debut at the salon, the owners saw a significant increase in appointments. The treatment, which the owners said is worth $120, is offered at half that price.
"We were amazed at the response we got from it," Branch said. "It's new to the area. We kept it at a low price so as many people as possible can experience it."
Although prices will rise in the future, for now the salon wants to give people the chance to afford the unique treatments. Daniel Alan Salon & Spa opened in October 2000. Owner Daniel Alan Smith, who has been doing hair for more than 30 years, used to own Danny's Hair Loft in the shopping center next to his current location. He wanted to expand the services offered in the new salon by adding facials and massages.
The salon also does a lot of work with hair replacement for chemotherapy patients and has a private wig styling room. One Daniel Alan stylist received hair replacement at the salon after fighting cancer, and the owners realized the huge need in this area. The salon participates in the "Locks of Love" donation program, as well as the American Cancer Society's "Look Good, Feel Better" program.
"The focus is taking someone who feels like they have a shortcoming and then totally turning it around for them," co-owner Chip Tiffany said.
"Helping people feel comfortable - that can make the biggest impact in somebody's life and that's really rewarding."
Hair replacement systems and wigs are offered wholesale, although the average prices for hair prosthetics run up to $2,000.
Massages are done in several rooms toward the back of the salon, away from the activity at the shampooing stations. Massages are offered at $40 for an hourlong session. Clients can get pedicures while relaxing in a leather massage chair and listening to their choice of music.
Massages and Microdermabrasion treatments are done in small rooms dimly lit with candles.
Diane Kissel, who's been a Daniel Alan customer for 20 years, said the prices are competitive.
"All of the hair stylists are fantastic," Kissel said, who also receives manicures, pedicures and massages. "They really know what they're doing. They're very professional and stay current in the latest and greatest."
The clientele list expanded when the salon added new stylists who brought in their own customers. The salon now honors several hundred appointments in an average week. There are nine stylists, but appointments need to be made at least two weeks in advance.
The most important thing Branch has learned about the business is that clients need to have a place to go to unwind and relax without fear of judgment.
"Everybody likes to be pampered," Branch said. "And as stressful as jobs are today, people need some way to relax and this is one way that they like to do it - whether it be a manicure or pedicure or a massage."