Spotlight On: Saul’s Beauty Shop
When the average person imagines a spa, they typically envision stark white walls, soft instrumental music, the sounds of running water, and an eerie sense that you might be in the brainwashing scene from Zoolander (or maybe that last part is just me). And while that image may spell the ultimate in luxury for some, for others that just want a brow waxing or beard maintenance, that coldly professional level of care can be off-putting. Owner and aesthetician Eliss Halina grew up in Toronto, and after more than 6 years working within the industry’s standard facade she realized that it was time to strike out and build her own vision of what a spa for hip Torontonians could be. Saul’s Beauty Shop is the realization of that vision.
Two years in the making and just opened in April, Saul’s purpose is to create a truly relaxing and comfortable beauty experience for the average person. When asked about the shop’s aesthetic, Eliss said she’d wanted to go for the feel of an old professor’s office, filled with accessible pieces that invite you to pick them up. Something homey, while still being pristine and safe. And along with the expert interior design comes the quiet confidence that they can give you the best possible beauty experience.
The customer base is mainly locals so far, coming in for their general maintenance. However, they are also benefiting from word-of-mouth (and a customer referral program), and so that customer base continues to grow. Interestingly, men are far more likely to drop in on a whim, while ladies have typically traveled across town to experience the hype for themselves. There are phone chargers available for use in each room, so the hype is easy to spread!
All products used at Saul’s are painstakingly sourced, sustainable and petro-chemical free, and tested by a panel of volunteers (“We even have a go-to group of bearded men”). As well, no two facials will be exactly alike. With an amazing assortment of base ingredients on hand, they can custom make your face mask to meet your very specialized needs (“Green tea for caffeine, licorice root for brightening”). They can take into account skin type, allergies, etc, without having to force on you a pre-packaged product. Facials are also charged by minute intervals – “We sort of modeled it after a tattoo parlour, so you so that you can get exactly as much consultation and work done as you want”. That comparison continues, as they have more than a few tattoo aftercare products on hand for sale as well.
Their range of services has been carefully curated, going from facials, to eye brow tinting, to full body hair removal (well, only for the ladies so far). The infamous Brazilian features on their menu , but Eliss is very aware of how intimidating it can be for a newcomer. That’s why they feature the “I’m Scared” Brazilian – it includes a desentitizing lotion, and even a text message reminder to take a Tylenol before heading to the shop. Customer feedback has confirmed that the experience doesn’t have to be nearly so painful or scary as expected, and they are building a fan base of regulars.
On the delicate topic of spray tans (available starting at $50), Eliss is very passionate. “No one should have to come out orange!”. She painstakingly researched the product that they use and can gradate to match any skin tone. “As a very fair person myself I know how difficult it can be to add colour subtly”. No need to fear the Oompa Loompa look – as their sign out front says, “We sell spray tans, not carrot costumes”.
In case you are wondering, there is no Saul. The name is an meant to invoke an auto shop and its idea of rugged expertise, rather than the ‘froofiness’ implies by the word ‘spa’. “I just thought of the manliest name possible, a classic guy that’s rough around the edges”. So come to Saul’s, relax, and get yourself a full body tuneup today.