Movie Star Chic in Beverly Hills: The Recessionista Steps into Gavert Atelier

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As some of you readers may know, Los Angeles is getting ready for the 81st Annual Academy Awards this Sunday. Over on Hollywood Boulevard, the Red Carpet “Fashion Walk” has already been built for the stars to walk upon on their way into the Kodak Theatre. This is a whole week of preparations, not just for the attendees but for the fashion and beauty industry here. It’s also a week of great expectations. Hair, skin, brows, fashion and jewelry must all be attended to. The stars and attendees are expected to look fabulous, economic downturn or not.

To kick-off our week of Academy Award preparations, we wanted to visit a salon that the stars frequent. We choose Gavert Atelier/Nagomi Hair Spa in Beverly Hills. This is the salon that stars from Friends (TV show) and major motion pictures like Twilight have turned to for stylish cuts, perfect eyebrows and even skin treatments. Salon owner Stuart did the hair color for the stars of the movie TWILIGHT. From this, he recently launched a concept of color on color highlighting called “Twilights.” After all, even Vampires need to look good 🙂

In order to access the salon, The Recessionista recently spent a pleasant afternoon there trying their services. It was a nice surprise to find the staff friendly and down to earth. Most clients were greeted like old friends upon their arrival. I have visited several salons in Beverly Hills, and friendliness and service are not always to be found there. It’s been my experience that a few of them act as though they are doing you a favor by allowing you to come in for an appointment and then charging you hundreds of dollars without delivering true customer service or value. Let’s face it, in a tough economy, service becomes a key differentiator. People are still willing to pay for personal care, but they want to be treated well for the money they spend. Galvert offers the service that some other salons lack. From owners Stuart and Cody to the staff, I was impressed by the amount of time each stylist spent with their client. The salon offers facial and body hair waxing, full hair services including color and cut plus facials using the Nu Skin Galvanic Spa System.

Let’s start with the facial and body hair waxing. Michelle O’Neil (aka Michelle of Beverly Hills) did my brows before my recent TV appearance. She is Magic! My brows have never looked better. Best of all, the cost was $40.00. Well worth it. Michelle offers facial hair waxing, body waxing and permanent make-up application. She trained with the Hollywood legend, Anastasia. If I was going to walk the Red Carpet this Sunday, I’d be scrambling to see her this week. Her work frames my eyes perfectly and it is very natural looking. She took the time to study my brow line, and work with what I had. Best of all, I didn’t wince with pain when she tore off the wax paper. The Recessionista doesn’t like to pay for pain 🙂 It hurts the wallet and the psyche.

Pictured: Gavert is the home of Michelle of Beverly Hills, expert brow, face and body waxing. She has rescued my brows from their Frida Kohler “unibrow” look 🙂

Gavert also offers a unique facial using the Nu Skin Galvanic Spa System II EX Spa. The Nu Skin Galvanic Spa System II includes a patented, handheld device that uses self-adjusting, low-level galvanic currents to help transport “key” ingredients to the skin for a revived and rejuvenated appearance. While the salon recommends that you come in for the first treatment, they also sell the Nu Skin Galvanic Spa System II EX Spa Beauty At Home introductory kit. The kit includes the galvanic instrument and treatment products for approximately US $300. If you like the treatment, over time, doing it at home can save you money on expensive facials at salons. Gavert Atelier Owner Stuart told me he uses the system at home every day and enjoys it. He views it as time he takes to pamper himself in the midst of a busy routine. If you are interested in non-surgical anti-aging treatments, it’s definitely worth checking out,. The treatment took about 20 minutes and left my skin pleasantly tingling and refreshed. I enjoyed a “rosy glow” from the enhanced circulation and application of the various enzymes. For me, non-surgical is the only alternative I would consider, so I was anxious to check out this new treatment and Gavert Atelier is one of the first to offer it. “Consumers in every economic category are spending money on anti-aging products,” notes Ashok Pahwa, chief marketing officer at Nu Skin Enterprises. It’s understandable, even in this economy we all want to look our best.

Pictured: Gavert’s Facial equipment, the Nu Skin Galvanic Spa System

Of course the mainstay of the salon is hair services and the special hair/scalp massage that some clients have called almost “orgasmic.” If you’re looking for hair care, check out Matthew Burton at Gavert Atelier. He does a fantastic job and gives a great cut starting at $90.00. Although hair cuts at Gavert can be pricey (ranging from $90.00 to $450.00), Matthew’s prices fit our Recessionista budget perfectly. And he proved an important point, Gavert is nice to all their clients, even those who haven’t achieved renown as a blogger or a movie star 🙂 He was perfectly charming to our secret reviewer, even when there was some confusion about her appointment and “who” she might be. Truly a class act.

Pictured: The master stylist at work, Matthew Burton styles a perfect cut.

Pictured: Matthew Burton’s Precision Cut

Matthew also offered some great tips for keeping your hair in shape or jazzing it up for a great night out after you’ve visited the salon. It’s good advice to get a great haircut for a reasonable price, and then maintain it in an economical fashion. He advises that there are things you can do on your own to keep your hair looking great. Here are a few of his tips for our Recessionista Readers.

  • Keep your hair looking great after treating yourself to a good cut by visiting a local beauty school for an economical shampoo and blow dry for a special night out. Just do a Google search to find a beauty school near where you live.
  • Buy yourself a set of hot rollers from any discount store. You can give yourself a special look at home by setting your hair with the hot rollers for 20 minutes and then brushing it out and applying a quick spritz of hair spray to keep it in place.
To learn more, visit or take a look at their reviews on YELP!

Pictured: “Salon to the Stars” Owners Stuart Gavert and Cody Kusakabe.

PS–if you’re looking for Oscar worthy fashions, check out Badgley Mischka Platinum on sale today at the Gilt Groupe. Many past nominees have walked the red carpet in Badgley Mischka Platinum. Click here to join as our guest!

Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.

1 Comment

  1. KT

    February 19, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    what a great idea about the beauty school thing. i’ve never felt comfortable w/the idea of students chopping (i’d rather wait longer in between cuts to a more expensive experienced stylist), but blow-drying?? YES!! googling ATL beauty schools now…

    thanks for the great tip 🙂