306 Westminster Ave., Venice

Do you think it’s possible for a haircut to make you feel more in control of your life? After years of over processing, coloring, mistreating and generally neglecting my locks, I found myself in the unenviable position of hair despair – my once curly strands had reached new heights of unruliness.

Desperate for more order, I threw myself at the feet of hairstylist extraordinaire Mar Fujimoto and begged for help – I probably would have agreed to a complete shaved head if she had proposed it as I really had lost hope.

Luckily for me, Fujimoto didn’t share my extreme thinking and proposed the more reasonable solution of a cut and Brazilian Blowout.

A transplant from Manhattan, Fujimoto recently established herself in a charming space in Venice off of Abbot Kinney Blvd. in what has become a sort of Beauty Row. Flanked by a spa, Citizen Skin, and a waxing shop, Get Waxed, Fujimoto’s salon, Noi (little in Thai), finds itself in good company as part of a beauty troika.

With the painted brick interior, decorated in a stark black and white palate, Noi brings more than a soupcon of the urban and sophisticated to this infamously crunchy section of Los Angeles – nary an incense stick nor a drumming circle to be found. As Fujimoto assures, “My sensibility and vibe are more of an international, fashion forward approach.”

Now a dedicated Venetian (“Dating in New York is bananas!”), Fujimoto blends the urbane with the beachy into a great combination for the effortlessly style-conscious look Angelenos love. As she puts it, “You don’t need to be in stilettos to ride your bike.”

Speaking of crunchy, my once frizzled hair remarkably found itself shiny and lustrous thanks to a swingy new cut and that wondrous Brazilian Blowout. Fujimoto pulled me from the brink and transformed me into a better version of myself. Isn’t that what we all want from a haircut?

Noi is collecting donations on behalf of UNICEF for the relief effort in Haiti. In exchange for your donation, Noi will give you a free haircut.

—Angela Matano

For more information, call (310) 452-1400 or visit

Citizen Skin

304 Westminster Ave., Venice

It’s the shop with no hanging sign, sandwiched between Noi and Get Waxed. Owner Nacole Raphalian has rented a room in someone else’s spot, but never had her own salon before. It’s apparent – from the way she speaks about skin care to the way she gently, but purposely handles your face and tastefully decorates her space – that Raphalian is an expert at her craft. Once a stylist in Hollywood on TV sets, the impeccably complected aesthetician left the frazzle for exfoliation; the bustle for blue LED light; the stress for extraction.

Open since March, Citizen Skin has already scored a feature in this month’s Allure’s in its directory for Best of Los Angeles.

The best part about your visit to Citizen Skin is not the goodies you can take home (like products from the organic, vegan Hylunia line), but the knowledge you gain from Raphalian specifically about your skin. She uses words like retinol and colostrum, and like an M.D., she knows what each product does, why you need it and can prescribe an antidote for your skin problems/issue/concerns.

For me, my foremost concern was scattered acne. Raphalian chose the Detox Skin Therapy. Designed for acne-prone, congested skin, I was treated to deep pore cleansing, exfoliation, light extractions and a customized papaya enzyme mask. The surrounding smells lulled me into such a peaceful trance; I could hardly feel her picking. Next, she used the Perfector’s cellular cleansing and detoxifying programs and finished with Revitalight’s (blue and red) LED therapy for calmer skin.

I’ve had facials before and I am always happy with the results. Raphalian’s facial, however, left my face aglow – weeks later. There were no red marks when I left. I had lasting clear skin and a new awareness about congestion, premature aging and protection from the sun.

Citizen Skin has a membership program. There is no fee, but a six-month commitment is requested. You’ll receive 20 percent off your treatments and an additional 10 percent off any skin care products.

—Jessica Koslow

For more information, call (310) 450-0500 or visit