Estee Lauder may be the matriarch of the skin care industry, her first products date to 1946, and many others have followed, including Anita Roddick of the Body Shop or the more recent phenomena of Bare Minerals created by Leslie Blodgett. In Laguna Beach, Josephine [JoJo] Brooks carries on the tradition as founder, proprietor and esthetician, and she brings her own brand of beauty with her.
Spa Josephine, founded 22 years ago, shares space with the larger Serandi Salon at the corner of Coast Highway and Pearl Street, where women and men can do it all: hair, skin and body care. A one-stop shop for beauty. Serandi Salon, by the way, has a five-star rating on Yelp and lots of good press.
When you enter the salon, you are greeted by the ubiquitous vibration of hair-dryers and chatter. However, beyond the door to the spa, sound is muted, lights dimmed and patrons are surrounded by serenity and candlelight, and original art by local Elaine Stevens. JoJo is especially proud of the one-of-a-kind ceramic basins featured in treatment rooms.
Spa Josephine is a little like a speakeasy: you can get whatever you want here. In fact, you might walk in one person and come out another.
A 26-year resident of Laguna Beach, where she lives with her husband Ray, who works for FEMA, and two stepchildren. JoJo started in the ‘80s as a make-up artist in Hollywood and set up her first skin salon at the Surf & Sand in 1992 because, she says, “People take care of themselves here, I knew my talents would matter.” She served as a make-up artist for the “Pageant of the Masters” for nine years and is a supporter of many community causes from the Marine Mammal Center and Boys & Girls Club, to Laguna Bluebelt and Friendship Shelter. She is committed to the community, but beauty is her business.
The menu includes facial and massage, airbrush tanning, permanent makeup, brow grooming, waxing, a good shave, and a lineup of medical aesthetics from microdermabrasion to oxygen infusions, as well as referrals to on-call physicians for injectables and laser treatments. JoJo recently introduced Electro Slim, a weight loss and toning program using stimulation and lymphatic drainage.
JoJo is, frankly, her own best billboard: she has flawless skin and a luminous personality. A blend of French and Spanish DNA might go a long way, but her own product line, which she sells from the shop and online, may be her secret weapon. She says sometime soon, she’d like to take her skin-care line nationwide. She would also like to write a book about her experiences, with more than a few inside stories to share, but no names; JoJo is discreet. She understands that beauty comes from within and without.
Randy Kraft is a freelance writer who previously covered the city for the Indy and pens the OC BookBlog for www.ocinsite.com.