She’s making Niles a spa destination

Published 1:50 am Tuesday, March 21, 2006

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - More than a decade of five-star health spa experience is right here in Niles at the Lipstick Jungle.
The skincare boutique is operated by Susan Sakara. The Niles native returned to the area about two years ago after spending more than 13 years working in top-quality health spas out west. Sakara said she worked at numerous resorts including Ceasar's Palace in Las Vegas, La Quinta Resort in Palm Desert, Cal., and also a few destinations owned by Ritz Carlton.
The problem for many customers at the big name resorts is how many options for facials are offered, Sakara said.
At Lipstick Jungle, Sakara said she still offers five-star facial care, but at a reasonable, small town price. Plus, the treatment given is based on what the client's skin needs, she said.
Other services offered by Sakara include permanent make-up, hair removal and her personal line of make-up.
The permanent application is done by a ‘hand method' and without a machine, Sakara said.
Her unique sugar hair removal product looks like honey and is also applied by hand, she said. The product is spread over the skin and then Sakara said she “flicks it off” with her hands.
She also said she teaches the process for the product's company, Alexandria Professional.
Sakara said she is starting her personal line of make-up at Lipstick Jungle, where the larger space and more time allows for a better product.
Lipstick Jungle also offers mineral make-up, which Sakara said is “really kind of a trend right now.”
Sakara said she worked out of her home for about a year-and-a-half before moving her business into the ground floor of the former Four Flags Hotel on Main Street. Sakara and her husband Tony purchased the landmark, along with Sakara's parents, Larry and Lucile Louderback of Florida, and Sakara's daughter and son-in-law, Danica and Brian Shier of Niles. The hotel has since been renamed Renaissance Place Building and Sakara and her family have remodeled the section where Lipstick Jungle is located.
The goal was to scale the walls back to their original form. In the process, Sakara said they found an archway that once held a window, as well as the original support beams, which could not be stained and instead were painted a soft, comfortable green.
The family then added a water fountain that stretches nearly to the top of the tall ceilings and expanded some side hallways to make a large, private room for working with clients.
To complete the setting, Sakara plays soothing background music and usually fills the room with scented candles or incense.
As a result, Sakara said she has nearly doubled her business since making Renaissance Place Building her business home.
Within the walls of Lipstick Jungle also exists an opportunity for people to become a licensed aesthetician in Michigan.
Sakara said she offers a six-month, one-on-one aesthetic apprenticeship program in the art and science of skin care. The student begins by learning the theories and practical portions of the training and eventually progresses to working with actual clients, Sakara said.
Once a student has completed 450 hours of training - in no less than six months - they are a licensed aesthetician in the state of Michigan. Sakara said the thoroughness of the program only allows her to train one apprentice at a time.
Sakara said the program is somewhat of a unique experience because nearly all aesthetic programs are located within a cosmetology school. The only exception is a pair of institutions in Arizona, which exist only because of state law.
But, with the help of local representative Neal Nitz, Sakara said she hopes to become the first free-standing aesthetics school in Michigan.
Lipstick Jungle is open Tuesday through Thursday from 12:30 to 6 p.m., Friday from 12:30 to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., but, Sakara said is able to work around a client's schedule.