On the Road: CinDe's Nail Pazzaz. Roselle, Ill.

At this bustling salon with 13 nail techs, it's all about family and "home-made" products.

<p>Californians and Midwesterners take a different approach to weather: I didn't want my picture taken with my bulky coat on even though I was freezing (but the California Girl still needed sunglasses). These hearty Midwesterners didn’t even have sweaters on! (from left) me, the De Cores: Cindy (owner/mom), Toni, Natalie, Michelle, and Gigi Ruscitti, and Frank DeSantis.</p>After attending the Midwest Beauty Show in Chicago, I stopped in to see Frank DeSantis of Aqua Nails/International Chemical Formulations in Brookfield, IL. We got to talking about how Aqua Nails was invented and I suggested we go see a salon that was using it. He called his sister-in-law, Cindy DeCore, who owns CinDe’s Nail Pazzaz in Roselle. I didn’t make the connection until we arrived at the salon when I realized that CinDe’s was one of NAILS’ own Top 100 Salons (#75 in 1996) and has been since 1994. There are currently 13 nail technicians at the salon, in addition to a team of hairstylists and estheticians.

DeCore has an enviable situation: Because she is both a working nail technician and a relative of DeSantis, who is a primary manufacturer of nail products, she has direct feedback on the products she uses and can have products ultra-customized to work on a particular client or in a particular environment (the day I was there Frank and she discussed an ultra-white powder he was working on for her). She also tests products from the laboratory and lets Frank know how they perform under salon conditions. They don’t rely only on Uncle Frank for product information, though; they recently hosted a visit from top competitor and educator Tom Bachik, who came to the salon to train the nail team on backfills.

Last year DeCore expanded the salon to accommodate more skin care services. Its décor has a touch of ancient Greece, decorated with faux marble, cool and soothing hues of gray and celery, and “antiqued” iron.

When asked about her children, she doesn’t tell you how many girls she has or their ages, she says, ‘I have three nail technicians.” Her three grown daughters – Toni, Natalie, and Michelle – all work in the salon, as does their cousin Gigi Ruscitti. Salon clients are equally close-knit: Cindy’s client during my visit was Kim Lalagos, who had been a client for 15 years (and the guinea pig for many R&D tests over the years).

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