Santa Barbara salon specializes in tanning and waxing in a fun, vibrant atmosphere
By CHRISTIAN WHITTLE
NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER
When you walk into Honeys, it’s easy to mistake it for a candy shop. With pink stripes, gold trim, and a bowl of jelly beans, Honeys decor can be summed up in one exclamation from a little girl who visited with her mother; “It looks like a doll house in here!”
It’s the best compliment founder and owner Christine Starr has ever received, and exactly the style she was going for when she first opened Honeys in 2008, she told the News-Press.
“It’s definitely classy in here, but it makes you feel, as a woman or a girl, alive. It speaks to that part of you,” said Ms. Starr.
Located at 209 W. Canon Perdido St., Honeys, as in slang for “girls,” is a salon that specializes in custom airbrush tanning, waxing and sugaring. It’s a place for quick, instant beauty transformations at relatively affordable cost in a small amount of time.
“I wanted it to be an in-and-out, posh, affordable, luxurious experience,” said Ms. Starr. “Usually all those things don’t come together, so the idea for the business was never to offer facials or a massage or anything like that because I always wanted the atmosphere to be really fun and upbeat.”
Honeys strives to stand out from the sterile environment of most spas and salons by creating a space where women can have fun while getting beauty treatments. Ms. Starr painted the walls, sewed the curtains, and handcrafted the look of the store to create a salon that is fun and loud and full of hustle and bustle.
“That’s what speaks to me and my girlfriends, and their sisters. A lot of women I know I feel like really respond to this style of decor,” said Ms. Starr.
Honeys is a passion project for Ms. Starr, and every part of the salon is an expression of what she loves about the beauty industry.
“Honeys is a representation of me and my tastes, and these are my favorite products, and these are my favorite color tweezers, and these are my favorite scents of lotion. What do you like that I like?” she said.
Ms. Starr has not only poured her personality into Honeys’ style, she uses her background in hospitality to provide a superior level of customer service.
“I want them to be surprised at the level of service which they receive when they come in here because, you know, it’s a waxing salon! It’s waxing and tanning which are both very kind of frivolous unnecessary services,” said Ms. Starr.
A Santa Barbara native, Ms. Starr worked for the Belmond El Encanto in high school before working at hotels like the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons in San Francisco in her 20s. She draws on her experience to find little ways to make Honeys a five-star experience.
“It’s just going above and beyond for each client and making them feel super comfortable and welcomed. Of course the services here are super intimate, so you have to be able to really have the best bedside manner and the ability to make people feel at ease,” Ms. Starr said.
Aside from tanning and sugaring, a popular waxing alternative, Honeys’ eyebrow microblading treatment is a hit with clients.
Honeys soon will expand to the location next door, and will start providing lash-lifts, a new treatment popularized by Instagram, Ms. Starr said.
“All these services are basically to simplify everybody’s lives,” she said.
Honeys also provides an assortment of products, including lotions, exfoliating gloves and cloth, and beauty tools.
Ever since she first started doing waxing for her friends in the 90s, Ms. Starr has been on the cutting edge of waxing and tanning.
After building up a bit of a black market client base, she realized her dream was to open her own salon that focused on waxing at a time when most other beauty salons were just learning about the trend. A few years later, she got licensed, graduated from aesthetician school and set up shop in Santa Barbara, setting the trend for waxing and tanning salons in the area.
“I can’t even tell you how much competition I’ve created for myself with the girls who’ve worked for me, because I was the only spray tanning, sugaring, waxing boutique here,” said Ms. Starr.
She doesn’t let the competition get to her, and wants to inspire other girls to realize, ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’
“You can do it! I didn’t go to college. I didn’t have parents with a ton of money. I did this myself,” Ms. Starr said.
To book an appointment for sugaring, tanning, and more, visit ilovehoneys.com.