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*Holiday Haze [noun]: that time of year when you’re constantly on the go, always cold and, most likely, unknowingly lip syncing ‘Deck the Halls’ on the Red Line. While the Holiday Haze is nothing to be scared of—in fact, we welcome the season with open, buffalo plaid arms!—you gotta do some serious prep to get your Holiday on.

This year, before we start shopping for everyone else on our wish list, we’re treating ourselves to a day of indulgent beauty. And what better way to do so than to #ShopSmall. Nestled nicely between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, American Express’ SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY is celebrating its fifth year, supporting local businesses on Saturday, November 29th whose MO is providing exceptional products and services for the neighborhood set.

We visit FIVE OF OUR FAVORITE LOCAL BEAUTY BRANDS who embrace American Express’ Shop Small program. From thousands of products at Merz Apothecary in Lincoln Square—seriously, thousands!—to Le Remede’s signature facial, we’re celebrating the trailblazers in small beauty businesses. 


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When it comes to small businesses, you can’t get much more family-focused than MERZ APOTHECARY. In all it’s vintage wood-trimmed charm, the Lincoln Square outpost is a veritable emporium for anything beauty and grooming. Need a cool toothbrush? Merz has it. Looking for perfectly packaged breath mints? Merz has it. Candles? Merz. Beard lube? Merz. Pretty perfumes? Yup. Merz.  And with over 13,000 products—yes, 13,000!—it’s not a surprise that Merz has it.

We visit owner Anthony Qaiyum who walks us through the small but mighty space and we definitely have more to talk about than we have room to put in our video edit. From the sweetest rose water to aftershaves galore, we’re racking up quite a tab. And with an “est 1875” stamped in gold on the front windows, we’re definitely picking up what they’re putting down. These guys know what they’re doing.

And the fun’s not done. Slated to open by Black Friday, Merz’ new store Q Brothers, which is right next door, is touted to be a grooming mecca for all the dapper dan’s in your life. Double the fun on Small Business Saturday? Sign us up.

Merz Apothecary, 4716 N. Lincoln Avenue


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When LEAH CHAVIE talks skincare, we listen. The industry pro, whose namesake line has been polishing, primping and prepping Chicago’s most beautiful skin for the past 25 years, has a brand new treatment that is the talk of the town. We visit her cozy Lincoln Park storefront and get comfy for her stem cell facial. Extracted humanely from Parisian cows—yes, that makes us giggle, too—the stem cells are applied to the face to heal and rejuvenate.

“I’m not into fluff stuff,” Leah says of her treatments. But we beg to differ—she gets the fluff in there, too! Leah incorporated the quick twenty minutes stem cell treatment with her Leah Chavie Signature facial. The result? Heaven.

If Parisian cow stem cells aren’t your thing, Leah just launched a brand new line of Mineral Makeup which might just make a perfect holiday gift. For yourself!

Leah Chavie Skincare Boutique, 2457 N. Halsted Street


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The sisters behind GOLDPLAITED—who we spotlighted when the Lincoln Park finishing salon opened fall of 2013—are at it again. Their next iteration in providing the ultimate destination to get all gussied up is a series of classes to up your beauty game.

From skincare basics to finding the perfect eye look for your Holiday party circuit, Goldplaited’s classes are aimed at providing excellent tips and tricks in a nurturing (and super instagram-able!) space. We visit the gilded salon and take a seat to learn moisturizing basics, brows and more with one of their Goldplaited pros, make up artist Emily Wolf.

Goldplaited’s services go beyond that. Touted for developing the phrase “Finishing Salon”, the small space packs a punch by marrying the blow out bar with a makeup lounge. It’s a win/win for any beauty lover.

Goldplaited, 2803 N. Sheffield Avenue


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There is nothing quite like a neighborhood spot to get a quick service done. Especially one with a long menu and a no fuss staff. That’s Wicker Park’s SORELLE for you. We got tipped off to the full-service spa and salon from a very reliable source and all around beauty know-it-all and were immediately hooked. And bonus! A fun, quirky boutique greets you upon arrival with some fab finds. Sorelle, which means sisters in Italian, is owned by a set of stylish siblings who want each of their clients to join the family. You can’t get much more sweet and local than that sentiment.

And when we say no fuss, that’s exactly what you’re going to get at Sorelle. Be it nails, a cut and color or waxing, the services let you breeze in and out with ease. We venture downstairs to a serene service room where the bubbly Candace Pivet gives us the 4-1-1 on maintaining our best set of brows.

Sorelle, 1905 W. Division Street


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LE REMEDE’s approach to skincare is definitely a high-touch experience. From the moment you walk in the door of the West Town space, you’re transported to a tranquil place that has a modern edge. It’s like getting a service done in a perfectly art directed home (partly thanks to a lacquered white Cuckoo clock that greets you at the door). Erin Stinson who opened the shop in 2013 is a walking advertisement for her treatments, too. Flawless skin and sparkling eyes, we just had to ask her what her secret was.

“A brow tint and wax every two to three weeks is a must!” Erin says about the services she indulges in at the salon.

We opt for something a little more hands-on for our #SmallBizSat story. We belly up to the facial bar, another aspect that we love about Le Remede. No need to go into a dark room—Erin has three comfy chairs lined up on a wide counter with beautiful natural light. It’s a more relaxed and social atmosphere. Dare we say the perfect girl’s night out locale?

We get an eight-step Signature facial (a total steal at $55!) which includes two masks, a crazy good extraction tool from Paris and plenty of products that make your skin look brand spankin’ new. 

Le Remede, 1900 W. Chicago Avenue