Beauty at your (and their) fingertips

Fred Baniels, hair designer
Bubbles Salon
7475 Wisconsin Ave.
Bethesda 20815

Fred Baniels has been a hair designer for 22 years, beginning when a friend said to him that he needed to find something he loved to do.

Baniels was in Bethesda applying for another job when he saw Bubbles Hair Salon across the street and decided to apply online. “I realized that I loved making women feel more feminine and sexy,” he said. “It’s all about creating your own style and doing your own thing.”

Baniels said that he loves the whole process of hair design, especially shampooing and then the finished reaction. “I’ve never had a bad reaction,” he said. “Last night a client came in and mentioned how she’d never liked her hair or was satisfied with it until I finished styling her. That just made me smile.”

Baniels hails from North Carolina and spent 14 years in Baltimore as a hairstylist. Before that, he worked for seven years in the hotel industry. His dream is to own his own business in D.C. someday.

While he doesn’t eat out much in Bethesda, Baniels said he enjoys his diverse clientele. “I’ve done African American, Caucasian, Asian and Indian hair,” he said. “It’s a great challenge since everyone has all different types and textures of hair.”

Baniels enjoys listening to his clients talk about the Bethesda neighborhood and has heard a lot about the history of the area, as well as various restaurants.

Seeing typically eight to 12 clients per day at his busiest, Baniels said that sometimes people see Bubbles as a “value” salon. “We all really do a wonderful job on hair, our products are good and our service is just like going to a salon for a $200 haircut,” he said.
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Cecilia Greene, aesthetician
Perez Salon and Spa
5 Wisconsin Circle
Chevy Chase 20815

Cecilia Greene loves being an esthetician so much that if she were unable to get paid for it, she’d do it for free. A member of the Perez salon family for almost a year, Greene has been doing waxing and skincare on a personal level for over 12 years.

“I’ve always had it in me,” she said. “My parents told me to go to college and after that, if it was meant to be I should go for it.”

Halfway through graduate school at Johns Hopkins University, Greene spent the rest of her tuition money on beauty school. She fell into working at Perez when a friend of hers who worked at the Rockville location recommended she work there. “It was love at first sight,” she said.

Greene’s favorite part of her job is talking to the clients and getting to know them as people. She also loves making clients feel good about their appearances. “I recently did a series of facials on a woman to help control her acne and rosacea,” Greene said. “She was thrilled with the result; it was really the best reward.”

Greene enjoys taking advantage of all that Chevy Chase has to offer. She enjoys getting bento boxes from Sushiko, just across the street. “For just $10 it can feed you two meals — there’s vegetables, chicken, rice and fruit for dessert,” Greene said.

While Chevy Chase at first glance may seem intimidating and upscale, Greene recommended starting in the smaller stores, as they are friendly and very willing to help customers.

“This neighborhood is very unassuming,” she said. “You’d never know how wealthy many of its residents are.”

Like Baniels, Greene sees a very diverse clientele. Perez specializes in keratin treatments and houses one of the top African American hairstylists, so the salon is also home to many affluent African Americans.

Greene said that while her husband would love for her to open up her own place someday, she is very happy working at Perez. “The neighborhood is rapidly growing, with the new Sephora, MAC, Giggle and Bloomingdale’s,” she said. “There’s definitely a lot of hustle and bustle.”

Those interested in Perez should take advantage of Spa Week Oct. 12-18. Participating salons and spas offer three different services for 45 minutes or more for $50. This year, Perez is offering a pomegranate one-hour acial, 50-minute massage, and spa pedicure. For details, visit