Mission: Makeover

V-Day's perfect for a make-over treat

Published: Thursday, February 11, 2010 | 9:51 AM

Karen Milne owner of Starr House and Candice Merrill with her new look


Valentine’s Day is the ideal moment for a makeover. Pasadena Now‘s co-publisher Candice Merrill headed to Starr House The Salon on Mission Street in San Marino, and put herself under the capable care of owner Karen Milne for some makeover magic.

Friendly and warm, Milne has quickly built a enviable reputation for her focus on great stylists and homey, personal service without chi-chi attitude.

“We’re high-end, high-class, high quality but we’re friendly,” says Milne. “There’s no diva. There’s no nonsense. There’s no drama.”

Milne first trained as a stylist in Glasgow, got a degree in business beauty, and opened her first salon at the age of 24. She also hosted a radio show and wrote a magazine column on beauty. She has clear vision of the level of perfection she demands at Starr House. Lovely and a canny businesswoman, too.


Stylist Norma Garcia with Candice Merrill

Milne’s professional ties to the world of makeup are seen in Starr House’s ranges of products, much private labelled from the United Kingdom and Italy. The makeup line is unique and was designed by Milne herself.
For her makeover, co-publisher Merrill found herself under the capable hands of stylist Norma Garcia.

“My hair was really long,” Merrill said, “and it was dried out. The ends were split. And I wasn’t happy with the color.”

Garcia went to work. She colored, cut and straightened, reproportioning Merrill’s locks into a lighter and softer look with just the right coppery blaze of color Merrill was hoping for.

To cap off the makeover, Merrill sat as the artistic hands of salon owner Milne went to work.

“I love what Norma and Karen did,” said Merrill. “Instinctively, they seemed to know what I wanted and needed almost better than I did. To me, a real makeover isn’t just a slick phrase. It means you walk out of the salon feeling rejuvenated, happy, expecting something great’s around the corner. And that’s exactly what happened at Starr House!”

This Saturday, Milne will be ”celebrating our love of Mission Street” with what is becoming a Starr House tradition: a fun Open House with home-baked goods, Mimosas, tea, coffee and “takeaway gifts for everyone,” she says. Treat yourself to a makeover to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

Starr House The Salon
2636 Mission Street, San Marino.  (626) 799-0828