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REDWOOD TIMES PHOTO BY VIRGINIA GRAZIANI

Cosmetologist Laura Courtemanche (left) and esthetician Malina Volz enjoy a coffee break while soaking their toes in the twin pedicure chairs at Courtemanche’s Benbow salon, Bombshells Beauty Bar.

Virginia Graziani

Redwood Times

Step into Bombshells Beauty Bar near the Benbow Inn, and enter a world of beauty, health, and relaxation, where you can enjoy every type of pampering, from facials to pedicures, in an informal atmosphere.

Laura Courtemanche opened her shop last July in what she considers an almost perfect location. “It’s a spa setting,” she said, indicating the beautiful view of river, trees, and hills through the many windows in her shop, which is brightly decorated in shades of lime, raspberry, chocolate, blue, and white.

Bombshells Beauty Bar is a full-service salon. “I’m focused on organic products, products I feel confident in and use myself,” Courtemanche explained, but if customers have products they’ve used in the past and prefer, she’s happy to work with them.

Courtemanche offers a long list of services including hair styling, highlighting and coloring; eyelash tinting and extensions, eyebrow tinting; custom organic makeup and makeovers; waxing, manicures and pedicures.

Bombshells is open to everyone — men, women, and children. Courtemanche even has a special discount for couples’ pedicures in her side-by-side pedicure chairs.

In addition to her training in cosmetology, Courtemanche is also licensed as a personal trainer, and while she is not yet ready to add personal training to Bombshells’ services, “I can give good tips on ab work,” she said.

Esthetician Malina Volz, a Garberville resident who was Courtemanche’s classmate at Frederick and Charles, offers a “menu” of skin treatments and facials with intriguing names like “Happy Hour,” “Skin O’Licious,” “Mocha Loca,” “Apple-a-la-tart peel,” and “Divine Intervention.” For those in a hurry, Volz offers a “Happy Half Hour” facial.

Recently she acquired the first Clarisonic rotary brush in SoHum. The Clarisonic oscillates more than 300 times per second, removing makeup, dirt, and oil more thoroughly than other cleaning methods.

During the month of February, all customers who get a facial at Bombshells will be entered in a drawing for a Clarisonic rotary brush.

Seventeen years ago, Courtemanche came from Potter Valley for a week’s visit with her uncle in Alderpoint. At her uncle’s suggestion she took a job with Ed and Mary Alice Denson’s music company, Kicking Mule Records. She met and married Joaquin Courtemanche and settled in Southern Humboldt for good.

When her younger daughter entered kindergarten, Courtemanche decided to go back to school herself to fulfill her dream of becoming a cosmetologist. She graduated from Frederick and Charles School of Cosmetology in Eureka, and has been working “here and there” for the last six years, before the opportunity to open her own shop at Benbow “fell into my lap.”

While her 15-year-old daughter “definitely loves” the salon and may join her mother in the business some day, Courtemanche’s ten-year-old daughter “is annoyed with beauty, probably because she’s been my guinea pig” for new hair styles, Courtemanche said.

Her husband enjoys getting pedicures and has observed that the pedicure chairs are “perfect for fishermen” because he can see who’s arriving at the park with drift boats and fishing gear while his feet are treated.

Many of Courtemanche’s customers come to the shop as part of a day’s outing at Benbow State Recreation Area, she said. Moms will come in with their children for haircuts and then go for a walk and a picnic by the river. Hikers and cyclists relax with a pedicure after a strenuous day on the trail.

Visitors at the Benbow Hotel and the RV park also come in for hairstyling and manicures, but because the Hotel is going through a transition now, Courtemanche has been cautious about offering any packages or special services to their visitors. She hopes to work with either the current or new owners of the Hotel once its future is better defined.

Appointments at Bombshells can be made by calling (707) 499-1177. Courtemanche prefers to make appointments in advance, but she’ll fit you in if you stop by when she’s at the salon.

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