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The Cutting Edge

When it comes to glamour during gala season—and beyond—Raquel Watters’ Rik Rak Salon stands heads and shoulders above the rest.

Raquel Watters

In a city where beauty is paramount and salons are as ubiquitous as designer handbags, being known as the “go-to” for the town’s A-listers and Hollywood glitterati is quite the accomplishment. And while keeping split ends tamed, extensions looking bouncy and nails glossy and groomed is a year-round ritual for Miamians, the pace heats up come gala season. No one knows this better than Raquel Watters, who, with her husband and partner, Ric, owns Rik Rak Salon (rikrak.com), the emporium of A-to-Z grooming with locations on Brickell Avenue and inside the Four Seasons Hotel.

“We’re pretty busy all year, but, absolutely during gala season, we’re much busier because we do have very knowledgeable stylists and makeup artists, and we’re in tune with the latest high fashion,” says Watters, who also operates a boutique inside the Brickell salon that offers everything from clothing to shoes, handbags and jewelry. The Rik Rak team is often called upon to advise these philanthropic beauties as to which hairstyle, makeup and accessories will best complement their red-carpet ensembles.

The “Rik” to her “Rak,” Watters hairdresser husband has been wielding his scissors for more than 35 years, and, as she puts it, “Ric’s seen every trend.” And the couple keeps up with them all, hitting the trade shows in Vegas to purchase the most of-the-moment merchandise for their customers. (They even distribute their own brand of hair extensions.)

But when it comes right down to it, Watters believes there is a predominant secret to their success. “Our customer service is key. My husband and I make sure that when we hire staff, while they must be talented, personality and the way they perceive customer service is just as important,” she says. “We treat everyone like a friend or family, and that’s brought us a lot of success.” So has the fact that they respect privacy—another Rik Rak rule. “We train our staff not to ask for photos or autographs or get personal with celebrity clients”—among them Donna Karan, Ines Rivero, Gabrielle Union and Carolina Herrera.

But fashion-designer royalty, movie stars and local luminaries aren’t the only ones who get the star treatment here—everyone does, and that’s just a matter of policy. “There are always appointments available for anyone who wants to come in,” says Watters. “My staff is quite large. We have more than 20 hairstylists, 11 manicurists and several facialists, and all our clients are valuable and important. We’re not elitist. We treat everyone like a celebrity... and we want everyone to look good.”

Watters’ Hots
1950s fashion, Jimmy Choo shoes, the Lady Dior bag, animals, my husband’s hair-coloring techniques

Watters’ Nots
Animal cruelty, discrimination, war, going to the dentist, red meat