The Art of Skin Care

Photos by Kamala Kirk

It’s not every day that one gets to enjoy a facial inside a charming bungalow, which is why Bungalow 1026 has become such a hit by offering customized skin care treatments in an intimate and relaxing setting. Upon entering a private courtyard, visitors are greeted by a cozy, tastefully decorated bungalow that feels like home.

Owner Christopher Watt opened Bungalow 1026 in 2014 after moving to Highland Park from the West Side. An esthetician with 22 years of experience under his belt, he previously owned a skin care business for a decade. After closing the business, Watt partnered with a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills and ran a spa out of his business until the surgeon changed locations.

At that point, Watt decided to move to Highland Park and didn’t want to deal with a long commute anymore. After joining a big spa group in Los Feliz, Watt was having dinner at Mike & Anne’s in South Pasadena one evening when he saw a ‘For Rent’ sign on a nearby building.

“That was my first time in South Pasadena and I just fell in love with the town,” said Watt. “I started thinking about what a great area it would be for my skin care business. About a year later, I was back in the area and saw another sign for rent outside the same building. I gave the owner a call and learned that he rented out day studios for artists, but they all shared a bathroom. I told him I was interested in a space for my skin care business, and he told me to stay in touch as he might have some other things become available. A year later I saw another ‘For Rent’ sign, and when I called the owner again he told me that he had a very special space in the back. As soon as I came down the alley and saw the place, I knew it was perfect. I’ve always been intrigued with little bungalows, and South Pasadena lends itself to a very artistic, creative and eclectic community.”

Bungalow 1026 offers an extensive menu of facials and skin care services, which range from microdermabrasion and oxygen facials to facial waxing and an assortment of peels. Watt helps a lot of his clients, particularly teens, that are struggling with acne by offering them a special acne facial and making appropriate product recommendations for their skin care routine. He also offers a rosacea peel and performs a special peel for pregnant women. Watt recommends getting a facial every four to eight weeks to keep skin in good shape.

Popular treatments he offers include the Basic Bungalow—an hour and 15-minute long facial that includes exfoliation, extractions and aromatherapy—as well as Diamonds & Silk, a service where skin experiences maximum penetration of active ingredients at optimal skin depths and enhanced serum absorption at a deeper level. The Minus 10 (years!) Facial incorporates three low-strength peels to enhance, tone and tighten skin for a glow that lasts several weeks.

“I performed this facial on a client recently and when she went to work the next day, one of her co-workers told her that she looked 10 years younger,” he pointed out.

Watt performs all of the treatments himself and doesn’t have any employees working for him, which he says lends to a more personal level of service that keeps his clients coming back for more.

“It’s really intimate and people love the fact that there aren’t other people here, it’s just my client and me,” he explained. “I pay special attention to every client without any distractions, and people like that they can come here and completely relax. It’s a little spa haven and is very tranquil. The patio is all mine too, so my clients are free to come early or stay later after their appointment and hang out on the patio if they’d like. A lot of times, moms or dads will come in for a facial while their kids wait outside. I know my clients on a much more personal level, which is really nice.”

The skin care line that Watt uses in treatments is Rhonda Allison Cosmeceuticals, which blends active natural ingredients with highly beneficial scientifically developed compounds to transform the condition of skin. He also has his own line, No. 1026 Organic Skin Care, which he incorporates into treatments, and retails online and in the studio.

“My line is made in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where two of my friends have an organic farm and a lab,” Watt said. “They grow everything in-house, and all the ingredients are hand-picked in small batches. I know the integrity of their ingredients, and the products that they produce are organic and high-quality. I know how much love they put into the products, and I’m really happy with the line. I have everything from a butternut squash cleanser and a wild blueberry mask to a sweet potato face scrub and a lavender toner with colloidal silver. I use Rhonda Allison’s line and mine in treatments, and clients love it. They see the benefits.”

Bungalow 1026 is by appointment only, and Watt is typically booked out two months in advance. The best way to schedule an appointment is through his website’s online booking system, or by calling and leaving a message. He also has a cancellation list, which people can request to be added to in the event of last-minute openings that occasionally become available.

“I love what I do because it makes people feel good about themselves,” said Watt. “They can look in the mirror and they can actually be happy about the way they look. I really love helping people to get their skin looking better because it makes them so happy, which makes me happy. Whatever I can do to make someone feel good and look good brings joy to my heart. And once you come in and experience this place for yourself, you’ll want to come back.”

Bungalow 1026 is located at 1026 Mission St. in South Pasadena. It is open Tuesday from noon to 5:30 p.m., Thursday from noon to 6 p.m., Friday – Saturday from noon to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m. It is closed Monday and Wednesday. For more information, call (626) 639-6696 or visit

Bungalow 1026 Business Spotlight appeared in the print edition of the South Pasadena Review on 3.22.19. Support Local Business.

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Kamala Kirk is a contributing writer for the South Pasadena Review, San Marino Tribune and The Quarterly Magazine. Kamala formerly served as Managing Editor of Beauty Launchpad Magazine, West Coast Editor of American Salon Magazine, and Digital Editor for E! Online. A native of Hermosa Beach, California, she is a proud USC Trojan and pug mom to Wrigley the Pug (@pugofpasadena).