Soapmaking is an art of beautiful alchemy in the hands of the Spinster Sisters — in reality not a pair of siblings, but just one woman, Kelly Perkins, who was determined to school herself in the basics of the craft in search of a better, more natural bar of soap. Over the years, her line has expanded to include dozens of variations on the basic tool of cleanliness, as well as lotions, shaving products, scrubs and other products — all made from simple, raw ingredients and conscientiously packaged — that have been available for years at selected shops across the nation and locally at artisan markets. Since last spring, the faithful also have been able to flock to the brick-and-mortar flagship, Spinster Sisters Microsoapery, in downtown Golden. Make the pilgrimage, and clean up your act.

Seven Sins Salon has made a name for itself in the metro area by offering free and discounted services to any bands playing here. Since it opened last October, Gwar, Velvet Acid Christ and Birthday Massacre have stopped at the Lakewood shop to have their hair and makeup done before their Denver shows, and the lineup continues to grow. Bands can sign autographs and take photos with fans, and the salon's owners have a bar full of Jägermeister and other spirits ready in case a party starts. Get your own 'do did at Seven Sins, and while the toner's setting, you just might end up throwing back a few with the boys in the band. The motto here says it all: "Beauty is only sin deep," which strikes a chord with anyone looking for a hard-core color job or cut that will turn heads on the stage or the dance floor. But anyone who dances to a different drum is welcome to take advantage of the salon's rock decor and friendly service. Rock on. 0x000A

Life is too short to drive from place to place all day just to get 1,001 things done — and to try to add a little enrichment and social consciousness to your schedule, to boot. Save some gas and head to Sol Shine, where you can shop for trendy, eco-friendly, fair-trade garb made in the USA, then practice your poses and asanas in the in-store yoga studio, all without leaving the building. Daily classes are only $15 a shot, with packages available. Need to relax after perfecting your upward-facing dog? Sol Shine is also a gallery, serving up cocktails and local art monthly at third-Saturday receptions.

Lovebirds and co-owners Becca Miller and Taylor Romero opened their one-stop shop last summer as a way to simplify the shopping experience for men. The Tennyson Street menswear boutique and style consultancy has good taste — and an in-store barbershop — already built into the concept. Much more than a standard retail space, Spruce offers haircuts, grooming, styling help, modern apparel and upscale leather accessories like shoes and bags, all with a lumbersexual edge. Guys are invited to make an appointment for services and fill out a style profile. Welcome to the grown-up world of manshopping.

Its comes as little surprise that Denver's best beard trim is in RiNo, where anyone without cuffed-up jeans and well-manicured facial hair is liable to be looked at funny — but maybe the furry neighborhood just needed a woman's touch. Whether you get Ali, Bridget, Katie or Niki at the Usual, you're going to walk away looking flyer than ever, with a fresh cut above (no matter the hairline) and a precisely trimmed coat of manliness that's sure to make the females fawn. Afterward, head next door to Our Mutual Friend Brewing on 28th and Larimer for a pint and check out your hipster approval rating.

2828 Larimer St.
303-297-1672
theusualbarbershop.com

You don't have to be a burner (a Burning Man enthusiast) or even have plans to visit the windblown playa at Black Rock City, Nevada, to walk in the door at Burners Boutique — but if you are, you'll never again have to wonder how to outdo yourself at next year's high-desert DIY arts-and-culture fest. Run by burners with a flair for out-there costuming, the store is a year-round go-to for everything from tutus and tights to vintage garb and desert-strength goggles, perfect for intergalactic land travel and/or Halloween, whichever appeals most. Looking for something better than a sheet with two holes for a costume this October — or anytime? Visit Burners Boutique, a costume shop like no other — because, really, what is life but a never-ending masquerade?

127 Kalamath St.
720-588-2876
burnersboutique.com

It could be argued that Denver's vegan community is centered around Nooch Vegan Market. The shop, now located in Baker after moving from its Larimer Street address two years ago, offers a wide range of products that are 100 percent vegan and cruelty-free — a claim that, currently, no other shop in Denver can make. Nooch is not only a place for longtime vegans to stock up on specialty items like the Follow Your Heart's Vegan Egg; it's also a place where new vegans, or those thinking about making the leap, can go to ask questions of the knowledgeable and helpful all-vegan staff. Nooch also throws community-engagement events like its annual Vegan Prom, with proceeds going to benefit Peaceful Prairie Animal Sanctuary. When it comes to strictly vegan businesses, Denver has some catching up to do when compared with cities like Portland and San Francisco, but thanks to Nooch, vegan awareness and education will continue to grow in the Mile High.

As the little sister of the long-lived and perfectly run Horseshoe Market in Berkeley (winner of numerous past Best of Denver awards), the Jefferson Park Farm & Flea is still growing into itself after its first full season of mixing up the best in open-air local-produce shopping among a curated selection of craft and flea vendors. But there's no doubt that market founder Amy Yetman's concept is a good one, from its placement on the street in a changing neighborhood looking for an identity to its emphasis on keeping the world small by supporting local businesses and encouraging people to pitch in and help one another. When the market opens again in May, urban farmers will be invited to bring donations of excess produce for area food pantries. In return, contributors will be awarded with discount coupons good at market vendor booths — and that's just one example of how Yetman is making the world a better place through conscientious marketing. This year's JP Farm & Flea will run monthly on second Saturdays from May through October.

When the Horseshoe first hit the Berkeley neighborhood in 2010, it was the hottest thing in flea markets: The seasonal market's wondrous mix of food, antiques, clothing and finely crafted wares struck a new note with shoppers and earned our Best of Denver award for three years running. Well, guess what? This year's market is bigger and better than ever. Horseshoe founder Amy Yetman says it all: "The Horseshoe still keeps growing in terms of fans, vendors and customers. And the Horseshoe is still the Horseshoe: nothing too fancy, and welcoming for all — a wonderful community event where folks can shop for interesting lucky finds both vintage and handmade, eat awesome local food, and generally have a great time." Amen.

Readers' choice: Denver Flea
Juliet Wittman

Unlike many of the markets that have sprouted up across the metro area, the Boulder Farmers' Market is true to its name, a place designed so that local farmers can sell their goods and customers can meet the people who produce their food. You can stop by a stall and ask the farmer why your tomatoes at home are dying or how he'd prepare his chard. You can discover new and interesting vegetables you'd never find in the store, buy amazing plants for your own garden, and learn just how that goat was raised. The market also boasts baked goods, coffee, honey, jams, breads, soaps and flowers, as well as a spot where you can sit and enjoy your treats — or just watch the passing parade. And the Boulder Farmers' Market continues to grow, with a popular offshoot in Longmont and, this summer, a market down at Denver's Union Station on Saturdays.

Readers' choice: South Pearl Street Farmers' Market

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