Mariposa Salon & Spa (3700 Orleans Ave., 484-0440; offers an arsenal of weapons to fight New Orleans' No. 1 hair enemy: humidity.

  Salon owner and hairstylist Brenda McField says a good blow-drying technique is a strong defense against frizz, and she perfected hers while working throughout the East Coast. Another effective frizz-buster, keratin treatments, will be offered by the salon starting starting Feb. 1. Mariposa's formaldehyde-free version of the treatment restores the hair's natural protein, leaving it smooth and silky. Depending on how often a person shampoos, the treatment's effects can remain for up to five months, McField says.

  Mariposa was the first salon in New Orleans to offer the Minx nail treatment — loved by singer Beyoncé — which replaces nail polish with a heat-activated, long-lasting film that comes in a variety of colors and designs. The salon also provides makeup application, skin care, hair-removal services and indoor tanning. McField, who started her salon to aid the rebuilding process after Hurricane Katrina, says her staff provides a diversity of talents and is experienced in all hair types and textures.

  Mariposa, Spanish for "butterfly," features a breezy, carefree atmosphere. Guests may sip glasses of wine before or during their salon services, and McField says a person who comes in for a haircut may end up befriending the entire staff.

  "Everyone who comes in, one of the first things out of their mouth is, 'There's great energy here,'" McField says.