Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Serenity Now: For Alice Brewbaker, passion, persistence lead to a lovely result.

Alice Brubaker, Marianne Baker-Platt & Wilson

Psychologist Angela Duckworth believes that grit is a key ingredient to success.

In a 2006 book, she described grit as “passion and persistence” and believes that resilience, ambition and self-control are key elements in the equation that adds up to long-term success.

One could argue that Alice Brewbaker, owner of Serenity Skin Care in Camp Hill, possesses all of those traits.

Where many individuals benefit from the guidance of one, or both parents, Brewbaker was left to her own devices to find her path in life.

“My parents passed away when I was young, and I lived in foster homes and dropped out of school at age 16,” said the Enola resident, who would earn her GED. “So many people use their childhood as a crutch, but I’m proof you can overcome and move forward to become a positive person.”

The businesswoman would go on to marry and raise two children before entering into an aesthetics training program for nail and skin care in 1997.

“Skin care is my passion,” said Brewbaker, who started her business with a modest space above Salon 2020 on Market Street in Camp Hill.

It didn’t hurt that her husband Jim gave her his full measure of support in her endeavor.

“We had three rooms, and he did all the work preparing the space,” she said.

As the business grew, Brewbaker began mulling over a move and, as serendipity would have it, a property that she had her eye on just down the street suddenly became available.

“I would drive by the house at 1930 Market and think that it would make a great salon,” she said. “Then, one day, I saw in the newspaper that it was for sale by owner.”

A tour sealed the deal, and once again, her husband pitched in to do much of the remodeling work, this time in a space that was double the size of the former place.

“I knew that this was where I was supposed to be, and everything fell into place,” she said.



I learned about Serenity Skin Care after a trip to Saint Petersburg, Fla., where I signed up for a treatment called a hydrafacial.

Afterwards, my skin felt soft—fantastic. My makeup even glided on better for weeks afterwards. After a few months, I decided to schedule another and had a difficult time finding someone who offered it in this area.

“We’re one of the only salons in the area to offer this service,” said Brewbaker, adding that she was hesitant to purchase the machine until she, herself, experienced the treatment.

A kinder, gentler alternative to microdermabrasion, the hydrafacial uses water, not grit.

“It cleanses, hydrates and infuses antioxidants into the skin,” Brewbaker said.

Additional skin services at Serenity Skin Spa include glycolic peels, traditional microdermabrasion and custom facials.

The multi-service salon also offers manicures, pedicures, haircare services, waxing procedures, lash tints and “body care wellness” services like back facials and ear candling. Injectables, like Botox and dermal fillers are administered by a nurse practitioner.


Wigs for Kids

When asked how long it takes to do her hair, Dolly Parton quipped, “I don’t know, I’m never there.” That line might give some a chuckle, but for most, thinning hair is no laughing matter. This is why Brewbaker decided to hire Marianne Baker-Platt, who touts 36 years of experience working with clients on everything from haircuts to custom hairpieces and extensions.

Baker-Platt also specializes in a non-surgical hair integration system.

“We start out with a plaster casting of their head and end up with a custom look that stays bonded on the head 24/7,” said Baker-Platt. “Once every two years, we re-bond it.”

She also works with Pink Hands of Hope in Mechanicsburg for those who are dealing with the loss of hair due to chemotherapy.

“I send them there to get their free wig, and they bring it back to be styled around their face at no cost,” she said.

Baker-Platt is also certified with “Wigs for Kids,” a worldwide organization that helps children with alopecia.

“The company sends me the wig and supplies like shampoo and conditioner,” said Baker-Platt, adding that children can apply annually for wigs made of unprocessed hair until they are 18. Baker-Platt also forwards donations to the organization.

“Anyone with 12 inches of unprocessed hair can donate,” she said.

For Baker-Platt, working with children is extremely rewarding.

“I enjoy helping kids in need at no cost because when it comes to your hair, that’s your image,” she said.

Brewbaker said that she feels grateful that everything has worked out so well, despite, in her words, “starting on a wing and a prayer.”

“I love talking to people, making them feel beautiful, even cleaning out their skin gives me self-satisfaction,” she said. “I wouldn’t change a thing.”

 Serenity Skin Care is located at 1930 Market St., Camp Hill. For more information, call 717-612-1630 or visit

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