A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
Led by a local fire lieutenant turned stylist, the beauty specialists at Shear Fire Design sculpt tresses into flattering ’dos with a slew of haircare products and color services. Scissors snip unkempt strands into lockstep and a Tuscan Oil deep-conditioning treatment can leave hair as soft as elevator music performed by a snowflake. Clients can also add new hues to monochrome manes with a coloring service, such as highlights, lowlights, or all-over color. Hair services integrate high-end products from brands including Pureology, Rusk, and Redken, nail treatments beautify digits, and facial waxing removes unwanted fuzz.
Built in a former body shop, the salon has added rugged chic décor to its space; it seats 10 guests at stylized stations adorned with fire-department memorabilia. Painted tufts of flame decorate the walls, and real firemen try to extinguish them. Meanwhile, the salon’s affiliated academy readies aspiring aesthetes to treat hair and nails.
The staff at Alaska Body Aesthetics strive not only to make clients look better, but also to make them feel better, too. Their menu of noninvasive aesthetic treatments focuses on enhancing mental as well as physical well-being. Nutritional counseling helps clients incorporate healthy habits to change their lifestyles for the better over time. High-tech services offer more immediate results: technicians can refresh aging or damaged skin with Fraxel laser treatments, or remove hair and skin lesions with intense pulsed light system.
The doctor also combats signs of aging with Botox and dermal fillers, and she helps patients enhance their body image with skin-contouring treatments and weight-loss programs. She and her team clear complexions with products such as SkinCeuticals and Obagi Medical.
A lifelong resident of Alaska, Rachael Sanger pairs her fondness for the local community with a firm grasp of the fashion world’s latest trends. Since taking over as the owner of Organic Hair Design in 2010, she has carried on the salon’s tradition of stocking only organic products that enhance beauty without harming animals or the environment. Along with stylist Kenna Jo Bushey, Rachael colors hair with PETA-approved vegan treatments and moisturizes thirsty stands with eco-friendly deep conditioners. Elizabeth Field, the salon’s resident aesthetician, shares the stylists’ fascination with organic blends. Her waxing treatments remove unwanted tufts on the face and body, and her custom facials imbue complexions with a glow strong enough to keep them toasty through the winter months.