To call The Body Shop a mere skin and body care store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as "Defend Human Rights" and "Protect The Planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while ultimately expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in over 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, ?She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.?
Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an eco-friendliness and social consciousness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to an EU-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screenprinted by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments such as the brand?s iconic body butters, facial products, and gift collections often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, Lucky, Seventeen and other national publications.
At Pure Essentials Day Spa, therapist Yencid Hiller surrounds bodies in a 27-ingredient wrap that nourishes and detoxifies tissues. Just as an Italian mother swaddles her young in lasagna noodles, Yencid blankets clients in a quilt of herbs and allows each curative element to soothe and slim the figure. During the 90-minute treatment, clients lie supine in a serene pastel-colored room as toxins exit fat cells. After a cocooning, clients can lose upwards of 20 inches, resulting in a svelte figure that easily shimmies into packed elevators and tucks behind trees during hide-and-seek.
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.
Glaze Nail Bar's studio immediately asserts itself as a zone for the bold and modern. Light-blue and lime-green accents are juxtaposed against the industrial aesthetic of an exposed floor for a stark contrast. This setting, however, belies the aestheticians' preference for nature. The pipe-free Sanijet pedicure baths, inspired by the stone paths strewn throughout Asia, deliver a reflexology massage to soaking feet by stimulating specific pressure points on the underside of each foot. This attention to detail pervades everything on Glaze Nail Bar's service menu, which spans nailcare, facials, massages, and waxing. Aestheticians rely on a stock that contains many eco-friendly products, such as the Aveda skincare line and the formaldehyde- and DBP-free nail polishes of butter London. They also maintain a meticulously clean studio, sanitizing instruments in the same kind of high-temperature autoclaves found in hospitals, the dentist?s office, and the homes of professional taxidermists.
The licensed massage therapists at Massage Alaska vaporize stress with a menu of both soothing and rehabilitative body treatments acted out within a powder-blue room. The list of modalities extends from basic relaxation massage to more intense deep- tissue massage and myofascial release. Natural aids such as hot stones, warm canes of bamboo, and badgers with velvet gloves suffuse the homey studio with the serenity of the forest. Nail techs also groom men’s and women's fingers and toes, evincing Massage Alaska's dedication to hygiene by using disposable implements.
Clients relax as they sip frothy beers and tart ciders amid the elegant white décor of The Wax Bar's lobby before following aestheticians back to a private treatment room for one of a broad repertoire of signature hair-removal services. Staff at The Wax Bar's two locations aim to make waxing or sugaring a luxurious and dignified experience, soothing clients' jangling nerves with drinks from the wet bar. Each aesthetician boasts a repertoire of discomfort-minimizing tricks to ensure sugaring and waxing services for men and women's brows, backs, and bikinis go as swiftly and painlessly as possible. After follicles have said their tearful goodbyes to unwanted hair, aestheticians apply aftercare products and advise clients on the best way to reduce irritation on freshly bare skin. Staff members also offer facials whose targeted therapies incorporate products from Dermalogica and Aveda.