At The Sugar Shack, aestheticians neatly trim nails, wax limbs, pamper faces, and massage backs to help clients unwind from the stresses of daily life. To soothe skin that is inflamed, red, and itchy because of harsh weather or afternoon naps on a beehive, the beauty specialists slather it in a gentle cleanser and calming mask in the Environmental Control facial. Aromatherapy massages rely on essential oils to soothe aching muscles, and gooey paraffin hydrates hands and feet during mani-pedis. The spa exclusively uses Dermalogica elixirs—a product line free of common irritants and ingredients that can cause breakouts.
Eva, which uses and sells environmentally friendly Aveda products, caters to hair and skin with an array of rejuvenating services. All hair services, which include a number of coloring options and a women's cut and style ($43), come with an aromatherapy scalp massage to relax the senses and drain collected cranial-stress juices. With many waxing options available, clients can touch up fingers and toes ($10) or prepare for the beach or a scantily clad spelling bee with a Brazilian ($75). The tourmaline radiance facial, a 90-minute holistic microdermabrasion session, utilizes the tourmaline mineral to smooth out fine lines and beautify complexions ($80). Eva's palette of spring colors, as well as a prismatic mosaic of earthy and bright tones, enhances the atmosphere with warmth and style.
Massage therapist Annie is passionate about healthy living; otherwise her skills might stop at the usual Swedish and sports massages. While she excels at these and other conventional modalities, she also practices Ayurvedic massage. Through the Ayurvedic system, she believes that massages should not only help relax muscles, but also balance the constitution of the body to help stave off future health issues.
At The Chrysalis, guests are cocooned in material luxuries and the hospitality of a friendly staff. Enjoy the confines of a two-person luxury corner suite complete with stunning views of a glimmering, glittering Northwest seascape, a gas fireplace, and a two-person jetted tub set in a bay window for panoramic soaking. Boarders may work the wet bar and remain dry, channel surf cable TV, or hop onto the Internet to brush up on their conversational Esperanto. Each king-sized bed dons lavish linens and a down comforter, and a two-person shower offers plenty of elbow room. Additionally, luxury corner suites include a DVD and CD player, iPod dock, dual phone jacks, a refrigerator, and a snack-packed minibar stocked by local Lilliputians.
After graduating from massage therapy school and learning Swedish and pregnancy massage, Sarah Merickel continued her education and studied more advanced forms such as neuromuscular massage, orthopedic cupping, and myofascial release. On top of that, she took concentrated classes that focused on individual areas of the body: the low back and hip, neck, and upper back regions, to name a few. Now, she parlays all of her studies into customized massages at Olympic Avenue Massage. Sarah uses oils and lotions during her treatments, homing in on problem areas so that every client’s massage is tailored to relieve their own set of pains and discomforts.
In the late 1920s, the Great Depression was rendering most Americans professionally and financially paralyzed. But in a small California kitchen, Merle Nethercutt Norman was putting a plan in motion to formulate her own skincare products and share them with family and friends. She truly believed in her formulas, knowing that by getting them on as many faces as possible, she would develop a following of customers. She was right—within a few years she and her nephew were opening their first studio in Santa Monica, and they eventually unveiled a series of independently operated stores that enabled women to take ownership during a time of gender-based limitations such as men-only restrooms.
Today, in approximately 2,000 stores across three countries, the three basic principles of Merle's original vision still apply. Each studio is independently owned and fosters an in-depth knowledge of the company's own line of makeup and skincare products. Just as Merle shared her creations with close friends and sallow mannequins more than 80 years ago, today's aestheticians embody the business's "try before you buy" philosophy. A menu of complimentary studio services—from foundation checks to express facials—allows patrons to sample the lauded brand before committing to the purchase of products or full spa treatments.