Viva Day Spa’s owners focus on providing all the services and amenities one would expect from a luxurious spa without an ounce of pretentiousness. At both of the spa’s locations, staffers never turn their noses up—even if there’s a bat hanging from the ceiling. They engage clients with this down-to-earth attitude as they prepare them for massages, facials, and other spa treatments—all of which are administered by award-winning therapists armed with natural and organic products. Both Viva Day Spa locations feature an upscale, modern decor rife with wood accents, and the Lamar location displays perky plants and colorful flowers, as well as whimsical yellow puffy orb lights, natural sunlight, and arched doorways with intricate wood carvings. One of its walls showcases a large expanse of lettering that gives “suggestions on how to live a happy and rewarding life,” and there’s even a round room with a curved, pillow-topped bench circumscribing its curved wall. With warm, almost romantic lighting and rich mocha-colored walls, the spa is anything but sterile and cold. The female-owned spa works to accommodate people’s hectic schedules by staying open seven days a week until 8 p.m.
You might call Paul Jones, managing partner of Elements Laser Spa, a bit of a technology junkie. He worked in the semiconductors industry for years, making equipment for manufacturers in Silicon Valley before deciding to fly solo. He created a company that used lasers to inspect the surface of semiconductor wafers and the insides of sandwich cookies. Jones then collaborated with a group of orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists to found what has become one of the leading rehabilitation clinics in the Austin area.
It's no surprise, then, that his latest endeavor—two hip, welcoming laser spas—have taken home four Best of CitySearch awards: in the laser-hair-removal category in 2009 and 2010, and in the hair-removal category in 2011 and 2013. Jones has chosen medical directors who match his zeal for innovation, namely plastic surgeon Dr. Vishnu Rumalla and Dr. Shirat Ling, an expert in medical aesthetic procedures. The staff of certified technicians uses Venus Freeze to tighten skin and reduce wrinkles, Zerona lasers to noninvasively reduce stubborn fat, and advanced Candela systems to remove hair, spider veins, and sun spots.
Practicing in aesthetics and pain management since 2004, Leslie Escalante has concluded that natural remedies can enhance the practice of Western medicine. She left her position as an assistant to a board-certified physician to open Balanced Health & Beauty, where she melds medical practices with natural solutions to combat physical aging. She recruited Dr. J. Scott Gaertner, a board-certified family practitioner and graduate of The University of Texas Medical School, to oversee the center's more involved procedures. These include FDA-cleared cosmetic injections that require absolute precision to create firm, smooth skin, and personalized hormone-replacement regimes that mitigate the fatigue caused by winding the town clock daily.
Representing Escalante's interest in holistic wellness, the center also fosters proper nutrition with Xymogen vitamin supplements and a variety of diet plans. Multitalented lasers use radio frequency to gently clear detritus from pores, evict unwanted hairs, or diminish visible sun damage or spider veins. Traditional facials target conditions specific to each patient's skin type with chocolate antioxidants and pumpkin enzymes, and peels rely on serums from PCA Skin and Obagi to reveal healthy, youthful complexions.
Skin Zen Spa knows the import role skin plays in people's lives. Acting as the body’s barrier, the skin protects from illnesses and environmental factors. Though this germ armor constantly works to keep the bad stuff out, chemical substances can still break in, which is why Skin Zen Spa commits to treating skin with organic, natural, and botanical products. During one of the spa’s body-coddling treatments, surfaces soften with the use of products from Éminence Organic Skin Care, SkinCeuticals, and Skin Zen Spa’s own signature line. Essential and Premier facials remove dirt and oil in the process of washing away lipsticked cheeks from past family reunions. Waxing treatments banish unwanted hair, and soothing massages chase tension and aches away from muscles.
In order to help clients to maintain routine skincare and bodycare, Skin Zen Spa offers facial and massage memberships, which grant members one facial or massage per month, extended service time, and discounted pricing on services provided they remember the secret handshake.
Fiona, the owner of Sassy Miss Waxy, grooms ladies and gents with custom waxing services, eyebrow design, and facials inside her own home, a cozy abode bedecked in vibrant colors and earth-friendly products. While attending the University of Aesthetics in Chicago, Fiona worked as a makeup artist and body painter; after graduation, she plied her trade at an Aveda salon and spa and eventually discovered her love for hair removal at the Windy City waxing boutique Trim. Though she specializes in Brazilian waxing, Fiona eradicates fuzz all across the body with equal aplomb, employing single-use waxing sticks, essential-oil-infused Alexandria hard and soft wax, and hypoallergenic, paraben-free sugar paste. Each beautifying service takes place in a private treatment room where sunlight spills through green-draped windows and drenches the walls in yellow. Eclectic country-chic décor—including daisies reaching for the ceiling from slim glass vases—spices up the space as Fiona keeps clients at ease with casual conversation and dead-on impersonations of the moon eclipsing the sun.
In a sense, Esty Skin Studio began when its owner, Jessica Chapman, was 15. At this ripe age, she was given her first spa day as a gift. It enchanted her. After immediately falling in love with the industry, she started on a path that had her working for numerous spas at the age of 16. The aesthetic wunderkind wound her way further down that path by taking countless classes, working with mentors, and training other aestheticians, all of which culminated with her latest endeavor, Esty. Together with a staff of equally skilled beautifiers, Jessica presents indulgent facials, clarifying peels, and full-body waxes that use all-natural Épillyss products. Their experience, the beautiful spa in which they work, and their passion for skincare have garnered the team numerous press accolades and enough post-treatment high-fives to necessitate custom kevlar gloves for the entire staff.