When Martha Millan says, "Beauty shouldn't hurt," she's not peddling a slogan—her first job in the beauty industry literally caused her pain. Working at an upscale salon, her exposure to common hair and makeup products triggered hives and headaches. While searching for more natural goods for personal use, her research revealed unsettling truths about many industry product lines that often use irritating perfumes to mask the underlying odors of harsh chemicals. Feeling that everyone should have the opportunity to look beautiful without fear of harming health, she bought a salon and transformed it into Salon O Day Spa.
Amid Salon O Day's industrial decor, Millan and her team of stylists, aestheticians, and a massage therapist use products so natural that some are even edible, though Millan imagines the taste would leave something to be desired: barbecue sauce. Among the array of certified-organic, not-tested-on-animals, gluten- and chemical-free products, Millan's favorites include Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare, developed by an American physician who advocates against overexfoliation. For hair, stylists use products from lines including Surface Hair and Organic Color Systems, and during nail services, technicians use natural products from SpaRitual in tandem with scrubs made in-house from ingredients bought at a local co-op.
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.
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.
Like the juxtaposition of its building's militaristic past as a World War I airplane hangar with the cheery lime-colored walls and babbling fountains of its current renovated state, Urban Laser Spa pairs two seemingly disparate elements. Its staff members not only provide preventative dental care, but they also focus on clients' appearances with medical, spa-quality skin services. Masterminded by partners Dr. Amy Urban and Dr. Raymond Paxton, the spa's common area helps harmonize its two branches of service with a miniature zen garden, local art, and flickering candles. In the dentistry wing, Dr. Urban performs thorough preventative examinations, cleanings, and whitening services in treatment areas flanked by floor-to-ceiling windows and the soothing white noise of tooth-brushing soundtracks. Dr. Paxton's certified aestheticians perform detailed skin analyses before moving onto their treatments, which can include noninvasive laser therapy, microdermabrasion, and line-smoothing injections.
Registered nurse Suzette and her staff have years of experience in the skincare industry, but clients at Austin Med Spa tout the staff's diligent and friendly bedside manner as the spa’s best feature. Staff members reserve ample time to listen to a client’s concerns and clearly explain all the treatment options and projected results before beginning any procedure. They offer a range of high-quality med-spa services including light- to medium-depth chemical peels, Botox, and IPL photorejuvenation treatments that help diminish the appearance of age spots, redness, and the fine print that doctors stamp onto all newborns. Surrounded by gently swaying trees and lush bushes, the awninged front entrance ushers guests into a tropical oasis adorned with bamboo window shades and soft suede couches
A familiar face at the Beauty Store’s Bee Caves Road location, Angela Hilstrom tends to skin with an array of nourishing facials. She addresses individual issues with one of nine specialty facial treatments such as the flawless facial, which boosts collagen production, enhances skin’s elasticity, and includes a foot rub and upper body massage for good measure. Alternatively, she also uses her skincare techniques to rebalance her patrons' seven chakra points, employing jewels to smooth over the skin while facilitating spiritual well-being. Her microdermabrasion and medical-grade peels can also augment facials by stripping away dry skin. Beyond facial treatments, she pampers physiques with full-body salt polishes and reflexology––a massage that focuses pressure on the feet, much like when wearing child-size stilettos.