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.
The staffers at Solar Planet do more than lavish visitors with meticulously clean salons, indulgent extras, and the power to don a sun-kissed glow in less than 20 minutes. Each employee is Smart Tan certified, meaning they possess the training to design personalized tanning schedules for clients seeking an instant or lasting glow. The specialists also know every detail of Solar Planet’s fleet of tanning beds, which range from traditional beds to standup capsules, the style most conducive to tanning lawn flamingos. At some locations, custom airbrush tanning sessions enlist the help of a certified airbrush artist who highlights the body’s features with strategic strokes in a custom bronzing hue. Over its 25 years in business, Solar Planet has also added sunless tanning booths, a stock of buyable bronzing lotions, and far-infrared massage capsules, which simultaneously massage muscles and inject them with therapeutic heat like a nap in an automatic bread maker.
The confidence of Angels Hair & Skin Care's staff of hairstylists, nail technicians, and aestheticians puts clients at ease as soon as they enter the day spa. In addition to routinely seeking out techniques and mastering new trends, the team members employ professional-grade products in their everyday treatments. These lines include everything from Moroccanoil and Goldwell hair-conditioning balms to Shellac and OPI nail polishes. Equipped with high-end shampoos and conditioners, the stylists can recreate a classical look or devise a more modern hairdo by incorporating asymmetry or holographic bangs. Beyond hairdos, the staff can also pamper its clients with indulgent mani-pedis, body treatments, and facials that rejuvenate skin tone using 24-karat gold, Vitamin C-rich salves, or a customized selection of skincare products.
Miracles in the City founder Olympia Hantzopoulos has stayed busy for nearly two decades overseeing a team of hairstylists and developing her own line of styling products to augment the salon’s full Redken line. In addition to a whirlwind of activity that results in ombre color, hair gloss, replenished chit-chat reservoirs, and Brazilian keratin smoothing, the space demonstrates Hantzopoulos’s other passion: recognizing the work of female artisans in developing countries. The boutique side of the business sparkles with jewelry such as antique tribal necklaces, hand-blown glass trinkets, and beaded cuff bracelets. The salon also hosts an art gallery with installations that have included children’s art from an Afghani orphanage.
After spending years in skincare and aesthetics, Leila Espari decided to take her experience and certifications and open her own business. She stacked her staff roster with such professionals as a board-certified plastic surgeon, a waxing specialist, a laser technician, aestheticians, and licensed massage therapists. The cozy day spa offers services such as massage therapy, lash extensions, and hair removal via laser, electrolysis, waxing, or threading. Other skin-smoothing treatments include facials and micro-polish peels that gently exfoliate the skin to remove dead skin cells and flakes caused by dry skin or aggressive cereal eating. A special tissue massager reduces the appearance of cellulite and dimples.
Friends come in handy when one needs a shoulder to cry on or a body to experiment on. Luckily, Fit to Be Tan owner Heather Boss has many. After researching non-UV-based tanning methods in 2007, she began experimenting with airbrush tanning, perfecting the combination of solution and technique after many trials on her willing friends. After word spread from her happy test subjects, Boss opened Fit to Be Tan, which focuses on airbrush tanning and healthy skincare. She uses natural, organic solutions that bronze the skin without relying on harmful rays from the sun.