Each of Seattle Sun Tan's 39 locations spans between 2,000 and 4,000 square feet of space dedicated solely to the art of un-sunbathing. Washington-state tanners strut down immaculate hallways dotted with framed original paintings and contemporary artwork before settling into private rooms where they may acquire their desired shade while enjoying the sounds of their own music or prerecorded subliminal messages piped in through the iPod dock perched near each bed. The Smart Tan–certified staff guides clients in selecting which of the five levels of UV bed best fits their tanning needs and whether they desire a short tan time, prefer to stand up or lie down, or wish to bask beneath high-pressure face lamps. Shop shelves offer home tanners quality products from Australian Gold and Swedish Beauty, whereas spray-tanning options from VersaSpa and SunFX both impart a natural-looking faux glow that takes mere minutes to apply and lasts for days.
In the lobby of Helen Wax Spa, a waterfall burbles down an etched glass pane and into a stone basin. The water’s quiet murmur sets the tone for a space that is at once bold and soothing—modern artwork hangs on yellow, orange, and red walls and soft rays of sunlight stream in from floor-to-ceiling windows. Just beyond the main space, Helen and her technicians administer body waxing and facials for both male and female clients. Their specialty treatments use vitamin C to brighten, glycolic acid to exfoliate, and seaweed to calm and soothe the skin. And inside the onsite boutique hair salon, stylists perform cuts, color treatments, and emergency hair extensions for balding Barbie dolls.
A custom medical-grade facial at Salon SoMa promises to suit the demanding needs of any diva-esque dermis. Pop in for a 30-minute express facial ($60), or, for a more thorough pore plundering, opt for a 60-minute signature facial ($95). If stray strands are starting to usurp smooth spaces, SoMa's waxing artists will customize hair-clearing by harnessing the power of pure plant technology in two different waxes. Get bikini-bound regions beach ready with a 30-minute Brazilian wax ($70), or evacuate legs’ finicky follicles ($55).
The trio of aestheticians at Spa Organic Boosters dedicate themselves to revitalizing clients’ appearances with technologically based procedures and premium skincare products. Their diamond-microdermabrasion treatments and resurfacing facial peels help to conceal blemishes and signs of aging by evening out skin tone. Traditional spa facials rely on botanically derived Éminence Organic Skin Care products, which nourish visages with blends of fresh fruit pulps and spices. Although their waxing services efficiently uproot stubble and leave skin smooth, the staff also offers sugaring treatments as a gentler way to remove hairs or hopelessly lost taste buds.
Starting in 1985 with a single location on Pacific Highway, Stan Parente proceeded to build a large client base at his eponymous salon, eventually expanding to his current locations in Federal Way, Maple Valley, and Bellevue. Despite the steady march of his hair empire, Parente remains true to the fundamentals that led to his initial success. He still works onsite in each salon and keeps shelves stocked with products from quality brands such as Oribe Hair Care and Bumble and bumble. Professional seminars and practice sessions hone stylists' skills until they can make unkempt hair arrange itself with a single, intimidating glance. Each location boasts its own unique aesthetic: Federal Way is decked out in vibrant yellow walls and high ceilings, Maple Valley sports rich wooden floors and brick walls, and the newly remodeled Bellevue branch is kitted out with corrugated-metal stations and unvarnished, wooden walls.