As she relates in a 2011 profile in Miss A, FaceToFace Spa's Jenny Abraham wrote herself a unique prescription in 2006: monthly facials, for the next five years. Abraham had suffered severe cystic acne since she was 15 years old, and the breakouts had crippled her self-esteem to the point where they seemed to even eclipse her accomplishments as a registered nurse. The regime restored her complexion's health, so she opened the spa in March 2011 to share her methods with her clients, just as kindergartners are taught to share their toys with others and their thoughts with Twitter.
Skin consultations are the jumping-off point for each treatment, which could take the shape of a topical therapy or an intervention with lasers or mechanical exfoliators. Nine peels, however, are the house specialty. Abraham mixes fruit enzymes or lactic acid to heal mild rosacea and promote cellular regeneration, and she blends more aggressive chemical formulas to clear actinic keratosis and diminish signs of aging. For all the face and body treatments, the staff relies on Dermalogica and GloTherapeutics products, which have been engineered without animal testing and eschew irritants such as perfume and skunk stink. Massage therapists take a holistic approach to beauty by relieving stress, and cosmetologists attend to the finishing touches with Lavish Lashes extensions and Jane Iredale cosmetics.
Allure Laser & Day Spa restores verve and vibrancy to skin with the latest noninvasive cosmetic procedures. The fine-crystal exfoliation of a microdermabrasion in tandem with the ultrasonic pulses and electrical stimulation of the ExcellaWave boosts collagen production and circulation beneath tranquil countenances to tighten, firm, and freshen flesh. Rejuvenated Groupon holders also get one free laser hair-removal treatment for lips or chins to complete facial transformations, creating skin surfaces smoother than Formica, but not quiet as smooth as Kenny Loggins's sheet music.
Black-and-white portraits pop against walls of silver damask. An antique love seat sidles up to a zebra-printed chest. A chandelier's light glints against a table's gilded filigree. Although The Beauty Dive's historic-cottage setting radiates all things vintage, there is nothing dated about the pampering that occurs at the able hands of owner Yvette Reese and her staff. Yvette suffuses her studio with an atmosphere of creativity, encouraging her stylists and aestheticians to heed their own artistic inspiration as they forge modern hairstyles, eye-catching nails, and captivating cosmetic applications. To keep the image artisans up-to-date on the latest techniques, industry experts arrive every few months to lavish the staff with hands-on training and lessons in split-end psychology.
As stylists sculpt coifs to flatter individual faces, pedicure clients melt into oversize armchairs and bask in the skills of a master Shellac nail technician, who dips feet in fresh bowls of lavender-infused water before refining nails with sterile implements, unused files and buffers, and Opi and CND polishes. The beauty experts wield serums by Eminence Organics, Rusk, and Kevin Murphy, each of which are available for purchase to aid at-home primping. Between services, clients sip on wine, champagne, and martinis as they browse the boutique's collection of accessories and apparel from Johnny Was and 4 Love and Liberty, savoring a better union of sparkles and spirits than the wedding-ring speakeasies of the 1920 diamond prohibition.
Just because licensed massage therapist Karoline Eubank has worked on the Philadelphia 76ers doesn’t mean you need to be a famous athlete or a mathematically automorphic number to indulge in her services. At Austin ReVital Massage, Karoline performs customized Swedish, deep-tissue, and sports massages on all manner of clients, whether they’re seven-foot tall rebounding machines or white-collar office dwellers. In addition to easing chronic backaches, tension, and headaches with traditional massage services, Karoline can put her deft hands to use during more technical treatments. She holds a certificate in advanced neuromuscular massage, which allows her to help clients suffering from nerve compression and postural issues, as well as infant massage, which she is also certified to teach.
Exquisite Beauty Salon & Spa's seasoned beautifiers keep bods looking optimal with aesthetic maintenance ranging from haircuts to makeovers. Powered by L'Oréal's INOA hair color, their full and partial color and highlight treatments add new hues to heads without the use of ammonia, harmful odors, and melted crayons. Shellac polish coats nails in extra-strength color, helping mani-pedis resist chips for up to 14 days. Tech also perform addition by subtracting, nixing unwanted fuzz from brow to ankle with precision waxing services.
The best way to learn a new skill is to do it. And at the Austin Institute for Massage & Spa Therapies, professional therapists—who work in the field every day—inspire students during the massage mastery program. Students explore massage techniques alongside lessons in anatomy as a part of an extensive, comprehensive curriculum that culminates in official licensing from the state of Texas.
The institute's director and co-founder, Raul Flores, has worked tirelessly in the field since 1991—in practice, consulting, and education. He and his team have created a spa-like atmosphere within a 3,500-square-foot space where students get hands-on experience in real-life scenarios, such as in one of nine massage rooms, near an aromatherapy bath, or in the drawing room with the candelabra.