Led by owner Kimberly Thompson, an entrepreneur, mother, writer, and former model, the clinical staff at Shangri-la Medispa helps busy clients to look and feel their best. A physician tends to both their inner and outer needs by administering cosmetic fillers and overseeing the weight-management program. An experienced medical aesthetician fine-tunes appearances with laser and microcurrent treatments, chemical peels, and waxing. The medispa has also developed its own product line, Shangri-La Skin By Kim. The team also includes a registered nurse who can advise patients on their treatment options or answer any questions, from “how much downtime is required?” to “is the human appendix an extraterrestrial tracking device?”
The crew performs services in whimsically themed treatment rooms filled with shabby-chic tables and dressers. Clients can relax in spaces decorated with such touches as a colorful London sign and lamps that resemble the Eiffel Tower and an antique streetlamp. In the black-and-white facial room, a picture of Marilyn Monroe glamorously oversees skincare treatments.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, such as the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray-tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
Cindy Barshop may have a familiar face. She gained reality-TV fame as a cast member of The Real Housewives of New York City, but she found success much earlier when the Madison Avenue spa she founded more than 10 years ago grew into a hair-removal brand known throughout the country. Completely Bare’s waxing specialists dab bikini lines with the shop’s proprietary blend of ouch-less wax, which adheres to hair instead of skin to avoid the painful pull that often accompanies a waxing session. The blend is hypoallergenic and does not cause acne, which makes it ideal for depilating sensitive skin and touchy bodily zones. Routine waxing sessions add extra sparkle with the salon’s vajazzling service, which bedecks newly hair-free spots with up to 70 Swarovski crystals arranged into such shapes as hearts, stars, peace signs, and MPAA ratings. The spa specialists also migrate beyond the below-the-belt area to polish the rest of the body with facials, laser hair removal, spray tanning, and teeth whitening.
In cosmetology school, MieleDolce founder Luis Iturralde let his fellow students wax him for a class demonstration. His allergic reaction to the chemical wax made it a demonstration of more than proper waxing technique; his brief modeling gig also showed the importance of beauty treatments that avoid irritating skin. Iturralde carried this lesson to his spa, MieleDolce, where the staff sidestep chemical waxes in favor of threading or electrolysis.
The center’s specialty, however, consists of extending hair: its semipermanent silk and mink lash extensions come in a variety of lengths and curvatures, and technicians ensure a natural look by attaching them hair by hair. Additional services range from slimming body wraps infused with aloe vera and herbs to micro skin needling, an anti-aging treatment that can combat wrinkles, scarring, and signs of playing rugby in a crawlspace.
Dr. Michael Caparas and his associates at each of the seven Metroplex Dental Care locations perform services using advanced technology, such as digital x-rays that release up to 90% less radiation and intraoral cameras. The doctors recommend a "sensible oral-health regimen," which includes regular dental exams, cleanings, and oral-cancer screenings. They help to repair existing maladies with restorative procedures such as root-canal therapy, and makeover smiles with veneers and whitening treatments. For sound sleep, the doctors fit apnea appliances and snore guards, ensuring that patients will no longer wake family members or lure a herd of migrating kazoos into the bedroom. Whatever the service, the doctors put patients at ease with their soothing chairside manner and variety of sedation options.
The staff at Darque Tan learned the science of tanning through Smart Tan certification, which they rely on to design efficient, safe regimes for each client's skin type. Five levels of PCTan beds and booths can bronze skin with as few as 12 minutes of UV exposure while enveloping skin in cooling mist. Automated airbrush tanning in VersaSpa or Mystic Tan booths create even, natural-looking color that masks scars and stretch marks. Darque Tan's pursuit of convenience is further exemplified with business hours that span seven days a week, a minimum of 20 beds per location, and rec rooms where kids can read and watch TV. A crew of professional cleaners details each of the facilities according to a rigorous 50-point inspection and tips gleaned from reading Mr. Clean's LiveJournal.