When Earthbody looks to hire new massage therapists and licensed aestheticians, it doesn't consider recent graduates?rather, it's looking for people with years of training and experience beneath their belts, and who still love what they do. It wants people who are healers at heart, able to lavish each client with skillful services and attention. Each detail at Earthbody has been carried out with similar mindfulness?from the spa's own line of organic body and facial products, all crafted in small batches in San Francisco, to little luxuries such as heated and infused foot towels and complimentary tea service.
To set the mood, the staff lights soy candles and tea lights, which burn cleanly so that even those with allergies can breathe easily. Surrounded by this soft glow, aestheticians renew skin with facials or treat bodies to massages that not only make muscles feel great but also uproot deep-seated tension. After each session?be it a couples massage or hot-oil Indian scalp treatment?the staff can compost, recycle, or launder everything used during the sessions. Dr. Shawn Goozh, a licensed clinical psychologist, also offers somatic-psychotherapy sessions that use bodywork to deepen traditional psychotherapy.
The staff's attention to detail hasn't gone unnoticed by the media. "This intimate Hayes Valley spot is more healing center than mere day spa," writes the San Francisco Bay Guardian. "Therapists are trained in several modalities and develop custom sessions for every client, including consultations before and after treatment." In 2010, SF Weekly named Earthbody its pick for best day spa, citing its "ecological sustainability and ancient holistic rites."
Three thriving locations and a slew of press from outlets such as Teen Vogue and Fox News make a strong case for the success of LaBelle Day Spas & Salons. But the true testament to the salon and spa's success lies, quite literally, in the hands of owner and skincare specialist Bella Schneider. Bella is the winner of the Les Nouvelles Esthetiques Crystal Award and has spent almost four decades helping clients including Audrey Hepburn and Michelle Pfeiffer, obtain healthy, glowing complexions.
Her humble European background led her to the salon where she would receive an apprenticeship at the young age of 14. This moment became the catalyst to her skincare career, which included earning an Economics degree in the States before opening the first LaBelle Day Spa and Salon in 1976. And even though she added two more locations by the late 1980's, the mission for each beauty haven has remained the same: to provide European-quality treatments that are science-based.
Bella and her team—which includes her daughter and grandson—use her personally-formulated line of products to ensure effective results during each service, which range from vitamin-infused facials to mani-pedis enhanced by essential oils and advanced body-contouring Endermologie treatments. LaBella's team also guarantees an exceptional experience by offering spa guests a relaxing foot soak. In the salons, master stylists and colorists customized hair services by using advanced balayage and precision cutting techniques, while Pilates instructors teach private lessons so clients can perfect their posture, alignment, and grace.
"I stepped out of the pod feeling almost absurdly peaceful and relaxed, wanting to do nothing more than just sit in a park somewhere and be happy and grateful." So said Mark Lukach of 7x7 after two float sessions in the 30% Epsom-salts water at Float Matrix. Named the Best Place to Alter Your Consciousness in 2010 by SF Weekly, the center lets visitors unburden themselves of stress in a soundproof, lightproof pod designed to simulate weightlessness and send brainwave patterns into a soothing theta state. The process has been scientifically researched and is based on a phenomenon called Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique, or REST?a deeply relaxed state in which the body is believed to divert freed-up resources to address cognitive function, creativity, and conditions such as pain and broken telekinesis actuators.
Owner Kane Mantyla told Lukach, "Floating is a lot like experiencing ?nothing,? and there is no set narrative for ?nothing? in our culture.? Mantyla was inspired to found the center in 2006, after experiencing a profound healing from his own pain. He has since facilitated more than 10,000 floats, helping clients share in the blissful nothingness in a tranquil, clean environment. The saltwater?which is mostly sterile to begin with?is sanitized after each session with compound filtration, ozone, and a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. Not content to only provide one path to relaxation, the center also promotes wellness via infrared-sauna sessions.
Mixing beauty and business comes as naturally to Trang Warden as it does to any dealer of fine art. Her father was a man of great entrepreneurial spirit, and her mother was the owner of a San Francisco salon, giving Trang the seeds of two complementary passions. After earning her business degree and gaining a job at a Fortune 500 company, she still worked weekends at a spa with her sister, honing a talent she’d discovered with a part-time manicurist position at age 17. Today, she continues to blend commerce with cosmetic savvy—though now in one place: Zen Day Spa.
At the wheel of her beauty haven, Trang pampers hands, feet, and faces with an extensive treatment menu that relies on botanically sourced products from brands such as Epicuren, Murad, and Yonka-Paris. Tropical scents waft from mani-pedi stations, where toes soak in a signature jelly bath sprinkled with rose petals and nail technicians massage limbs with a papaya-pineapple scrub. Other body therapies incorporate volcanic clay and propolis mined from plants and flowers by bees wearing hardhats in Brazilian rainforests.
Veteran beauty specialist and licensed aesthetician Steve Crovo and his team tackle all of men’s hairiest areas at his studio that specializes in aesthetic services just for men. Garden-green walls set a tranquil setting inside the salon, calming anxious nerves as Steve—or fellow waxing specialist Alan Williams—coats nether regions, limbs, and backs in warm wax and swiftly removes hair using cloth, muslin, or powers of coercion.
Though specializing in waxing, Steve also calls upon indulgent ingredients, such as caviar and coffee, to treat men to the relaxing comfort of skin-rejuvenating facials. To help aching backs to feel like themselves again, he enlists his training in deep-tissue and trigger-point massage to soften clients’ muscular aches caused by injury or trying to wax their own backs. Skin specialist Linda Sanchez also helps acne sufferers to find results as she coats faces with potent cleansers and divulges skin-clearing diet tips.
Inside Thi Spa & Nails, a regal chandelier scatters sparkling light beams across bottles of high-quality products for skin, nail, massage, and waxing services. Nail technicians stand by to shape and shade nails during classic mani-pedis and CND Shellac manicures, which can last for up to two weeks or 14 days, whichever comes first. Facials customized to specific epidermal woes call upon the purifying power of Jan Marini and Dermalogica elixirs, and Novalash extensions cling to indigenous eyelashes. Beautifiers also de-fuzz pampered faces and frames with waxing sessions and heal aching muscles during Swedish and deep-tissue massages. Thi Spa & Nails offers services for both men and women, and gents can peruse a male-specific menu of treatments to keep unwanted follicles off backs, shoulders, and Adam?s apples.