With a specialty in long layers, modern texture, and natural curls, the staff at Times Salon caters to all noodle noggins with a range of unisex services. Cuts, color, smoothing treatments, perms, and more swiftly transform locks. Waxing services evict freeloading follicles from the root, and the salon's 15-year veteran in oriental threading removes unwanted strands using cotton thread and a high-end monocle. A range of other spa services pampers weary bodies, from facials to mani-pedis performed with the newest industry tools. All services take place in a brightly lit interior accented by white edging, earth-toned walls, and oversize mirrors that let clients keep tabs on their transformations.
The RN and aesthetician behind Too Too Bella is Stephani?also a certified fitness trainer?who calls upon years of experience to customize every treatment. From herbal facials to medical-grade peels, she lavishes complexions in treatments designed to coax natural beauty to skin's surface. First-time clients have the option of a special service just for them: the Be Bella facial, which kicks off with a thorough analysis and includes enzyme- or microdermabrasion-assisted exfoliation.
Not many people would think to perm their eyelashes or slather their faces in caviar to fight signs of aging, but the aestheticians at Beauty Queen help their clients do just that. With more than 10 types of facials, they perform everything from diamond peels to airbrushing skin with a blend of oxygen and anti-aging serum. Though the staff often takes a modern approach, many of their services are still rooted in beauty tradition. They can apply makeup for special occasions or groom nails in express treatments that fly by with the speed of Alex Trebek's beautiful, beautiful mind.
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.