For a gentle, non-intrusive cleansing above the neck, try the ancient Egyptian practice of ear candling ($47). Ancient pyramid builders used them to remove earwax—as the Q-tip was still in its three-millennia R&D stage—and also to treat symptoms such as sinus pressure, allergies, and vertigo. Eminent physician Jessica Simpson, for example, uses them to update her Twitter feed.
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, as in 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 that 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.
Sheila Cao, a registered nurse and founder of Naturalashes, practices a hair-based brand of makeover—rejuvenating style with eyelash extensions and waxing. Experienced stylists keep bodies both smooth—with applications of low-temperature, anti-irritant wax—and dramatic, with durable mink and synthetic eyelash extensions.
Though she enjoys conversing with her patients, Dr. Marilyn Pelias's ultimate goal is to get them out her office quickly. The seasoned surgeon tries to minimize the downtime following her procedures, thus enabling clients to resume work and daily activities with little hassle. Even before her treatments begin, she puts guests at ease. During pretreatment consultations, she answers questions and describes her services thoroughly to educate her patients.
Dr. Pelias's surgical treatments range from minor changes such as brow lifts and earlobe repair all the way to tummy tucks and liposuction. With the S-Lift, a faster, simpler alternative to a traditional face-lift, she reduces the appearance of sagging skin on the neck and lower face. Nonsurgical sessions often incorporate lasers, which the doctor uses for skin resurfacing, body contouring or the removal of body hair, spider veins, and tattoos that say I Love My Body Hair and Spider Veins. She also uses skincare products from Obagi to complement chemical peels and microdermabrasion sessions. Dr. Pelias doesn't do it all on her own, though. Aesthetician Shannon Eckler jumps in with the assist on all matters beauty-related, including corrective make-up, microdermabrasion, and hair-removal.
Since opening as a Paul Mitchell Focus salon in 2007, the team of hair artists at Mariposa Salon and Spa has styled locks for the glossy pages of New Orleans Bride magazine and CUE magazine, as well as the runways of a Guess fashion show and a Chloe Dao fashion show.
Mariposa's bilingual stylists also craft sophisticated looks for clients walking down sidewalks instead of runways. Celeb-inspired styles let clients ask for The Beyoncé and walk out with sleek, smooth, and straight locks, or The Gisele, which translates to the loose, beachy waves usually only achieved by supermodels living in sandcastles. The stylists also battle the New Orleans humidity with blow-drying techniques and GKhair hair straightening. Mariposa’s nail artists brighten fingertips with chip-resistant Shellac polish, and aestheticians craft custom facials and wax away body hair with tea-tree cream wax. The salon uses products from Glominerals and Glotherapeutics, a pharmaceutical-grade skincare and makeup line.