Although they’re greeted by the sound of snipping scissors and the sight of a light-yellow room filled with black leather stylists’ chairs, guests of Natural Image Salon and Day Spa can get much more than just a haircut. In addition to stylists who specialize in creative hair color and keep abreast of the latest trends—such as the feather hair extensions that secret agents use to blend in while spying from trees—Natural Image staffs aestheticians who perform a full range of spa treatments.
These experts dab skin with products made with natural ingredients, relying on botanical plant peels and Swedish body wraps that blend herbs, minerals, and sea clay. As well as pampering skin with Aveda facials and sea-salt-glow exfoliations, the aestheticians render it hairless during waxing sessions. Nail technicians add the final touch to appearances with gel manicures or layers of OPI polish.
At Mor Beauty, a certified Matrix salon, stylists keep their fingers on the pulse of trendy hairstyles and beautifying services with an in-house Matrix artistic educator. Mor Beauty’s tress trimmers work on a level system, level 1 signifying a trained beginner stylist and level 4 being the black belt of hair fashion, allowing clients to customize their styling experience to match their budget, hair needs, and favorite number. Lock loppers can shampoo, cut, and style hair ($25–$45+), or twist it into tidy curls to craft a formal updo ($45–$75+). For an all-around new look, a permanent root-to-ends color ($80–$105+) changes hair's tint like a chameleon morphing its color before a lizard beauty pageant. Mor Beauty's professionals also banish unwanted follicles with facial waxing ($8–$18+), body waxing ($15–$40+), and threading ($15–$25+).
Sun Station Tanning Studios' cutting-edge equipment aids patrons in their pursuit of optimally sun-kissed veneers. Indulge in a UV-free bronzing with VersaSpa, an efficient and customizable spray tan that leaves skin evenly toned without solar exposure. The glow-gifting enclosure boasts ample space to unwind while bodies are misted into their copper hue of choice. The studio recommends peeking at a list of pre- and post-tan tips for a robust luminescence for 5–10 days, helping patrons maintain color long enough to show off their new looks or work as models for third-place trophies.
After discovering and treating a few precancerous skin cells, Aislin Spangler decided UV tanning was not the way to go. So she researched alternative options, and by the time she teamed up with her friends Emily Meeker and Lauren Salinas in 2009 to form Spray Soleil, she was well-versed in the field. Today, the trio runs a mobile spray-tan company and travels to clients' homes or offices anywhere within Charleston and Greensboro to mist them with paraben-free tanning solutions that are made in the United States and never tested on animals. Those solutions include witch-hazel-infused organic tanners along with the original solution, which coats skin with a golden hue while infusing it with nourishing vitamins and antioxidants.
Spray Soleil's stylists and aestheticians travel as well, brushing rouge on cheekbones or dyes into hair during makeup and hair treatments. Completing the mobile spa is Ellen, a licensed massage therapist with seven years of experience. She uses long, languid strokes, hot stones, or targeted pressure during customizable massages to relieve fatigue and chronic aches caused by injury or part-time gigs as a whack-a-mole.
Claibourns Natural Skin Care's aesthetician Yolanda found that after 23 years in the dental field, she was beginning to focus less on people's smiles and more on their entire faces. This led her to a career in aesthetics and to research the effects that everyday stress had on skin. Now at her own spa, she hopes to educate people on ways to nourish their skin.
In her research, she came across the Nu Skin line of products, which she believes are extremely effective at making skin more resilient. She uses the line's organic, paraben-free products during custom signature facials and galvanic spa treatments, which send a gentle microcurrent into faces to boost collagen production and smooth fine lines.
Rickelle Watson Jenkins, owner of My Beautiful BROWZ Waxing Studio, peels away unwanted hair using a gentle zinc oxide–based wax that's great for first-timers and those with sensitive skin or breakouts. For trickier areas, such as the bikini line, Rickelle cracks open a can of titanium blue hard wax fresh from the La Brea Wax Pits. She recalls what first attracted her to the beauty industry—the art of makeup—while touching up lashes, lips, and everything in between, and uses Dermalogica products to cleanse and exfoliate during facials.