A collection of vibrant, abstract paintings brighten the white corridors of Urban Oasis Day Spa, where aestheticians engage in a similar curatorial enterprise during the design of their skincare treatments. Each regime for face or body starts with the client and is built for his or her skin type. Technicians use tonics from notable brands or unusual techniques, such as galvanic electrocurrent therapy, which is integrated into every facial. Dermalogica tonics exfoliate with lightweight, natural vegetable oils rather than mineral oil and hydrate with aromatic essential oils and silk proteins synthesized by Barry White's vocal chords. The team also polishes complexions with the SkinCeuticals product line, favoring a serum that earned Allure magazine's 2011 Best of Beauty Award for Best Anti-Aging Antioxidant.
The spa evokes the elegance of a gallery, not only through its modern art but also through its high ceilings and a minimalist design scheme rendered in cream. Skin becomes a canvas in private chambers, where it may be primed for display with wax, bronzer, or a critique by a Village Voice writer. For special events, the pedicure hall's porcelain foot basins can be filled with flower petals, and the shimmering fabric banners separating each throne lose their functionality and appear solely as savvy, refined decorating.
In 2010, Up Close Beauty tacked “Max” onto the end of its name to reflect the continued dedication and drive to dole out exceptional beauty services from each stylist, aesthetician, nail technician, and therapist. Owner Michelle Mai—an experienced hair colorist, extension artist, and aesthetician—guides the staff as they beautify exteriors with the latest brands, including Paul Mitchell haircare, Cellex-C skincare, and OPI nail polishes.
As clients relax in the jacuzzi tub or on two massage tables in Up Close's spa room, aestheticians revive lackluster visages in a room of their own, performing facials, microdermabrasions, and chemical peels. Out on the salon floor, stylists beautify manes with snap-on and glue-in hair extensions and hair-straightening services such as the De Fabulous Kerafusion, which irons out strands for up to six months with a protein complex infused with mineral oils, shea butter, and cocoa butter, without including harsh fumes or smoke. Clients can also indulge in a traditional or gel mani-pedi, more than 10 massages, or radial-endodermo-therapy sessions designed to clean out the lymphatic system and help banish cellulite to the body's black hole, located directly behind the spleen.
Helmed by board-certified physician and skincare specialist Dr. Naz Keshwani, the team at Med-Cure Anti-Aging & Skin Care performs the latest minimally invasive aesthetic and weight-loss procedures. The doc prescribes a spectrum of laser procedures for skin issues, including spider- and varicose-vein treatments, laser hair or tattoo removal, and a Blu-U acne treatment that is designed to safely kill blemish-causing bacteria in the skin. FDA-approved injectables such as Botox and Juvederm smooth out lines and wrinkles webbed across the face, and potent chemical peels work to reverse the effects of sun damage or spending too long watching food cook in the microwave.
The team works with clients on general health issues, too—overweight individuals can sit down with Dr. Keshwani for a weight-loss consultation, complete with bloodwork and metabolism-boosting injections. Women can benefit from bio-identical hormone therapy—made from plant-derived hormones—which can help alleviate the ailments of menopause, including slowed metabolism, hot flashes, and even osteoporosis and heart disease.
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.
The Medispa Institute is led by not one, but two professionals who are experts in their fields: medical director Dr. Ban A. Vu and aesthetic director Bich Ngoc Nguyen. Dr. Vu has been practicing cosmetic surgery in the Houston area for more than 20 years and specializes in procedures for the Asian face and body.
The duo helms a team rounded out by highly trained laser technicians who are all members of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery, including Certified Medical Laser Safety Operator Mai Pham. Pham and her fellow staffers are particularly skilled in the treatment of Asian and ethnic skin and offer services ranging from permanent makeup and facials to blue-light therapy. They can address virtually any skin issue with laser technology, including unwanted hair, veins, or age spots—all within a clean, white-on-white facility.
The licensed medical staff and industry-certified technicians at Ovation Med Spa seek out the latest laser technologies to transform clients' skin and bodies. To improve fine lines or textural irregularities on light or dark skin, they use the eMatrix RF sublative rejuvenation system, an innovative device featured on the TV show The Doctors. The procedure uses bipolar radio frequency instead of laser energy, and promotes collagen production beneath the skin while leaving the top layer intact. The ultrasonic therapy of the Liposonix machine destroys fat permanently in one treatment, whereas the broad hand piece of the LightSheer Duet laser quickly removes hair or glued-on feathers that did not, in fact, impart the ability to fly.