Surrounded by the waterfall and tree displays of The Wellness Experience's tropically themed studio, guests begin to relax before they've even chosen a spa service. The calming decor buries stressful thoughts beneath soothing sounds and sensations?the holistic goal that guides each pampering option. From body wraps to hydrotherapy to deep-tissue massage, the treatments strive to release tension from both mind and body. The Wellness Experience staff believe that putting one's self at ease opens a window to better health, simultaneously shutting the door that admits ulcer fairies.
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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.
With speedy waxologists and specially formulated European waxes made just for its clients, it's no wonder that Bombshell Waxing opened a second location just one year after its inception in 2010. That's also largely due to the passion of owner Shelly Reagon, who is very hands-on with her business and who can often be found in scrubs and an apron herself.
She writes in Sophisticated Woman Magazine that it's important for women to go to a reputable salon for a wax, one that never double-dips its waxes and knows eyebrows aren't just caterpillars napping on the forehead. She also talks about her belief that brows are "sisters, not twins"?that it's most natural and beautiful if brows both look polished, but they don't need to be identical. Another revolutionary idea of hers is that waxing should be an experience a client looks forward to, so her salons offer vajazzling services and onsite boutiques where clients can shop for lingerie that shows off freshly bare skin.
Salon Maia owner Melissa Maia and makeup artist Kelly LeBlanc specialize in making brides' wedding-day visions a reality. The duo performs on-location, preceremony transformations and has collaborated on bridal showcases for New Orleans Bride magazine. Within the magazine's pages, Maia and Leblanc have offered tips for brides-to-be, such as trying out a variety of lipstick colors, deep-conditioning hair six weeks before the wedding, and securing updos with a hairspray that is specifically designed to repel rice.
Within the art-covered, bright blue and white walls of the salon itself, Maia and her team of stylists nourish clients' hair with high-quality products. They use the Pureology and Redken lines to cleanse, condition, and color, and the sought-after Agadir Argan oil spray treatment to repair and protect damaged strands.
After experimenting with artistic expression upon sketchpads and canvases, Krystal Burrell Armstrong found her preferred palette: an untouched complexion. The New Orleans native set about perfecting her craft by studying facial anatomy and advanced makeup techniques, earning her prestigious work with Disney and Sprite and for music mogul Kandi Burruss. The passionate and approachable makeup artist's services run the aesthetic gamut, including basic or bridal makeup applications, beauty personal shopping, and avant-garde makeup applications for fashion shows, costume parties, or driver's license photo shoots.
Calling on skin-safe supplies such as cosmeceutical-grade serums from Image like their Ormedic organic formulas, paramedical aesthetician Michele Gordy tends to clients' faces with services that include facials, peels, and microdermabrasion treatments. From her post within Victoria's Regal Nails, Michele begins every appointment with a consultation and detailed skin analysis to understand the unique issues and individual needs of each client's skin. She then tailors her services to treat conditions ranging from unsightly acne to stubborn paint left on former Blue Man Group members.