It's quiet in Aqua the Day Spa. No cell phones or pagers are allowed to remain active in either of the two locations, so all you hear is your pulse slowing to a steady, soothing beat and the tiny noises made as expert hands open bottles of designer beauty products. Open since 1998, owners Susan and Ralph Barnette struck the right, Enya-like chord in 2003, when they first earned the title of Best Day Spa in the Jackson Free Press's annual "Best Of" roundup. The team of aestheticians and massage therapists have swept that title every year since, deflating the competition in proportion to lifting spirits. Paraben-free Skin Authority and scented Tokyomilk tonics nourish skin with vitamin-rich Moroccan clay and soothing mango, or exfoliate dead cells with bamboo salves scented with ylang-ylang. The staff's nimble hands blend these into custom treatments, including those to combat aging and the strange shadows creeping over men's skin, and work aromatherapeutic elixirs into muscles with nine different massage modalities. OPI and Shellac nail polish transform hands and feet into fashion accessories, a project helped along by smoothing wax.
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 elegant décor and a warm color scheme to back them up, Bloom’s spa specialists excel at comforting hands and feet. Kick back in a plush throne while the trained talon tamers pamper glove- and stocking-stuffers with a spa manicure (a $20 value) and pedicure (a $40 value). The hand-focused half of the mani-pedi nurtures less-than-divine upper digits back to prime dog-petting condition, and the pedicure gussies up lower paws with skin-soothing care as each member of the 10-pronged posse is trimmed, buffed, and shined to stageworthy glory. Palms and soles are softened after hostile calluses and cuticles are exiled from the premises, leaving behind a lush landscape at the ends of grateful limbs.
Bright-lime-colored walls create an atmosphere of healthful exuberance inside Five Star Spa & Nails, mirroring the spa’s commitment to keeping bodies healthy and groomed with scientifically influenced skincare and up-to-date trends. Aestheticians are trained to perfect complexions, gently buffing away wrinkles and spots with microdermabrasion wands and removing brown spots or moles impulsively grown during the beauty-mark craze. When not grooming skin, whisking away body hair, or lengthening lashes, technicians flex their relaxation chops with a range of massages that can be augmented with exfoliating scrubs and tension-melting hot stones. Sitting amongst rows of Avon and OPI products, the spa’s nail technicians work to groom nails with tiers of mani-pedi treatments that make feet feel more special than being picked first to kick the moon.
Hair care services should be relaxing, something the experienced staff of Belle Ross Salon and Spa makes sure of when they treat each client to their signature shampoo and scalp massage steeped in tea tree oil, peppermint, and lavender. The soothing pre-cut and color service sets clients at ease before they surrender their strands to mane masters who wield handpicked Paul Mitchell products within a space accented with hardwood floors, invigorating lighting, and scissors whispering style pointers to new coiffures. Hair-smoothing services such as the KeraTriplex formula hydrates and fortifies fragile strands while the well-stocked Paul Mitchell color bar provisions new hues for guests looking to complement their skin tone or match a favorite hexadecimal code.
The talented masseuses at Natural Healing Spa Escape offer a wide range of massage treatments, from relaxing Swedish massage to toxin-pulverizing deep-tissue massages. Pairs can get in on the fun too with romantic couples massages, and they can spice it up with aromatherapy or a hot-towel treatment for an additional fee.