To call The Body Shop a mere skin and body care store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as "Defend Human Rights" and "Protect The Planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while ultimately expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in over 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, “She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.”
Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an eco-friendliness and social consciousness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to an EU-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screenprinted by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments such as the brand’s iconic body butters, facial products, and gift collections often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, Lucky, Seventeen and other national publications.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 230 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach — A 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.
For students of The Studio, flying is not only possible—it's therapeutic. Instructors in beginners’ acro-yoga classes lead guests through the basics of gravity-defying poses and partner work, helping them balance upside down and infuse their yoga practice with trust and playfulness. During these and all classes at The Studio, the emphasis is on acceptance. The staff maintains a judgment-free atmosphere, where burgeoning yogis can feel comfortable attempting new postures without making everyone nearby crawl headfirst into a sleeping bag. The two classrooms—one heated for intense Vinyasa sequences and one kept at a standard temperature—are as calming and open as the minds within them, bordered by walls of large, panoramic windows. Under the supervision of certified teachers, most of whom have undergone hundreds of hours of yoga training, pupils hone their sense of body and breath awareness.
This welcoming ambiance helped The Studio earn the 2012 award for Best Yoga Classes in the Reno News & Review. However, the center is not solely focused on classes and views them instead as one component of a total-wellness regimen. Backing up the sessions, massage therapists untangle muscular knots in two private rooms with Thai stretching techniques or other classic modalities. In the lounge, plush floor cushions support patrons as they sip complimentary tea and peel clementines. Owner Rachelle often stands behind the raw-food and juice bar, prepping wholesome meals for lunch and keeping fruit from getting too full of itself.
Since Platinum Hair Studio is a Pravana concept salon, it's fitting that owner Jennifer Warner has been an educator in the natural beauty line's color and hair products for years. Her 11-person staff is equally well qualified, with several members who can claim more than two decades of experience. Because a number of these stylists are bilingual, they can execute specialties such as perms and chemical treatments in either Spanish or English, or, like all hair stylists, by only speaking the language of the glockenspiel.
The massage therapists at Ahhh! Massage want each of their treatments to feel like a vacation from the stresses of daily life. They seem to have taken this idea to its local extreme, decorating their treatment rooms so that each resembles an exotic locale: Hawaii, Fiji, and the Caribbean islands are all represented. Along with the therapists’ soothing Swedish, therapeutic, deep-tissue, or prenatal massage strokes, the tropical decor encourages guests to slip into a state of relaxation disturbed only by the banging of steel drums or the howl of a lonely toucan. When they aren’t tending to backs and shoulders, the staffers perform hot-oil scalp massages and cleansing foot scrubs; the breezy facility also houses an infrared sauna and hydraulic massage beds.
The board-certified aestheticians at Carson Medical Group Cosmetic Laser Center attack stubborn facial and body fuzz with blasts from their powered-up Cutera laser. During each laser hair-removal treatment, a combination of invisible light and constant heat targets hair at the root, impairing the follicle’s ability to hatch its bristle-boosting scheme. Like the date of the moon’s self-destruction, the period of hair's greatest vulnerability is unpredictable, so technicians perform six treatments to ensure assaults at all different points of the hair growth cycle. In the most effective cases, the procedure incapacitates follicles in the targeted area indefinitely.