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.
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.
The staff at Namaste Day Spa and Salon hails from throughout the United States and other countries, including Puerto Rico and India. Luckily, Namaste's menu is just as diverse as the origins of its staff. Stylists offer soothing scalp treatments, vibrant highlights, and lock-lengthening weaves. For those looking to remove facial and body hair, threading and waxing sessions shape brows and banish unwanted fuzz. The spa's aesthetician cleanses pores and rejuvenates complexions with facial, and its massage therapist employs prenatal, neuromuscular, and Swedish techniques to help clients unwind. Namaste also offers more uncommon treatments, such as healing energy-medicine sessions and henna designs, which add temporary pizzazz to hands and other body parts.
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.
Jerine McLean welcomes questions about her approach to massage therapy. She answers them over the phone or during appointments, where she combats muscular tension with three massage modalities. There’s long, gliding Swedish strokes to relax muscles, and concentrated deep-tissue kneads to relieve chronic pains. She also performs neuromuscular therapy—a holistic massage technique that encourages the body to heal itself. And to accommodate busy schedules, Jerine can sit clients down on a specialized ergonomic chair for abbreviated 15-minute sessions.
Behind a quaint yellow-brick storefront, owner Sallie Turner applies more than 20 years of styling experience to each new haircut or coloring treatment. She and her team work amid pink and beige walls, styling strands or beautifying façades with skincare treatments, spray tans, waxing, and nail services. They welcome appointments and walk-ins alike.