Stylist Kristi Inskeep transforms tresses within Karizma Salon's vibrantly colored atmosphere. Skillful cuts and all-over color or highlights leave clients with a youthful-looking noggin, more confident strut, and a plethora of compliments from friends, strangers, and the insides of hats. An eyebrow waxing carefully shapes arches into a comely configuration to better accessorize peepers as they take in Karizma's cheerful confines. Neon hues pop from every vertical surface as a black and white checkerboard floor cushions steps and provides a battlefield for human-sized reenactments of Kasparov's greatest matches.
What do a mainframe programmer and a massage therapist have in common? Both break down complex puzzles into their elemental parts and work toward solutions methodically. But for Bruce Morgan of Bodyworks By Bruce, a former engineer, no matter how long he worked with a particularly confounding programming problem and no matter how technically rewarding the project was, the human element of building relationships was missing.
That difference is what drew him into massage therapy. Whereas programming works within defined parameters, Bruce never knows what sort of puzzle he's going to solve when presented with a client suffering from pain. Before sessions, he consults with all clients extensively to get to know them and their symptoms, and encourages them to give feedback during sessions so that he can customize his approach. Shoulder pain, for example, may be symptomatic of a person compensating for damage in the ankles, which is why Bruce routinely delivers full-body massages. His training specialized in myofascial release and cross-fiber friction, whose strokes alternate between going with and against the muscle grain, and he uses these techniques to target problem areas.
Each client enjoys warmth in the private treatment room, both from a table warmer and the sage green shade of the walls. A salt lamp lends the room a relaxing glow, and Bon Vital all-natural lotion keeps skin hydrated. To set the soundtrack for their session, clients can select from a range of light jazz, Native American music, or nature sounds, including a chorus of dolphins covering Barry White songs.
At Blaze Color Salon, skilled stylists revamp hairdos with a litany of services and Blaze's own line of vegan products. Guests can arrive prepared with a magazine clip of their desired look, pick one on the spot from the shop's style book, or opt to model their cut after the neighborhood bearded dragon. Either way, a professional scissors wielder snips away excess or troublesome strands, giving fickle manes an aesthetic purpose. During the blow-dry and finishing session, the stylist employs curling-iron or flatiron techniques before keeping scalp noodles in place with a serving of humidity-resistant, sunscreen-infused product.
Since 2008, the deft employees at Perfect Brow Bars have been manicuring arches with ancient Asian threading techniques. Stationed in malls throughout the central U.S., they welcome guests to stores and kiosks where string and manual finesse, rather than wax or tweezers, uproot unwanted facial hair. The method twists thread along the strands to methodically pull them from follicles with minimal discomfort. This approach reduces the risk of redness and ingrown hairs while forcing former unibrows to become wistful pen pals. Staff members can clear brows, sideburns, chins, and other facial zones of bothersome fuzz for a neatly groomed look.
The licensed massage therapists at Massage Advantage dote on visitors with a slew of custom massage techniques, including Swedish, prenatal, and deep tissue. Armed with warm blankets and a credo to respect patients' privacy, therapists begin each 30- or 60-minute session with a discussion on clients' specific aches and ailments. Therapists can also haul their equipment to office buildings for workplace chair massages that help reinvigorate fatigued employees or stressed-out water coolers during 5–15 minute stints. Each succession of kneads is designed to alleviate stress, muscles soreness, and various medical conditions, such as high blood pressure.