When Pamela Troyan opened Salon Secrets Spa in 1993, she set out with a clear goal: to provide clients with a refuge from their daily pressures via the best possible salon and spa experience. She staffed her salon with highly trained stylists and technicians, many of whom studied at elite academies such as Vidal Sassoon, Toni & Guy, and Aveda. She also enrolled Salon Secrets Spa as a certified Aveda Signature Salon, meaning that all of their services (except nail coloring) would employ all-natural, organic Aveda products. With the salon fully staffed and stocked with elite stylists and luxe products, it was time to open. Since then, not much has changed: Pamela still oversees a team of well-educated stylists and technicians who’ve developed a loyal following of repeat customers and amateur paparazzi. Stylists customize looks with organic Aveda color services, as well as mani-peds, paraffin treatments, waxing, and Xtreme Lashes eyelash extensions. The spa staff soothes bodies with facials, peels, and microdermabrasion, as well as massages and body wraps. The med spa also beautifies patients with cosmetic services such as skin rejuvanation, VelaShape cellulite reduction, and spider-vein treatments performed or supervised by a certified plastic surgeon.
Massage therapist Sherri Battle began her education stateside, but her pursuit of authentic Thai-massage techniques eventually led her to the modality’s birthplace—either Thailand or the maternity ward. While abroad, Sherri studied under two bodywork masters, one specialiazing in a type of deep-tissue work known as “nerve touch,” and the other well-versed in northern Thai methods. Sherri eventually loaded her new knowledge into her suitcase, perhaps with miniature shampoo and soap, and returned home to found Sher-Thai Massage. The signature treatment Sherri now uses was pioneered in the third or second century BC by a physician and rumored confidant of Buddha. Based on a matrix of sen lines, which conduct energy throughout the body, the technique releases built-up energy that can cause pain and disease with a blend of acupressure, gentle stretching, and assisted yoga maneuvers. She sometimes augments her treatments with steamed herb packs or a reflexology massage, which only targets the reflex points that connect to the entire body.
Though threading primarily deals with hair removal, the real focus of the service is the skin. Many depilation methods extract unwanted strands, but leave skin irritated and subject to wrinkle-producing tugs and yanks. Threading combats these unwanted effects with a 100% cotton thread that loops and uproots unwanted hair, eliminating the need for chemicals that can cause breakouts and require the placement of hazard stickers on faces. Beauty By Thread’s expert technicians wield strings with the utmost precision, creating sultry eyebrow arches and removing hair from upper lips, sideburns, or infringing hair lines.
Threading leaves brows expertly shaped for up to three weeks, and the staff also offer Lizette Mineral eyebrow-makeup kits, which combine 10 shades of water-resistant powders and six stencils that allow clients to maintain beautiful looks at home. Clients can also add an exotic touch to their look with the shop's showcase of ankle bracelets, bangles, and tiaras instead of filling out the endless paperwork required to adopt a pet tiger.
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 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 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.
After earning a degree in business administration and landing a job at a Fortune 500 company, Elena Morelli still wasn't satisfied. She couldn't shake the feeling that her true career lay elsewhere?a calming place, where people could relax and indulge. So, she left her job to become a spa director and skincare therapist. And after seven years of that, she put her business administration degree to good use: she bought the spa.
Today, Elena and her fellow therapists address skin concerns with everything from chemical peels to oxygenating serums. For their signature glo facial, they combine products from Glo Therapeutics to create a customized treatment based on the client's skin. Their other facials target a wide variety of specific conditions, such as rosacea?the rose petal rosacea facial incorporates licorice, green tea, rose, and seaweed, much like a good bag of jelly beans. Clients can also schedule a massage or bodywork session, which alleviate tension in the muscles and help accelerate the body's natural healing processes.
To Dana Conrado, skincare is a universal language. Her nearly two-decades-long career has encompassed international training in both London and Canada, as well as a stint spent doing freelance make-up for a Japanese company. Along the way, she picked up certifications in multiple services—acne and rosacea treatments, microdermabrasion, and RejuvaLight therapy, to name a few—and established rapport with many dermatologists and plastic surgeons while undergoing training in medical-grade skincare and chemical peels.
Upon opening Cezanne Skin Group in 1996, she became one of the first on the West Coast to offer sugaring, a kind of hair removal that uses natural and organic ingredients in place of hot wax strips or repurposed bumper stickers. Together with aesthetician Amanda Ward, Dana transforms appearances and enhances relaxation through massage services, body wraps, and facials, often blending in high-quality restoratives from brands such as Dermalogica and Pevonia Botanica.