Seasoned stylist Christina Heinen doesn't chalk her friendly nature up to mere professionalism—she sincerely enjoys the time she spends making her clients beautiful. She and her talented staff of stylists and aestheticians renovate women's and men's faces, nails, bodies, and ‘dos with masterfully executed services.
Their haircuts, coloring services, and Coppola keratin smoothing treatments prompt an instant onslaught of double takes from onlookers and aimless hairnets. Brow and facial waxes de-fuzz mugs for professional makeup applications, and spray tans prep bodies for the beach or provide camouflage for pilfered Olympic gold medals. In addition to their regular beauty-boosting appointments, the stylists host glamour parties, where they gussy up guests with eye-catching hair and makeup before releasing them into the wild for bachelorette parties and nights on the town.
Oatmeal has many uses: some people eat it for breakfast, rich horses spread it on crackers, and the list goes on. But the staff at Royal Crown Spa harnesses the cleansing power of the oats for footbaths. Headlining the spa’s soleful healing treatment, the oatmeal footbath is accompanied by a sea-salt scrub, paraffin wrap, and foot massage. This and other soothing body treatments—alongside a spread of massage and facial treatments—constitute the spa’s full menu of relaxation and aesthetic services.
The best way to learn a new skill is to do it. And at the Austin Institute for Massage & Spa Therapies, professional therapists—who work in the field every day—inspire students during the massage mastery program. Students explore massage techniques alongside lessons in anatomy as a part of an extensive, comprehensive curriculum that culminates in official licensing from the state of Texas.
The institute's director and co-founder, Raul Flores, has worked tirelessly in the field since 1991—in practice, consulting, and education. He and his team have created a spa-like atmosphere within a 3,500-square-foot space where students get hands-on experience in real-life scenarios, such as in one of nine massage rooms, near an aromatherapy bath, or in the drawing room with the candelabra.
When Melissa Watts was just a teenager, she knew she wanted to be a physical therapist. After high school, she attended Austin Community College, earned her degree, and spent seven years honing her skills in chiropractic and physical therapy offices. Eventually, her work led her to an outpatient orthopedic clinic, where she cared for patients suffering from cervical and lumbar degeneration and extremity deficits caused by work-related injuries and auto accidents. This treatment experience inspired her to strike out on her own. Now, she owns Healing Hands Manual Therapy, where she helps people attain health and reach their fitness goals through massage modalities such as active and myofascial release. When she isn't mending muscles, she studies at St. Edwards University; upon graduation, she plans to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy.
After completing her massage studies at Texas Healing Arts Institute, Kristen Tagle tempered her skills in the fires of a local chiropractic office. She spent this time using modalities such as Swedish, deep tissue, sports, and prenatal to treat muscular dysfunction while developing an understanding of how each helped soothe particular aspects of muscular stress. Now the owner of Heart & Sole Massage, Kristen works alongside therapists who demonstrate a similar commitment to these modalities and devise treatment strategies that address clients’ particular aches and pains. Initial consultations allow staffers to review each visitor’s medical history, past injuries, physical conditions, and ill-fitting nicknames, and after the sessions they can recommend exercises and self-care therapies to perform at home. A deep-blue couples room, meanwhile, allows those celebrating a date night or a platonic date night to enjoy the soothing power of massage together.
The highly trained staff at VIP Skin Spa customizes each and every one of their treatments to meet the specific aesthetic needs of their clients. Cleansers and serums are chosen carefully for unique benefits, such as anti-aging or anti-acne, and more advanced techniques are used to fight off laxity, brown spots, and cheetah spots. The aestheticians can administer microcurrent treatments on either the face or the body, use gentle electric pulses that promote toning and tightening. Clients are made to feel welcome from the moment they walk in the door and can enjoy a cucumber water or hot herbal tea from the refreshment bar.