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.
Mani-pedis are one of the most requested services at Spa East, according to the Philadelphia Tribune, and for good reason. The spa specializes in Minx nails, which are thin, flexible coverings that add vibrant color while strengthening the nail, helping the look last longer. Add on a hot-stone massage and an exfoliating, homemade foot mask, and you've got the luxe chocolate-and-champagne Minx mani-pedi, which was named as the Best of Philly by Philadelphia Magazine in 2010.
But expertise at Spa East extends far beyond a single service. Owner Samiyyah Staten has dedicated more than 10 years to studying aesthetics and massage, focusing largely on Eastern practices that combine natural and holistic elements. Her staff draws on lifetimes of training and experience to administer treatments from green-tea facials to reflexology, reiki, and shiatsu. Besides channeling ancient Asian traditions, the aestheticians tailor their services to each client's needs, such as dry skin, ingrown hairs, or eyebrows that are unable to convey the emotion of wistful.
Since Artur Kirsh founded The Studio CL in 2005, the best-of list in Philadelphia magazine and other media mentions have lauded his salon for its creative cuts. He and his team of extensively trained stylists clip hair with a dry-cutting method, which allows them to sculpt locks into custom ‘dos that retain their shape as they grow out. Along with these unique cuts, Artur’s stylists glide on new hues and rejuvenate shine and smoothness with keratin or Nigelle HY treatments. The beauty crew also specializes in bridal styling, which includes in-studio hair and makeup testing, pampering on the day of the ceremony, and hair treatments that stay in place even when the bride cuts the cake with the traditional wedding chainsaw. After each appointment, clients can maintain their chic new looks by stocking up on brand-name haircare products, including the salon’s exclusive ARTUR line.
At Hot Looks Hair Salon, stylists aim to discover each client's personality and create a haircut that tells his or her story. Led by 30-year industry expert Carol Colantuono, the team specializes in adding texture and shape with razor cuts and accentuating natural hues with color and highlighting techniques. Colantuono designs clients' looks with a sense of style influenced by her apprenticeship with stylist Barry Leonard at Crimper, one of the top salons in Center City, and all of her staff have undergone extensive training in the Vidal Sassoon and Sexy Hair lines. She hands clients a complimentary cup of coffee or glass of wine before beginning specialty treatments such as hair extensions that add length and volume or feather extensions that help clients blend in with migrating flocks of ornithologists.
At Oasis Tanning Salon, visitors deepen their complexions with both UV tanning and sunless spray tans. Before entering either lie-down or standup beds, patrons glaze their pelts with lotions from California Tan and Swedish Beauty that maximize the effect of the UV bulbs' emissions. Tanners can purchase UV tans a la carte or by the month, or they can invest in VIP memberships that reward them with deeply discounted rates for six-month, one-year, or 15-generation contracts. During five-minute airbrush-tanning sessions held in private rooms, certified technicians mist guests with a personalized hue harvested entirely from natural ingredients. Customers trapped in padlocked pants can elect to be airbrushed from the waist up or just on the face and neck, and tanners can augment their freshly misted bods with a cocktail tan, which supplements spray sessions with up to five minutes in a standup UV bed.
The Makeup Bar Salon may be named for its chair-lined countertops that brim with signature cosmetics, but its staff of stylists and aestheticians brings much more than just makeup artistry to the table. Supervised by Lisa Severino, a makeup artist with more than 20 years of experience, the salon’s many claims to fame include a seaweed facial that was a 2011 Pick by InStyle magazine and a blow-dry bar with a choice of three styling options: tousled, straight, or Louis XIV. Meanwhile, eyebrow specialists flaunt years of over-eye artistry in brow-shaping sessions that both correct past tweezing blunders and ensure flattering contours when brows grow out. Clients can put a bow on their spa and salon services with exclusive cosmetics, whether the salon’s own or the feng-shui-inspired Color Elements line designed by Severino herself.