What makes it great: practitioners who boast a minimum of five years of professional experience, sessions that include custom aromatherapy and hot cleansing towels, and a proprietary blend of organic oils and soothing herbs to leave skin revitalized.
Despite the sincerest efforts of herbologists everywhere, mani-pedis still do not grow on trees, only vines. For $45, today's side deal gets you a vine-ripened and moisturizing mani-pedi ($30 value)—plus a bed tanning session ($20) and $45 toward waxing—at San Francisco Sun in Cole Valley, for a total value of $95.
Mixing beauty and business comes as naturally to Trang Warden as it does to any dealer of fine art. Her father was a man of great entrepreneurial spirit, and her mother was the owner of a San Francisco salon, giving Trang the seeds of two complementary passions. After earning her business degree and gaining a job at a Fortune 500 company, she still worked weekends at a spa with her sister, honing a talent she’d discovered with a part-time manicurist position at age 17. Today, she continues to blend commerce with cosmetic savvy—though now in one place: Zen Day Spa.
At the wheel of her beauty haven, Trang pampers hands, feet, and faces with an extensive treatment menu that relies on botanically sourced products from brands such as Epicuren, Murad, and Yonka-Paris. Tropical scents waft from mani-pedi stations, where toes soak in a signature jelly bath sprinkled with rose petals and nail technicians massage limbs with a papaya-pineapple scrub. Other body therapies incorporate volcanic clay and propolis mined from plants and flowers by bees wearing hardhats in Brazilian rainforests.
Massage therapist Duane started studying therapeutic bodywork after a career in IT impressed upon him the stresses and muscle pains that plague people every day. During each massage session, Duane tailors his techniques to soothe fussy muscles like a warm bottle of milk soothes a fussy police officer. The long, calming stokes of Swedish massage interweave with the firm pressure of deep-tissue massage and the knot-busting trigger-point technique to relieve pain and keep clients relaxed.
Bath time at Kabuki Springs & Spa isn’t your typical suds session. It’s a peaceful, communal bathing ritual that combines hot and cold pools, individual Japanese-seated showers, and a sauna. Sea salts, chilled face cloths, and teas make the experience even more refreshing and invigorating, and a full-time bathing attendant is also on-hand to answer any questions and keep an eye out for rip currents. Along with its communal baths, the spa houses more than 50 massage therapists proficient in everything from Swedish and shiatsu massages, to deep pressure or craniosacral work, to Reiki. Traditional spa services include body polishes that set skin aglow with aromatic salts, and organic facials that brighten complexions with lymphatic massage and toning buckwheat masks.
When Earthbody looks to hire new massage therapists and licensed aestheticians, it doesn't consider recent graduates?rather, it's looking for people with years of training and experience beneath their belts, and who still love what they do. It wants people who are healers at heart, able to lavish each client with skillful services and attention. Each detail at Earthbody has been carried out with similar mindfulness?from the spa's own line of organic body and facial products, all crafted in small batches in San Francisco, to little luxuries such as heated and infused foot towels and complimentary tea service.
To set the mood, the staff lights soy candles and tea lights, which burn cleanly so that even those with allergies can breathe easily. Surrounded by this soft glow, aestheticians renew skin with facials or treat bodies to massages that not only make muscles feel great but also uproot deep-seated tension. After each session?be it a couples massage or hot-oil Indian scalp treatment?the staff can compost, recycle, or launder everything used during the sessions. Dr. Shawn Goozh, a licensed clinical psychologist, also offers somatic-psychotherapy sessions that use bodywork to deepen traditional psychotherapy.
The staff's attention to detail hasn't gone unnoticed by the media. "This intimate Hayes Valley spot is more healing center than mere day spa," writes the San Francisco Bay Guardian. "Therapists are trained in several modalities and develop custom sessions for every client, including consultations before and after treatment." In 2010, SF Weekly named Earthbody its pick for best day spa, citing its "ecological sustainability and ancient holistic rites."