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."
Three thriving locations and a slew of press from outlets such as Teen Vogue and Fox News make a strong case for the success of LaBelle Day Spas & Salons. But the true testament to the salon and spa's success lies, quite literally, in the hands of owner and skincare specialist Bella Schneider. Bella is the winner of the Les Nouvelles Esthetiques Crystal Award and has spent almost four decades helping clients including Audrey Hepburn and Michelle Pfeiffer, obtain healthy, glowing complexions.
Her humble European background led her to the salon where she would receive an apprenticeship at the young age of 14. This moment became the catalyst to her skincare career, which included earning an Economics degree in the States before opening the first LaBelle Day Spa and Salon in 1976. And even though she added two more locations by the late 1980's, the mission for each beauty haven has remained the same: to provide European-quality treatments that are science-based.
Bella and her team—which includes her daughter and grandson—use her personally-formulated line of products to ensure effective results during each service, which range from vitamin-infused facials to mani-pedis enhanced by essential oils and advanced body-contouring Endermologie treatments. LaBella's team also guarantees an exceptional experience by offering spa guests a relaxing foot soak. In the salons, master stylists and colorists customized hair services by using advanced balayage and precision cutting techniques, while Pilates instructors teach private lessons so clients can perfect their posture, alignment, and grace.
If you walked into Diva Nail Lounge with a blindfold on, your nose might mistake the salon for a farmers market. The scents of mint, papaya, chocolate, and avocado drift through the space, wafting from natural scrubs and masks. Feet steep in milk baths dappled with rose petals and slices of citrus fruits, and lavender and rose essential oils condition cuticles. Technicians aren't employing the organic ingredients for their aromas alone—they choose them for their nourishing properties, such as antioxidants that combat aging and proteins that hydrate the skin.
The technicians' devotion to earth-friendly formulas is matched by their commitment to hygiene. The salon doesn't stock spa chairs because of sanitary concerns, and the staff throws away disposable tools after a single use. For example, during each Diva house treatment, techs buff calluses with a new pumice stone. To preserve more durable utensils, they sterilize their surfaces with hospital-grade treatments.
The menu covers luxurious mani-pedi services and add-ons that range from paraffin dips to peppermint clay masks. Treatments typically culminate in vibrant coats of nail polish, including the hues of SpaRitual nail lacquer—shades that avoid synthetic dyes in favor of all-natural colors harvested from the inside of kaleidoscopes.
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.
Jennifer Clark doesn't believe in sweeping skin problems under the rug—or, rather, under layers of foundation. As the head aesthetician at Skin Lounge, she much prefers to tackle concerns with a customized regimen of DermaQuest products and spa procedures. Her services strive for a symbiotic relationship with the skin, building on its natural processes and beauty so that makeup becomes an afterthought.
Jennifer modifies these treatments based on the client's skin type and the condition they'd like to address. Her facials range from a 40-minute Glow on the Go service to an Ultra Luxe treatment, which adds microdermabrasion and a light chemical peel to the standard cleansing, steam, and extractions. Stronger chemical peels, such as the power pumpkin peel and the TCA glow peel, reduce signs of aging with clinical ingredients rather than by taping a forged birth certificate to the forehead. Even when waxing away unwanted hair, Jennifer maintains her devotion to healthy skin: she never double dips, and her knack for nigh painlessly removing strips has earned her the nickname "Wax Princess."
At Details Barbershop, Sergio Portela expertly sculpts and grooms gentlemanly images with precision haircuts, straight-razor wet shaves, and signature grooming packages. Eschewing advancements that have led to careless shaves performed with disposable razors and gels by clumsy robots, Sergio embraces tradition and revives an art form by using precision-made steel razors, pre-shave oil, and glycerin-based shaving cream to leave faces smooth without irritation. He enhances shaves and further cares for cheeks by wrapping faces in hot towels or aroma-infused cold towels, scrubbing skin to prevent and heal ingrown hairs, and applying post-shave masks to replenish nutrients.
Sergio trains his style sense on all aspects of a man's image. He can hone wardrobes, pair accessories with apparel, and help his clients sharpen their overall image. Also, for clients prepping for a big day, Sergio can coordinate and appropriately style all members of a groom's party so that no best men show up in basketball shorts.