Heidi Lamar didn't know much about spas when she first purchased Spa Lamar. As she explained to reporters from Skin Inc., "not coming from a spa background, there were things I didn't know I couldn't do." Unhindered by industry conventions or previously fixed ideas, Heidi set about filling her 14,000-square-foot spa with innovative amenities—from a luxurious waterfall-fed pool to an onsite yoga and dance studio. She also cultivates locals instead of the typical resort crowd, banishing cacti from the decor in favor of a Caribbean-style ambiance that, as she told the Arizona Republic, caters to those who already live in Arizona and want to get away to a tropical island. Today, her media-lauded spa is the largest privately owned spa in Scottsdale and is frequented by locals, including members of the Phoenix Suns Dancers.
Before treatments that include massages, acupuncture, mani-pedis, and facials, guests garbed in fluffy complimentary robes duck into the steam room. They sample wholesome lunches and fruit plates from the tropical tea bar and relax in the sauna while waiting for a haircut or warm algae wrap. Sunbathers float around the pool on loungers, whereas others simmer in a bubbling whirlpool. Unlike many traditional spas, Spa Lamar is completely coed, making it an ideal place for couples that are on a first date or permanently trapped together inside a horse costume with a broken zipper.
Occasionally, Mood Swings Aveda Salon and Skin Spa moonlights as a studio. Sometimes camera-toting members of the media stop by to check out this season’s trends or new hair products. Other times, models strut or flutter from imaginary wind gusts during Urban Tribe and other fashion photo shoots. Perhaps most importantly, Mood Swings periodic studio space hosts educational seminars for its talented team of stylists, who learn advanced tips in coloring and other techniques from Aveda professional instructors.
This commitment to the art and science of hair justifies Arizona Foothills magazine selecting Mood Swings Aveda Salon and Skin Spa as its best salon of 2011. The praise coincides with that from AZCentral.com, which named Mood Swings Best Trendy Salon for “translating cool, avant-garde styles into wearable, everyday looks.” Stylists craft these looks with natural, plant-based products from Aveda, and supplement the service with pampering that can include a complimentary scalp massage, hand facial, and finishing touches to clients’ makeup. A comprehensive services menu treats the entire body, ranging from natural skin products that rejuvenate complexions to pedicures that soothe feet with a dual-jet therapeutic whirlpool after unsuccessful attempts to walk barefoot across a hot charcoal grill.
At the mother-daughter-owned Primp and Blow: A Blow Dry Bar, stylists focus on a single goal: speedily making over customers’ hair and makeup in an upscale, scissor-free salon setting. Stylists focus their services around blowouts, mastering the art of transforming wet strands into pin-straight 'dos, big curls, or the flirtatious “Scottsdale ponytail.” Products from Bumble and Bumble or Moroccanoil seal in styles, which can last for days or until clients attempt to brush their hair with a cotton-candy spinner. Cosmetologists wield equally effective serums from brands such as Rain and La Bella Donna—two lines of organic mineral makeup.
Rather than getting hair styled only alongside a clip or before a fancy occasion, these fashion-forward stylists reason that everyday events call for a polished look, be it a meeting, big date, or highly publicized nap. Primp and Blow has grabbed local buzz from publications such as AZFoothills.com—for which a writer declared, “I tried Primp and Blow for the first time on New Years Eve and was amazed with my look. In with a baseball cap and oversized shades and out looking, and feeling, red carpet ready.” The overwhelming positive reviews helped the owners to open a second location. Both salons reflect the glamorous, everyday kind of luxury the team hopes to deliver, enhancing customer experiences with digital magazines on iPads and the glow of chandeliers.
In 2008, Alli Webb, a former Hollywood publicist and NYC-trained stylist, pioneered the in-home blowout with a select roster of clients. Her clientele soon outgrew her home, so she opened Drybar in Brentwood, California. Drybar has since gone national with an ever-growing roster of 27 shops, including one in the Scottsdale Quarter that, much like the Michelin man’s inspiration board, is dedicated solely to blowouts. In 2012, Drybar expanded to a second location in Phoenix's Camelback Corridor. Alli and her stylists fan hair into one of nine styles, from straight and sleek 'dos to loose beach waves and soft curls. The service menu also encompasses whimsical updos and blowout add-ons, such as scalp massages.
Alli—ranked 35 on Fast Company's 2013 list of the most creative people in business—stays true to her roots by occasionally dispatching stylists to perform blowouts at homes, but her bright, spacious shops offer a welcoming alternative. Yellow accents in the form of fresh flowers, a chandelier made from hair dryers, and end tables pop from a backdrop of dazzling white walls, counters, and chairs. The simple yet chic space sets the stage for parties complete with Drybar's signature service.
The brainchild of board-certified women's reproductive surgeon Dr. Kearns and licensed aesthetician Sadie Anderson-Ranov, Club Medspa offers a variety of laser aesthetic and anti-aging techniques. Dr. Kearns performs each laser treatment himself, calling upon his experience in more than 10,000 cosmetic procedures and his role as a preceptor for Lumenis, in which he has trained thousands of medical professionals in the use of cutting-edge laser technology. Dr. Kearns uses his expertise—along with thorough consultations—during services such as laser hair reduction, fractional-laser resurfacing, and the revision of scars caused by acne or a dance partner with a wooden peg leg.
After starting out as a makeup artist and spa director, Anderson-Ranov became a skincare consultant. She and her current team combat fine lines and wrinkles with chemical peels, medical microdermabrasions, and Botox; patrons can even gather a group of friends for a dermal-fillers party with refreshments and music. The innovative crew has also developed a savings program, in which clients pay a monthly fee for access to a number of popular treatments and potentially significant savings.
When it comes to hair removal, the certified technicians at Spa810 have a goal besides precision: painlessness. Their Soprano XL laser emits less energy with a faster pulse than many other laser tools, enabling it to shut down follicles just as effectively but without a harsh sting. This FDA-approved brand of virtually painless hair removal is the staff's specialty, and can clear fuzz from faces, backs, arms, legs, and bikini zones. Their belief in the laser's transformative effects runs so deep they incorporated it into the spa's name: the wavelength of energy used in the device is 810 nanometers.
The staff's other focus is skincare. Pulsed light remains the weapon of choice for banishing age spots and redness during photofacial and skin-tightening services. Crystal-free microdermabrasion smooths and brightens complexions without incorporating diamonds or other crystals, which can be abrasive and lead to misconceptions about whether your aesthetician is ready to take your relationship to the next level. For those looking pamper their muscles and psyches, massage treatments bypass gadgetry in favor of trained kneads by a licensed therapist.