A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
Like artists, stylists often learn tricks of the trade from mentors, continuing a rich tradition and forming a solid base from which to grow. Kara Staats, for instance, draws upon the knowledge and fashion savvy of stylist Tricia Anderson, who, according to Forum magazine, studied at the Vidal Sassoon Academy. Staats is also an alumna of that renowned hair-design school, and since tossing her graduation cap into the air has undergone further training to become certified as a GKhair educator. In addition to leaving hair silky and smooth with GKhair's protein-rich formula, Staats transforms looks with cuts and highlights, airbrush makeup, and DreamCatcher extensions that prevent hair from having nightmares about bear traps mistaken for barrettes.
With its wide array of salon and day spa services, Aperio Salon beautifies clients from head to toenail. In the salon, stylists create polished new styles, color hair, and add extensions. Aestheticians treat skin with hot stones, aromatherapy, a skin brightening system, or a multivitamin treatment that relieves skin from the effects of falling asleep in too many bowls of potato chips. Massage therapists also use hot stones in their treatments, which can include gliding and relaxing Swedish strokes or deep-tissue techniques that target tenser areas.
At Waves of Color, owner Melissa calls upon more than 10 years of experience to guide each stylist through an extensive training program. Service rates are based on the experience levels and height of the staff members, who perform a variety of salon and spa services ranging from hair and nail care to skincare and waxing. Available for purchase onsite, the salon's collection of products envelops brands such as Moroccanoil, OPI, and Pureology.
The mother-daughter team behind Creme de la Creme cossets visages in a salon and spa space marked by accenting French decor. When they're not pampering individual clients with haircuts, facials, and massages, they're throwing specialized parties and group getaways for all manner of clients, from kids to bachelorettes to coworkers. They also keep the onsite boutique stocked with shiny Swarovski crystals, glistening handbags, and rhinestone clothing to accommodate any client who wants to ride a bicycle home in style safely, at night, through a sea of paparazzi.
Pretty Little Things Tanning & Boutique's newly inaugurated shelves creak beneath a colorful parade of women's apparel and accessories alongside holiday-themed embellishments and décor. Patrons complete work ensembles with a women's blouse ($39.99) or practice a new signature walk in a pair of LA Idol women's jeans ($55.99). Feet fashionably shroud themselves in a pair of brown ankle boots ($43.99), and a ladies' handbag ($49.99) chicly totes day planners or timid litters of smaller handbags. Walls beam happily when festooned with accents ($9.99–$49.99) that include LSU flags and wooden picture frames, and hand-painted holiday wine glasses fill homes with festivity and tactfully indicate to listless Easter Bunnies that they have overstayed their welcome.