A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach 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 any good teacher, style director and salon owner Shelley Hutchinson believes you are never done learning. Her 14 years as a cosmetologist have led her to oversee a staff of hairstylists, aestheticians, and massage therapists, all of whom continue to hone their skills through educational seminars. As they absorb new techniques, they graduate on a track from apprentice to senior stylist, having chosen a major in either scissor biology or beehive keeping. Shelley herself attends international trade shows to keep up with the world's aesthetic tastes, adapting her knowledge of cuts and colors to make the most of the salon's partnership with Goldwell.
Inside Shelley's beautification venue, sunlight illuminates fixtures inspired by the natural world. Potted trees, floral arrangements, and bamboo window shades complement the earth-toned walls of private spa and public styling areas. The services also draw from nature: guests can warm their feet during the Tranquil Earth pedicure featuring hot rocks, or they can nourish their features with an enzyme peel's pineapple and papaya extracts.
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A specialized team of licensed aestheticians, a makeup artist, a massage therapist, and an oxygen technician accommodate beauty needs in the cool-gray interior of the Saratoga Springs spa. The menu boasts an eclectic selection of services ranging from sunless tanning to organic Da Vinci teeth whitening, one of Leonardo's lesser-known inventions. Those seeking detoxification can visit the hydration wall stocked with spring waters, as well as oxygen-delivery stations that waft the life-giving gas at approximately 70% higher levels than in ambient air. Bright and textural contemporary art adorns private treatment rooms, and mirrors with vanity bulbs surround glass display cases of products for sale, including Dust organic mineral cosmetics
At The Skin Bar at Panacea Day Spa, esthetician Jessica Carney beautifies visages with an assortment of holistic and results-oriented treatments. She whisks away dead skin cells with natural-enzyme facials or performs a jin shin do acupressure facial to strengthen façades, promoting improved circulation, the free flow of energy, and the ability to bench-press a pillow with one's eyelashes. Carney also waxes brows into refined arches and airbrushes bodies with a spray-tanning formula free of harmful chemicals and artificial fragrances.