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.
Nails Lounge pampers its clients the moment they walk through the door. The soothing decor, replete with warm colors and natural accents, prepares clients for their nail or spa services of choice. Long-stemmed roses greet patrons at each table as they sit down for a manicure, during which nail techs exfoliate the skin and sink hands into ultramoisturizing paraffin wax. During a pedicure, lower limbs enjoy scented scrubs and massages while clients sip from glasses of champagne perched on an attached shelf. The massage room wraps its visitors inside its tranquil aura as they lie down for a Swedish massage or a hot-stone massage that heals soreness while integrating Swedish techniques. A screen, painted with cherry-blossom branches, creates stress-dissolving serenity with the illusion of a natural landscape. Aestheticians also keep skin healthy and smooth with deep-cleansing facials, exfoliating body scrubs, and body wraps.
At Hands N Harmony, owner and licensed massage therapist Nancy Brewington leverages her knowledge as a registered nurse to tailor every massage to best alleviate each client's specific discomfort. Her services aren't merely clinical, however. Her study of alternative health practices support her belief that each person is composed of equal parts mind, body, and spirit. Therefore she augments her Swedish, hot-stone, and deep-tissue massages with services such as chakra-opening healing touch and ends each massage by taking the time to share treatment advice, stretching exercises, and favorite massage-themed knock-knock jokes with her clients. As a partner of the Hands for Heroes program, she also volunteers her time to perform free bodywork for veterans and offers discounted massages to their spouses.
Licensed massage therapist Elizabeth McFadden tailors each of her massages to the client she's working with?whether she's de-stressing physiques with Swedish kneads, or doling out the more intense pressure of deep-tissue and trigger-point treatments. She even customizes her sessions' scents, adding complimentary aromatherapy upon request.
Knockouts Haircuts for Men amps up the classic barbershop experience with a lavish, sports-themed approach to men's styling that has been featured on Today and CNBC's The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch. At a still-growing number of locations throughout the country, the company's all-female staff of stylists quarterbacks a full playbook of services ranging from bare-essential to spa-worthy. First and foremost, they clip shaggy locks, but they also administer facials, manicures, massages, and waxes. Complimentary beverages are included with every visit, giving patrons something to sip on while watching a sports game on TV or contemplating how they would fend off a lion using just a comb.
As an education ambassador for CND, Salon Bellezza owner Ann knows way more than a thing or two about nails. In fact, when she is not painting tips in vibrant hues at her salon, she travels around Texas teaching other professionals about manicures and proper patty-cake moves. Her stylists tackle all the hair-related services, from simple cuts to total transformations with highlights or all-over color.