To call The Body Shop a mere skincare, body care, fragrance, and makeup store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as Defend human rights and Protect our planet. She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, ?She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.?
Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an ecofriendliness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to a UK-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screen printed by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments, such as the Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil, often appear in Flare, Chatelaine, Canadian Living, and other national publications.
Founded by a 25-year beauty veteran, Beauty Matters unites clients with a wealth of skincare services. Three methods of hair removal—wax, lasers, and electrolysis—clear away unwanted strands to keep surfaces smooth. During facials, aestheticians pull from Éminence Organic’s line of products to exfoliate and moisturize complexions. An on-site permanent-makeup artist fills in sparse brows, negating the need to apply makeup each morning or after every eyebrow wiggle.
David and Joan Kelders first opened Jason David Hair Studio in the late '80s. Nearly a decade later, they moved next door to the Metropolitan Hotel, where they've cut and styled hair ever since. David draws on 47 years of tress-tending experience to helm a team of skilled stylists, whereas Joan handles the front desk six days a week. Under their direction, the salon purveys hair and makeup treatments, such as cuts, color, and Brazilian blowouts, as well as tanning services, which make use of a Sun Capsule booth to darken skin, as opposed to a paintball gun loaded with navy-blue pellets.
Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia and her husband, Sergio, have won the trust of even the most discerning clientele. They started with just a 650-square-foot space at the Century Plaza Hotel & Spa. Today, Absolute Spa spans 11 locations that have racked up more than 50 awards, including a pick as a top 10 Vancouver spa on Examiner.com and Business of the Year award from West Vancouver Chamber of Commerce in 2010. They have also attracted celebrity clients including Elle MacPherson and Gwyneth Paltrow. Many à la carte items and spa packages draw on extracts from healing substances, such as sandalwood, kaolin clay, and Spanish sweet-orange blossoms. After each service, Absolute's team tutors clients in how to maintain results at home. Beyond improving clients' sense of well-being, Wendy strives to improve the lives of children by spearheading multiple philanthropic ventures, such as the annual Century Plaza Hotel & Spa Women's Media Golf Classic, which has raised more than $2.6 million for charity.
Bare Essentials Skin Bar is focused on leaving clients with smooth, healthy, well-hydrated skin. Experienced staff members offer consultations and skin-type analyses before suggesting a 30-minute custom facial designed to remove oil, fight acne, or deeply moisturize with Dermalogica products. Many treatments at this mod spa are named after fancy cocktails—a mudslide washes away shine, while a rusty nail fights the signs of aging with an infusion of vitamins. Bare Essentials Skin Bar has clients in and out the door in 30 minutes with fresh and rejuvenated complexions. Microdermabrasion is also available.
At Ark Hair & Spa, beauticians infuse their slew of hair, massage, and nail services with Japanese flair. Therapists target pressure points to relieve aching muscles during shiatsu massages, and they alleviate stress caused by table phobias during Thai floor massages. During beauty-boosting treatments, staffers wield high-end products such as Calgel nail gel and antioxidant-rich Moroccanoil hair elixir. The studio’s decor speaks to the soothing power of simplicity, as clients relax among clean white walls and Japanese paper screens.