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.
Kelli Langford has always been something of an artist; she just traded in the paintbrushes and pigments of her youth for the hairbrushes and hair dyes of a stylist. Working at New Image Salon, she mows her way through as much as eight inches of hair a day, but that's not where she feels her artistry comes into play. She finds her creative peak in styling and coloring clients' hair—a talent that has resulted in vibrant red tones and trendy ombre looks. But whatever the service, some things are always a given: salon-quality products and a strict policy against using cacti for hairbrushes. "I always test my products and get familiar with them before ever using them on a client," Kelli says.
The aestheticians at The Havens Spa trust the body's ability to heal itself—but a helping hand from time to time doesn't hurt. With that in mind, they design their treatments to engender a holistic well-being and to reawaken those natural healing mechanisms. Whether guests stop by for a body wrap or a radio-frequency-based sculpting treatment, they learn about how their physical make up can effect their moods, behaviors, and motivations. Then, once a basic understanding of cause and effect is established, change for betterment can begin.
In The Havens' red-roofed hacienda, an onsite fitness center with personal trainers helps newly purified patrons keep their bodies in top shape. Those looking to banish stress can avail themselves of tension-melting massage, including gentle Swedish and energetic Thai, while those seeking rejuvenation can draw from a list of facials and beauty injections. And to add a touch of natural calm to any treatment, the spa's surrounding 13 acres provides a place where patrons can rest in the shade, soak in some sunshine, and remember their lawn-dart victories of yesteryear.
Bottles of pharmacy-grade Rx Systems serums line the shelves of Youthful Image Clinical Skincare, each within an arm’s reach of owner and lead aesthetician Lisa Key. Though her salon calls to mind the stress-free luxury of a spa, Lisa’s Rx products deliver clinical-strength healing for blemishes ranging from acne to age spots. Seven types of facials headline the menu of treatments, including a facial tailored to men’s stubbly mugs and a teen-specific session that flushes away excess oil and diary pages stashed in pores and long forgotten. Chemical peels and crystal-tipped microdermabrasion wands erase surface imperfections such as scars and sun damage, and waxing treatments keep skin free of hair from head to toe.
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.
The well-trained technicians at Envy, A Medical Day Spa disintegrate unwanted body hair with a Quanta System Ultrawave II laser under the direction of Dr. Kris Wusterhausen. The laser system can be carefully calibrated to disrupt hair growth on all skin types and shades, from light to dark to purple polka dot, targeting each follicle at the root. An onboard cooling system ameliorates the slight stinging sensation that can accompany treatment. Envy's staff recommends using all six treatments on a single area for best results.