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.
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.