A collection of vibrant, abstract paintings brighten the white corridors of Urban Oasis Day Spa, where aestheticians engage in a similar curatorial enterprise during the design of their skincare treatments. Each regime for face or body starts with the client and is built for his or her skin type. Technicians use tonics from notable brands or unusual techniques, such as galvanic electrocurrent therapy, which is integrated into every facial. Dermalogica tonics exfoliate with lightweight, natural vegetable oils rather than mineral oil and hydrate with aromatic essential oils and silk proteins synthesized by Barry White's vocal chords. The team also polishes complexions with the SkinCeuticals product line, favoring a serum that earned Allure magazine's 2011 Best of Beauty Award for Best Anti-Aging Antioxidant.
The spa evokes the elegance of a gallery, not only through its modern art but also through its high ceilings and a minimalist design scheme rendered in cream. Skin becomes a canvas in private chambers, where it may be primed for display with wax, bronzer, or a critique by a Village Voice writer. For special events, the pedicure hall's porcelain foot basins can be filled with flower petals, and the shimmering fabric banners separating each throne lose their functionality and appear solely as savvy, refined decorating.
In 2010, Up Close Beauty tacked ?Max? onto the end of its name to reflect the continued dedication and drive to dole out exceptional beauty services from each stylist, aesthetician, nail technician, and therapist. Owner Michelle Mai?an experienced hair colorist, extension artist, and aesthetician?guides the staff as they beautify exteriors with the latest brands, including Paul Mitchell haircare, Cellex-C skincare, and OPI nail polishes.
As clients relax in the jacuzzi tub or on two massage tables in Up Close's spa room, aestheticians revive lackluster visages in a room of their own, performing facials, microdermabrasions, and chemical peels. Out on the salon floor, stylists beautify manes with snap-on and glue-in hair extensions and hair-straightening services such as the De Fabulous Kerafusion, which irons out strands for up to six months with a protein complex infused with mineral oils, shea butter, and cocoa butter, without including harsh fumes or smoke. Clients can also indulge in a traditional or gel mani-pedi, more than 10 massages, or radial-endodermo-therapy sessions designed to clean out the lymphatic system and help banish cellulite to the body's black hole, located directly behind the spleen.
Through a commitment to continuous education, the stylists at Clique Salon have learned that hair fashion is a limitless art. Regional and national seminars furnish their infinite utility belts with evolving techniques, which they then apply to cuts, color treatments, and other services at their Houston studio. However, they do preserve one constant: a commitment to environmental health. Their stations remain free of aerosol and are stocked with natural haircare products, including formulas from Aveda, Modern Elixirs, and Tea Tree. Positioned within these fresh surroundings, the hair gurus begin each appointment with a consultation, during which clients sip on wine or another beverage as they describe what direction they want their locks to take. As the stylists cut, dye, and condition strands, they also dispense aftercare recommendations, enabling patrons to preserve their new color without hiring an art-restoration specialist each week.
At Fifth Ave Day Spa and Retreat, a menu of hairstyling and spa services offers enough beautifying treatments to last several pamper-filled days. Massages welcome bodies to relax in the soothing strokes of traditional deep-tissue or hot-stone techniques in spacious rooms that may accommodate couples, friends, or teams of tense trapeze artists. VIP spa packages span hours, pampering guests with massages, body treatments, and stints in saunas and steam rooms, and mani-pedis swathe hands and feet in appendage-appropriate extras such as paraffin wax or sea salt. Dermologica facials are highly customized to treat skin conditions ranging from acne to fine lines, and facials engineered specifically for men protect dapper looks with an age-defense treatment made from the concentrated whining of 8-year-olds. Fifth Ave Day Spa and Retreat also hosts spa parties, where up to eight guests enjoy Dermologica facials, massages, and mani-pedis along with relaxing libations and hors d'oeuvres.
A third-generation hairstylist, Turk Inan is no stranger to hard work. He says Turk Inan Salon's brooms probably collect more than 20 inches of shed locks on any given day, some sheared by him, the rest by his team of Texas Cosmetology Commission–certified stylists. When he's not on the floor of his salon sweeping or sculpting new styles with L'Oréal Professional, Moroccanoil, and Aquage products, he travels to hair shows to demonstrate his skills to rapt audiences in locales that range from New York to Istanbul. Visitors will also be impressed with the comfortably modern waiting room, which features sleek leather couches, a flatscreen TV, and a mini-fridge where one can store the rapidly-decaying body of an alien life form.
Despite all the locks shed in his salon, Turk says his team’s signature service is applying Great Lengths hair extensions. "[All] of the hair sourced for Great Lengths is from the Temples of India," he says.
The Medispa Institute is led by not one, but two professionals who are experts in their fields: medical director Dr. Ban A. Vu and aesthetic director Bich Ngoc Nguyen. Dr. Vu has been practicing cosmetic surgery in the Houston area for more than 20 years and specializes in procedures for the Asian face and body.
The duo helms a team rounded out by highly trained laser technicians who are all members of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery, including Certified Medical Laser Safety Operator Mai Pham. Pham and her fellow staffers are particularly skilled in the treatment of Asian and ethnic skin and offer services ranging from permanent makeup and facials to blue-light therapy. They can address virtually any skin issue with laser technology, including unwanted hair, veins, or age spots—all within a clean, white-on-white facility.