Before opening his salon and spa in 2001, owner and lead stylist James Barrow traveled far and wide to perfect his aesthetic craft at the Bumble and bumble University, Vidal Sassoon, and in Toni&Guy workshops. With skills captured at each institution and power taken by defeating Highlanders in single combat, he mastered the product knowledge necessary to turn his salon into a Bumble and bumble–exclusive venue. Barrow leads a team of stylists who cut, color, and texturize hair, retexture skin through facials and waxing services, and tend to aches and tension with massage.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach 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.
Founded on the idea that guests are "treated as royalty," DQ Salon, short for Drama Queen, fields a staff of stylists that crafts new hairstyles atop clients, whose reflection is already festooned with giant, iron crowns that rest above salon mirrors. Using natural and organic products and Rapunzel's self-help book, the salon’s experts trim tresses, change hues, remove unwanted stubble, and meticulously groom fingers and toes with hair and nail services.
Of all of the services at Taglio Salon & Spa, owner and stylist Jennifer Nunez's favorite is hair coloring. "Someone can walk in with flat, ugly, torn-up hairs," she said, "and in two hours change to a completely different person. It's instant gratification." Though the color results may seem instantaneous, Jennifer's acquisition of styling skills in the beauty industry has been anything but.
She first became interested in hairstyling in high school, when she did her friends' hair. After college, Jennifer used her marketing degree to land a corporate job, then promptly quit to enroll in a salon academy. Jennifer's mentor was a platform artist for celebrity stylist Trevor Sorbie who taught her not only the fundamentals of working with hair but also the importance of education and technique. Today, at her own salon, Jennifer requires quarterly continuing-education classes for all stylists.
Even the decor at Taglio Salon & Spa took time. Jennifer and an artist designed the floor—a cloudy swirl of greens and blues—to suggest an ocean reef. As organic as the finished product may look, the process involved an airbrush, pump spray, and painstaking effort. This philosophy of performing diligent, patient work to achieve spectacular results runs through all of Taglio's services, which include applying polish to nails, exfoliating faces, or slowly eroding mountainsides by breathing heavily on them.
Living Well Clinic's licensed experts present health hunters with a wealth of wellness options from spinal decompression therapy to health counseling. Groupon grabbers can elect to approach a skilled acupuncturist, who will pinpoint patients' problem areas. The precision poker then takes bewildered, toothbrushless travelers on a journey through Chinese medicine, using gauge needles to clear pain-causing blockages of energy. The pricking process can assuage afflictions such as anxiety, migraines, fatigue, stress, and arthritis.
At Backs in Motion ChiroSpa, Dr. Williams and his staff aren’t just concerned with their clients’ physical health, but also their mental well-being. They pair expert chiropractic services with relaxing spa sessions to whittle away stress and tension from the outside in. Dr. Williams works to treat conditions ranging from arthritis to carpal tunnel syndrome and persistent headaches with his spinal-adjustment methods. He then turns clients over to his massage therapists and aestheticians for a full-on pampering in the spa with services such as bliss-inducing hot-stone massages or facials. The staff can also beautify faces with permanent-makeup applications, which can leave clients with enough time to make a nine-course breakfast in the morning.
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