Occasionally, Mood Swings Aveda Salon and Skin Spa moonlights as a studio. Sometimes camera-toting members of the media stop by to check out this season’s trends or new hair products. Other times, models strut or flutter from imaginary wind gusts during Urban Tribe and other fashion photo shoots. Perhaps most importantly, Mood Swings periodic studio space hosts educational seminars for its talented team of stylists, who learn advanced tips in coloring and other techniques from Aveda professional instructors.
This commitment to the art and science of hair justifies Arizona Foothills magazine selecting Mood Swings Aveda Salon and Skin Spa as its best salon of 2011. The praise coincides with that from AZCentral.com, which named Mood Swings Best Trendy Salon for “translating cool, avant-garde styles into wearable, everyday looks.” Stylists craft these looks with natural, plant-based products from Aveda, and supplement the service with pampering that can include a complimentary scalp massage, hand facial, and finishing touches to clients’ makeup. A comprehensive services menu treats the entire body, ranging from natural skin products that rejuvenate complexions to pedicures that soothe feet with a dual-jet therapeutic whirlpool after unsuccessful attempts to walk barefoot across a hot charcoal grill.
Ragtops Day Spa & Salon’s trio of co-owners—Terry Braaten, Ginger Braaten, and Jeanne Dankerl—have an aesthetic sense honed by more than 80 years of collective experience and training from the likes of Vidal Sassoon, Koleston, and Redken. To pamper and beautify guests, they let their combined skill loose within a 4,100-square-foot hybrid salon and day spa. Yet to ensure that Ragtops Day Spa & Salon is an all-encompassing retreat, they keep an extended community of skilled, self-employed stylists and aestheticians within—most of which have been shearing locks or painting nails for more than two decades.
Raw talent isn’t the only thing that elevates Ragtops’ services. Hairstylists sharpen their tress transformations with products from brands such as Paul Mitchell and Redken, and Ginger relies on Coppola keratin treatments to straighten and relax hair that’s been stressed since hearing a tall tale about sentient clippers. Nail artists, meanwhile, draw from a palette of OPI polishes and CND acrylics and enhance pedicures with paraffin treatments. Although services vary according to the current staff, skincare experts cleanse pores with European facials and tackle more problematic skin with microdermabrasion, glycolic facials, and oxygen facials, and massage therapists banish aches with acupressure, Swedish, and Thai massages.
Since filing and buffing the nails of its first client about 15 years ago, Magen Nails’ experienced staff has remained dedicated to creating a relaxing space in which patrons can unwind. Amid welcoming pink walls, the friendly crew can be found gussying up weary hands and feet with a slew of nail services. Patrons getting pampered at the manicure stations can gaze at the spa’s flat-screen TV or bustling aquarium as aestheticians apply glossy polish or apply sets of acrylic nails. Nearby, white pedicure chairs cradle guests as their feet rest in the soothing waters of attached basins after a long, blurry night of running through the woods under a full moon. Along with precision-driven polish applications, Magen Nails’ staff further enhances appearances with additional services that range from face and body waxing to installing eyelash extensions.
Situated in a vintage home that pays homage to years past with its baroque mirrors and antique furnishings, Vanity on Mill Hair Gallery & Spa seems like a strange place to seek out youth. The salon’s charmingly out-of-date decor, however, belies a mission to promote wrinkle-free complexions and hairstyles that radiate hipness.
It’s one thing to be in tune with the times, but Vanity on Mill’s stylists go a step further. They begin all of their cuts with informal consultations, during which they gauge each client’s personality before devising a style to match. The aestheticians and massage therapists share this concern for custom treatments, drawing from an extensive menu to find the right fit for acne-prone skin or strained muscles. The salon also infuses skin with bronze hues courtesy of UV-free spray tans, eliminating the need to awkwardly hug one of the Sun Devils attending classes across the street.
At Blondies Salon/Body, pampering begins the minute clients walk in the door and they’re handed complimentary cups of coffee or glasses of water. Once thirst is defeated, experienced stylists use Redken products to help men, women, and children achieve fresh new dos that compliment their lifestyles and superhero alter egos. Blondies' resident aesthetician draws upon seven years of experience when beautifying skin during cleansing facials, peels, and waxing treatments. Elsewhere, Blondies’ meticulous nail tech amplifies high fives with classic manicures or treats keratin with gel polish, which delivers color that lasts up to five weeks.
At Sunset Nails, digits go through a pampering regimen of soaks, massages, buffing, and polishing amid an array of treatments. The signature manicures and pedicures include paraffin dips and exfoliating sea-salt or sugar scrubs, and the ultra spa pedicure takes flight in whirlpool spa chairs and lands 35 minutes later with a hot-stone massage. Nail technicians also stock and apply a host of gel and acrylic nails. But the staff tends to more than just nails; permanent makeup technicians accentuate eyes, brows, and lips with cosmetics that negate the need for touchups every morning or every time "We Are the World" comes on the radio.