Word on the street is that Dallas women are the most beautiful in the world. That’s one heck of a reputation to live up to. And let’s be real: it’s not all due to good genes. We live in a town full of top-notch personal trainers, doctors, massage therapists, aestheticians, and other professionals who dedicate their lives to helping us maintain appearances. Bless them.
Thanks to these top day spas, maintaining appearances is a relaxing—not stressful—endeavor. And with today’s state-of-the-art, skin-enhancing treatments, getting gorgeous is just an appointment away.
By RYAN MENDENHALL
Aqua Medical Spa
6405 Hillcrest Ave. 214-443-0100
Why go to the doctor’s office when you can get the same treatments in a spa environment? Aqua has three doctors, a cosmetic dentist, and a physician’s assistant onboard. We say get plumped, sucked, and plucked all in the same day. Try the hottest new injectable, Sculptra, which stimulates the collagen in the skin, resulting in facelift-type results. If you have a serious fear of needles, no need to hide. Aqua also has standard spa procedures, such as facials, peels, and massage therapy.
WHAT TO GET: Botox ($300 and up) smooths wrinkles in the forehead, upper lip area, or neck; during the Anti-oxidant Hydra Gel Facial ($140), micronized collagen hydrates the skin; the Sea & C Facial ($120) is chock-full of minerals and vitamins and gives skin a lovely glow.
NAME TO KNOW: Carol Robinson, a physician’s assistant, can make your lips as plump as Angelina Jolie’s and your complexion as smooth as Nicole Kidman’s.
Bella Vita Rejuvenation Center
6170 Sherry Ln. 214-373-4233
If it’s the perfect complexion you crave, let the staff at Bella Vita whip up a personalized skin-care treatment. All consultations are complimentary—and required—before any treatments are performed. Also try Endermologie, an amazing all-over skin therapy that lifts skin for a tight, smooth appearance. The nonsurgical cellulite treatment uses a machine with a powerful suction to manipulate the skin and underlying tissues.
WHAT TO GET: Glowing Skin Facial ($75) includes gentle exfoliation and vitamin infusion for a silky result; during the Anti-aging Facial ($150), ultrasonic water peel, acupressure, vitamin infusion, collagen mask, and enzyme exfoliation combine for a luminous effect.
NAME TO KNOW: Owner Maria Morris has spent the last 20 years making others look flawless. She designs and supervises each individual program from start to finish.
Benu Spa & Salon
5555 E. Mockingbird Ln., Ste. 300 214-827-4200.
The serene 5,000-square-foot spa, which opened in January, has a simple interior of fresh tones, gentle curving walls, and modern furniture. The Eastern influence here is obvious, especially in Dallas’ only communal waterhouse. Owners Cary Collier and Doug Chambers were so inspired by a recent trip to Hong Kong that they built this unique accommodation, which has a whirlpool, rain shower, and steam cave. Also exclusive to the spa is beauty expert Billy Yamaguchi’s New Age beautifying technique, which involves elements of Feng Shui. A Yamaguchi-trained stylist can assess your energy and personality and style your tresses accordingly.
WHAT TO GET: Hapé Facial ($50), designed for overexposure to sun and pollution, begins with a marine-based cleansing, followed by a sea mineral and green tea cooling compress; Yez Ritual ($120) includes an energy remedy head massage and deep muscle regeneration massage; Tada Facial ($95) reduces the appearance of fine lines, sun damage, and acne, thanks to an enzyme treatment.
NAME TO KNOW: Consult with Feng Shui-savvy Eric Werner and he will cut and color your locks in harmony with your chi.
|EAST MEETS WEST: Benu Spa owners were heavily influenced by a trip to Hong Kong. Stylist Eric Werner is schooled in Feng Shui.|
The Four Seasons Spa & Salon
4150 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving 972-717-0700.
If you need to get away but don’t want to hop on a plane, head to the Four Seasons Resort & Club. The Las Colinas hotel is home to a full-service, European-style spa with 16 private rooms, a relaxation area, spa cuisine, and outdoor spa pool. Enjoy the steam room, sauna, and whirlpool before partaking in the Texas Two Step, which includes a smoothing blue-corn body polish and a stimulating massage with sagebrush. Some treatments at the Four Seasons use yummy ingredients such as pecans, milk, pumpkins, and cranberries.
WHAT TO GET: Agua Leche Hydrating Milk Bath and Massage ($195) is a luxurious milk bath and massage with rich body cream that rehydrates dry skin; crushed pecans are used to massage away dull, tired skin in the Pecan Body Polish ($120); Detoxifying Pumpkin Enzyme Facial ($160) uses plant extracts and natural enzymes to exfoliate and eliminate dull skin.
NAME TO KNOW: Jennifer Armstrong is so exceptional at rubbing and massaging, you’ll never want to leave.
Georgette Klinger Spa
5560 W. Lovers Ln. 214-654-9800
Georgette Klinger, famous for facials, has been a Dallas beauty destination since the early ’80s. One of its most popular treatments, the Essential 9-Step Facial, is personalized to each customer’s skin and includes deep cleansing and steaming to rid the pores of impurities. If you seek a cellulite buster, try ionithermie, during which a special machine penetrates all levels of the dermis to slim and contour, so you see results right away. Some clients have lost between 3 and 8 inches after their first treatment.
WHAT TO GET: During the LaTherapie Hydralift Facial ($105), a gentle microcurrent transports active ingredients deep into skin; Elemis Japanese Silk Booster Facial-Pro Collagen ($115) is perfect for dry skin and moisturizes for a more radiant and younger-looking appearance; Refining Alpha Hydroxy Facial ($115) is a complete exfoliation and renewing treatment that retexturizes skin.
NAME TO KNOW: Bella Kashtelyan has been with Klinger for 22 years and will leave your face glowing.
|TWICE AS NICE: The 25,000-square-foot Relãche Spa can accommodate couples.|
Hanna Isul Med Spa
6101 Chapel Hill Blvd., Ste. 102, Plano 469-467-3333.
Owner Myong Chong prides herself on combining East and West to enhance the physical and emotional well-being of her clients. The Fort Worth-based franchise opened in Plano last August and is dedicated to using the purest botanical ingredients and vitamins for nourishing skin treatments. Go heavy duty with ultrasonic microdermabrasion, which uses a noninvasive lifting laser to tone and tighten the skin.
WHAT TO GET: Sovas 5 Skin Peel ($150) is extremely effective for treatment of sun-damaged skin, enlarged pores, and fine lines around the face; Cleansing Repair Therapy ($90) begins with skin analysis and includes deep-pore cleansing, extractions, and Hanna Isul signature serums; the imported Jade Stone Bed from Korea ($45) heats the body with natural stones, which is ideal for pain and stress relief and blood circulation.
NAME TO KNOW: For major skin results, turn to Mai Webb. She will help you customize a treatment to your skin type to zap unwanted blemishes and smooth skin.
Relãche Spa & Fitness Center
Gaylord Texan Resort, 1501 Gaylord Tr., Grapevine. 817-778-1000
This European-inspired spa overlooking Lake Grapevine, a whopping 25,000 feet with 10 private rooms and two spa suites, proves that everything is bigger in Texas. Enjoy nontraditional treatments, such as acupuncture (the Chinese holistic practice using needles and pressure points) and shiatsu (a Japanese healing method that applies finger pressure to the body). If you are more interested in spa staples, loosen tense muscles and ease joint discomfort with a lavender, ginger, and black pepper rub.
WHAT TO GET: Face the City Facial ($140) is designed to correct environmental skin damage; Sea Foam Mud Pedicure ($70) restores energy to the feet and vitality to the whole body using marine mud; Grapefruit and Juniper Berry Smoother Wrap ($135) exfoliates skin and promotes the release of toxins.
NAME TO KNOW: For all manicure wishes, ask for Rebecca Grimes. She’ll moisturize, rub, file, and paint your nails to perfection.
Renée Rouleau Skin Care Salon
4025 Preston Rd., Ste. 606, Plano 972-378-6655.
The face comes first at Renée Rouleau. The salon, named after the founder and Texas beauty whose own skin is something to envy, has six licensed aestheticians, a permanent-makeup artist, and cosmetic doctor. Enjoy serious facial fixtures in one of the four private facial rooms at the new shabby chic location in Plano. Take your pick from Botox, corrective peels, microdermabrasion, and European facials. Last year, Allure named the Cranberry-Brasion Facial—it dissolves and digests dry skin cells on the surface—the “Best Facial in Dallas.” Here’s to fruitful skin.
WHAT TO GET: The Purity Peel ($175) is geared toward problem skin and uses a medical-strength exfoliant to fight breakouts, smooth acne scarring, and dissolve follicular debris; Oxygen/Vitamin Infusion Facial ($125) uses oxygen along with 87 vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids to improve skin health; Glycolic Facial ($95) exfoliates and retextures sun-damaged skin.
NAME TO KNOW: All Renée Rouleau aestheticians are trained by the woman herself. But Grainne Noel and Sandy Rogers have been with her the longest.
The Salon at Eaton Court
202 S. Austin Dr., Allen 972-727-2333
This quaint green cottage in Allen houses a relaxing spa with a no-frills menu that includes serious skin-improving procedures. The North Texas escape offers up-to-date treatments, including the Glycolic Medical Peel Facial, an exfoliating and accelerating epidermal cell rejuvenator, and Photo Light Hair Removal, a laser treatment used to remove unwanted hair. The Ultimate Spa Facial, including intensive lip care and an herbal eye treatment, is so relaxing that it has put many clients to sleep, as do the out-of-this-world pedicures.
WHAT TO GET: Phyto 5 Layer Facial ($90) includes deep cleansing, Phyto enzyme peel, toning, and massage to revive facial muscles; Lam Probe ($50 and up) removes skin tags, blood spots, and age marks; Purifying Back Treatment ($80) opens pores and cleanses the back.
NAME TO KNOW: Double threat Debbie Weeks was trained at the Spa at the Crescent and is not only an aesthetician but also a board certified massage therapist.
|SILLY NAME, SERIOUS SPA: At ZaSpa, the treatment names may be cute—Calma-Sutra Calmative Complexion Treatment—but the staff means business.|
The Spa at the Cooper Aerobics Center
12100 Preston Rd. 972-239-7223
Located on the grounds of the 30-acre Cooper Aerobics Center, a place synonymous with health and fitness, the 3,200-square-foot spa inspires instant relaxation. The Mediterranean interior, complemented by inventive procedures, makes this one of the hottest spots for stress reduction and wellness. Try the Rain Forest Body Wash with botanical shower gel and apricot seed exfoliation or the Nourishing Italian Fango wrap, which uses thermal mud imported from Tuscany, Italy, known for its restorative properties.
WHAT TO GET: Antioxidant Hydrating Facial ($95) is designed for dry skin and hydrates using lipids and moisture-binding elements; Alpha/Beta Peel ($80), through a blend of alpha and beta hydroxy acids, minimizes pores and helps prevent breakouts; Collagen Facial Mask ($75), an intensive moisturizing treatment, counters premature aging and wrinkles.
NAME TO KNOW: Massage therapist Lisa Castillo has developed many of the products used for the skin-care scrubs. Try one of her personal concoctions.
The Spa at the Crescent
400 Crescent Ct. 214-871-3232
If you want “the works,” look no further. The menu reads like a novel and includes scrubs, baths, wraps, dips, massages, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facials, and peels. The new Fitness Facial gets your skin in shape with firming and rejuvenating products from of-the-moment Sonya Dakar. In conjunction with the highly anticipated opening of Nobu, the spa is leaning East with more Oriental-inspired treatments, like the Thai massage, which involves slow, gentle, rocking movements; mindfulness; and deep stretching to leave you more flexible and peaceful.
WHAT TO GET: During the Anti-cellulite Red Wine Bath ($50), wine is poured into a bath, helping reduce the visibility of cellulite; Wine & Honey Wrap ($155), a perfect partner with the Red Wine Bath, uses wine yeast extract and honey to improve skin tone and circulation; Lymphatic Drainage Massage ($95), recommended for those healing after plastic surgery, is a light massage that stimulates the lymphatic system and increases the healing process.
NAME TO KNOW: Go to Renita Burgess for one of the spa’s many facials. She is the resident face expert and lead aesthetician.
The Woodhouse Day Spa
Shops at Legacy, 7200 Bishop Rd., Plano 214-473-9955.
Just consider this your Victorian home away from home. Owners Kayla Wood and Mandy Hurt opened this Texas-based franchise in Plano last year, dead-set on putting guests’ minds at ease and offering inventive procedures like the Minkyti facial. The treatment, developed by a plastic surgeon, uses seaweed, a connective tissue massage, and contrasting water temperatures to tighten the skin. Don’t leave without experiencing the incredible Vichy shower, either. The spa is one of the few in town that offer this unique treatment that uses high-pressure showerheads placed on various points of the body to aid in lymphatic drainage.
What to Get: The Purification Wrap ($100) is a black silk body mask ideal for exfoliation; Peppermint Sea Twist ($80) is an aromatic body treatment that combines peppermint oil and European seaweed to stimulate, purify, and rejuvenate; European Oxygen Treatment facial ($100) stimulates blood circulation, making it perfect for pre- and post-surgery.
NAME TO KNOW: If you have a knot that won’t stop, Shannon Arms will work it out—even if she has to climb up on the table.
Hotel ZaZa, 2332 Leonard St.
Hotel ZaZa’s ZaSpa, which reopened in April, is a 4,000-square-foot, full-service oasis with playful packages such as the Calma-Sutra Calmative Complexion Treatment and Loofah Does Dallas Scrub Massage. But, in all spa seriousness, this place means business. Take the Gel Peel Facial, for instance, which is designed to minimize the appearance of surface lines, smooth out rough skin, aid in clearing acne, and help fade hyperpigmentation.
What to Get: Vita-Zita Vegamin Facial ($120) uses Vitamin C to firm and hydrate the skin for a radiant appearance; Golden Dragon Body Care ($180) involves a cleansing exfoliation using raw cane sugar, lime, and coconut milk; De-Tox Tea Tree Oil Soak ($50) is a detoxifying sea salt soak using tea tree oil and zinc sulfate.
NAME TO KNOW: Spa director Virginia Burel can help you and your gang organize a day of primping before a major social outing.
How do two SMU fraternity brothers become the darlings of the super-competitive skin-care industry? Well, first they had to ditch their day jobs, pool their resources ($20,000), and call on Dad for a little topical antioxidant formula.
Let’s start with the technology. Sheldon R. Pinnell, M.D., former chief of dermatology at Duke University, spent more than a decade researching how antioxidants work and how to use them to enhance skin care. In 1992, he presented his research to the American Academy of Dermatology. He is now considered a pioneer in vitamin C research.
Dr. Pinnell’s son Alden took a different path than Dad and graduated from SMU in 1992 with a degree in psychology. He worked for a Dallas-based nonprofit agency, counseling adolescents, substance-abuse patients, and those with psychological disorders. Alden wanted an advanced degree, but he knew he would need another source of income to pay for a doctorate.
That’s when Russell Moon, his fraternity brother, approached him with a business proposition. Moon had graduated with a degree in finance from SMU in 1991 and later launched his own mortgage refinancing company in Dallas. Moon sold the mortgage business in early 1994 and began preparations for a new venture. After recruiting Alden, the two planned to head to Eastern Europe, but Alden’s father, who had recently patented a technology protecting skin from sun damage, had something else in store. So the younger Pinnell and Moon went on to license the technology and form SkinCeuticals.
“It was clear that the discovery had market potential,” Pinnell says. “The challenge was finding a way to communicate the scientific detail and educating the general public about a completely different class of skin-care product.” As the sole U.S. distributor for Dr. Pinnell’s vitamin C technology, Pinnell and Moon began building a new skin-care distribution channel—dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and other skin-care professionals. “If we could provide a product with scientific backing,” Moon says, “the doctors would support it and sell it to patients.” The patented topical vitamin C—which you will find in a lot of their products—is the magic ingredient that reduces fine lines and wrinkles.
In 1997, as they continued to build on the patented vitamin C treatments and Dr. Pinnell’s research, the SMU alums began to develop, manufacture, and distribute their products. They went on to launch a collection of sunscreens and a line of advanced combination antioxidant treatments—all backed by clinical research.
SkinCeuticals, with its 39,000-square-foot headquarters in Garland, is now a powerhouse cosmeceutical company that produced more than $30 million in revenue last year and took home Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Award in 2003 and Best of Beauty awards from Allure and In Style magazines. SkinCeuticals products are available in more than 4,200 outlets—dermatologists’ and plastic surgeons’ offices and day spas and salons—across the United States alone, as well as 35 countries worldwide. In Dallas, you can buy them at the Spa at the Crescent, ZaSpa, Aqua Spa, the Spa at the Cooper Aerobics Center, Skinnovations, the Face Place, Elizabeth Arden salons, Beauty Image, and Facial Plus.
With the ever-increasing demand for ways to combat aging, SkinCeuticals can only continue to grow. And the employees enjoy quite a few perks: in-house gym and meditation room, free massages once a month, yoga and Spanish classes, dry-cleaning services, complimentary tickets to sporting events, and deep discounts on products. The company also strives to promote within, so 10 of the company’s 21 managers have moved up through the ranks.
They must be the youngest-looking, fittest, and most serene group in town. —Stephanie Quadri
Photo: Lisa Means
Beauty In a Zap
Developments in laser technology have made erasing fine lines, red spots, and unwanted hair easy and (nearly) pain-free.
No matter what ails your skin—broken capillaries, sun damage, wrinkles—there is probably a laser that can correct it. These days lasers are more refined and effective and cause minimal side effects. “Patients have so many options,” explains Lori Stetler, M.D., of the Dallas Center for Dermatology and Aesthetics. “A patient can come in and have just one freckle or vein treated, or she can have her whole face treated for sun damage.”
Lasers are sometimes marketed as a solution for multiple problems when, in fact, most have a narrow, optimal use. “Each laser is a narrow light beam directed to a specific purpose,” explains Liz Newman, R.N., a laser technician at EpiCentre. “When used outside its ideal range, the treatment is often less effective.”
Capillary and Vein Repair
Broken or dilated arterial capillaries produce those annoying red blotches on the face and legs, which are treatable with the KTP and the Nd:YAG lasers. They produce distinct colors of light that are absorbed by red blood cells in the vessel, heating it to a point of coagulation, which stops the blood flow. The body then absorbs the remnants of the unwanted vein without damage to the overlying skin.
Capillaries and veins can also be treated with Intense Pulsed Light, or IPL, FotoFacial a broad-brush light technology that’s not technically a laser. This treatment removes skin imperfections such as sun damage, spider veins, brown spots, freckles, and rosacea. After skin is prepped, a device that emits pulses of light to break up pigment lesions is guided over the skin. Several machines using various light sources are available for FotoFacials, so ask if the machine is FDA-approved and if the technician is trained in the procedure.
The Alexandrite laser, which works on lighter-skinned patients, and the Nd:YAG laser, often used on those with darker skin tones, remove hair by disabling the follicle in the hair shaft. The hair pigment is what absorbs the laser’s energy, so this treatment produces the best results on people with dark, coarse hair. A technician guides the laser over small sections of skin, instantly removing hair. To ease the sting, a numbing cream can be applied to the skin 45 minutes to an hour prior to treatment. Because hair grows in cycles, six to 12 treatments are needed, about four to six weeks apart, and touch-ups thereafter are common.
Pigment Problems and Sun Damage
Brown spots and sun damage can be treated in several ways. FotoFacials (see “Capillary and Vein Repair”) are often an effective treatment for isolated, superficial areas of photoaging. In addition, the Fraxel laser (see the following section) can treat deeper pigment problems and sun damage. Finally, lasers such as the KTP may be used for photorejuvenation, especially in problem areas that are more red than brown. The technician uses a hand-held instrument to direct the laser to the problem area, breaking up the patches of pigment.
Thin Skin and Wrinkle Treatment
Deemed the “nonsurgical facelift,” the Fraxel laser is a new treatment for wrinkles, sun damage, and brown spots. According to Dr. Fritz Barton Jr., a partner in the Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute, “Fraxel achieves subtle thickening and tightening of the skin and improves the quality of the skin while preserving its natural appearance.” Liz Newman calls it the “treatment that everyone is talking about.”
The first step is to numb the skin one hour prior to treatment. Then the skin is prepped with an FDA-certified blue tint, which enables the technician to view the discrete contours of the skin. A topical anesthetic ointment is also applied, to ease the prickly sensation. The Fraxel laser then produces thousands of tiny but deep columns in the skin known as microthermal treatment zones. As it penetrates the dermis layer, the laser thickens and tightens the skin and eliminates old pigmented cells.
What is unique about this procedure is that the Fraxel laser leaves some areas of the skin untouched. For every microthermal zone the laser targets and treats, it leaves the surrounding area of tissue intact. This “fractional” treatment allows the skin to heal much faster, using the body’s natural healing process to create new, healthy tissue to replace skin imperfections. For most clients, three to five sessions are recommended, spaced about five days to a month apart, depending on the doctor’s opinion. Though clients may experience some temporary redness, mild flaking, and light swelling, there is minimal downtime, and makeup can be applied immediately after.
Fine lines and wrinkles can also be treated with laser resurfacing, which is more invasive than the Fraxel treatment and requires anesthesia and significant downtime. During laser resurfacing, Dr. Stetler explains, “the laser vaporizes the top layer of the skin and a portion of the second layer, tightening collagen and causing the skin to produce new collagen over the next several months.” This treatment requires only one session. — Courtney Dreslin
Illustration: Cyrille Berger
Magic In a Bottle
Whether you need to smooth, soothe, or just protect your skin from the sun, these home-grown products do the trick.
1 SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, a favorite of Uma Thurman, protects against UVA/UVB rays and stimulates collagen production ($125/Dallas Center for Dermatology and Aesthetics). 2 Mon Amie’s Liquid Gold smooths and conditions skin and keeps makeup in place ($30/Mon Amie’s at OmLife). 3 Aquavedic from Andy Moulton adjusts to your SPF preference ($35/Aqua Spa). 4 Thalgo Bio-Protective Sunscreen SPF 50 protects your skin without clogging pores ($38.50/www.nordstrom.com). 5 Lightweight yet heavy-duty Christi Harris Hydradermal Lift Complex makes skin more youthful thanks to increased moisture retention ($85/Christi Harris Makeover Center, Galleria Dallas or www.christiharris.com). 6 Natura Bisse Special FX line, including Blemish Focus, Red Diffuser, Eye Illuminater, Lip Booster, and Line Refine, is perfect for “emergencies” while traveling ($44-$52/ Neiman Marcus, NorthPark). 7 Actifirm Skin Renovation System—morning cleanser, enzyme cellular peel, and renovation cream—exfoliates and rejuvenates damaged skin in just a click of a dial ($225/Spa at the Crescent).
8 Imedeen Systematic Skin Solution pills stop the signs of aging and restore a youthful appearance ($170 for three-month supply/Bella Vita Rejuvenation Center). 9 Silky-feeling Lady Primrose Lip Full-Fill plumps lips and reduces fine lines ($6/Spa at the Crescent).
10 Smoothing Skintastic C/R/S Vitamin C Serum helps improve skin texture and tone ($88/Skintastic). 11 Thalgo Energising Vitality Cream is a refreshing dose of moisture that corrects signs of dehydration ($48/www.nordstrom.com).—Stephanie Quadri
Photo: Ka and Jan Yeung
Meet personal trainers and newlywds Rebecca and Robb Peterson, the brains and brawn behind Dallas’ best bodies.