Salon and Spa Services: The New, the Unusual, and the Newly Relevant

Lifestyle editor Christy DeSmith takes us through the latest pampering techniques featured at local salons and spas.

OPI Products

When we set out to sample local salon and spa services, we focused on the new, the unusual, or the newly relevant—since women suddenly want to save money by stretching time between hair appointments, and there are a handful of classic salon services to aid them in that endeavor. While we were at it, we couldn’t help but indulge another subset: the relaxing!

OPI Axxium Soak-Off Gel Lacquer
Everyone’s after a better, more resilient manicure these days. Here’s one that lasts approximately two weeks. In conjunction with OPI, the Ivy Spa Club is offering a thicker, stronger lacquer that gets cured (with UV lighting) in between each of its three coats. Choose from an assortment of 12 popular OPI colors. Our favorites include Lincoln Park After Dark and I'm Not Really a Waitress. $65. Ivy Spa Club, 201 S. 11th St., Mpls., 612-343-3131,

This treatment is hardly new. In fact, balayage is an old-fashioned French technique in which highlights are hand-painted, rather than foiled, onto the hair. It’s a low-tech, even primitive process—for example, Saran wrap is applied to the painted hair for 45 minutes or so, in order to heat and set the highlights. But balayage is special because it allows the aesthetician to handpick the hair’s most beautiful sweeps and curls. The color tends to be subtler than the typical foil, so the highlights grow out more gracefully, making it easier on your pocketbook. Already, balayage is the preferred highlight at high-end salons on the coasts. Prices start at $90 for a partial, $110 for a full balayage with a Studio-level colorist. Juut SalonSpa, seven metro locations, including Gaviidae Common, Mpls., 612-332-4438,

Another way to achieve recession-friendly highlights is to go for a two-toned look. Nino Altobelli, vice president and creative director for Rocco Altobelli Salons, calls it “minking,” a technique that incorporates darker, generally more natural colors at the hairline with bold bolts of blondes and reds introduced into lower layers of hair. The funky, high-fashion results are at home on sleek, architectural hairstyles, although Altobelli also offers a less chunky, more integrated version for curly and wavy hair types. In any case, you certainly won’t show your roots! $43–$83. Rocco Altobelli Salons, seven metro locations, including Galleria, 952-920-5006,

Regis Salons are touting a line of tinted cellophane treatments from Sebastian, a California-based line of salon products. Like any gloss treatment, they work well for adding luster to lifeless locks. But they come with an added bonus: a subtle coat of color to tide you over in between pricier salon treatments. Choose between nine colors including Golden Brunette, Clear, and Pearl Blonde. I went for a combo of the Golden and Honey Blondes. The result looked natural, but the colors were richer and plenty shiny. $35. Regis Salons, 21 metro locations, including Mall of America, 952-854-8484,

Zerona Lipo Laser
Zap thunder thighs and belly blubber with this high-tech treatment, which penetrates the skin to liquefy fat cells. This isn’t polite conversation, but you must know: The unwanted chub then gets purged by way of the digestive tract. In the olden days, this cold laser-light treatment was used to prime patients for liposuction. But they found it to be so effective it ascended to become a treatment all its own. $2,999 for 12 40-minute sessions. Arne Wellness Center and Chiropractic Spa, 12455 Ridgedale Dr., Ste. 201, Minnetonka, 952-697-3100,

Body Shaping
Not recommended for the modest, this bizarre and slightly mystifying service requires getting undressed and lying beneath a bath towel. From there, a technician rubs two high-tech wands over parts of the body: One has color and light, the other high-frequency sound waves. Get it? Neither do we! On the body’s meatier regions, such as the hips and buttocks, the technician adds an aggressive massage to the mix. All of this is to stimulate the lymphatic system, detoxify the body, and, with any luck, reduce cellulite and add firmness to muscles. For several days after the treatment, the client may notice an increased frequency of bowel movements, not to mention bruising along her saddlebags. But we also noticed improved firmness and reduced cellulite for a week or two. Starting at $160 for 50 minutes on the body; starting at $240 for full body and face. Sanctuary SalonSpa, 995 Prairie Center Drive, Eden Prairie, 952-949-1313; 1201 Harmon Pl., Mpls., 612-333-0300; 16506B W. 78th St., Eden Prairie, 952-253-4500; 5615 Manitou Rd., Tonka Bay, 952-474-4412,

Perfect Pearl Facial
Most facials don’t boast an algae seawater pearl mask that’s so comforting and calming, it quickly puts the wearer to sleep. Our aesthetician at Spalon Montage has seen this thick, moisturizing mask cast so many spells that she’s taken to calling it the “coma mask.” This new service from the newly renovated salon/spa features a fun self-heating marine mask massage as well as algae and seawater pearl treatments to replenish stressed-out muscles and skin. Then, of course, there are the typical features: cleansing, exfoliating, extraction, and so on. But it’s really the seaweed mask that makes this facial so special. $150 for 90 minutes. Spalon Montage, 3909 W. 49 1/2 St., Edina; 600 Market St., Ste. 270, Chanhassen; 8375 Seasons Pkwy., Woodbury, 952-915-2900,

Thai Yoga Massage
Anyone suffering from stress or inflexibility will benefit greatly from this ancient healing art. Buddhist monks first performed it thousands of years ago, but it’s a relatively new offering at The Marsh. Available from two therapists in the spa, the service incorporates rhythmic massage, acupressure, and yoga stretching, though nothing too strenuous—the most extreme yoga position I encountered was cobra, but even that was done with the therapist’s support and guidance. I asked the therapist to focus on my stiff neck and tense shoulders. The results were spectacular: She gave a full-body massage but focused on my problem spots by tenderizing the neck and shoulder muscles via a series of massage and pressure techniques. Then she pulled my arms in every which direction to relax my stubborn trapezoids. For an even lovelier experience, book your massage while the weather’s still warm. By request and weather dependent, you can get your massage outdoors: The therapist will arrange a mattress and blankets in a tucked-off corner of The Marsh’s enchanting back deck. 60–90 minutes, $95–$120 for members, $110–$135 for non-members. The Marsh, 15000 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka, 952-935-2202,