Body & Soul

Whether you want a relaxing massage, your hair expertly styled, or to work off the pounds, these are the top spots to start looking—and feeling -- your best

Massage

Choosing a "best massage" is harder than one might think. What's better? Hot rocks or deep tissue? Aromatherapy or reflexology? Swedish or Thai? You can see the dilemma. That's why we are in L-O-V-E with Urbána City Spa's Sixty-minute Sampler massage, which combines sooth- ing Swedish strokes, deep compression, neuromuscular therapy, hot stones, and acupressure (applied by the feet of a therapist holding onto ceiling bars) into one deliriously fabulous massage experience. Nobody should have to be forced to choose just one type of bliss, and now you don't have to. $115 for sixty minutes; $160 for ninety minutes. 7510 Pineville Matthews Rd., Ste. 5B, 704-543-1700; 16838 Birkdale Commons Pkwy., Ste. B, 704-710-8000

Hair Colorist

A good colorist knows just what shade of nutmeg will complement your coloring and how to strategically apply highlights in the right places to frame your face. A great colorist knows that when you say, "I want to go darker," what you actually want is more dimension and richness in your current shade. Amy Swaney at Shine Salon anticipates that come this summer you'll want to lighten it up to match your temporary tan, so she is careful not to color over existing highlights. And, best of all, she knows how to wield the chemical compounds and turn your hair into your best accessory, making your friends and co-workers jealous of your shiny, long-lasting hue. Color services are $80 to $110 and up. 1900 Commonwealth Ave., 704-344-0338

Hair Stylist

Known in the styling world by just the one name, Hudson at Valeria Salon Spa Boutique is a perfect match for those of us who don't like to micromanage our own haircuts. He takes a detailed look at your hair, your face, your style, and creates a cut that not only flatters your every angle, but fits into your lifestyle as well. His motto is that it's not the hair you cut off but rather the hair that's left that's important. So whether he deems that all you need is a perfect trim or he challenges you to embrace a bold new cut and style, you know your strands are in good hands with Hudson. Cuts start at $55 for women and $30 for men. 9620 Holly Point Dr., 704-987-3888

Nutritionist/Diet Coach

We all have our nutritional battles to fight. No matter what your challenge, certified nutritionist Anthony Montoya is ready to help you take it on. His roster of clients includes performance athletes looking to achieve single-digit body fat, chronically overweight clients looking to improve their lives and health, and folks just looking to shed a few pounds or kick an addiction to sugary treats. He offers unlimited phone and e-mail contact to all of his clients so they can call with menu questions or to let him know how pumped they are that they just purchased a smaller pair of jeans (those calls are his favorite). Fees range from $100 for a ninety-minute consult to $600 for multiweek programs with continuous assessments, custom menu plans, and unlimited follow-up. 704-604-1749

Waxer

Beth Solomon at Charles Grayson has seen the women of Charlotte (and a fair amount of the men) at their stubbly, over-grown worst. She must be good if any of us can manage to swallow our shame and face her month after month knowing what she has seen. Her easy, professional manner (we never sense that she's judging us, even if we know we would deserve it if she did) and flawless execution of each tug, strip, and pull makes getting waxed to perfection a slightly less painful prospect than it would be anywhere else.$17 (brows only) to $110 (full leg and bikini). Specialty Shops on the Park, 6401 Morrison Blvd., 704-364-2944

Couples Massage

In our most romantic of fantasies, we would be relaxed from head to toe with a ninety-minute massage and then indulge in a rich (preferably chocolate) dessert and sip cool Champagne while we are fanned with palm fronds. Sigh. Wait, what? We can have that? Minus the palm fronds, that is exactly what you will get when you reserve a couple's massage for you and a special someone at Modern Salon & Spa's Ballantyne location. $280 for sixty minutes; $330 for ninety minutes. 14815 Ballantyne Village Way, Ste. 120, 704-339-0909

Prenatal Massage

Some pregnant women are hesitant to get a massage because they already know all too well that lying in bed isn't exactly comfortable. Charles Grayson to the rescue! Its prenatal massage uses strategically positioned pillows to keep mamas- to-be comfortable while therapists work the stress out of their legs, feet, neck, back, and shoulders. The massage can be done anytime after the first trimester through full term. The massages are $90 for sixty minutes. 6401 Morrison Blvd., 704-364-2944

Body Treatment

The downside of some spa wraps and scrubs is that the effect of the treatment is lost after the two showers it takes to get all the mud/oil/seaweed off and feel clean again. That's why we love the effervescence of the Champagne and Rose Scrub at Voci Spa. The bubbly grapes are used during an intense exfoliation that infuses skin with antioxidants. Rose essence and shea butter (which is luxuriously applied after the scrub) can undo even the worst dryness. Best of all, after this $100 scrub you'll feel so smooth and smell so yummy you may not want to shower for days. Stonecrest, 7808 Rea Rd., 704-752-8030

Mani/Pedi ('Burbs)

It's been a year and we're still in love with the complimentary par- affin wax dip that comes with every spa pedicure and the scent of the orange sugar scrub that finishes the manicures at Ballantyne Nail Spa, so we're lauding it as one of the best yet again. Well-pol- ished ladies on the south side liked having this spa as their little secret, but we're thrilled that a second location has opened near Cotswold so that we can get our fix on either side of I-485. 14815 Ballantyne Village Way, Ste. 280, 704-369-5188; 2935 Providence Rd., 704-364-4811

Mani/Pedi

Just when the wait time at our favorite city nail spa gets a little too long, another spot opens! Now we've got three fab locations of Polished Nail Bar to choose from: the original South End location; the Myers Park location, which opened in 2009; and the brand-new location at Phillips Place. Our “bar” of choice at the moment is the Myers Park location, which is equipped with a full row of flat-screen TVs and a most mesmerizing LED chandelier that changes colors. No matter which Polished you choose, you'll get the same free-flowing glasses of wine, efficient service, and huge color selection. 2041 South Blvd., Ste. F, 704-954-0004; 605 Providence Rd., 704-375-3488; 6700 Fairview Rd., 704-643-9199

Green Spa

Uptown's new Ritz-Carlton hotel's dedication to all things earth-friendly extends right on up to the 17th and 18th floors, where its wellness center sprawls invitingly. All products used and sold in the spa are organic, and many of its luxurious treatments utilize all-natural essential oils from Laboratory of Flowers. Even the indoor pool is in on the green game -- it's treated with bromide instead of chlorine. We've never needed much motivation to treat ourselves to an afternoon of pampering, but knowing that we're doing something good for Mother Nature at the same time sure does put the icing on the indulgence cake. Treatments range from $60-$175. 201 E. Trade St. 704-547-2244

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