The talented nail technicians at Birgit's Hair & Skin revamp scraggy digits and torn-up toes with relaxing nail services enhanced by high-quality OPI polish. The classic manicure hydrates hands with a warm paraffin dip add-on ($6 value) before filing and shaping nails, and sends off pampered appendages with a professional polish (a $20 value). During the signature pedicure, feet swim through the frothy spumes of a whirlpool bath inhabited by foaming sea rocks and rubber duckies, and can choose from three decadent foot treatments: cooling aloe stress relief, warming enzymatic sea-mud mask, or invigorating peppermint sea twist. The opulent pedicure exfoliates and massages appendages, trims and primps toenails, and applies a long-lasting coat of polish (a $42 value). The entire service lasts approximately one hour—about the same amount of time the average person spends tying their shoelaces each day.
High-school pals Andrea Veres and Christina Yeates drew inspiration from their own friendship when they opened The Waxing Studio & Spa in 2006, treating skin with the same care they give each other. Their approach is low-tech and gentle, and the airy spa's sleek, black-and-robin's-egg-blue rooms stay chic and tidy with nontoxic, earth-friendly cleaners. Light streams into the quiet massage rooms, where therapists demonstrate camaraderie during tandem and couples massages, before showing commitment to the earth by laundering towels in high-efficiency machines.
Aestheticians gently balance complexions with bronze scales and Hungarian skincare products from Szép Elét, an organic line rich in active ingredients and aromatic botanicals. The Waxing Studio & Spa’s defuzzing specialists created a stage between a traditional bikini wax and a Brazilian—jokingly dubbed the "B.I.T." or Brazilian In Training—to ease women into skimpier swimsuits without cutting support for bacon consumption, and eyebrow specialists will shape arches for men and women with tweezers or the ancient art of threading.
To support their community, the staff invites local vendors to display their handmade jewelry, paintings, and purses in the boutique alongside Szép Elét tonics to take home.
At White Lotus Therapeutic Massage, licensed massage therapist Alexander Huber Sciolino draws from different modalities to customize each treatment to his clients' liking. With help from fellow therapist Kelly Zywiczynski Giles, Alexander works with clients on either table or chair to address issues such as anxiety, chronic pain, or sports injuries acquired vicariously through the TV.
Clients dictate the particulars of each session, deciding whether the massage therapist uses scented oils, puts on music, and sings the high or low harmony to "Amazing Grace." Therapists follow proper draping protocols to put clients at ease as they apply light pressure, deep strokes, and hot stones to ailing muscles.
The thought of leaving the house and facing the world sometimes stopped Rachel Kaye in her tracks. She had suffered from cystic acne from childhood into her adult life, and her self-esteem hovered at a low level. Surrounding herself with flawless-skinned individuals while working as a cosmetologist did not help either. And then Rachel made a life-changing decision: she enrolled in school for aesthetics, and learned to treat skin conditions such as her own. She now helps clients overcome chronic acne, oily skin, sun damage, and other stubborn issues with custom facials and chemical peels.
Licensed massage therapist Jamie Randall employs scented or unscented oils to unspool tight muscles with her patrons' choice of custom bodywork. In the comfort of a private room, Jamie discusses body-pressure preferences with clients to avoid activating old injuries or triggering pressure-sensitive land-mine tattoos. During 30- or 60-minute sessions, she can work to improve range of motion with firm deep-tissue kneads or employ the long, flowing strokes of a Swedish-style rub to promote blood circulation to tired limbs. At the finish of each massage, a foot rub with a peppermint-scented oil and moisturizer adds a spring to patrons' steps without tripping them with a casually discarded Slinky.
"I enjoy helping people become pain free so that they can get their lives back," writes nationally certified massage therapist Donna Brainard on her website. It was this passion to help others that originally led her to the New York Institute of Massage, where she graduated in 2002. But her education didn't end there. To this day, Ms. Brainard enrolls in new courses to keep up with the latest massage techniques and check whether humans have developed superhuman strength. Her efforts become evident within her quiet massage room. Here, soft music massages eardrums as the practitioner's nimble fingers use Swedish, deep-tissue, and reflexology techniques, which she augments with lotions and a passable whale impression.