Violet Skin Boutique has been the go-to spot for Boston complexions since 2004, but its story actually starts about 30 years prior. In 1975, Violet Mkhitaryan first began concocting skin products in her native Armenia. She cracked open old books to mine eastern European recipes for inspiration, and when she wasn't whisking oils and herbs into face-rejuvenating salves, she was running spas. Over the following decades, Violet helmed spas in Armenia and Moscow, all while earning degrees in aesthetics and biochemistry, and finally staked her claim in Boston.
Violet's products have appeared not only on customers' faces but in numerous press outlets, including the pages of Martha Stewart's Whole Living and the Improper Bostonian, which called her line the city's best local beauty products. She makes her lauded serums surrounded by glass jugs, dried flower petals, and everything nice in a lab that the Boston Globe described as resembling a pastry chef's kitchen. At her spa's two locations, she beautifies her clients with facials and body treatments celebrated by Every Day with Rachel Ray.
George Kelloyan knows how to treat celebrity manes—both Christina Applegate and Fergie trusted their tresses to his adept hands, which have been trained in London, Paris, Milan, and New York. Today, George draws on 20 years of experience as he leads and educates his stylists at El Coco International Salon & Day Spa. These artisans perform their services with plant-sourced Aveda products, such as conditioners with natural, mood-altering aromas and texture lotions infused with organic marshmallow root that go great with s'mores. Stylists tint coiffures with bold primary colors and natural hues, which brim with conditioning plant oils that prevent damage and lock in shine. Staffers also up the ante of relaxation with mani-pedis, waxing, and Aveda-inspired massages. For their hard work, these artisans have received best-of awards from Vogue and Improper Bostonian.
For licensed massage therapist Joy Clarkson, healing is more than just kneading away muscle knots. As a 13-year massage-therapy veteran, she's grown to incorporate meditation and sound into her practice at Enjoy Holistic Healing. Sessions may use gongs and Tibetan singing bowls, as well as her voice; this may include chanting, toning, or speaking the phone book very slowly. However, because she tailors these sessions to each individual, she may use as few or as many of these methods during massages, alongside lomilomi, reflexology, and other modalities.
Heartsound Bodywork's practitioners—David Gregoire and Judith Podmore—call upon more than 20 years of holistic experience. They instruct students of all ages and abilities in the practice of reiki, a method of hands-on healing that balances the body’s natural energy flow and promotes healing and wellness. It has a variety of applications, including pre- and postoperative support, labor support, and channeling the spirit of a distant panda cousin. David is also a certified massage therapist, qualifying him to employ his hands to shoo stress from clients’ aching muscles.
Inside the studio, clients absorb every serene drop of the room's dim lighting, gentle melodies, and pudding-coated floor. David and Judith perform soothing therapies in a private room painted a sea-green hue. A whimsical Maxfield Parrish print adorns the wall, and purified air inundates the space thanks to a salt lamp.
Licensed massage therapist Laura Broderick of Solstice Massage & Bodywork rejuvenates muscles, minds, and epidermises with soothing skincare and massage services using hand-forged, 90% organic 9th Scentury products. During the sugar-scrub treatment, clients select from three scented formulas with essential oils such as chamomile, bergamot, or rosewood. A circuitous scrub exfoliates away dead skin cells and sketches landing targets for sugar-plum fairies, followed by a moisturizing lotion and warm toweling to soften legs, arms, backs, and stiff pinkies. A customized 30-minute Swedish or deep-tissue massage unbraids knotty tissue with long, gliding strokes or deep, targeted pressure to unleash chronic tension buried in muscles. Massage benefits bodies by stimulating circulation and bolstering the immune system, and by lowering blood pressure, which explains why traffic cops typically sentence road-raged drivers to massage therapy.