To call The Body Shop a mere skin and body care store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as "Defend Human Rights" and "Protect The Planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while ultimately expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in over 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, ?She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.?
Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an eco-friendliness and social consciousness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to an EU-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screenprinted by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments such as the brand?s iconic body butters, facial products, and gift collections often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, Lucky, Seventeen and other national publications.
"Even the City that Never Sleeps needs a nap," jokes Nicolas Ronco, the owner and CEO of YeloSpa, which serves as an urban oasis for New York's overworked and overtired masses.
YeloSpa welcomes guests into a boldly colored cocoon of maroon and yellow?colors chosen by Ronco based on Tibetan monks' robes and sashes. The colors relate to specific chakras in the body, with maroon representing the chakra of vision and intuition, and yellow representing the revitalizing spirit of the heart chakra.
Once inside private nap rooms, or YeloCabs, clients gain total control over the atmosphere. They can tailor the color of the lighting, the soundtrack, and even the aroma to their personal preferences. "You can be in the jungle or you can be in a coffee shop in Vienna," Ronco says. The cushioned, leather chairs recline back so far that clients' legs are elevated over their heart, which creates a mild sense of weightlessness, gently slows heart rates, and helps guests sink into a deep state of relaxation. With these conditions, falling asleep is effortless.
The spa?s more traditional services are completely customized to each individual based on an initial consultation. Massage therapists can incorporate everything from relaxing Swedish strokes and deep-tissue pressure to more focused reflexology techniques, depending on the client's needs. Aestheticians use custom blends of balms and salves from the ?minence and Kerstin Florian lines of skincare products. Their facials can even include microcurrent treatments, LED therapy, or microdermabrasion, if necessary.
Just Calm Down Spa’s opulent atmosphere permeates every detail of the jewel-like space robed in richly hued art, where aestheticians called royal specialists dote on clients with a roster of luxuriant services infused with precious ingredients including chocolate, figs, and generous pools of essential oils. Inside private treatment rooms, the royal specialists tailor each client’s experience to his or her whims, ensuring the most delectable aromatherapy oils scent raindrop, hot-stone, heated waterbed, and foot massages, and consulting with clients about areas that may need more therapeutic attention. Before skin-perfecting facial services, royal specialists again lend their ears to clients who detail their skin’s conditions and their beauty regimens, helping the professionals select the proper skincare products to achieve glowing, supple façades. Away from the private spa treatment area, a naturally lit nail salon’s parisian details belie decadent manicure and pedicure services, including chocolate-fondue soaks, pumpkin-spiced wraps, and gentle grape-seed exfoliation. Just Calm Down Spa also plies visitors with indulgent daylong spa packages for bodies especially in need of pampering after breaking pogo-stick world records.
The Thai massage and facial treatments at Paul Labrecque Salon & Spa have received glowing praise from New York magazine and the New York Times, respectively, with the latter publication calling one of the salon's aestheticians ?one of Hollywood?s best-kept secrets.? A-list celebrities, including Pen?lope Cruz and Christy Turlington, visit to receive exfoliating treatments and in-depth facials with high-end products from Shiseido, qiora, and La Mer.
Founder Paul Labrecque treats his male and female clientele as friends and personally trains his staff in customer service and hand-to-hand combat against split ends. In addition to soothing skin during facials and microdermabrasion treatments, staffers massage muscles in eight different modalities. Their Eastern-inspired healing treatments, such as reiki and rolfing, honor the connection between the mind and body, and the salon and spa?s full list of services puts finishing touches on exteriors with haircare, makeup, and waxing, among other treatments. Each location hosts a separate, private men's salon that's part barbershop, part gentleman's club, and part knitting circle.
Gregory Serdahl was tired of hearing people refer to massage as a decadent treat. Though he appreciated massage therapy's power to pamper, he had seen the health benefits it can produce when performed every week or two. To help as many people as possible experience these benefits, he founded Massage America, a no-frills massage studio that promotes wellness with therapeutic strokes. There, a fresh line-up of licensed massage therapists tailor each service to specific needs and preferences, making clients from all walks of life feel calm, comfortable, and respected. They use their training in modalities including Swedish, deep-tissue, and sports massage to melt away bodily nuisances including tension, pain, and milk mustaches that have turned into butter beards. The therapists also specialize in deep-heat massages that incorporate hot hydroculator packs and mentholated oils that increase circulation and promote detoxification.
Sheer curtains add a layer of mystery and privacy between the stations of Grace CC Beauty Spa, allowing clients to focus on the pampering masks, aromatic sea salts, and massaging kneads that accompany the salon’s signature manicures and pedicures. The flush nail treatment menu incorporates everything from quick nail fix-ups to artificial nails and gel polish. During each treatment, nail techs use hospital-grade sterilized utensils to ensure that nails are healthier than an immortal god with a wheatgrass press. Every grooming experience comes with a complimentary nail strengthener and quick-dry top coat, helping color stay put after polishing. When not scrubbing heels and massaging legs, the staff members flex their aesthetic muscles with a variety of spa treatments that smooth skin, add a dramatic touch to lashes and brows, or wax away unwanted hair and hard-to-reach socks.