In the midst of rustic woods, there sits a three-story building. Upon opening its front door, visitors unleash a gentle wave of aromatherapy scents and warm air. They step inside, where therapists lead them past wood accents and into private treatment rooms. World of Serenity’s spa atmosphere recalls the calm of the surrounding wilderness, and inside its walls, therapists adopt a holistic approach; they educate guests in wellness basics, such as why humans don’t eat sand, and perform a range of customized spa services. They soften faces, deep-cleanse pores, and slough of dead cells during customized facials; sometimes scouring or soothing the skin with an additional enzyme deep cleanse, warm stones, or anti-aging collagen. They also ease muscle tension with six massage modalities such as deep tissue, warm stone, and reflexology; and scrub clients from head to toe using salt and sugar rubs, and wraps made from natural dead sea mud or Paradisius—a blend of ground fruit and flower extracts.
Former model Eva Kerschbaumer evokes her native Hungary at the award-winning EsSpa Kozmetika SkinCare while also fashioning an organic haven through earth-friendly practices and products. Hand-painted murals of Hungarian street scenes and river walks create an atmosphere of Old World charm for clients to laugh at cartoon coyotes trying to buy bread from a two-dimensional storefront. Inside private treatment rooms, aestheticians follow their owner's example by crafting massages, facials, and other pampering services personalized around the client's aesthetic needs. Eva builds her retail selection on organic oils and lotions from the Hungarian ilike line. These Hungarian skincare experts pack their products with handpicked herbs, fruits, and vegetables that have a high concentration of active ingredients aimed at restoring complexions and relaxing muscles.
Skin specialists at Hair By Borga and The Spa at Borga's analyze individual skin types to customize a premicrodermabrasion cleanse using Jan Marini products. Hot towels brush away the cleanser and open pores to facilitate thorough exfoliation by a diamond-tip microdermabrasion wand. Technicians focus on fine lines, enlarged pores, and dark spots during the microdermabrasion treatment, which smoothens skin and evens its tone by uncovering healthy skin cells. After the procedure, Jan Marini glycolic resurfacing gel continues the exfoliation celebration, reducing the appearance of minor scars, hyperpigmentation, and vampire love bites. A custom mask drenches faces in moisture before an application of Jan Marini lotion with added sun block preps them for return to the outside world.
Jeffrey Grinnel knew he wanted to study massage to help escape the stressfulness of his career in business management; what he didn’t know was it would eventually ignite a new passion and jumpstart a new career path. He opened his massage practice BodyWorks of ShadySide 10 years ago, and since delving into his new line of work, Grinnel has developed the skills to whisk away muscular tension and stimulate physical health with massage techniques, skin treatments, and holistic healing. In the Swedish massage, the specialist uses a relaxing series of strokes called effleurage to invigorate muscles, stimulate the circulatory system, and undo muscle knots. He can also conduct a reflexology treatment, which reduces tension by targeting pressure points on the body.
Evolve Wellness Spa's licensed staff of aestheticians helps flagging physiques replenish their pep with an array of holistic services. Begin a revitalizing afternoon with the Primal Relaxation massage ($70), marked by rhythmic strokes with light-to-medium pressure designed to roll over muscle groups, whisk away worries, and expel lingering fears of cattle-robbing chupacabras. Once the body goes limp from hip to neck, Evolve Wellness Spa's resident staffers then apply a barrage of natural and organic skincare products to the face, all in an effort to balance and purify the smooth epidermal surface ($80).
Capristo Salon & Wellness Spa is more than just a beauty haven—it's a family legacy. The late founder, Bruce Capristo, started styling hair at the age of 19. He owned and operated many successful salons in the Pittsburgh area beginning in the 1960s, including his flagship site—Capristo International—where he worked alongside his wife, Cheech. Bruce established a strong reputation while working in fashion, film, and television; he even styled hair on the set of the 1968 cult classic Night of the Living Dead.
The location that Bruce opened on Ellsworth Avenue has now been going strong for more than 25 years. When Bruce passed away in 2006, his son Roman—a master stylist who trained with the likes of Vidal Sassoon and Bumble and bumble—took over the business, continuing his father's dream. And although she no longer works as an aesthetician and stylist, you might still see Cheech helping out behind the scenes.
The laid-back atmosphere at the salon and spa keeps both clients and staffers happy; in fact, some of the stylists have been with the company since the very beginning. The crew hands out complimentary martinis on Wednesday evenings, pampering guests with custom facials and body wraps. In a private spa-party room filled with padded chairs and sheer drapery, the beauty experts ply brides-to-be or birthday girls with complimentary champagne and hors d'oeuvres.