Jean Madeline Aveda Institute beautifies hair and bodies with a wide array of pampering services while preparing tomorrow's stylists to forge the fashion frontier. Wielding an arsenal of contemporary knowledge and organic Aveda products, these well-educated cosmetologists-in-training can sculpt over-tussled manes into timeless coiffeurs ($16) or snip a couple inches off to avoid sweeping stray candy wrappers across the floor with every step ($12). An aromatherapy wrap can relax away inner city stressors by massaging in a choice of scented oils ($35). Those whose facial planes have dulled with the sandpapering of time will enjoy the customized facial, where a torso massage is combined with a mix of products to treat specific skin types until countenances are as radiant as a cherub in a spotlight ($33). Jean Madeline Aveda Institute also offers waxing services to lay bare lips ($8), brows ($11), underarms ($20), dorsal fins, and more.
In 1964, the Carusos decided to start a spa. They wanted to open it in a century-old Victorian house, but the fixer-upper definitely needed a few renovations first. For a year, the Carusos used their evenings and weekends to fashion a spa atmosphere reminiscent of ancient Roman baths. Amid chandeliers, corinthian columns, and engravings of ancient Olympic potato-sack races, stylists craft haircuts and therapists soothe muscles in private treatment rooms. Though stylists use nationally renowned products from Dermalogica and Redken during treatments, they also use styling tools patented by the Carusos themselves.
Posh Nail Studio’s nail technicians furbish fingers and toes with manicures and pedicures that pamper skin with botanicals such as aloe juice, peppermint oil, soybean oil, and cucumber heel cream. Instead of posing like a flamingo during spa pedicures, clients unwind in a massage chair as a technician cleanses and files each toe-shield and removes dull skin cells with an exfoliating sand scrub. Hot-rock massages melt tension from legs and feet during treatments such as Rock the Posh and the Milk Me pedicure, and hot towels envelop hooves in warmth more soothing than a lullaby sung by someone with cough-drop breath.
Mani-pedis are one of the most requested services at Spa East, according to the Philadelphia Tribune, and for good reason. The spa specializes in Minx nails, which are thin, flexible coverings that add vibrant color while strengthening the nail, helping the look last longer. Add on a hot-stone massage and an exfoliating, homemade foot mask, and you've got the luxe chocolate-and-champagne Minx mani-pedi, which was named as the Best of Philly by Philadelphia Magazine in 2010.
But expertise at Spa East extends far beyond a single service. Owner Samiyyah Staten has dedicated more than 10 years to studying aesthetics and massage, focusing largely on Eastern practices that combine natural and holistic elements. Her staff draws on lifetimes of training and experience to administer treatments from green-tea facials to reflexology, reiki, and shiatsu. Besides channeling ancient Asian traditions, the aestheticians tailor their services to each client's needs, such as dry skin, ingrown hairs, or eyebrows that are unable to convey the emotion of wistful.
Amid comforting earth tones, Victoria V Salon & Spa’s hardworking stylists refashion coiffures and appendages. A mani-pedi exfoliates fingers and toes while shaping nails and cuticles, leaving behind fingers worthy of wearing opulently edible ring lollipops. Each haircut and color spruces scalps with a customized cut and blow-dry, followed by a color retouch and glaze application. Victoria V’s stylists tailor their salon treatments to complement the unique head shape and hair texture of each patron, ensuring that every newly crafted hairdo corresponds to its owner’s favorite presidential wig.
Relaxation is a key concept at Genesis Nail Salon in the Northern Liberties neighborhood. Orchids line the windows and bright Easter-colored walls vary from one wall to the next to make this salon a cozy place. A well-conceived variety of manicures and pedicures means that each customer can receive the service of their choice. Genesis offers waxing as well as massages, and don’t be surprised if you’re offered a short complimentary neck massage while waiting for your nails to dry. Genesis is less about flash and more about attentiveness and overall customer support; you can even sign up for a membership, where for every dollar you spend, you’ll accumulate points to earn free services.