A collection of vibrant, abstract paintings brighten the white corridors of Urban Oasis Day Spa, where aestheticians engage in a similar curatorial enterprise during the design of their skincare treatments. Each regime for face or body starts with the client and is built for his or her skin type. Technicians use tonics from notable brands or unusual techniques, such as galvanic electrocurrent therapy, which is integrated into every facial. Dermalogica tonics exfoliate with lightweight, natural vegetable oils rather than mineral oil and hydrate with aromatic essential oils and silk proteins synthesized by Barry White's vocal chords. The team also polishes complexions with the SkinCeuticals product line, favoring a serum that earned Allure magazine's 2011 Best of Beauty Award for Best Anti-Aging Antioxidant.
The spa evokes the elegance of a gallery, not only through its modern art but also through its high ceilings and a minimalist design scheme rendered in cream. Skin becomes a canvas in private chambers, where it may be primed for display with wax, bronzer, or a critique by a Village Voice writer. For special events, the pedicure hall's porcelain foot basins can be filled with flower petals, and the shimmering fabric banners separating each throne lose their functionality and appear solely as savvy, refined decorating.
In cosmetology school, MieleDolce founder Luis Iturralde let his fellow students wax him for a class demonstration. His allergic reaction to the chemical wax made it a demonstration of more than proper waxing technique; his brief modeling gig also showed the importance of beauty treatments that avoid irritating skin. Iturralde carried this lesson to his spa, MieleDolce, where the staff sidestep chemical waxes in favor of threading or electrolysis.
The center’s specialty, however, consists of extending hair: its semipermanent silk and mink lash extensions come in a variety of lengths and curvatures, and technicians ensure a natural look by attaching them hair by hair. Additional services range from slimming body wraps infused with aloe vera and herbs to micro skin needling, an anti-aging treatment that can combat wrinkles, scarring, and signs of playing rugby in a crawlspace.
Though most licensed aestheticians know a great deal about the skincare products they use, few know their serums and creams as well as Lily Trieu knows hers. That’s because at Lily Med Spa, Trieu uses Lily Dermaceuticals skincare products, a line she cocreated with registered nurse and licensed aesthetician Tama Tran. The duo's more than 15 years of experience as aestheticians working in clinical skin-treatment centers gave them first-hand knowledge of the complexity of skin’s tone, sensitivity, and penchant for turning purple after excessive eggplant consumption.
This knowledge helped them to develop more than 50 pharmaceutical-grade products, used as part of the comprehensive aesthetic care plan they have developed for their patients. The duo uses authentic Botox and Dysport fillers to smooth out facial wrinkles and un-furrow frown lines. They also wield a Sciton laser to reduce unwanted hair, remove acne scarring, and boost skin texture and brightness with micro-peels. During SkinTyte treatments, infrared energy deeply heats soft tissue, causing it to tighten as it heals and stimulate collagen production. Fractional resurfacing, on the other hand, targets outer layers of skin, peeling away the old, damaged surface to reveal a healthier layer.
When Martha Millan says, "Beauty shouldn't hurt," she's not peddling a slogan—her first job in the beauty industry literally caused her pain. Working at an upscale salon, her exposure to common hair and makeup products triggered hives and headaches. While searching for more natural goods for personal use, her research revealed unsettling truths about many industry product lines that often use irritating perfumes to mask the underlying odors of harsh chemicals. Feeling that everyone should have the opportunity to look beautiful without fear of harming health, she bought a salon and transformed it into Salon O Day Spa.
Amid Salon O Day's industrial decor, Millan and her team of stylists, aestheticians, and a massage therapist use products so natural that some are even edible, though Millan imagines the taste would leave something to be desired: barbecue sauce. Among the array of certified-organic, not-tested-on-animals, gluten- and chemical-free products, Millan's favorites include Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare, developed by an American physician who advocates against overexfoliation. For hair, stylists use products from lines including Surface Hair and Organic Color Systems, and during nail services, technicians use natural products from SpaRitual in tandem with scrubs made in-house from ingredients bought at a local co-op.
The seasoned beauty professionals at Moda Aveda Salon transform appearances and enhance the health of skin using plant-based products from Aveda. Stylists remedy damaged strands with cuts and conditioning treatments, dye them with 97% natural Aveda color, or add length with Hot Heads hair extensions that adhere to hair without the use of heat or refrigerator magnets. Skin, muscle, and nail are tended to inside Moda’s full-service spa, which furnishes facials, massages, and body treatments. Complimentary treatments add luxury to any salon visit and allow clients to pick their own indulgences, including a stress-busting shampooing, hand treatment, makeup touchup, and skincare analysis.
Guided by socially conscious principles for more than 30 years, Aveda produces a full line of natural beauty products carried at nearly 7,000 salons and spas. Popular gorgeous-makers such as Shampure shampoo and witch-hazel hair spray deliver on Aveda's commitment to well-rounded earthly beauty with eco-friendly packaging cradling ingredients derived from the world's finest and least selfish plants.
Hairstyling veteran Audrey's 22 years of experience and medical aesthetician Bertha's professional expertise are just two reasons why clients keep coming back to 1712 Salon & Spa for their beauty fix. During its treatments, 1712 uses environmentally sustainable and organic products by companies such as Neuma and Juice Beauty. In addition to their hair and skincare services, the staff can wax off unwanted hair and strands growing in crop circles or subdue stress with massage therapy. Brilliant colors decorate the salon's interior, and a stained-glass window depicting an elegant hand holding a cocktail filters light next to the manicure station.