Best spa treatments in NYC
New Yorkers aren’t really bath-takers. (Soaking in that teeny tub you share with three roommates? No thanks!) The Japanese, on the other hand, have the onsen, a traditional bathing ritual that served as the inspo for the baths at Shibui Spa. Try a 30-minute private Elemental Detox bath ($95), which uses mineral-rich Himalayan salt to draw toxins out of the body and improve circulation while a blend of grapefruit, rosemary and juniper oils gets skin baby soft.
Head to the world’s first and only Essie flagship salon—soon to expand to a second floor—for the most thorough mani/pedi of your life. Staff are trained in the Essie way, from the technique they use to remove old polish to the mini hand massage. They’re also careful to check up on the health of your nails and offer tips as they buff and polish your hands and feet to perfection. Classic sheers are the most popular—you know, Mademoiselle or Ballet Slipper—but for a pop of color, check out summer-ready Hiking Heels, a hot lava red. Mani, 30 minutes, $38; pedi, one hour, $70.
The one-hour treatment here uses a Korean exfoliation technique that scrubs and massages almost every inch of your body clean after a visit to the steam room. Ask the specialist to start with mild pressure and work from there. A seaweed detox, hair shampoo and conditioning, and a cucumber eye treatment are included, meaning you’re leaving the place practically a whole new person.
Brace yourself—but just a little. After a mild glycolic peel, a specialist uses a machine with a diamond tip to remove the top layer of skin (the spa is fond of saying that it feels like a cat’s tongue) revealing clear, glowy skin. They recommend following up with a true facial—that means extractions—to clean out every last pore, followed by soothing serums and masks. It may not be quite as relaxing as you’re hoping, but the lit-from-within look you'll have for weeks afterward is totally worth it—just ask salon regular Gisele Bündchen.
Joanna Vargas has a cult following of Hollywood A-listers who, when prepping for award shows and galas and such, clamor for her Triple Crown Facial. Essentially, the signature micro-current treatment uses a two-pronged tool to gently massage the face and deliver a teeny amount of electricity. The effect is a slight lifting and firming of the skin, not to mention a pretty glow. This is actually one of the more relaxing treatments we’ve tried, so get ready to exit feeling like a zenned-out zombie.
The 2,000-year-old Thai style of massage can best be described by comparing it to yoga. More active than a typical massage, your body will be moved and stretched by the masseuse to relax muscles, increase flexibility and relieve tension. Some places actually use a bed so the specialist can move around the client more easily, but here, they use a table. Look forward to feeling totally refreshed and stretched out. One hour, $110; 90 minutes, $160.
If you’re looking for less participation and more playing dead, consider Oasis Day Spa’s lava stone massage. During it, you’ll get to lay immobile and have a trained professional do the heavy lifting. In addition to a full-body massage with warm oil and basalt, marble stones heated to hot, warm and cool temps are placed alternately on the body to relax and release tight muscles. Heavenly. (Prices start at $155 for either a Swedish or a deep-tissue massage for 60 or 90 minutes.)
When you find a good one, you keep them for life—and we’re not talking about significant others. It can be hard to find a good waxer, and that’s why we love Haven: All the best are there. The biggest decision will be your choice of three kinds of waxes, and we’re partial to the hard version. It’s slathered on, dries in a flash and, because it sticks to hair and not to skin, is about as painless as a waxing is going to be.
City smog, harsh products and sunlight can sap moisture and minerals from tresses, leaving them damaged and lifeless. The hair and scalp treatments at Paul Labrecque—like the Lemongrass Deep Hair Conditioner—work to repair and replenish all the good things in the best way possible: Nourishing oil and rich products are worked into your scalp during the almost-an-hour-long treatment that also includes a neck massage. You’ll leave totally blissed out and with the softest, shiniest hair. $55