Between the frenetic pace, crowded subways, and constant cacophony, it can be tough to find a moment of stillness. To that end, the concrete jungle has a handful of self-care sanctuaries for those seeking a refuge from the hustle, bustle, and stress. Throw in wedding planning, and these New York City wellness studios become an all-important stop in your wedding beauty routine.
Stress has an annoyingly sneaky way of showing up in your body, including your skin and hair, which can make the pressure to look your best on the big day that much more intense. It also totally affects your sleep, digestion, and even communication skills with your partner. Luckily, there are lots of mind-body oriented treatments out there that can help your overall well-being and transform your stressed-out skin and hair. We're talking sessions that amplify the best of modern technology along with ancient, tried-and-true practices. These holistic treatments are about the whole body, not just outer appearances, so chances are you'll feel super relaxed and restored at the end of them.
Helmed by incredible practitioners—many of whom are women—these holistic havens are a hotbed of restorative modalities. Get started early on your wedding beauty and wellness routine, and when the big day rolls around you'll look and feel your best. Book a treatment at one New York City's best wellness studios below, ASAP!
Long before the “me time” trend took flight, Maha Rose was soulfully leading the charge. Today, this OG sacred space remains the ultimate destination for mind-body-spirit wholeness. You’ll find tons of transcendental workshops, ranging from reiki and moon gatherings to breathwork and cosmic sound baths. Prefer something more private? Patrons can schedule one-on-one healing sessions. This is also the place to shop for crystals, metaphysical books, essential oils, serenity wands, and incense. —Lindsay Cohn, Contributor
The latest self-care outpost to enter NYC’s ever-growing wellness scene is WTHN. Positioned as “a brand-new acupuncture experience,” this innovative concept solves a problem you probably didn’t even know existed. For too long, acupuncture (at least, in the Big Apple) was either prohibitively expensive or relegated to a Chinatown basement. WTNH takes a modern approach to this ancient practice, making it convenient and personalized. The studio also does cupping and facial rejuvenation with LED light therapy. —Lindsay Cohn, Contributor
Developed by blogger and cookbook author Lily Kunin—who can now add entrepreneur to her growing list of accomplishments—Clean Market is a mecca of all things healthy. The front section is stocked with a wide variety of tinctures, supplements, and tasty snacks. Seriously, we could spend hours perusing the vast selection of adaptogens alone. There’s a tonic bar along with functional grab-and-go food. And the lounge area houses cryotherapy chambers, IV drips, and infrared saunas. —Lindsay Cohn, Contributor
While the masses wouldn’t necessarily describe a nail salon as a beacon of well-being, most people haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Sundays. You can get your fingers and toes painted with pretty designs, but the real brilliance of this place is the soothing atmosphere and holistic mindset. Meditation and manicures? Sounds downright delightful. Sundays also has an eponymous line of nontoxic, vegan polishes that come in a range of gorgeous, long-lasting shades. —Lindsay Cohn, Contributor
The heart of Modrn Sanctuary is the Himalayan salt room with walls and heated floors that release beneficial negative ions. Not only is halotherapy purifying and deeply relaxing, it also bolsters immunity. Chill out in the reclining chairs or try a salt-enriched yoga class. The sensory crystal bed is great for chakra balancing and there’s a CBD massage on the menu, too. Plus, you can’t go wrong with 20 minutes in a Somadome pod. —Lindsay Cohn, Contributor
Aculectrics Cosmetic Acupuncture by Stefanie DiLibero
Stefanie DiLibero offers a multisensory experience out of Gotham Wellness, her chic SoHo office space (with soft lighting, white drapery, and natural materials, it's anything but office-like). She practices "aculectrics cosmetic acupuncture," a process that melds Chinese medicine with the latest technology and mindfulness practices. For two full, glorious hours, I experienced acupuncture first on my legs to address areas of imbalance (in my case, stress), and then a microcurrent lift massage, which stimulated my face with tiny electrical pulses. "From a Chinese medical perspective, microcurrents build chi, which helps to prepare the neck and face for acupuncture treatment, allowing the needles to work more efficiently." says DiLibero. "From a western point of view, the currents lift and sculpt the muscles of the face and drain excess fluids through the lymphatic system, as well as build collagen and elastin."
DiLibero then brought out tiny acupuncture needles, which were gently inserted into my forehead, cheeks, and other areas on my face. The process was completely painless, and her gentle hand and calming presence made me feel totally relaxed. "The needles are strategically placed to help boost energy and circulation; stimulate collagen formation; improve complexion; and also treat physiological imbalances at the same time, such as allergies, clenched jaws, anxiety, and headaches," says DiLibero. After all the needles were inserted, I lay on the table under a space-age looking professional LED light system (which helps reduce inflammation and treat skin) and listened to a relaxing, transportive meditation. I felt amazing at the end of the session and couldn't believe how glowing and clear my skin looked for days afterward. It felt like a total mind-body healing experience. When it comes to brides prepping for their wedding, DiLibero is an expert. "The treatments build on each other, so getting monthly aculectrics sessions leading up to the wedding will help you better weather the storm of all the stressors that come with planning a wedding," she says. "Because the sessions are noninvasive, it's usually safe to perform them up to the day of the wedding so that a bride looks and feels their best on the big day." Working from the outside in, this treatment is above and beyond a traditional facial; it's truly next level. —Kate Donovan, Style Director
Ayurvedic Facial Massage by Candice Forness
In addition to being a longtime makeup and grooming artist in the fashion industry, Candice Forness is a fourth-generation healer, a Reiki master, and certified energy healer. Her Ayurvedic facial massage is a process that combines acupressure, lymphatic drainage, and Candice's special energetic touch. "My treatment taps into the body on a cellular level, lowering blood pressure and heart rate and releasing dopamine and serotonin," explains Forness. "It actually helps to recalibrate the system, and actually trains the body to relax and heal itself." I lay back on a comfy table at Shen Beauty in Brooklyn (the beauty shop and treatment center with a cult following), and Forness started the session by smoothing a divinely-scented Mae Lindstrom balm on my face. I began to settle into the table and soon enough, I was completely transported to another realm. She systematically massaged my face with calculated strokes to increase lymphatic drainage and promote relaxation. At a halfway point in the session, Forness took out a mirror and revealed the difference between the side of my face that she had worked on and the side that was still in stress-land. "Half of your face is on vacation in Bali, and the other is still at the airport waiting," Forness quipped. It was incredible to see how lifted, toned, and smooth my face was at the end of the treatment. And my entire body was relaxed and restored, like I'd had the best night of sleep. I felt, as Forness explained to me, "lifted up—mind, body, and spirit". —Kate Donovan, Style Director
Medicine Reading by Deborah Hanekamp
Deborah Hanekamp is a modern-day seeress whose journey through shamanism and healing work has led her to develop her own signature offering called medicine readings. When I stepped into her gorgeous, light-filled SoHo loft, I instantly felt more grounded and at ease. Hanekamp starts with an aura reading (mine was bright blue) and a conversation about what was coming up right now in my life. Then I lay down on a heated table lined with a crystal-filled Biomat, which is said to promote whole body relaxation. Hanekamp then began her bespoke healing ritual comprised of energy balancing and special songs to help cleanse and protect. "A medicine reading is a great way to align your intentions for this next phase of your life" explained Deborah. "What are you leaving behind in your single life? What are you calling for in your marriage?" At the end of each session, Deborah prescribes a custom ritual bath (which can include anything from crystals and essential oils to salts and fresh herbs) that you can do at home. —Kate Donovan, Style Director
Tokyo Treatment at David Mallett
David Mallett is known for being an innovator in the hair-care world, with devotees ranging from Nina Dobrev to Jessica Biel to Natalie Portman. The Australian coiffeur, whose salons until recently could only be found in Paris, opened his first New York City salon in October. It's there you will find the only stylists in the United States that are able to offer the miracle Tokyo treatment, also known as the "hair facial." The four-step deep treatment is customized to your hair type, and repairs chemical and environmental damage to rebuild hair from the inside. It won't change the texture or color of your hair—your locks are basically returned to how healthy they were when you were born. Each step targets a different layer of the hair using different combinations of molecules—there are six kinds of keratins and amino acids, and fullerene, a molecule that can penetrate the hair without the use of heat. Anthony Deliperi, one of Mallett's most trusted colorists (he's responsible for Emma Watson's tresses) and all around delightful human (he will undoubtedly call you "darling" several times during the process), takes you through the 30-minute treatment.
The first step: a spray to open up the pores of your hair so it can absorb the treatment. Step two: Deliperi coats the hair with product, using a kind of slapping technique—it creates a vibration so the product can seriously saturate your strands. Step three: Steam! Your hair is covered in a mushroom-like cap to steam for around 10 to 15 minutes while the products penetrate the hair. Final step: more slapping to make sure all the product has been absorbed, followed by a shampoo and conditioner. While the treatment is meant to be repeated every four to six weeks, I could see (and feel) the results immediately. I could go longer between shampoos (meaning less heat styling) and my color-treated hair felt downright bouncy and full. It's been about four weeks since my treatment and I am still reaping the benefits. You can bet I'll be getting my hair slapped again soon! —Aviel Kanter
Head Spa at Masa Kanai
For the bride really on the hunt for serious relaxation and pampering, look no further than Masa Kanai salon's Head Spa. A Japanese technique that builds on Indian Ayurvedic massage, the head spa offers more than just a simple head massage—the treatment combines shiatsu massage, scalp renewal, detoxification, deep cleansing, and aromatherapy. You'll start with a quick consultation about your hair and scalp health; they'll use a microscopic camera on your scalp so you can see any irritation and buildup. Based on what appears on screen, the treatment will be tailored to your scalp's needs—purifying (to moisturize and soothe dryness and dandruff), soothing (an anti-inflammatory process to reduce itchiness), rebalancing (for oily hair and scalp), or a revitalizing and reinforcing hair that is prone to falling out. You'll start with a detox treatment made from 100 percent biodynamic essential oils and Amazonian pink clay for a natural cleanse. Then it's time to steam (it opens the pores to remove build up from chemicals and other debris). Next is a shiatsu massage for the head and neck, which was truly the best thing that's ever happened to me. Pro tip: Add on a foot massage for dual-action relaxation. Finally, a deep conditioning treatment followed by a hot towel wrap and application of protecting tonics. Add-ons I would recommend: the Tansan carbonated bath. Carbonated water rebalances the hair's pH levels (which get thrown off by chemical treatments and everyday products) to leave the hair extremely soft and silky. Plus, it cleanses even deeper than regular water to remove all the buildup on your scalp—you'll get to see all the gunk that came out in a cup after your treatment! —Aviel Kanter