Photos (clockwise from left): Courtesy of Rita Hazan, Drybar, John Barrett Salon, Shampoo Avenue B
With a client list that includes Uma Thurman, Joan Jett, and Mary Louise Parker, Padilla has been mentored and trained personally by the Queen of the Shag herself, Sally Hershberger. As such, Padilla really understands the specific technique required to make short strands lay just so, while still providing versatility and styling options that let hair's natural texture and growth patterns blend in seamlessly.
Sally Hershberger, 425 W. 14th St; 212-206-8700.
Girls with long hair can tend to suffer from mane malaise, especially when their stylist keeps doing the same basic cut at every visit. Thanks to their backstage presence at New York Fashion Week and their in-house University, Bumble and bumble stylists are never at a loss for cool and innovative things to do with long locks. We're particular fans of the charming Q, who makes you feel confident and at ease when you sit down in his chair — something that comes in particularly handy when dealing with girls who have snipping anxiety.
Bumble and bumble, 415 West 13th Street, 8th Floor; 212-521-6500.
The problem many stylists have when dealing with girls with curls is that they either are completely clueless on how to cut them, or they don't pay nearly enough attention to the natural curl pattern and texture of each individual client. Recognizing that one woman's kink is different from another gal's curl, the team behind Hair Rules approaches each head of hair as texture-specific, rather than ethnic-specific, paying close attention to your curls and devising a plan of action with them in mind, not just using your skin tone as guide.
Hair Rules, 828 9th Avenue, 212-315-2929.
Caribbean-born, Warren-Tricomi-trained Edris Nichols' salon in the Meatpacking District is like the U.N. of hair: She doesn't care where you or your hair came from because she's come one, come all textures. While she can do pretty much any type of hair, many African-American women have pronounced Edris as their cut of a lifetime, simply because she understands not only what ethnic hair needs, but also what just plain looks good. Thanks to her backstage work at Fashion Week and her bold-faced client list, Edris knows not only how to style your mane, but how to showcase its natural texture to best effect.
Edris Salon, 430 West 14th Street, 3rd Floor; 212-989-6800.
While there's no shortage of blowout joints in our fair city, that doesn't mean you have to trust your mane to any salon with a blowdryer and a spare chair. We're big fans of the blowout-only salons — they do nothing but dry and style, so you better believe they've mastered the art of the round brush — and after careful, repeated testing, we have to throw our lot in with Drybar. What sets this styling haven above the rest is their careful attention to atmosphere — from the chick flicks playing on the screen to cocktail-bar decor, a visit to Drybar feels like a treat, but at just $40, you won't feel like had to empty out your bank account for a visit. We also love their style menu, which guarantees you get exactly the look you were envisioning, rather than some junior stylist's interpretation of smoothed-out strands.
Drybar, 4 West 16th Street, 212-561-5392.
Ask any well-coiffed blonde in the city where she gets her sunkissed streaks and you can almost bet the answer will be Rita Hazan. At this Fifth Avenue hair palace, discerning light-haired ladies flock to get their flaxen fix from the pro behind Michelle Williams, Jennifer Lopez, and Renee Zellweger's red carpet color. Hazan's technique guarantees that your hair comes out with dimension that looks au natural, thanks to an almost painterly understanding of the importance of blending and mixing.
Rita Hazan, 720 Fifth Avenue, 11th Floor; 212-586-4343.
At Marie Robinson's expansive Flatiron salon, clients undergo strand transformations at the hands of the famed celebrity colorist, who counts Rachel McAdams, Natalie Portman, and Anne Hathaway as clients. Robinson can not only whip up any color you can literally imagine, she has also perfected her technique so well that she can make it look like that hue sprang from your head at birth.
Marie Robinson, 155 Fifth Avenue, 4th Floor; 212-358-7780.
Watching the master weavers work at this chic salon, nestled over top Bergdorf Goodman, is enough to give you a very powerful appreciation for braiding. Using little more than their imaginations, their excessively flexible fingers, and a handful of bobby pins, the stylists here can twist and manipulate your mane into an intricate, mind-bendingly complex 'do that not only looks good, but actually stays in place — we've gotten gorgeous updos from the talented Kaylee that lasted us through two cross-country flights, four sleepless nights, a rowdy wedding, and an uncomfortable hair patdown from airport security (the one downside of wearing such a complex, pin-heavy style). Braids are just $50, and starting this month, the salon will also offer customers the new Ponytail Bar, where they can have stylists concoct sculpted tails with the same level of artistry.
John Barrett Salon at Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Avenue, 9th Floor; 212-872-2700.
While many salons offer their customers a free bang trim, we chose Michael Angelo's as our top fringe benefit thanks to his no-BS attitude towards bangs. Michael Angelo understands the art form that goes into a perfectly-cut, face-framing fringe, but he's also not above teaching you how to do a DIY trim at home. Most stylists would drop dead in horror if you casually mentioned cutting your own strands, but Michael Angelo will tell you straight up if your 'do needs a professional hand or if you could save yourself some time and effort with an at-home cut. We appreciate that kind of honesty, especially when it comes to our hair.
Micheal Angelo's Wonderland Beauty Parlor, 418 West 13th Street, 212-524-2800.
Ion Studio, 41 Wooster Street, 212-343-9060.
Located in the heart of the East Village, Shampoo is the go-to destination for high-end, yet still affordable service. We love that stylist Clara could not only take our multi-tonal, ombré (RIP) hair to one blended shade of golden chestnut, but she did so using a non-damaging gloss, and still managed to keep our long locks at a length we were happy with — even after cutting off inches of damage. All that and with enough $$$ left over to take home a few posh products. The tiny space is filled with chandeliers, graffiti, Bumble and bumble, and Kevin Murphy products, along with a super-friendly staff that will make sure you feel right at home. And in true East Village fashion, students get 20% off of all services.
Shampoo Avenue B, 42 Avenue B, 212-777-2031.
Finding a place where you can truly relax and escape in this bustling metropolis can be harder than it looks — too many spas hover too close to busy roads, so you hear the incessant song of sirens while you're trying to de-compress. Townhouse Spa's treatment rooms are nestled deep within the building, so you're safely cocooned in silence. Our go-to is the VerryBerry Glo, an exfoliating treatment that's packed with berries and enzymes and comes with a relaxing shoulder, neck, and arm massage while you wait for your skin to get its glow on.
Townhouse Spa, 39 West 56th Street, 212-245-8006.
Christine Chin Spa, 82 Orchard Street, 212-353-0503.
We've yet to find a spa lounge we didn't love loitering in — fruit water, magazines, and free cookies? Yes please! But the Caudalie spa at the Plaza takes the art of the lounge into stratospheric zones with their wine room. That's right, after indulging in a Honey & Wine Wrap or a Red Vine Bath, you can saunter over to a lounge area literally stocked to the rafters with bottles and enjoy a complimentary glass of vino as you continue on your path to total bliss.
Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa, The Plaza Hotel, 1 West 58th Street, 212-308-3550.
Of course Trump would have the market cornered on luxury spas, but for once, we really don't mind. Featuring gemstone spa treatments (yes, really), two authentic hammams for detoxing, Kate Somerville's famous facials, and a Spa Attaché to cater to your every whim, this gorgeous spa allows you to become completely immersed in the art of relaxation, a rarity in the action-packed life of your average New Yorker.
The Spa at Trump Soho, 246 Spring Street, 212-842-5500.
Bliss Spa Soho, 568 Broadway, 2nd Floor; 877-862-5477.
There's no real way to ease into this one so we'll just have at it: This facial has bird poop in it. Based on the traditional rituals of ancient geishas, it uses powdered nightingale droppings to create a treatment that softens, brightens, and nourishes. The story goes that the lead and zinc in the geishas white face makeup caused them to suffer horrible breakouts, until they discovered that smearing nightingale poop (no word on the first gal that gave that one a try) would brighten, heal, and retexturize their complexions. Shizuka's version consists of cleansing and light extractions, followed by mixing the powdered droppings with rice bran and applying it on the skin. This is followed by a camellia oil massage and an antioxidant green tea mask, two jarringly normal accompaniments to an otherwise "did I really just do that?" experience.
Shizuka New York Day Spa, 7 West 51st Street, 212-644-7400.
As much as we wish we had two hours to spend on pampering, sometimes we're looking more for the In 'n Out version. But just because your short on time doesn't mean you should sacrifice quality. The Radiance Facial at Great Jones Spa is a lunchtime treatment that revives your skin with a glow-giving peel that works rapidly, but doesn't scrimp on the spa experience. The technicians move at a brisk pace, but never to the point where you feel rushed or like you're taking too much time. After just 30 minutes you'll emerge with soft, radiant skin and fine lines that look minimized, and you'll still have a few minutes to actually, you know, grab some lunch.
Great Jones Spa, 29 Great Jones Street, 212-505-3185.
Sometimes a girl needs a little something extra for her skin — something of the high-tech zapping variety. Dr. Anne Chapas at Union Square Laser Dermatology can provide just such a boost with her menagerie of skin-correcting lasers. Her team is trained to use everything from the spankin' new Clear + Brilliant Laser — an anti-aging treatment for the early 30s set that's like Fraxel with training wheels — or the just approved Liposonix, which literally melts away fat. The brand new facilities are clinical without being depressing and our favorite feature is their photo room, where every patient stops by at the start of their treatment to get the picture taken of the area they are treating. After you finish your sessions, which could be anywhere from weeks to months later, you then take another round of photos and the team will show you exactly how and where your treatments made improvements.
Union Square Laser Dermatology, 19 Union Square West, 5th floor; 212-366-5400.
Paul Labrecque Salon & Spa, 171 East 65th Street; 212-988-7816.
Best Makeup Consultation: Laura Mercier Locations
Finding the right makeup can be hard. Even harder when you're having to fight through crowds and fend off snarky counter people. Enter Laura Mercier: At any of the six department store locations in the city, you'll find a team of capable and talented artists, all skilled at finding the perfect products for you. You may even be lucky enough to land in the hands of one of their global or national artists, all handpicked by Mercier herself. While we don't recommend taking advantage of their time to get a free makeover, they do not require a minimum purchase for a consultation. But be warned: You'll love your new look so much, you'll be hard pressed to walk out of there empty handed. Ask them about their signature flawless face and tight-line waterproof eyeliner, but don't blame us if you get hooked.
Laura Mercier at Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Avenue, 212-753-4000.
MAC, 1 East 22nd Street, 212-677-6611.
Kimara Ahnert Cosmetics, 1113 Madison Avenue, 212-452-4252.
This Singapore-based brow HQ turns threading into an art form, thanks to a staff of meticulously-trained techs. An appointment at Browhaus means walking out with arches that were shaped to fit your face shape and features, not a cookie-cutter idea of what brows should be. It also doesn't hurt that the plush chairs are relaxing enough to nap in and the after-threading treatments ensure you won't leave the salon looking like you got slapped upside the face. For those looking for a bit more brow TLC, they also offer brow tinting and the intriguingly named Brow Resurrection — semi-permanent brow enhancement for those suffering from premature brow loss (yes, that's a thing). And, if the de-fuzzing mood catches you, Browhaus also shares a space with their sister salon Strip Ministry of Wax, so you can hop across the aisle and take care of your below-the-belt growth, all in the same visit.
Browhaus, 56 Spring Street, 212-431-1124.
Space NK Apothecary, 99 Greene Street, 212-941-4200.
Best Place To Find Cool New Products: Woodley & Bunny
We credit Woodley & Bunny for introducing us to the under-the-radar brands that are now absolute staples in our repertoire. Co-founder Misha Anderson has a knack for uncovering the beauty industry's best hidden gems, testing and personally trying out each product before it lands on shelves. When we're looking for the next big thing, we don't flip through the covers of the latest glossy — we jet over to Brooklyn to pick Misha's brain and find out what's got her Spidey sense tingling. And then we leave the salon with our wallets much lighter, our bags full of promise, and the euphoria that comes from whiling away the hours sorting through one of the most expertly curated beauty assortments known to man.
Woodley & Bunny, 196 N. 10th Street, Brooklyn, 718-218-6588.
Best Lash Application: Soul Lee at Kiehl's Spa 1851
Somewhere down the line, lash extensions went from being something that made people think you had naturally lush lashes, to the equivalent of putting a small caterpillar on your face. The point of lash extensions is not to make every person in a 10-mile radius aware that yes, you've got fake lashes on. That's why we appreciate the subtle art of Soul Lee, Kiehl's Spa 1851's resident brow and fringe guru. Instead of piling on the tarantula lashes, Soul will artistically apply each individual lash around your eye in a way that makes it look like you grew that enviable fringe all by yourself. People will notice your delicately framed eyes, rather than wondering if you're a deranged Vegas showgirl who got lost on her way to the airport.
Kiehl's Spa 1851, 157 E. 64th Street, 1-888-SPA-1851.
Photos (clockwise from left): Courtesy of Jin Soon, Valley Nails
Best Manicure: Sweet Lily Natural Nail Spa
Between the cushy pedicure chairs, communal farm table for manicures, toxin-free products, and all around delicious concoctions aimed at pampering your nails (Honey Walnut manicure anyone?), there's a lot to love at this shabby-chic salon. We're particularly smitten with the sleepover vibe we get when we first walk in, like a bunch of our BFF's all got together at someone's house and decided to throw a rad mani/pedi party. It doesn't hurt that the all-organic treatments are doled out in an efficient, yet friendly way, so you have the choice to loiter at your leisure, or move along if you've got somewhere to be. We suggest the former, if you've got a few minutes to spare.
Sweet Lily Natural Nail Spa, 222 West Broadway, 212-925-5441.
Best Pedi: Jin Soon Hand & Foot Spa
A pedicure at nail master Jin Soon Choi's East Village outpost is like a facial for your foot, complete with mud masks, essential oil baths, and handmade scrubs. Located around the corner from R29 HQ, we'll admit we've had more than our fair share of luxe appoinments here. The spot may be tiny, but it more than makes up for its size with attentive technicians, who go to great pains to make sure you feel exceedingly relaxed and at ease — no wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am rushing about here. And polish hounds take note as this pedi palace serves up decadent hues for your digits in a variety of brands, from OPI to Givenchy.
Jin Soon Hand & Foot Spa, 56 East 4th Street, 212-473-2047.
Best Nail Art Haven: Valley Nails
We don't even know where to begin with our love for Valley Nails. The Werman sisters have assembled a top-notch staff in nail art creativity to give you anything from reverse french mani's, to glitter ombré and ice-cream cone digits that look shockingly chic. If you can think it, they can create it. Karen gave us the cleanest, longest lasting gel mani we've ever gotten and Kuniko and Ayumi were on hand to take us into more daring nail-art territory (we're talking 3D, crystals, and the tiniest, most intricate floral pattern you can imagine). Although these designs can be pricey, considering the gels last almost 3 weeks, it's totally worth it. Go see the girls at Valley, and tell them we sent you.
Valley Nails, 198 Elizabeth Street, 212-274-8985.