1 of 3
Photo by Sarah Walor
Elle Style Studio
2 of 3
Photo by Sarah Walor
Elle Style Studio
3 of 3
Photo by Sarah Walor
Waxing Station by Glow Med Spa
Since the Cary Street Park and Shop Center opened in the late 1930s, the district has been a local destination for its vibrant shops and dining scene. In the past few years, though, as a whirl of new businesses have opened, there seems to be a theme of slowing shoppers down a bit. Massage studios, spas and high-end salons have made Carytown a go-to destination for relaxation and beautification in addition to restaurants and retail. “There’s been an explosion of health and beauty salons in Carytown,” says merchants association president Raul Cantu. “I sometimes have to wait a week or two for a haircut because everybody is so busy.” From massage cupping to hair blowouts and spray tans, it’s worth a jaunt to Carytown for some tender loving care.
THE WHOLE LOOK
On May 28, hair stylist Welsy Mourino and four friends opened Elle Style Studio with the goal of establishing a salon where clients can receive a head-to-toe makeover.
“We offer makeup, hair and clothing consulting,” says Mourino, who co-owns the studio with hair stylists Gerry Hall, Linda Goudie, Leslie Chlebowski and Rachel Shrader. Fashion stylist Carla Spears and makeup artist Summer McCarley (pictured above) share the space. The salon’s team delivers a broad variety of services: cuts, dyes, bridal styling, makeup, fashion consulting and editorial work. Elle also provides beauty and fashion classes on topics ranging from how to achieve the perfect blowout to dressing for your shape.
“We are trying to build a community of artists,” Mourino says, adding that she was inspired by a barbershop with a similar concept in Los Angeles. “It’s not just a salon,” she says. 833-3374 or ellestylerva.com
Elements of Carytown sells natural and organic luxury bath, body, hair and skin care products. “Out of all the lines we carry, the main criteria is that they have no animal testing,” says Sherry Burgess, who opened the shop with Jeanie Rule in November 2012. “Your skin is your largest organ,” she adds. “You need to take care of it.”
The natural skin care boutique carries Erno Laszlo, a medically based skin care line that was coveted by Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. Other apothecary lines include Malin + Goetz body butters and vegan FarmHouse Fresh products. Juara Skincare uses candlenut oil, tamarind and red sandalwood in its products.
The shop isn’t just for ladies. Jack Black, an all-natural skin care line made in Texas that is sold at Elements, comprises shaving products and colognes. 340-2900 or elementsbeautyshop.com
For those seeking alternative spa practices, Vitality Massage Studio has a range of cupping services. Advocates of cupping say it cleanses the body of toxins by loosening tissue fibers and increasing lymphatic circulation. The therapy uses glass cups and a vacuum pistol to create suction on the skin. With techniques like gliding, shaking and popping, a massage therapist moves cups along the body to loosen tissue. The practice is also said to help rid the body of metabolic waste and extra fat buildup.
“Massage cupping breaks up tight-knit muscle fibers and expands them so all the [body’s] waste can be broken up and new blood flow and nutrients can come in,” owner and massage therapist Kenzie Korman says. “The body gets rid of tension and can help heal itself.”
The studio that opened in April 2013 also does massages that range from sports and Swedish to deep-tissue, lymphatic and trigger-point therapy. A cupping session can be added to a massage to target specific body parts.
“We can use cupping wherever,” Korman says. “If someone has digestive issues, we work on their stomach and get the colon working and moving again. For people who are athletes, we will work on their [gluteus maximus] and leg [muscles].” 254-4500 or vitalityrichmond.com
Therapists and estheticians at Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa are experts in massage, waxing and skin care services. The membership-based spa that opened in July 2013 makes beauty and health services more affordable through exclusive discounts.
“Everyone should have a skin care and massage regime,” owner Andrew Elsbury says.
For $59 a month, members receive an hour-long massage or facial. The membership also reduces prices for other spa services. For example, a microdermabrasion usually costs $125, but it’s $95 for members. “It’s a model that allows spa services to be [more] affordable,” Elsbury says.
Estheticians at the Carytown Place spa can perform various skin peels, as well as facials for rejuvenation, anti-aging and rosacea. Hand and Stone’s estheticians use ClarityRx and Dermalogica for facial treatments. Specialty facials for teens and men are also available. 823-7600 or handandstone.com
While Richmond is lacking a full-service blowout bar, stylists at Birch Salon can do a quick in-and-out styling session for women who want some primping before they go to happy hour or dinner in Carytown.
The salon, which opened in August 2013, focuses on all things hair — chemical straightening, relaxing, coloring, cuts and styling. Located a block off Cary Street on Parkwood Avenue, it also has a hair blowdry special from 3 to 6 p.m. on weeknights for $25.
Select what style you want off their hair menu — sleek and straight, beach wave or volume: “We call it our happy hour blowout,” owner Hillary Vause says.
Birch is also running a summer special on hair masks to repair tresses from the harsh winter. For $10, clients get a replenishing hot towel and scalp massage treatment. 355-1122 or birchsalon.com
In March, Style Pod Salon & Spa opened as an incubator for independent stylists. The nearly 30,000-square-foot space includes 13 studios for beauty professionals.
“You can start your own salon in the Style Pod,” says Dave Battiston, who owns the business with his wife, hair stylist Maryjo Myers-Battiston. “[The] studios are already set up so a stylist can come in and start working.”
The beauty business incubator is seeking professionals in facial treatments, nail care, massage and tattoo artistry.
“We will allow basically any businesses in the beauty industry,” Battiston says. “We want to create a sense of community.” 353-2300 or stylepodstudios.com
Waxing is a procedure that most dread when heading to the spa, but at the Waxing Station by Glow Med Spa, clients actually appear to be enjoying the wait before their appointment as they play Candy Crush on one of the spa’s iPad minis.
The salon that opened in October 2013 features a playful décor that was designed to look like Dylan’s Candy Bar in New York City. “Candy makes people happy,” owner Shia Noth says. “We wanted this to be a special treat rather than maintenance.” The Waxing Station’s walls are covered with glitter, and the ceiling is illuminated with colorful LED lights.
Think it can’t get any sweeter? The procedure is promised to be pain-free. “We use a wax from Australia that just grabs the hair and not the skin,” Noth says. Lycons Lavender Hard Wax is used on all of the sensitive areas — face, underarms and bikini area. For less sensitive areas, the spa uses a soft cream wax.
While most of the clientele are women, the Waxing Station also sees men for “manscaping”: hair
removal from the ear, nose, eyebrows, back and chest. 262-0330 or glowmedspa.net