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These two new apps let you book last-minute blowouts, massages, and other beauty services. Here's how they work. By Michelle Thomas
Photograph by Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock.


How it works: Users see a vetted, geo-located list of salons nearby that have available appointments for pedicures, blowouts, haircuts, massages, and other beauty treatments. The Chicago companywas launched in 2012 by beauty-industry insider Coco Meers and debuted in Washington in December.

Similar to: OpenTable.

What we tried: Manicure (price varies; we paid $20).

What we liked: The map is user-friendly, and the app rewards you for frequent appointments—book once a month and get 20 percent off services Sunday through Wednesday, or book eight services and earn a free manicure.

What we didn’t: My first appointment was canceled because the salon no longer offered that service. A second appointment was never confirmed, though I was charged. When I finally showed up at a salon, thinking the third time was the charm, it had no booking. Turned out the app wasn’t connected to the salon’s system; five minutes later, someone called to request my appointment. Meers says that because the service is new to Washington, not all of the app’s salons are digitally connected yet; the phone request is a temporary work-around. (I did successfully book a manicure on a fourth try and was reimbursed for the errant charge.)

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Posted at 08:00 AM/ET, 06/24/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Founder Alli Webb chats about the new locations. By Michelle Thomas
The inside of a Drybar salon. Photo courtesy of Drybar.

Blowout addicts—you know who you are—will be pleased at this news: Drybar, the California-based chain known for its blowout-only salon model, will be opening two more DC locations late this summer. The new salons, on Connecticut Avenue in Dupont Circle and in Penn Quarter, will join Drybar’s existing stores in Georgetown and Bethesda, which opened nearly three years ago and have since perfected the locks of countless stylish locals (including first daughter Malia Obama, who was spotted at the Bethesda Row salon in 2014).

Founder Alli Webb attributes the salon’s local success to a culture that demands a polished appearance. "There are so many women who are going to events and galas here," she told us during a recent stop at the Georgetown salon. "And it’s a professional workforce. You have to look the part—and that includes your hair."

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Posted at 11:37 AM/ET, 06/03/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Get yourself an "express eyelid lift" starting May 8. By Caroline Cunningham
All photography by Joy Asico.

The Sanctuary Cosmetic Center is a new project for local plastic surgeon Dr. Soheila Rostami, who studied ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery and the University of Maryland before moving into oculo-facial plastic surgery. The 4,000-square-foot center, which opens May 8 in Tysons Corner, is a “medical beauty spa,” a venue for surgical and non-surgical skincare treatments that looks more like a high-end salon than a doctor’s office.

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Posted at 12:17 PM/ET, 05/08/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Did someone say "Swedish massage?" By Caroline Cunningham
Image via Shutterstock/LuckyImages.

Mom spoils you all year, and for one day in May, it’s your time to return the favor. Here are nine salons and spas that have got your back—or hers, covered with massage oil--to ensure she has a relaxing, pampered Mother’s Day (which is this Sunday, May 10, kids). Go for a single service, or buy her a whole Mother’s Day special spa package—either way, even just an hour to relax on her own will be appreciated.

Aura Spa

The four area Aura Spas, located at Vida Fitness gyms around town, are offering up a discount on their facial and massage package. Give mom the best of both worlds with a 30 minute Swedish or deep-tissue massage and a 30 minute nourishing facial for $120.

Blo Blow Dry Bar

Blowouts are on Blo this Mother’s Day. Schedule mom an appointment at Blo’s Dupont salon on Sunday, May 10, and she’ll receive a free blowout and glass of champaign. Call 202-293-2256 to make a reservation.

Hela Spa

Mom can get the royal treatment this May with a three-service package at Hela Spa. The package includes an aromatherapy cleansing facial, a 50-minute hot stone massage, and an eye contour treatment for $220.

Nusta Spa

Pamper mom to Nusta’s “Polished” package: a two-hour session that includes an aromatherapy body butter treatment and a mani-pedi ($136), the “Head to Toe” three-hour session that includes a facial, massage, mani-pedi, and even lunch with champagne ($354), or the “Queen for a Day” five-hour set that includes a facial, marine wrap, alchemy massage, mani-pedi, and lunch with champagne ($556).

Red Door Spa

The Elizabeth Arden spa is offering spa dollars in return for $100 gift certificates purchased. Receive $15 bonus bucks for a $100 gift certificate, $30 for $200 spent, and $45 for $300 worth of spa services.

Salamander Resort and Spa

Send mom on a short-distance getaway to Salamander’s spa in Middleburg. Book her a two-night stay, and she’ll receive $100 resort credits per night to be redeemed on a cooking class, yoga, or Mother’s Day brunch, as well as a gift to be redeemed at the spa.

Serenity Day Spa

Help your busy mom find inner peace with Serenity’s “Mom on the Go” package, including a massage and facial ($130), or take it up a notch with “Mom’s Time to Relax,” which provides her with a brightening facial, a 50-minute aromatherapy massage, and lemongrass body lotion ($250). If you want to make a mother-daughter day of it, book the “Ladies of Luxury” package for 50-minute massages for mother and daughter ($190).

The Fountains Day Spa

There’s four deals on the menu for mom: Sweet Beginnings, which includes a pregnancy massage, foot and hand exfoliation, a HydraClean facial, and lunch ($215); Day of Lavender, which gets her a lavender body polish, a mini massage with lavender essential oil, and a Beaute Neuve peeling facial ($249); Mother’s Day Retreat, involving a rose mud wrap, a 50-minute combination massage, a ultra Hydradermie facial, and a catered lunch ($399); or The Un-Fougettable Experience, which gets her a four-hand massage, a Hydradermie facial, 55-minutes of reflexology, and a catered lunch ($422).

The Still Point

Get a two-for-one gift for mom at The Still Point—through May 10, recieve a free Chavez for Charity bracelet with the purchase of a $100 gift card. And it’s a win-win-win, since a portion of the proceeds will go towards the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Posted at 05:09 PM/ET, 05/06/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Washington's first from the French salon line. By Caroline Cunningham
Images courtesy Caudalie.

Amidst a flurry of high-end retail openings at CityCenter DC, French Vinotherapie skincare line Caudalie is scheduled to open its first area retail boutique and spa in late March.

The family-run salon line was launched 20 years ago by Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas on Mathilde's family vineyard in Bordeaux, France, and with the opening of the CityCenter location, they will own a total of 20 retail and spa locations worldwide.

The CityCenter 787-square-foot spa was designed by the founders themselves, and it will include a Beauty Barrel Bar for in-and-out quickie facials, scrubs, and massages, as well as a complete line up of Caudalie's signature Vinothereapie--treatments using spring water and elements of vines and grapes--services, such as the skintone-correcting Vinoperfect Radiance Facial or the anti-aging Premier Cru Facial.

Caudalie Boutique and Spa will be located at 953 Palmer Alley NW. Take a peek inside in the renderings below.

Posted at 12:55 PM/ET, 03/04/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Georgetown hair salon debuts its new second-floor spa next month. By Kay Wicker
A rendering of Luigi Parasmo Spa's manicure and pedicure stations.

This fall, Luigi Parasmo's two-year-old salon will reveal the result of a recent 2,000-square-foot expansion: a brand-new full-service spa. The new digs will offer a slew of pampering services, which combines the expected nail and facial treatments alongside some more surprising options—including something dubbed "holistic oxygen therapy."

The spa has plans to supply embedded iPads at each of three pedicure stations, and a crew of estheticians, nail techs, and massage therapists will make up a team of nine. Come winter, the spa will add spray tanning to its treatment roster. And there's no need to leave the mister at home—the spa will also offer men's services that range from gentlemen's facials to waxing. The new setup is slated to open in late November.

Luigi Parasmo Salon. 1510 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-2244. Opens November 25.

Posted at 11:24 AM/ET, 10/29/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Mark your calendar for April 21 through 27—and book fast. By Diana Elbasha
Treat yourself to a $50 massage during Spa Week—you deserve it. Photograph via Shutterstock.

No one knows stress like Washington—and sometimes, all you really need at the end of a long week or a day full of meetings is a relaxing, secluded hour or two at the spa. Crave the Zen but cringe at the $200-plus price tag? We feel you. Luckily, thanks to Spa Week, you can get the pampering you deserve at a fraction of the cost. The annual event brings together area spas, salons, and wellness centers for seven days of discounted offerings, from hot stone massages to skin-clearing facials to blowouts. The best part? Many of the services are capped at $50. Below is a list of ten luxurious ways you can treat yourself next week—but don’t wait, as appointments fill up at warp speed. You can thank us later.

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Posted at 02:17 PM/ET, 04/16/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The national chain has also locked down a location in Gaithersburg. By Diana Elbasha
Blo, decorated with Barbie-pink accents, is headed to DC later this year.

As the cost of a wash and blow-dry at area salons creeps toward to the $60 mark, the trendy (and affordable) blowout-only concept is an increasingly welcome addition to this town. And not just for the under-$40 price: The no-cut, no-color salons, furnished with luxe decor and offering Champagne and chick flicks, offer a pampering experience above that of a standard cuttery.

Which is why we’re thrilled that Washington’s about to get two more: Blo, a chic blow-dry bar with outposts as far as Moscow, will open locations this year in Dupont Circle and Gaithersburg. The DC location marks the second salon of its kind downtown—the first, Blowout Bar, sits at 21st and L streets, Northwest; the Gaithersburg location will be the Maryland suburb’s first. Georgetown, Bethesda, and Reston are home to similar concepts Drybar and Flow.

On Blo's style menu, from left: “Red Carpet,” “Holly Would,” and “High Society.”

Blo—popular in New York, Miami, and Beverly Hills—offers a menu of styles ranging from red-carpet waves to edgy fishtail braids for a flat fee of $40. Add ons, like deep-conditioning treatments and extensions, are just a few bucks more. Also on the menu is something we haven’t seen before: a service for men that includes a wash, dry, and 20-minute head massage for $21, somewhat dubiously dubbed the “Blo Bro.”

While exact opening dates have not yet been determined, a rep tells us to expect the Dupont locale within the next three months; Gaithersburg will follow later in the year. We’re keeping a watchful eye on the spaces in the meantime and studying up on our “Blocabulary.”

Blo. 2127 P St., NW; 317 Ellington Blvd., Gaithersburg.

Posted at 02:41 PM/ET, 02/19/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The local makeup guru offers four easy-to-follow grooming tips. By Diana Elbasha
The brow pencil is a tricky product to use correctly, but these expert tips are easy to follow. Photograph via WaveBreakMedia/Shutterstock.

Makeup artist and salon owner Erwin Gomez is known for his brow work. Photograph courtesy of Sparks Public Relations.

Erwin Gomez has certainly been busy. Following last fall’s opening of his new salon, Karma, in DC’s West End, the famed makeup artist—whose clientele has included such celebrities as Barbra Streisand, Eva Longoria, and Rosario Dawson—put two tumultuous years in the Washington beauty business behind him to focus his full attention on his next big project: creating a makeup line. After months of anticipation, the namesake collection launched this month, boasting 11 foundations, eyeliners, lip colors, and more, in shades he says are designed to flatter every skin tone. (See a first look at the collection here.) Gomez is recognized for his expert brow-shaping skills, and here he offers his tips for achieving perfect arches. Here are his four easy-to-follow pointers.

1) Color selection is everything.

“Make sure you select the right shade to match your hair. Never use black, no matter what your skin tone or hair color is. Here’s a quick guide: If you have dark hair, do not go darker than your hair color—select a slightly lighter brow pencil. If you have blonde hair, use a taupe pencil. For redheads, use a fawn-auburn-colored pencil to ensure as natural of a look as possible.”

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Posted at 04:00 PM/ET, 10/16/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Alli Webb wants to apologize for last week’s fiasco. By Diana Elbasha
Fear not: Drybar Georgetown is open again. Photo courtesy BrandlinkDC.

In an unfortunate turn of events founder Alli Webb called an “embarrassing technicality,” Drybar Georgetown abruptly closed its doors Friday, effectively canceling the day’s scheduled appointments and directing walk-ins to the second location in Bethesda. According to a spokesperson for the salon, the salon failed to adequately file its business license when it opened last fall and was forced to close until the issue was resolved. To the relief of blowout-addicted Washingtonians, the salon reopened a day later and is now back up and running as usual, except for one thing: Drybar wants to make up for lost time—and then some—and is thus offering 50 percent off all services through Wednesday, August 28. The news comes from a note straight from Webb, below:

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Posted at 02:29 PM/ET, 08/26/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()