Pure Pampering: Washington Spas Offering Toxin-Free Treatments

Good salons and spas that offer toxin-free, organic treatments for nails, hair and body.

Beauty and wellness go hand in hand at the Emerald Door, where facials, manicures, and other services are done with eco-friendly, natural products. Photograph by Kate Warren.

Comfort & Joy Wellness Spa

With vegan, nontoxic nail products by SpaRitual, it’s easy to get an all-natural manicure ($25 to $90)—including a long-lasting option comparable to Shellac—at this no-frills Fairfax spa. Ancient Indian rituals are also a speciality; a relaxing Ayurvedic facial ($115) employs aromatic essential oils and herbs to restore the skin’s balance. An extensive collection of natural and organic products available for purchase will catch your eye on the way out, too.

9514 Main St., Fairfax; 703-425-8800;

The Emerald Door

Along with a luxe, modern interior made of “green” materials, spa services at the Emerald Door utilize toxin-free products. The brightening facial ($125), for example, incorporates organic lavender and local honey; you might spot yogurt, cranberries, jasmine oil, and other natural ingredients on the skin-care menu, while milk and honey steal the show for manis ($35) and pedis ($60).

8311 Grubb Rd., Silver Spring; 301-587-5800;

Juniper Eco Salon

The botanical-enriched hair dye is the biggest draw at this friendly Old Town salon, whose organic formula results in such bold and healthy-looking color that you’d never guess it’s ammonia- and paraben-free. Complimentary scalp massages with essential oils come with each shampoo, cut, and blow dry, and terrific eco-friendly brands such as Davines and Soma line the shelves.

632 N. Washington St., Alexandria; 703-549-9323;

Nectar Skin Bar

A healthy, natural-looking glow is what you’ll get with the Chocolate Sun sunless tan ($55 for full-body) at this chic Georgetown spa. The cool, velvety formula is made of water, sugar, and antioxidant-packed cocoa beans but is free of dihydroxyacetone—or DHA—the ingredient in typical spray tans that results in a chemical smell.

1633 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-4332;

Nusta Spa

The country’s first LEED Gold-certified spa, downtown DC’s Nusta is as kind to the environment as it is to the body. The only acids you’ll come across here are derived from citrus, such as those in the indulgent, ginger-lime-kombucha Enliven pedicure ($65) or the fruity, exfoliating Flash facial ($75). Massages ($105 to $185) and wraps ($110 to $205) involve organic oils and scrubs derived from sage, mint, coconut, and algae, leaving the skin smooth and nourished.

1129 20th St., NW; 202-530-5700;


This girly, New York hair-removal salon is a relative newcomer to our area, having opened its first Washington location just south of Dupont Circle last year. It’s best known for sugaring ($11 to $290), performed using an all-natural gel composed of lemon juice, sugar, water, and glycerin, making the service less painful and gentler on the skin than traditional waxing. Threading ($11 to $77) is also an option—and achieves ultra-precise results.

1730 M St., NW; 202-912-8455;

Simply Bliss Salon

On a leafy street in DC’s Cathedral Heights, this hair salon is known for its top-notch treatments using minimal chemicals. It specializes in organic coloring ($90 to $135), using a formula that’s free of scalp-irritating ammonia, animal products, and plastics found in typical dyes. The Keratin treatments ($350 to $500) are performed using a mix with one of the lowest possible formaldehyde levels on the market.

400 Massachusetts Ave., NW; 202-462-0093;

Spa on the Hill

In a charming rowhouse two blocks from Capitol Hill’s Eastern Market, this quaint spa is known for its all-natural facials, including the Fire & Ice ($150), which promises that oxygen, plant-derived stem cells, and enzymatic botanicals will have a cooling, anti-aging effect. There’s also a slew of options for the body; the detoxifying mud treatment ($180) involves 90 minutes of massage and exfoliation using a mixture of oat, kelp, and green tea to stimulate and brighten the skin.

1007 E St., SE; 202-543-5950;

The Spa at Mint

Brides flock to the spa at this high-end gym for its Whole Glow sunless-tanning service ($60 for full-body), an organic spray tan formulated with essential oils and botanicals. The 15-minute service is beloved by such eco-conscious A-listers as Jessica Alba, and a built-in dryer in the tanning equipment eliminates the need to wait before getting dressed.

1724 California St., NW; 202-328-6468;

The Still Point

Using all-natural cosmetics brands such as Vapour, this Takoma Park spot is ideal for eco-conscious makeup services, such as brow and lash coloring ($15 and $25) that utilize vegetable dyes. Lycon, the maker of a well-known wax derived from natural resins and beeswax, is the brand of choice for hair removal here. Guests can enjoy drinks from Bethesda’s Puree juice bar to round out the holistic, natural experience offered in the spa’s beautiful space.

1 Columbia Ave., Takoma Park; 301-920-0801;

Tulsi Holistic Living

Seekers of all-natural pampering will appreciate the organic spa at this serene wellness center in Georgetown. Herbal masks and eco-friendly naturopathic mixes are used in facials ($105 to $145), while a body-scrub/massage combo ($95 to $135) features products derived from sugar and Dead Sea salts. Don’t miss the herb and flower garden out back—a tranquil setting to enjoy the herbal tea that Tulsi’s practitioners will offer while you wait for your appointment.

3325 M St., NW; 202-333-7025;

Varuna Salon Spa

From hair-removal products derived from soy to water-based spray-tan formulas, there isn’t one service at this peaceful Annapolis spa that isn’t done with naturally derived products. Daylong packages ($150 to $395) featuring such luxe treatments as rosemary-mint body wraps and French-lavender aromatherapy massages are available; haircuts and blow-outs use organic products by Aveda.

1 Park Pl., Annapolis; 410-268-2828;

Wellspring Skin Care Clinic

Organic skin care is the expertise of this wellness center in Gaithersburg’s Kentlands whose owner, Li-Sann Mullings, has a medical background. The Bio Organic facial ($150) uses a seaweed-and-radish-root formula to calm and brighten dull skin, while shea butter is an ingredient in a variety of massages and body treatments—such as the exfoliating “back facial” ($135). Waxing ($13 to $93) involves skin-softening plant formulas.

309 Main St., Gaithersburg; 301-987-8140;

This article appears in the July 2014 issue of Washingtonian.