In New York City, where nail shops and hair salons are almost as ubiquitous as Starbucks, it was only a matter of time before someone stepped in to fill the obvious void in beauty services: makeup. That’s all about to change on Wednesday, when Rouge, a new makeup lounge in Soho, officially opens for business.
The space is the brainchild of makeup artist Rebecca Perkins and actress Stephanie March, who became close friends after they met on the set of Law & Order: SVU. (Perkins was the makeup department head and March played ADA Alex Cabot). The idea for Rouge came when Perkins realized that many of the women she knew would jump at the chance to have a makeup pro on speed dial, just like her celebrity clients. “Women would often tell me how much they wish they had their own makeup artist. High-end salons offer makeup, but the price is prohibitive. Also, the makeup artists aren’t always there. You have to make an appointment, and you don’t know anything about their experience and training,” Perkins says. Department stores aren’t ideal, either. The high-pressure sales techniques, hectic environment, and lack of privacy are all turnoffs. Rouge is the opposite of that. The intimate space has six stations outfitted with glamorous mirrors surrounded with the kind of big, bright bulbs you might find in a dressing room at a theater. The comfy, leather chairs, as March happily demonstrated, recline all the way back so that customers can lie down while they’re getting dolled up.
Although Rouge offers quick services such as individual lash application and eyebrow waxing, makeup is the focus. The menu of services includes three different options, ranging in cost from $50 for the natural “You…Only Better” look to $75 for the full-on glam “Total Polish” face. Products are for sale upon request (from brands such as Face Stockholm, Julie Hewett, and Yaby), but you won’t find tester units or shelves stocked with goods prominently displayed here. Clients are even allowed to bring in their own makeup if there is a particular shade of, say, foundation or lipstick they want to incorporate into their look. Not that you need to. I was impressed with the diverse range of colors Perkins pulled out to paint my face, and her work got rave reviews from the friends I met for dinner after my appointment (trust me, they wouldn’t lie).
Before I visited Rouge, I wondered if a makeup lounge would only feed the increasing pressure women feel to look perfect all the time because of celebrity obsession and social media, but I left with a different outlook. Sure, some might use the service as a crutch, but I imagine that the majority of the clientele will think of it as just another way to look their best before an important meeting or special occasion. After all, as March puts it: “Women have been rouging for years.” They’re just here to help.
130 Thompson Street, (212) 388-1717; www.rougeny.com for appointments.
When Boston-based hairstylist Jeffrey Dauksevich dimmed the lights of his Umi salon two years ago, he took all that went with the name—including his range of carefully considered hair-care products and styling goods. At the time, the line had amassed something of an underground following (die-hard clients ordered his Umi Hair Powder by the case). So after reopening the salon with a new name—Jeffrey Boston—a year later, it was only a matter of time before his cultish hair goods reemerged as well. After a soft launch at the shows this past season, the lineup has been officially released, with the five originals back in rotation: the aforementioned Powder, a weightless dry shampoo that lends styling grip, volume, and a subtle scent of lavender, bergamot, apple, and bamboo; Crème for controlling curls and taming flyaways; Serum to thwart frizz and mend dry ends; Pomade to deliver hold and separation; and Gel, infused with silk protein, to fix strands in place with a nonsticky finish. Although the formulas remain the same, the containers have been pared down to resemble lab bottles, simply labeled “(Products) Jeffrey.” It’s all part of Dauksevich’s fresh and minimalist approach for both his products and reimagined studio. “I want to keep things small, strip away the layers,” he says. But, thankfully, he’s keen on adding more to this assortment—expect to see a cleanser, base spray, and more come spring.
Jeffrey Boston, 75 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts, (617) 247-0770; jeffreyboston.com.
Should upcoming travel plans involve a trip to the fine city of Dallas, consider checking in at the Joule. The recently opened boutique hotel is a pretty cool place to hang out—note the artwork by the Havana-based collective Los Carpinteros, the lifestyle shop curated by TenOverSix, the Taschen library, and the fine espresso from Seattle’s Victrola Coffee Roasters. But here on Beauty Counter, we’re all about the bi-level Espa Spa. Spanning 8,000 square feet (everything’s bigger in the Texas, right?), the space features a vitality pool, an ice fountain (for stimulating circulation), an amethyst-and-black-quartz-crystal steam room, a wood sauna, and “experience” showers with ambient lighting. Six treatment rooms offer an extensive menu of face and body services, two of which are unique to the hotel: The Joule, a rubdown with warmed volcanic and jade stones, and the Earth-Inspired, a deep-tissue massage designed to undo tension with ginger-root exfoliation. Those not in any hurry to leave such serene quarters should book the Espa Time: a multi-hour session involving a facial, a massage, body exfoliation, a manicure, and a spa bento-box lunch (depending on the length of time requested). With such a lavish—and, frankly, hard-to-top—setup, it’s no wonder the spa will serve as Espa’s flagship location in the U.S.
Espa Spa at the Joule, 1530 Main Street, Dallas, Texas, (214) 748-1300, www.thejouledallas.com.
Stylist Takamichi Saeki has been dispensing precisely disheveled, geometrically structured cuts since opening his first salon on a sleepy block in the East Village in 1999. Since then his address has changed twice—first to the cobblestoned Great Jones Street, and now to a well-trodden stretch of the Bowery. As of this week, Saeki has more newness to boast about: The salon is adding, after hearing the pleas of many a male client, a guy-focused bespoke styling bar. Akin to a dry bar concept for dudes, men can come in pre-important meeting or -hot date for a mini style or wash—all of it using Davines’ More Inside collection exclusively. And since men haven’t historically been known to labor over their coifs for long lengths of time, all of the services are lightning-fast: 25 minutes or less. A concept that any dude can get behind.
Bespoke Style Bar at Takamichi Hair, 263 Bowery, 2nd floor, New York, NY, (212) 420-7979; takamichihair.com.
As iconic New York spots go, few can rival the cachet of the Waldorf-Astoria, whose roster of notable tenants includes the likes of Cole Porter, Marilyn Monroe, and gangster Bugsy Siegel. Another reason to add the fabled hotel to your Big Apple itinerary? The Guerlain Spa, which, perched on the nineteenth floor, now holds a special spot in this jaded New Yorker’s heart. After successfully bypassing the ground-floor Guerlain boutique, I headed upstairs to be received in what is arguably one of the most opulent salon foyers in Manhattan, where guests can shop the brand’s skincare—though you’ll probably prefer to make your way to the Grand Salon, where a well-curated selection of glossies and Prosecco await. The labyrinthine spa offers all the intimacy and meticulous sense of detail of a well-hidden gem on a much larger scale (think fourteen-thousand square feet and fifteen treatment rooms). My indulgence of choice? The deeply nourishing, eighty-minute Abeille Royale Youth Facial, a new addition to the treatment menu. Its star player, royal jelly, has been prized since ancient times for its healing and renewing properties. Guerlain ups the ante of the time-honored ingredient with its Royale Jelly Concentrate, collected from the house’s signature bees (which are kept, dreamily enough, on the French island of Ouessant). In addition to no fewer than two masks, steam, light extractions, and a paraffin hand wrap, the facial’s apian theme continues with the recently launched Abeille Royale Face Treatment Oil—a luxurious, amber-hued oil that firms and hydrates skin simultaneously. What could be sweeter?
$295, 100 E. 50th St., New York, (212) 872-7200; guerlainspas.com.