Just because you’ve been mostly stuck in the house for months doesn’t mean you’ve actually focused on yourself. In fact, the opposite is probably true. Whether it’s your kids’ needs, work, the juggling of meals, or just plain stressing, "me" time may be nonexistent.
Perhaps you need a little reboot, and, arguably, 2021 is the perfect year for reclaiming and regaining ways to take care of ourselves. To that end, we focused on some interesting routes to take — some new, some just never tried — that offer minimal touch.
And in the realm of, "it’s a tough job but somebody has to do it," we tried them all. In most cases, we had no preconceived notions and no idea what to expect but had only one prerequisite: social distance. Here’s how it all went:
Hydrojelly mask at Beautiology Studio and Spa
Pre-pandemic, these boxed, peel-off facial masks by Esthemax that are infused with fruit, flowers, teas, greens and electrolytes were for professional use only, according to Beautiology owner Marchelle Charles. But recognizing that for months on end, people weren’t rushing out to get facials, the company created a retail variety.
Even now, perhaps you’re still not feeling ready to go one-on-one for a facial but want to give your skin a professional pick-me-up. There are six variations on the theme at Beautiology and each package comes with two hydrojelly facials, two mixing trays, a scoop for water measurement and a spatula. It mixes up into a goopy "pudding" and you spread it on your face with the spatula. After 20-25 minutes you peel the gelatinous substance off your face, and if applied evenly, it comes off in one jelly-fied piece.
How’d we feel? Results depend on which facial you choose and what you hope to achieve from hydration, moisturizing, exfoliating, diminishing fine wrinkles and dark spots to creating a brightened skin tone and glow. The process, unlike basic sheet masks, feels almost like doing a craft at home. "It’s fun," says Charles and it is. And as long as you’re not doing a Zoom call, (we looked very strange) you can work while it sets. As for the peel off, the product becomes almost rubberized. Our now-tingly skin definitely felt cleaner, smoother and had a definite fresh blush to it. Helpful hint: Keep your hair out of the picture — we did not.
Details: $38 per package. (72E Old Country Rd., Mineola, 516-714-4949, beautiologystudioandspa.com)
Lift at Next Level Floats
Slightly claustrophobic, we never dreamed we would turn up in a float therapy tank (this, a euphemism for sensory deprivation tank) but the folks at two-year-old Lift/Next Level Floats, an outpost of the original one that operates in Brooklyn, were gently reassuring, dubbing the experience as "gravity-free bliss" and a chance to relax and reset.
The place, dimly lit, offers four distinctly separate "ocean" float rooms (not pods) — with heated floors. First, you shower and then plop into a tank filled with 10 inches of warmish water that is loaded with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts. The company suggests floating sans a bathing suit "so that your body is free from tactile distractions." Yeeks. To be honest, our nerves were on edge.
Co-owner Gina Antioco, 39, helped squelch them with this piece of advice: "When you get in the tank, spread your arms out and say, ‘This is my time.’" A small, open door beckons, (you’re supposed to close it all the way. We did not). Instead of the darkened, coffin-like tank we expected, the inside was pretty — a white almost mini-room with some twinkling starry lights on the ceiling (the tank is 7-feet high, so phew to that) and lavender lighting generated from below.
How’d we feel? Proud that we conquered a fear, rested and relaxed like we took a real break and even after showering for a second time, still salty, though our skin felt soft.
Details: One-hour float for newcomers is $59; after that it’s $85 per session and there are several packages. Towels, earplugs, shampoo and soap are provided for customers. On an upbeat note in hard times, Antico says, "We recently implemented a ‘community floats’ program which offers discounted float sessions to anyone financially impacted from COVID." (42 Gerard St., Huntington, 631-923-3099)
The Tune Bed at REVIVE Health Studio
While many businesses shuttered during the pandemic, Jenna Schulman, 31, decided to open REVIVE Health Studio in Huntington because of it. "The pandemic created a level of stress and anxiety like never before. We wanted to create a space where people can take a sigh of relief," she says.
The airy, light storefront features walls of natural apothecary products and a whimsical, furry swing hanging from the ceiling. But the star of the show is the Tune Bed. This cushy, bedlike structure is built like a piano underneath and provides vibro-acoustic-musical technology set in customized "waveforms."
Completely self-operating, we hopped on donning the headset attached to the bed. A nearby screen allows the user to choose one of seven frequencies: brighten, focus, cleanse, meditate, energize, create and recover. Each session is only 15-minutes, so worst case, you get to lay down in a serene space for a bit.
How’d we feel? We chose the meditate option and fully expected to be jiggled out of the bed, but in fact, it’s a gentle vibration that somehow meshes with the movement of the music. It was transportive allowing us to deeply relax without worrying about committing too much time or money.
Details: For first timers, a 15-minute session is $10. Regular price is $20 per session and there are discounted prices for packages. (44C Gerard St., Huntington, 631-223-2126, revivehealthstudio.com)
Sudatonic Body Wrap at Steel Beauty
At Steel Beauty, a little jewel of a recently opened spa, the Sudatonic Body Wrap is a specialty of the house. A blanket that emits infrared rays on four zones of your body is the star of this treatment that begins with being slathered with a cream that contains among other things, caffeine and orange peel.
Next up, a cellophane wrap seals the cream into your body and, finally, you’re ensconced in the blanket which is more like a weighted, tailored tarp. The aesthetician contact is over at this point. It’s a bit like an intense reclining sauna without the hot, hard-to-breathe air. Lay back, listen to tunes for about 45-minutes (with no interruptions).
How’d we feel? It was a major league time out from an always harried schedule. Our worries about feeling claustrophobic all trussed up in a blanket melted away and instead it felt cozy, private and luxurious, and took the dryness out of our winter skin.
Details: Each treatment is $95 and lasts about an hour in total. There’s a first-time visit discount of 20% along with package prices. (4863 Merrick Rd., Massapequa Park, 516-667-6231, steelbeautyspa.com)