A word to the wise and well-groomed: in New York City, the spas and salons where you get the most bang for your proverbial buck don’t necessarily have sleek storefronts or vocal celebrity followings. In fact, Birchbox staffers like to frequent tucked-away places guarded by insiders as well-kept secrets. Since we love to share, we put together a list of our favorite not-so-famous spots to get pampered without breaking the bank (by NYC standards, of course!):
- Hibba NYC. A former hedge fund accountant, Indian-born brow tamer Hibba Kapil just opened her second salon last month in a fifth floor suite of a Madison Ave skyscraper. Once you get past the unmarked door, you’ll see why we refer to Hibba as the brow whisperer: her pain-free threading sessions run about $20 a pop and clean up your arches without turning them into tragic little tadpoles.
- Elaine Face Work. It doesn’t have a splashy website, but this Little Italy gem is a must-visit. Proprietor Elaine is a one-woman show who was trained in Eastern Europe and maintains a fiercely loyal clientele (side note: she doesn’t push products to buy, so you can avoid those awkward post-facial “recommendations”). A basic facial will set you back $40.
- V2 Salon. This Chinatown spot is best described as no-frills, but its $20 blowouts are on par with the pricier services offered at Upper East Side salons. Go on a weeknight before a big date or a swanky event (if you have some spare time, make sure to grab a bubble tea in the neighborhood afterwards).
- Haven Spa NYC. Walk down a flight of stairs to enter this unassuming, sign-less hair removal haven in Soho. They’re known for speedy $25-$41 bikini waxes delivered with a (somewhat reassuring) smile.
- Yo-C Hair Salon. This tiny East Village salon will put you at ease thanks to the friendly, non-pretentious vibe of its Japanese staff. The owner, Tokyo native Yoshi, knows how to design a cut that complements your face shape. A women’s haircut is $75, and students can take advantage of a $50 special.
What are your favorite under-the-radar spas and salons?
Even if you can’t make it to one of these spots, you can still get a beauty fix by reading our DIY home spa tips.