Finding the right medspa or salon is like choosing a partner: it can be a tricky and often lengthy process. Treatment specifications need to be met, add in a splash of the intangible wow factor, and the benchmark: a burning desire for that elusive human connection. It can be downright ugly out there, not to mention confusing. Don’t believe me? Try opening your Yelp app in a city like New York. No, you still can’t filter potential dates by their track record, but you can on the beauty front. Welcome to Haute Unofficial’s newest guide: the Mandy Michelin, your beauty guide to New York City.
Where It Began
While you know I work in tech, you may not know that the software I sell supports the hospitality industry. With a clientele list full of Michelin rated restaurants and five-star hotels, you really get to know the visions behind their brands with the conversations we have with them. I found it wildly inspiring to hear some of their stories and the great attention to detail that goes into their operations. Their Michelin rating confirms it to the world.
It got me thinking: like restaurants, spas and salons serve guests. Why isn’t there a similar listing on the beauty front? I got down to work making appointments all over the city. After a year and a half and over 100 appointments later, I had racked up a bunch of fascinating data. Like spreadsheets with categories, number scales and pivot tables crazy.
The Mandy Michelin
What makes it a Mish, you’re likely wondering? Just like the true Michelin rating:
- Quality Products. This is number one for a reason. Yeah, the space may be swanky, but it really doesn’t matter if the products used are crap. This is my benchmark. Quality products yield much better results, and after all, isn’t that why we’re dropping bank?
- Artistry/Mastery. The Michelin rating has several categories that point to the artistry and mastery of the technique of the chef. The same can be said for the esthetician. What really wins me over is how passionate and educated my facialist is about skin. My favorites are the ones that talk to me like my doctor talks to me: giving me the why behind what’s being used, and how I can apply it on my own. Bonus points for the fellow nerds that just want to nerd out with me about it.
- Consistency. If you can’t replicate it, it’s not mastery. Michelin thinks so too, it’s the most common reason restaurants why get stars taken away. The places that made this year’s list were ones I went to at least 3 times for the same service. With different estheticians, I was able to gauge a broader scope of their staff and really drive home my own opinion on them. None of them even know I’m writing this either.
The 2019 Awardees
Welcome to the first year of your beauty guide to New York City.
Where do I even begin? Like a true Michelin rated ambiance, Natalia’s studio beams with artistry and serenity. I stumbled upon her Instagram account while searching through local nail art hashtags before moving to New York, and it was history after that. My OG readers, you know my love of Japanese nail art. The Brilleny style is minimally elegant, which I love. What’s more, is she really gets a feel of your personality and brings it into her designs. As a fellow artist, I prefer for her to work her magic. I’ll bring a few photos as markers, and from there, it’s created! Head to my Nails highlight on Instagram for the visuals. Her art doesn’t stop at nails either: she creates actual art, jewelry, and clothing designs that are beautifully functional. I’ve been saving a particular design of hers for this season to pair with the right outfit. Stay tuned!
This place holds all the important B cards: beauty, brains, and balayage. It’s also a testament to the power of sponsored content: not all of it is bullshit. What started as a first-time service review collaboration, ended in a hair long term relationship. JJ, their owner, and brilliant businesswoman is a New York City gem. I’ve met few other hairstylists in my life that share her passion for artistry and knowledge. As someone who abuses the [insert cuss word] out of their hair, it takes a special kind of stylist to understand how to run the operation. It’s not just her though, it’s her whole staff. All of them have regulars that leave with flawless balayage, both wild and natural Hamptons highlights alike. What’s more, is you’ll learn what’s what on the hair technique front, and they’ll always nerd out with you on it. If you’re flying in for the week for the New York experience, book a slot. Like Michelin ratings, you gotta stop.
Those on Instagram, this was formerly known as the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salon. Let the elegant ambiance fool you because it’s the real deal. From the front desk service to the treatment itself, you’re given the full tour. I’ve had different estheticians each time for similar services, and all have resulted in me learning more about my own skin, and what I need to do to get where I want to be. They’re also convenient since they have later and early appointments, making it a no-brainer for any professional here in the city. Same goes for you, corporate travelers: you can rest easy knowing you’re in good hands.
Truth be told, I found this after careful research to search out the best discount to review ratio for first-timers for some maintenance hits. Moving across the country on your own dime is not cheap. What kept me coming back was the consistency of being able to adjust my appointments around my chaotic life and the knowledge of their injectors. They truly analyze your face to optimize each unit to make you look your best. I’ve never had better placement, which speaks to their artistry. Whether your a bargain hunter or a traveler looking for a solid spot, this is your home base.
This is also your beauty guide to New York City, meaning your thoughts carry weight too. To each of you as readers, share your comments below if you stop in, as your voice counts: consistency always.