best of new york

Best of New York Health and Self 2016

Photo: Bobby Doherty

Brow Plucking
The New Staff at Sania’s Brow Bar
48 W. 20th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-247-1129
Known for shaping the brows of fashion editors and reality stars both male and female, as well as for her signature style (all plucking, no waxing, for a full, yet laser-precise, arch) and $85 prices that hurt more than the tweezer, the Bronx-born Sania Vuçetaj has been a one-woman show up until now. On March 1, she introduced fresh blood: her two daughters (Valbona and Syzana) and a niece (also Valbona). They’ve grown up learning the Sania method and, in our experience, are just as ninjalike in shaping brows of all types. The only — and major — discernible difference between the new teammates and the queen bee is, at $48 a session, they cost about half as much.

Killer Workout
Tone House
20 E. 17th St., nr. Broadway, second fl.; 646-453-6633
The roughly ten-minute warm-up alone is harder than most boot-camp classes around the city: a football-conditioning-inspired burst of sprints, burpees, and jumps. Then it’s time to get started: about 40 minutes of crawling and galloping on all fours, lifting and swinging giant battle ropes, and pushing weighted sleds until you’re hit with the inevitable urge to curl up into a ball and die. At which point founder Alonzo Wilson and his team always manage to say just the right thing to get you to the ten-minute cool-down. When you’re done, you can take a victory selfie under the ultra­flattering red lights ($35 per class).

Bob Cuts
Miki Loiacono at Whittemore House Salon
45 Grove St., nr. Bleecker St.; 212-242-8880
Jennifer Lawrence has one. So do Adele, Taylor Swift, and Taraji P. Henson. Gigi Hadid doesn’t, but she faked one with a wig at the American Music Awards and caused a worldwide stir. It’s not surprising, then, that backstage stylist Miki Loiacono has seen a surge in bob requests over the past year. Which makes the former apprentice of Milan’s Aldo Coppola salon very happy, considering his passion for the chin-length look (probably tied to his obsession with ’20s film star Louise Brooks). His cuts (from $275), often involving strategic layers in the back, are all about texture and movement; they’re never uniform or severe. He considers each client’s features, face shape, and hair type and snips each bob to optimize them all. Wavy hair, which is notoriously tricky when it comes to pulling off shorter styles, also happens to be Loiacono’s specialty.

Rowing Class
80 Fifth Ave., nr. 14th St., No. 1501; 212-242-4790
1409 3rd Ave., at 80th St.; 646-484-5508

Rowing is the new spinning. The ever-growing pool of indoor-rowing boutiques (Row House, ICE) all do an impressive job of warding off boredom by mixing up sets on the machine with on-the-ground moves like lunges, weight-lifting, and yoga poses. But what gives the 50-minute sessions at CityRow ($32) an edge is the style of machinery: Rather than using the traditional air models, these classes use only water rowers, which connect to an actual water tank for resistance and feel more authentic, with their satisfying swooshing sounds. (They’re also the model preferred by Frank Underwood on House of Cards.)

Abstract Tats
Coffey Shop Tattoos
21-36 44th Rd., Long Island City; 718-433-4228
Lots of big-name inkers these days (Amanda Wachob, Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy) seem to specialize in watercolor tattoos. But while those artists tend toward still lifes and landscapes, the trippy watercolor works of Gene Coffey, a ten-year veteran of Brooklyn’s Tattoo Culture, make him the Dalí to their Monet. In his wood-paneled, art-book-lined shop in LIC, he’ll render a sleeve of vibrant orchids dripping thick black ink, a jellyfish wrapping itself down the client’s torso, a window view of the Chrysler Building from Broadway. What he won’t do are subtle ankle flowers or lipstick kisses: He limits his work to medium- and large-scale projects, which start at about the size of an outstretched hand, for $250 per hour. They’re now so in demand he books out at least three months in advance.

Special-Occasion Primping
Whether it’s bridesmaid duty, an art-gala fund-raiser, your first ted talk, or whatever your version of a red-carpet moment may be, sometimes you want a glam squad worthy of the occasion. But usually those sought-after hairstylists are booked months in advance and charge more than the cost of a gown. Enter, which builds on the concept of beauty-on-demand services like Priv, only for a much more discerning clientele. Appointments can be made one to seven days in advance, and every stylist on the roster has years of editorial experience under his or her belt. Prices start at $180, which is a few times higher than Priv but less than what many high-end salons will charge you for that effortless chignon or va-va-voom waves. (For $400, you can even book the founder himself, George Kyriakos, the man behind Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s wedding hair.) The site offers similarly top-tier professionals (and prices) for makeup, too.

Basic Facial
1130 Broadway, nr. 26th St.;; 646-869-3601
Think of it as the DryBar of facials: no frills, great prices, and only one type of service on the menu, bookable online or through the app ($60 for 30 minutes, $95 for 50 minutes, $135 for 75 minutes, with select $35 enhancements available). Gentle, non-pushy skin therapists analyze, cleanse, exfoliate, mask, and massage the skin, using organic products like Grown Alchemist, One Love Organics, and Naturopathica. There aren’t private rooms, just nooks with curtains, but that’s easy to get over thanks to the hip décor (floating shelves, a cactus named Curtis), Haim background tunes, and impressive blackhead elimination.

Biologique Recherche facial at the Peninsula Hotel Spa. Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Fancy Facial
The Seconde Peau
(Second Skin) Biologique Recherche facial at the Peninsula Hotel Spa, 700 Fifth Ave., at 55th St.; 212-903-3910
Some facials rely on ancient cupping techniques in order to deliver dewy and youthful complexions; others involve expensive medical-type equipment. The Peninsula Hotel Spa’s latest facial ($310), which comes from French company Biologique Recherche (the brand behind the cult skin-care product P50), blends old-world methods and new: brisk facial massages to soothe and contour the skin alongside the world’s first “hyaluronic acid electrospun machine” — essentially the 3-D printer of facials. The machine prints delicate strips covered in hyaluronic acid, a molecule that can hold up to a thousand times its mass in water; they are then placed along the more fine-line-prone areas to directly infuse moisture and plump up the skin. The resulting look is hydrated and smooth, never greasy or red, and the glow can last for days.

Ninja School
Ninja Warrior Training Class at Brooklyn Zoo NY
230 Bogart St., at Ten Eyck St.; 347-987-3228
Motivated by a $1 million cash prize and an open-door audition policy, devotees of the American Ninja Warrior competition show have been honing their skills on backyard builds of the show’s trademark obstacle courses. Thankfully, space-starved New Yorkers now have another option: the new upstairs expansion to this East Williamsburg parkour gym, which is packed with re-creations of the show’s trademark obstacles, such as the Warped Wall and Salmon Ladder. Twenty-five dollars gets you an hour-long training course. Options for kids and all-female classes are available, too.

Custom Mascara
Eyeko Bespoke Bar
Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Ave., nr. 49th St., fifth fl.; 212-940-4251
Though the idea of buying a specially made, proprietary shade of lipstick seems relatively logical in the beauty-splurge world, the virtue of “customized” black or brown mascara is less apparent. But in fact, there’s a lot more to the ideal mascara than just tint: volume, curl, separation, growth, shine. And so with this $50 service at the Eyeko Bespoke Bar, a makeup artist learns your #lashgoals, choosing from a field of over 100 brush-formula combinations. While trying on two or three finalists, expect some universal tips (“Coat both sides of the lashes to prevent clumping”) as well as coaching techniques tailored to your specific deep-set (or almond-shaped, or sensitive) eyes, so that you’ll never think of mascara the same way again.

*This article appears in the March 7, 2016 issue of New York Magazine.

Best of New York Health and Self 2016