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Raised on the centuries-old beauty rituals practiced in her family’s native India, Harvard MBA Shobha Tummala was surprised to discover that these treatments weren’t as well-known in the United States. So in 2001, Tummala opened her first salon, in Soho, to focus on threading and a form of waxing known as sugaring—two thorough, relatively painless, and non-chemical ways of hair removal that are favored by clients with sensitive skin or who are on medications like Accutane and Retin-A. A second location opened a year later to service her uptown regulars (including celebs like Ellen Barkin), and while both upscale locations continue to specialize in depilation, the menu now includes henna tattoos and all-natural Indian herbal facials, too. (A third location opened at Columbus Circle in July 2007.) Facials and sugaring take place in the meticulously clean back treatment rooms, while threading and henna are performed in the spacious, high-ceilinged front area, where the walls are painted in bright, warm hues of orange, red, and yellow. Currently available only at the Columbus Circle and Soho locations, the luxurious facials incorporate potent Indian herbs, aromatic oils, and clays that are custom-blended for each client. Services can be tailored to suit any skin type, and even the hair removal ones are relaxing. Sweet-smelling rosewater is generously spritzed on as a post-service soother.
Indoor surfing, spinning lovefests, a luxurious pig-placenta facial, and more.