Spray and Glo
Remember those spray-on hair lighteners we used to toss in our beach bags? They provided a quick and cheap way to go blonder, sure – but eventually there came that dreaded orange halo. The new lightening gels are designed to brighten your locks without the brassiness, and provide more control than those old-fashioned sprays. Next month, KMS is introducing Solar Power Highlighter ($12.95 at select salons), an aloe-and-lime-infused product that works gradually in the sun, and John Frieda has just launched Sun Streaks, a heat-accelerated gel that contains peroxide and is activated by the sun or a hair dryer, and Lemon Lights, a less dramatic natural lightener that contains fresh lemon (both $6.50 at Duane Reade and CVS stores). Whichever you choose, it’ll buy you some welcome time off from those long, costly hours spent with foil in your hair.

Hot Heads
For some, salons, even the swanky ones, are just kind of … public. Enter hairstylist Charles Worthington, a sweet-faced Brit with five London salons and a best-selling product line sold at Sephora and Bloomingdale’s. Recently, Worthington took a New York apartment (a white penthouse in Chelsea with a stunning view), and for a few days every month, he jets in to see private Stateside clients. These fashionable few – Allure editor-in-chief Linda Wells is a fan – are picked up in a Mercedes, delivered to his doorstep, fed a light gourmet lunch, and returned home looking that much better. Such private pampering carries a hefty ($750) price tag, but look at it this way: It’s far more reasonable than a first-class ticket and a night at the Sanderson. (To schedule, call Jennifer Wolinetz at 212-935-1558, extension 230.)

Union Flair
They finally finished that endless construction around Union Square – and now it’s really getting the beauty treatment, with a new spate of spas. Last month saw the arrival of Brigitte Mansfield (37 Union Square West; 212-366-0706), a high-glam white-carpeted loft with giant windows overlooking the park (pictured). The emphasis is on luxe, like a massage with aromatic oils from Paris, body scrubs with crushed marble, and facials finished with caviar cream. Body Central (99 University Place; 212-677-5633), which focuses on health and relaxation, opened back in ‘99 but has expanded its services and now offers fourteen different kinds of massage, including sports, shiatsu, even fertility and menstrual-health, along with pilates and nutritional counseling. The sparkling six-month-old Acqua Beauty Bar (7 East 14th Street; 212-620-4329) has a roster of Eastern therapies such as Tui Na and Qi Gong massages, a Chinese herbal facial, and scrubs with salt-roasted bamboo, in addition to more traditional treatments. Rice paper lines the walls at the spanking-new Heesoo Beauty (114 Fourth Avenue; 212-995-1707). All massages come with back exfoliations, and pedicure options include mud packs and aromatherapy. Now, if only Union Square-lovers could get rid of that piece of art regurgitating steam into the park.

Editor’s Pick
Purple’s Reign

It’s a fashion conundrum: What color polish will work with both a preppy-pink shirt-dress and a punk-inspired grommetted mini? Try a pedicure in violet – it’s girly but has a bit of an edge. Among the most flattering shades are the lavender-tinged Pulsion Sugar Impulse from Chanel ($16 at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s), Bourjois’s lightly metallic Mauve Gourmand ($8.50 at Macy’s and Sephora), and the plummy Boop from Helena Rubenstein ($15 at Helena Rubenstein, 135 Spring Street; 212-343-9963). Says pedicurist to the stars Deborah Lippmann, “You have to be pretty adventurous to wear purple, but with a tan it’s killer.”