Beauty & Health

November Project
Photo Credit: Bojan Mandaric/November Project


November Project

At these massive group workouts, everyone is welcome, “especially those who prefer to exercise outside, instead of with machines,” says co-founder Brogan Graham. The brainchild of two contagiously enthusiastic former Northeastern University rowers, November Project meets every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, either at Harvard Stadium or at tweeted locations citywide. Participants run, crunch, squat and plank as the sun rises, and while we won’t call them painless, the workouts are completely free—something that hasn’t changed, even as the Project has spread to 16 other cities and clinched the cover of Runner’s World.   

  • Follain
    Photo Credit: Holly Rike

    Beauty Boutique


    After working on a French lavender farm, Tara Foley founded this wholesome temple of beauty in the South End last summer, offering environmentally friendly, spa-grade products for hair, skin and body. Most are locally made and all come from the United States; sometimes herbalists even stop in for demos. A Nantucket outpost opened this spring, and online ordering is coming soon. You may never shop at the drugstore again.

    53 Dartmouth St., Boston (857-284-7078); 9A S. Beach St., Nantucket (508-825-5630);
  • Blowout


    Drybar is a godsend for those of us who don’t have time to wrestle with hair dryers. The three-story Back Bay blowout bar (with a branch in Newton) specializes exclusively in washing and styling tresses. All blowouts are $40, no matter your follicular woes. Perks include traveling services for those who prefer at-home heat, a detailed lookbook to help the creatively challenged and ultra-convenient hours—it opens daily at 7 am and operates till 10 pm on prime going-out nights. 

    234 Clarendon St., Boston (617-449-7287); 210 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill (617-826-6148);
  • Cosmetics


    Co-founded by Harvard Business School alum Marla Malcolm Beck, this makeup and skin care emporium has representatives from each product line (like Laura Mercier, La Mer and NARS) meticulously train each staffer. And because it’s also a spa, staffers can recommend products that go beyond aesthetics to complement your skin type. You’ll feel confident in their picks—plus, they’re always happy to give tutorials. You just might leave with a full makeover.

    160 Newbury St., Boston (617-424-0004); additional locations in Chestnut Hill, Dedham, Hingham and Lynnfield;
  • Day Spa

    G2O Spa + Salon

    G2O turned 20 this year, and its recent renovation has left it looking better than ever—no small feat, considering that the 14,000-square-foot sanctuary already boasted a penthouse roof terrace for alfresco relaxation, a skylighted hot tub and even an “experience room” where clients unwind in herbal-infused steam and ice fog. With sister property Emerge now a part of G2O, look for new services such as LED light treatment, reiki crystal therapy and nonsurgical face-lifts.

    278 Newbury St., Boston (617-262-2220);
  • The Handle Bar
    Photo Credit: Josh Campbell

    Exercise Class

    The Handle Bar

    Big chains Soul Cycle and Flywheel made their way to Boston during the past year, but homegrown studio the Handle Bar offers its own spin on the trend, with cycling classes that are intense, personalized and—dare we say it—fun. Customization is key. Rides are synchronized to music with mood lighting, and each instructor chooses the vibe. If you’re not as fit as your fellow riders, never fear; you can control the bike’s intensity using a resistance knob. Insiders recommend scheduling a class with Elise Petersen, Lena Rakijian, Sarah Maguire or Cara Tramontozzi, the Handle Bar’s most-followed instructors. 

    141 Dorchester Ave., Boston (617-451-1270); 1336 Boylston St., Boston (857-239-9789);
  • Facial

    MZ Skin Care

    Owner Marianne Zullas specializes in custom facials, but aims to go more than skin deep. To that end, an on-staff health coach consults on nutrition and relaxation needs, and many clients opt for six-month treatment plans to incorporate new food and lifestyle choices. First-timers often begin with a Simply Organic facial using Zullas’ favorite all-natural line, Starflower Essentials. The ultra-relaxing treatment includes a deep cleanse, a scrub, a peel and massage.

    1160 Boylston St., Brookline (617-739-6010)
  • Hair Colorist

    Albana Ze at Shag

    Color maven Albana Ze has a devoted clientele at Shag, where she fixes hair disasters with color correction (“A lot of people come in with color from a box!”) and gets creative with ombre. Favoring subtle looks, she’s an expert at the foil-free balayage technique, painting highlights freehand for a more natural, sun-kissed style. But don’t be afraid to request something a bit bold: Ze’s happy to use “funky” colors, and she’s amazingly diplomatic during consultations.

    840 Summer St., Boston (617-268-2500)
  • Hair Salon

    Salon Marc Harris

    Stylists at these full-service salons, helmed by industry leader Marc Harris, have some of the most rigorous training in the business: Ambitious employees undergo a two-year apprentice program. Known for experimentation, the salons are embracing creative coloring techniques such as painted feathers and hair chalk this summer. Can’t picture it? Follow their fun on Instagram (@marcharrissalonspa) for inspiration.

    115 Newbury St., Boston (617-262-2222); additional locations in the Financial District and at the Sports Club/LA;
  • Hair Salon, Ethnic

    Salon Monet

    This 10-year-old salon boasts a passionate following thanks to vivacious stylist-owner Shellee Mendes, who trained at James Joseph and Vidal Sassoon. Monet (so named because Mendes values her stylists as artists) specializes in extensions and curly hair, using the all-natural PhytoSpecific line. The salon is kid-friendly, and Mendes says it’s a godsend for cross-cultural families looking for a one-stop shop. There’s also conscientious attention to punctuality, so expired meters are one less thing to stress over.

    176 Newbury St., Boston (617-425-0009)
  • Hair Straightening

    Avanti Salon

    This newly expanded salon has two exceptional weapons. First, there’s an entire room devoted to straightening—which can be an, ahem, aromatic process, depending on the chemicals used. The salon-within-a-salon has windows and a special vent, making the experience bright, soothing and odorless. Second, there’s expert stylist Rebecca Serra, a favorite for her flattening and blowout skills. For those who embrace curls but long for manageability, opt for the $40 Curly Girl treatment, which offers bounce without frizz.

    20 Newbury St., Boston (617-267-4027)
  • Health Club


    You’ll get plenty of attention at Equinox’s Back Bay location, where top trainers participate in Equinox’s elite Tier Four training program, which they liken to results-focused life coaching. Yoga instructor Rebecca Pacheco has a massive following, as does popular cycling instructor Ch’ien Chan. Equinox’s Back Bay location is also one of its few gyms with an outdoor training deck. Sweating outside helps to ease the burn.

    131 Dartmouth St., Boston (617-578-8918); additional locations in Boston and Chestnut Hill;
  • Hot Shave

    Tweed Barbers

    A throwback to the halcyon era of barbershops, this swanky man-cave employs nine skilled barbers, each with a minimum of 10 years’ experience. In addition to haircuts, they offer hot-lather, straight-razor shaves—the closest to old-school style in the business. “We’re trying to bring back the genuine, classic barbershop experience,” says owner Peter Solomon. And with oak floors, oak-paneled walls, reclining chairs, steam towels and affable patter, Mad Men’s Don Draper would feel right at home.

    1313 Washington St., Boston (617-753-9990)
  • Lashes

    Lash L’Amour

    Ditch the mascara wand at Lash L’Amour, where you can choose from a seemingly infinite variety of lash styles and colors, most of which last up to 60 days. The salon specializes in finer hair, using multiple layers of synthetic lashes to create an extra-full effect. Plus, busy clients can multitask with a manicure and pedicure at the same time—75 minutes of efficient beauty.

    129 Newbury St., Boston (617-247-1871); 55 Langley Road, Newton (617-916-1209);
  • Local Product


    After losing a sister to melanoma, Cheryl Clarkson vowed to make a difference in other women’s lives. Today for SkinHealth Centers, her Boston and suburban medical spas, the MIT graduate whips up antioxidant-rich skin care products. These include powerful sunscreens packed with green tea and vitamins (minus the additives and fragrances that plague many commercial brands), plus soothing salves to combat acne and the effects of aging. Staff physicians also offer Botox, body contouring and laser hair removal.

    73 Newbury St., Boston (617-267-7546); additional locations in Chestnut Hill and Wellesley;
  • Makeup Artist

    Mariolga Pantazopoulos

    The cheerful fashion-school grad (and mom of three) has a saying: “Your makeup shouldn’t walk into a room before you do.” She specializes in natural looks using her own skin care line, DB Cosmetics. Celebrities such as Soledad O’Brien and Maria Menounos appreciate her soft approach and confidence-boosting demeanor. “I don’t fix anyone. I just enhance people’s natural beauty,” she says. Find her sulfate- and paraffin-free products at Newbury Street’s The Loft.

  • Manicure/Pedicure

    LeHa Myrtil at Beaucage

    An 11-year veteran of Beaucage, one of Newbury Street’s cozier salons, Myrtil keeps clients coming back with her mellow demeanor and wizardry at choosing nail colors. (Don’t see a shade you like? She’ll custom mix one for you.) Her paint jobs are known to last, and she’s skilled at acrylic, gels and Vinylux—a durable treatment that’s easier to remove than Shellac and dries in 10 minutes.

    71 Newbury St., Boston (617-437-7171)
  • Massage


    Most spas aim to soothe. At Bliss, it’s all about energy, from the brightly lit rooms to the R&B soundtrack. Bliss prides itself on cheeky massage add-ons, like “love handler” tightening treatments. A Boston favorite is 24-Heaven for dry skin, which includes an oatmeal mask, a Vichy shower and lathering with intense body balm. A sink-side tester bar—with free product samples—is a welcome touch. So is the relaxation lounge, stocked with tea and, yes, brownies.

    W Boston, 100 Stuart St., Boston (617-261-8747)
  • Men’s Haircut

    Mary Chheng at James Joseph

    Mary Chheng is a fixture at James Joseph’s Newbury Street flagship, where she’s relieved male hair hardships for 13 years. She specializes in texturing (read: she helps guys feel better about thinning manes), and she’s gifted at styling hair to suit a client’s contours and account for cowlicks. Some call it talent, but she calls it instinct. “I can look at someone’s face and know exactly what they want,” she says.

    30 Newbury St., Boston (617-266-7222); additional locations in Boston, Medford and Plymouth;
  • Tattoo Parlor

    Regeneration Tattoo

    If you’re about to make a lifelong commitment, you’ll feel safe in the hands of Regeneration’s six tattoo artists, each of whom is skilled at creating unique, custom portraiture. Most designers have art-school backgrounds, and all are devoted to crafting tattoos that won’t quickly fade. The business also has staying power, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

    155 Harvard Ave., Boston (617-782-1313)
  • Updos and Styling

    Viselli Santoro Salon

    Viselli’s team of six updo stylists specialize in milestone events. At a consultation, they’ll pair you with a stylist suited to your aesthetic—classic? avant-garde?—then conduct a trial run to experiment with options. Before your wedding, they’ll travel up to 90 minutes to get you camera-ready, and there’s a makeup artist on staff to complete the look. An added bonus: Their extensions really do look real.

    297 Newbury St., Boston (857-350-4856)
  • Waxing

    European Wax Center

    It’s nothing but waxing at these skin-sensitive salons, which use 100 percent all-natural beeswax imported from France. The wax is super-soft and adheres only to hair, resulting in a practically pain-free experience. Each waxing specialist undergoes a seven-day training program to learn the brand’s patented Comfort Wax technique, which includes niceties such as serum applications for pesky ingrown follicles and calming cream for those post-wax bumps.

    1387 Washington St., Boston (617-236-0050); additional locations in Boston, Dedham, Medford, Newton and elsewhere;
  • Brooklyn Boulders
    Photo Credit: Josh Campbell

    Welcome Addition

    Brooklyn Boulders

    Here, Somerville really is the new Brooklyn. Founded by three Babson College graduates, Brooklyn Boulders—twice the size of the New York original—is part rock-climbing gym and part community center. In addition to climbing walls, there are work and event spaces, sit-up stations, yoga classes and fridges stocked with energy bars and Life Force juices. A $22 day pass ($18 for students) affords access to the whole facility, and climbing classes taught by AMGA-certified instructors will make even novice climbers feel like Spider-Man.  

    12A Tyler St., Somerville (617-623-6700)
  • Women’s Haircut

    Salon Eva Michelle

    “Our salon is very education-driven,” says Salon Eva Michelle co-owner Michelle Lee, whose squad of stylists takes classes every month on “cutting, styling and everything in between.” The result? Terrific consistency, regardless of whether you see Michelle, co-owner Eva Mustafai or any other member of their hand-picked team—each stylist has a long working history with both owners. Lee takes pride in her staff’s prowess at both classic and creative cuts, complemented by skilled corrective color, extensions and blowouts.

    118 Newbury St., Boston (617-262-8118)

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