Beauty on Demand

We’ve all relied on smartphone services like Uber or Drizly for on-the-spot satisfaction. Just a quick tap of the app, and you’ve got a driver at a moment’s notice or your favorite booze on your doorstep. These days, you can increasingly apply that VIP power to your beauty and wellness routine with massages, makeup and manis that come to you, often within the hour.

Doorbell service isn’t new to the beauty industry, but it does seem to have more and more Bostonians staying in lately—an attractive option when winter weather or a busy schedule makes it harder to hoof it to the salon or spa.

“Getting to a city spa is stressful on its own—fighting traffic, finding parking or paying for a cab or Uber. Then you’re paying a premium for the service itself. Sometimes a little background noise at home seems pretty minor in comparison, or at least definitely worth the trade,” says Jamia A. Gaffney. A longtime client of local business Mass Mobile Massage, she invites a therapist and her massage table into her South Boston condo’s den for monthly indulgences. “The enormous convenience of having someone come to our home makes regular massage possible for us.”

“It’s more of a pleasure for most clients—a taste of VIP life,” adds Nestor Cruz, the makeup artist and stylist behind Patrice Vinci Salon’s newly minted Beauty Call service. “The comfort of being at home is so much better than going somewhere. You don’t have to wait. You’re not just another person on someone’s schedule. It’s all about you.”

Cruz isn’t the only one cruising into clients’ homes, hotels and offices with a palette and styling tools in tow. Here are some of the on-demand services helping Bostonians look and feel like a million bucks at a moment’s notice.

Beauty Call

Price: $200/hour per stylist  |  (617-267-1900)

“They were doing [on-demand beauty] 10 years ago in Los Angeles and New York,” says hair guru Patrice Vinci, owner of the eponymous salon on Newbury Street. Now her Beauty Call service is like an anytime booty call for when your look needs some TLC. Nestor Cruz and fellow stylist Jordania Vasquez are two of the pros who’ll show up day or night to glam you up, and the hourly rate seems a relatively small price to pay for the convenience factor. “It’s a Newbury Street hair dresser and makeup artist coming to your house,” Vinci says. Adding to the celeb status vibe is Cruz’s own brush with fame—imagine having a onetime American Idol contender coming over to coif you to perfection.

Bonus: Flexibility—the squad has been known to style locals as early as 6 am.

FYI: There’s no app or online booking, so you have to call for your appointment.

The Glam App

Price: $40-$100  | 

Launched in Boston in October, the West Coast-based Glam App is here to help when you realize your ’do is a don’t, bringing freelance hair stylists as well as makeup and nail artists to your door ASAP. “Today’s modern woman demands convenience but doesn’t want to compromise on luxury and quality,” says co-founder Cara Santana. “This app creates a simplified reality.” It also offers a style board to supply inspiration to the indecisive, from beach waves to ballerina buns, from “I woke up like this” natural looks to dramatic cat eyes. Dipping into the nail arena, the Glam App also offers simple polish changes, acrylics and gel manis and pedis.

Bonus: You can match the app to your budget thanks to price tiers based on stylist experience.

FYI: You may know Santana from her recent role on the TV show Salem.


Price: $117-$164  | 

When you don’t feel like leaving your home for your moment of Zen, Zeel has an app for that. Launched in New York in 2012, the on-demand massage company made its Boston debut this fall. One of its freelance massage therapists is available in as little as an hour, or you can book up to a month in advance. He or she (your choice) brings the table, supplies and music; you just need to answer the door, as early as 8 am or as late as 10:30 pm. Although its therapists have been thoroughly vetted and background checked, Zeel adds an extra level of comfort by sending you a headshot and bio of your therapist. And because the tip is included when you book your 60-, 75- or 90-minute indulgence, there’s no digging for dollars with slippery hands.

Bonus: A Zeelot membership translates to deep discounts.

FYI: Make sure to ask your therapist to bring sheets, or be prepared to supply your own.

Mass Mobile Massage

Price: $140-$200  |  (617-444-9019) 

Dim the lights, burn some candles, and wait for the doorbell to ring: This locally born business brings soothing spa music and a heated massage table to your home. “A client can just put on their robe and relax instead of going out in the cold, having to travel back to work and getting all stressed out again while sitting in traffic,” says founder Houston Bernard. With operating hours from 9 am to 9 pm (a $20 fee applies beyond that), you can book one of their licensed massage therapists by calling up to a year or an hour in advance.

Bonus: There’s an extensive list of techniques on offer, from myotherapy to reflexology, Thai to hot stone, along with deep tissue, sports, Swedish and prenatal.

FYI: The tip isn’t included, so be prepared to do some math while your mind is mush from an amazing rubdown.


Price: $99-$169  |

Stressed out by limited spa hours and advanced-notice booking—and by some therapists’ reports of low wages—tech entrepreneur Merlin Kauffman founded Soothe in LA in 2013. It’s since spread to cities across the country, launching in Boston in December to allow locals to book a same-day massage from a licensed and vetted massage therapist. You’ll receive your therapist’s photo upon booking, so you know exactly who’s showing up at your door. Soothe’s massage therapists travel to anywhere near Boston, and the rubdowns last 60, 90 or 120 minutes. “It’s an affordable luxury everyone deserves to have,” Kauffman says. “Plus, there’s no parking or traffic to deal with. When it’s over, you’re just steps away from a hot bath or your bed.” Another hassle-free aspect? Tip is included.

Bonus: Soothe offers appointments until midnight.

FYI: Both Soothe and Zeel offer Swedish, deep tissue, sports, prenatal and couples massages.


Price: $12-$35  |

When you chip a nail smashing the glass ceiling, Manicube can help. After noticing men’s services like shoe shining were more common in the corporate world than those geared toward women, Harvard Business School grads Katina Mountanos and Elizabeth Whitman founded Manicube in New York in 2012, bringing nail services to Boston the next year. “We wanted to make it easier for women to manage their lives while enjoying the challenges of work, and to look good doing it,” Mountanos says. They’ve since added gel manicures and men’s barbering services and spread to Chicago and San Francisco. Employees make an appointment, pay online and then pay a visit the conference room where the nail tech or barber awaits. There are currently more than 50 Boston-area companies hosting Manicube, and with its recent acquisition by beauty and wellness giant Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, a more extensive menu could be on the horizon.

Bonus: You’re back at your desk in as little as 15 minutes, less than the average coffee break.

FYI: You’ll have to beg your HR rep to set up an account for your office. Manicube doesn’t service individuals.

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