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Beauty: Pamper

For lots of women, stress levels rise as the big day approaches. Try winding down instead, trusting that you’ve taken care of everything else the best you can, so you can fully enjoy taking care of you. These following salons provide the premium comfort and spoils that should accompany a bride wherever she goes.

Spa Aria (214 Royal St., mezzanine level, 523-9990, SpaAria.com) is an easily overlooked gem. Tucked into the second floor of the Monteleone Hotel, the spa knows that finding a convenient place to park in the French Quarter can be a difficult task. For that reason, co-owner Sandy Blum provides off-street hotel parking and ticket validation for her customers. Once inside, a series of packages can be chosen from that mix and match manicures, pedicures, massages, facials and hair and nail care. Package names include: Bachelorette Party, Here Comes the Bride, The Wedding Party, Beauty Revival and, for the groom and his groomsmen, The Gentleman’s Treat. Beyond these deals, detailed on the spa’s website, Blum’s wedding clients favor services that are relaxing and leave them feeling refreshed after months of coordinating. The “De-Stress” eye treatment is particularly popular, since planning a wedding exhausts everyone intimately involved. It eliminates the appearance of dark circles with a formula combining the powers of collagen and Ginkgo biloba to increase circulation and decrease puffiness. During the winter months, bridal party clients focus heavily on their skin. Says Blum, “facials are a clean and safe way to exfoliate because they gently remove dead skin.”

She recommends a treatment 24 to 48 hours before you want your face looking its freshest and brightest so the skin can have enough time to recover. Other services, like the Caviar Beauty Ritual Facial, she advises having the morning of your big day. “The caviar illuminates the skin and helps makeup go on very nicely.” If you’re a girl who’s prone to breakouts and therefore hesitant about facials, Blum says not to worry; she’s had many reluctant brides-to-be share the same feeling, and they all leave Spa Aria loving their results, due partially to Pevonia, a gentle, botanical line of skincare products the salon uses exclusively.

Blum assures, “there are no breakouts with this product line.”

Head over to H20 Salon and Spa (441 Metairie Road, Metairie, 835-4377; 3908 Highway 22, Mandeville, (985) 951-8166; H2OSalon-spa.com) after your skin treatments for expert makeup and hair consultations. Laura Philips says that engagement, bridal and bachelorette parties are popular in-house. When it comes to choosing a look, Philips doesn’t recommend changing your style unless the day is themed. “Brides should be their natural, most comfortable selves. H20 helps them achieve that and the look of the woman they imagine themselves to be.” She adds that women who marry in the winter months gravitate to grays, violets and reds. “Those are timeless colors that look nice without being too seasonal.” A lot of women worry that their makeup won’t last all night or that it won’t translate properly on camera or in pictures. Philips and the rest of the H20 team promise your look will be “high-def ready.”

If you’ve tried diets and exercise without success and are searching for gentler ways to lose weight that are compatible with your busy schedule, Nicole Jasmin at Fifth Element (1215 N. Broad St., 438-7722, LipoExNewOrleans.com) might have exactly what your body craves. Lipo-Ex is a new method that uses radiofrequencies to melt and liquefy fat cells in order to pass them through the lymphatic system. As Jasmin personally attests , “it works.” After six to eight sessions, “cellulite evens out, skin tightens, discolorations fade and scars and stretch marks diminish.” Because it’s “non-invasive, non-surgical and doesn’t use needles,” there isn’t any pain. Instead, says Jasmin, “a handheld device with heat goes over problem areas of your choosing; it feels similar to a hot stone massage.

The best thing is that your size, shape or ethnicity doesn’t matter. It works for everyone. Women who have had tummy tucks come in for their paunch flaps and have gotten rid of the scar left behind.” Session length varies and there are specials, both individual and bridal, for every package. Jasmin says some clients come before or after work, while others opt for 30- or 45-minute sessions during their lunch breaks.

Of course the salon also has skincare and massage options, but it’s known for these in-depth healing tricks. The following two are both detoxifying treatments. “A 30-minute session in the infrared sauna increases blood flow and releases toxins equivalent to a that of a 30-minute workout. Another in-depth healing trick is the Ion footbath. In a large vat of water, a technician places a band on your wrist that sends a small, harmless electrical current through your body and pulls toxins such as pesticides and pollutants out through the pores in your feet. Clients feel rejuvenated and more energetic, a perfect pick-me-up for the overworked, party-planning bride.”

 For an authentic day off, Randall and Tammy Toca of La Riviera Salon and Spa (4506 Shores Drive, Metairie, 455-4247, LaRivieraSalonAndSpa.com) have your day at the spa planned out for you. A complimentary limousine service and a host are available to transport you to and from the luxurious salon when you book six or more services. From up-dos to airbrush and conventional makeup to manicures and pedicures to facials and massages, you can choose from a multitude of pampering options. All services include complimentary drinks from their full-service bar.

Whatever unwinding means to you – a unique facial, flawless makeup or a detoxifying footbath – you can find it at one of these hot salons. You will not only be doing something great for your body but for your clarity of mind as well.

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