The multibillion-dollar spa and salon industry isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. On the contrary, new locations — especially in New York — are opening at a record pace. Here, some of the area’s latest places to get primped and primed, and the newest products to help consumers get some beautification at home.


NEW YORK — He may look like the quintessential Aussie surfer, but Manhattan-based salon owner Rodney Cutler is out to prove he also has a serious head for products.

Cutler, who’s worked at Bumble and bumble and now owns a salon on 57th Street, has crafted a six-item line based upon hair care needs that arose from his and his employees’ work.

Each product is formulated with ingredients such as wheat protein, said to protect hair from heat and to give volume and shine; jojoba, sweet almond, rice and oat proteins, for moisture; UVA and UVB sunscreens to minimize color fading, and a multivitamin complex of vitamins A, C and E for moisturizing and antioxidant properties. The line comprises Daily Shampoo, $14; Daily Conditioner, $15; Extra Gentle Shampoo, $16; Intensive Conditioner, $17; Curling Creme, $17, and Straightening Creme, $17.

A seventh stockkeeping unit — a $19 styling paste that’s still being tweaked — is slated to follow in late February. While he wouldn’t comment on projected first-year retail sales, industry sources estimate Cutler’s line could top $500,000 in first-year sales just from his salon and a soon-to-be opened new location. 

Cutler, who began his hairstyling career at 16 as an apprentice at Australian salon Rifmik, said, “I didn’t want to do products just for the sake of doing them. It was important to me to do a targeted line — you can never be all things to all people. I wanted to make sure that these products were the best, even if that meant going back to the lab six or seven times.”

Indeed, for most of 2004, he was getting biweekly submissions from his lab, which he would send back with notes such as “close, but let’s decrease the viscosity,” or “this needs to be slightly firmer.” Cutler’s salon clientele and staff played the willing guinea pigs for the products until they were spot-on in Cutler’s eyes.Attention to detail was followed through even to the products’ scent. Not wanting to rely on a stock fragrance, Cutler worked with oil house Mane to develop a signature fragrance — a subtle floral — for the products. Blue stripes on  bottles mimic those found on the walls of his salon.

At first, products will be sold exclusively from Cutler’s salon (and the upcoming branch that will open later this spring). Later this year, however, Cutler hopes to expand to upscale specialty stores and possibly to selected salons. — Julie Naughton


NEW YORK — The jet set now have a place to go to slow down and relax. Literally.

Oasis Day Spa at the JetBlue Airways terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport celebrated its grand opening last month, making it the hub’s first spa open to the public. (Molton Brown operates a spa in the British Airways terminal, but it is reserved for first-class passengers only.) Bruce Schoenberg, part owner and co-founder of Oasis, said the $500,000, 1,000-square-foot location could generate more than $600,000 its first year in operation. Sales, he said, are now derived 40 percent from retail sales and 60 percent from spa services. Business is dependent on walk-ins, mainly from flight cancellations and delays.

Oasis, which operates three spas in Manhattan, aims to be a little different than other airport spas by being a bit more “ambitious in offering different types of services. Plus, ours is more upscale,” Schoenberg said. A private room, for example, is available for waxing and massages and signature treatments, such as the Oasis Relaxing Eye service and Facial Moisturizing treatment, which are offered in abbreviated versions. The airport Oasis sells brands such as Redken, Bain de Soleil, TIGI and L’Occitane, as well as Oasis’ own Blue Oasis skin care and bath line.

Since promotion is prohibited at the airport — “the industry does not like to advertise that there are delays” — Schoenberg looks to generate more consumer interest by being added to JetBlue’s Web site later this year. — Andrea Nagel


NEW YORK — Kai Bao, the owner of Yin Beauty & Arts spa, a place that looks to bring Eastern philosophy to the Upper East Side, is now launching a skin care line. The intimate, 1,200-square-foot spa at 59 East 79th Street has crafted products using organic herbal antioxidants and plant-based ingredients, such as Orange Blossom Cleansing Milk ($28) and Face Firming Complex ($75). Bao drew inspiration from her spa’s treatments to create the products, which combine acupuncture and acupressure with Western ingredients such as retinol. Bao expects the line to bring in more than $500,000 in first-year sales.

Treatments include the $150 Yin Signature Treatment facial, which uses herbs and ingredients specially formulated by an aesthetician.

“With Eastern medicine, you don’t just focus on one thing,” said Bao. “If someone breaks out, I do a skin treatment. But I do internal treatments with herbs and acupuncture, as well.” — Bryn Kenny


NEW YORK — One salon proprietor is hoping to make his mark on the men’s side of the salon industry.

Howard Silver, who runs two West Palm Beach, Fla., salons, Harvey C. Salon and Salon U, is poised to roll out his self-created 12-item men’s hair care line next month.

Mark for Men, which consists of eight in-salon treatments and four at-home products, is being used in several salons in the Northeast. Silver would like to see Mark for Men in 2,000 U.S. salons this year. He is in negotiations with three salon distributors.

The assortment’s eight concentrated hair treatment products are designed to either thicken or control hair and are meant to be applied by salon staff once a month immediately following a shampoo. The treatments process in three to five minutes, enough time for the complex mix of antioxidant vitamins, proteins and humectants to take effect.

Silver, who worked with Shiseido’s Zotos International to formulate, manufacture and package Mark for Men, expects $10 million in first-year sales. — Matthew W. EvansTHE STRAIGHT STORY

NEW YORK — What’s a girl to do when all she wants is a quick blowout? She can pay an exorbitant price at her regular swanky salon or go thrifty, leaving her tender locks to the mercy of one of Manhattan’s generic chain salons. Best friends Jennifer Denton and Vigdis Boulton think there’s a happy, wallet-friendly medium.

In early February, the two plan to open Blow Styling Salon, nestled on West 14th Street, where the menu will consist of only blowouts and what they’re calling “glam dos” — updos, chignons, French twists, et cetera. Meaning: no cuts, no coloring, with a price that’s right — blowouts will cost $35, while more elaborate styles will be $75. And understanding that the city’s stylish ladies keep an eye on the clock, expedience is the word. “The blowout will take half an hour,” said Denton.

With her husband, Jason, Denton also owns ’Ino, the West Village eatery that became famous as Martha Stewart’s favorite stop for sandwiches. The Dentons also helped Mario Batali open Lupa. She and Boulton, both 33 and mothers of toddlers, have been best friends since they met in junior high school. “We were managers of a store when we were 16,” said Boulton. “We wanted to go back to those days.”

The friends spotted a need in the market for a well-priced, quick salon that has an exclusive atmosphere. “I’ve been dedicated to an uptown stylist for years who cuts and colors my hair,” said Boulton. “But I was going to any of those chain places in my neighborhood for a blowout.”

Clients will be treated to the usual amenities of fancy coffees and waters, but on weekends, they can sip on Persecco, the Italian champagne. Featuring bamboo floors, Expanko cork tiles and a muted palette of rose, brown, beige and white, Blow Styling Salon will be open seven days a week and, as Denton noted, “from early in the morning for working women to late in the evening for the going-out crowd.” — Nandini D’SouzaMAMA BEAUTY

NEW YORK — The spa world has capitalized on many concepts. There’s the chocolate-themed spa, the stone concept and a spa that has crafted its insides to resemble an igloo. Now, pregnant women are the focus. The latest effort from Mothers Work Inc., the company behind Motherhood Maternity, Mimi Maternity and A Pea in the Pod maternity clothing stores, is Edamame Maternity Spa, a beauty center that uses treatments specially created for the pregnant form.

Edamame Spa is the latest addition to the company’s new superstore concept, Destination Maternity, which ranges from 4,500 to 7,000 square feet and features all three clothing brands, as well as play stations for kids, relaxing stations for dads and a gift shop.

The spa, said Rebecca Matthias, founder, president and chief operating officer of the $500 million public company, is the final step in its mission to cater to pregnant women. Body, skin and massage treatments are offered, such as the Mom-to-Be New Life massage, the Green Clay Balancing facial and the Hydra Memory Deep Hydrating treatment. She claims Edamame is the first spa of its kind.

Matthias worked with Richard Kevney — the creator of Toppers spa in Philadelphia — to design Edamame’s treatment list and calming concept. The spa uses Comfort Zone products, an Italian skin care line from the Davines Group. The first Edamame opened earlier this month in Charlotte, N.C. Another opening is planned for Boston on Jan. 28, and a third is scheduled for White Plains, N.Y., on Feb. 3. — Andrea Nagel

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