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for The Brooklyn Paper
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If, beginning April 16, you find yourself daydreaming of cucumber slices on your eyes instead of your salad, don’t despair. For, on that day, Spa Week shall have arrived. The yearly celebration of soaks, scrubs, wax and masques — sponsored by Allure magazine and a gaggle of day spas looking to drum up new business — will once again hit Brooklyn (though at only a fraction of the number of spas in Manhattan). The result is a variety of treatments for the discounted price of $50.

Always up for a challenge, the Brooklyn Paper’s staff withstood hours of pampering at five spas to investigate whether the $50 pricetag would leave patrons feeling ripped off or feeling soothed.

In addition to the rub rooms we hit, Face and Body Laser Day Spa [224B Atlantic Ave. in Cobble Hill, (718) 222-3223] is offering microdermabrasion or laser procedures — which can run $200 — at the Spa Week price, and Spring Thyme in Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope is offering discounted massages, facials and scrubs.

Bruno Salon and Spa

The deep-cleansing facial treatment at Bruno is not for the faint of heart. It is a thorough treatment with spicy scrub to increase blood flow to the face; eye exfoliants; a very thorough deep-pore extraction; and dabs of salicylic and glycolic acid to kill any remaining bacteria.

But at $50 — or even at $70 (the treatment’s non-Spa-Week price) — the treatment is well worth it if you have difficult-to-deal-with skin. The experienced estheticians ask plenty of questions about your normal skin-care regimen, and offer plenty of suggestions in return, from what spot treatments to use, to how to use ice cubes in the morning to slow the aging process.

Bruno’s also offers various laser skin rejuvenation treatments and microdermabrasion treatments for those who need help with lines, wrinkles, and redness.

If you do go for the deep cleansing facial, ask for Olga. Tell her Christie sent you.

Bruno Salon and Spa (6911 Shore Rd., at 69th Street in Bay Ridge). Call (718) 921-0736 or go to www.brunosalonandspa.com.

— Christie Rizk

Element Beauty Lounge

Stress had made my neck as knobby as a gnarled tree, and my mind just as contorted, when I walked through Element’s glass-plated doors last week. Forty-five minutes later, I emerged from the Park Slope spa happy as a babe. My masseuse’s fingers were, well, transporting.

Jian Fan, or “Ken,” has been working his magic at the Fifth Avenue Element Beauty Lounge for a year and a half. But he’s not the two-year-old pleasure cafe’s only asset.

While a 45-minute massage normally runs $60 (and is worth every penny), and lesser sensory delights can be had for more affordable prices, from the $13, 10-minute chair massage, to a $23 mani-pedi. But if you really want to knock yourself out, the $170 “fire massage” — which includes “Escale Beaute,” a hot stone 60-minute massage, and a hot cream mani-pedi — looks mighty appealing. (In keeping with the spa’s name, there are also “earth,” “water,” and “air” packages of varying prices.)

Element Beauty Lounge (73 Fifth Ave., between Prospect Place and St. Mark’s Avenue in Park Slope). Call (718) 398-2969 or go to www.elementbeauty.com.

— Dana Rubinstein

Magnolia Beauty Spa

I was a bit scared at first. When I walked into the 6-year-old Magnolia Spa, there was a lone customer drying her painted orange toenails and a flock of employees gathered in the front, gossiping in Polish — this was the place that I was supposed to trust my skin to?

It all took a turn for the better, though, when I was lead to one of their snug treatment rooms and put into the capable hands of Sabina, whose 11 years of experience (and sounds of nature CD) helped me to relax.

Using only organic products from Hungary, Sabina slathered countless ointments onto my mug and gave me plenty of face time with her steam-shooting apparatus. After a strangely satisfying extraction process, a delicious-smelling chocolate mask (don’t try to sneak a taste...really) and the grand finale of a cold spoon compress, I felt ready to face the world.

If a facial isn’t your first pick, try the microdermabrasion treatment, normally $100, or the full-leg and Brazilian wax treatment, usually $65, both of which are also available at the $50 Spa Week price.

Magnolia Beauty Spa (124 Bedford Ave., at North 10th Street in Williamsburg). Call (718) 599-5780 or go to www.magnoliabeautyspa.com.

— Adam Rathe

LOMA Wellness Center

LOMA Wellness Center is offering a post-natal massage for all of those bleary eyed, sleep-deprived moms out there. And what new mother doesn’t have a crop of aches and pains that need smoothing away?

Clients are welcomed into one of the two-month-old facility’s warm, candlelit treatment rooms by massage therapist Monique Mercado for 45 minutes of quiet bliss.

“Magic Fingers” Mercado inquires about mama’s needs and offers solutions for managing the twin menaces of lactating mothers for a more comfortable massage experience.

Mercado’s skillful finger-work is refreshingly deeper than most, yet this versatile therapist is happy to lighten up if the client speaks up. Although they can opt out, every mama should go for the scalp massage and forget about preserving their hairdo.

After last week’s massage with Mercado, this new mother returned to her little one smiling and rejuvenated, the tightness in her shoulder blades reduced to a rapidly fading memory.

If only the stretch marks could be so easily erased.

In addition to the post-natal massage, LOMA Wellness Center’s $50 Spa Week menu includes a power peel facial, normally $75, or a Swedish, deep-tissue or pre-natal massage, normally $100 and up. Syneron Laser Treatment for lip/chin hair removal, normally $130, or skin tightening for the naso-labial folds or glabella (the area above the nose and between the eyebrows) which usually starts at $250 are also available.

LOMA Wellness Center (71 Carroll St., at Columbia Street in the Columbia Street Waterfront District). Call (718) 797-9797 or go to www.lomawellness.com.

— Lisa J. Curtis

Providence Day Spa

An intimate spa with an emphasis on holistic wellness, Providence Day Spa is a good place for the spa-goer who wants to talk about where she hurts — and then melt, as a masseuse makes the pain quickly disappear.

Over the course of my 45-minute Tibetan body massage, a Swedish Institute-trained masseuse named Sara used deep-tissue movements to loosen the knots in my back, and eventually laid me on a torso-sized hot water bottle as she kneaded the tension out of my body. Unlike at other spas, Sara made sure to that she was applying the right amount of pressure, asking me how different movements felt as she moved across my body. The experience ended with a Tibetan foot bowl massage, a gentle treatment that involved small metal bowls rolling over the foot’s more overlooked pressure points. Outside of Spa Week, the treatment would have been $110.

Sara compared the treatment to yoga — as if exercise could ever feel that good — and offered usable tips on how I could stretch out tense muscles without her aid.

Providence also offers an otherwise sweet Honey Bee Facial with “sticky” massage, which would be $120 normally, or a Lemon Verbena body polish that usually goes for $150 as part of their Spa Week package.

Providence Day Spa (329 Atlantic Ave., between Smith and Hoyt streets). Call (718) 596 -6774 or go to www.providencedayspa.com.

— Ariella Cohen

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Reasonable discourse

Susan Turis says:
You seem to have forgotten one of the best and certainly the largest of Brooklyn Spas: Studio 19 on East 19th Street between King's Highway and Avenue "P". It made its debut about 15 years ago and seems to be hanging on in a neighborhood that defies description. I discovered it while walking the neighborhood many years ago. The owner told me that it was approximately ten thousand square feet of space. But it does not feel that large because every department is compartmentalized so it feels cozy. The employees are all very professional and friendly. Nothing to fear in walking in. They also sell gift certificates which has saved my neck many times when I didn't know what to buy a coworker or friend. Just go to the desk and take a menu of their available services.

The Spa is an oasis in the midst of constantly changing locals. It offers every possible day spa service: full body wraps, has a spa floor for massages and facials and waxing, hair dressers on the upper level, mani/pedicurists, and a full blown separate hair color department (probably one of the best in NYC). There is also a small boutique to shop at while you have services. I definitely think you should consider checking Studio 19 out. Your readers deserve to know about Brooklyn's best kept secret!
Nov. 14, 2007, 9:54 am

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