Best of NYC

By Stacey Cervellino

Flanked by cobblestone side streets, sprinkled with downtown designer favorites, Prince Street is not only a shopping destination, but also a place to find fabulous beauty products and spas. Three of my favorite beauty/spa stops reside on Prince Street and are worth a visit.

L’Occitane
92 Prince street @ Mercer Street
212.219.3310
Mon-Sat: 8pm-9pm
Sun: 9am-8pm

L’Occitane has always been known as the place to go for high-end home fragrance and candles…but more recently they have begun to build a reputation with their skin care and body care line. L’Occitane originated in Provence by Olivier Baussan, a man who values preserving tradition: whether it be traditional methods of growing and harvesting ingredients, to using these ingredients in natural and uncomplicated ways.

Now, on to the product. Assya, the store manager, showed me each product line, emphasizing her personal favorites. The eight lines are Almond, Olive Oil, Verbena, Lavender, Honey, Shea Butter, Men’s and Immortelle. Almost every line is a complete set: bath, body, skincare, candles, and fragrance.

I took home the Almond Shower Oil and let’s just say I’m in love. It’s a foaming cleansing shower oil with almond oil, grapeseed oil, and rosemary. It leaves the skin smooth and clean and you and your bathroom will smell like heaven.

The Lavender line is great for combination skin. Assya uses the entire Lavender skin care line and recommends it to her customers. There are many L’Occitane devotees out there. My friend Susan can’t get enough of the Lavender Hand Cream and Body Lotion.

Their most famous line, the Verbena line, can be found in Four Seasons Hotels around the globe. The Honey line is for sensitive skin. The Immortelle line is anti-aging and the Olive line is revitalizing and protective. Assya suggests using the Olive Paste for Hair as a deep conditioner or a leave in to help moisturize dry ends. The Shea line is pure moisture without being greasy or overpowering. The base scent is soft and soothing. Try a bit of the purse size Shea Balm for elbows, heels, stretch marks, and acne scars.

Aromatherapy is an important part of the L’Occitane philosophy. Don’t take a shower with just any old cleanser: scent is everything. Treat yourself to some of L’Occitane’s beautiful soaps, cleansers, cream bath (in Fig or Chestnut!), and candles. Give your kitchen an upgrade with the Verbena Hand Wash. Try a home perfume or scented linen water for your delicates (i.e. for that black lace thing you never wear. Take that lingere out of that old dresser of yours and get cooking!) The right scent can improve your wellbeing, help to relax you, and give your home a sense of tranquility and warmth.

Worth a mention…

Prince between Mercer and Greene Streets
North Side

The Apple Store
Even if you don’t own a Macintosh computer, check out the Apple Store. It’s full of enough cool must-have gadgets to bring out the technology geek in anyone. Be sure to wear something cute. It’s chock full of Macintosh hotties.

Prince between Mercer and Greene Streets
South Side

Fanelli Café
Fanelli Café introduced to me by an ex, is an old favorite. The ex is long gone but Fanelli Cafe remains. It’s got a great neighborhood feel, a comfortable bar and they make a mean burger and thin crust pizza.

Wolford
A few years ago, I bought a pair of the best beige fish nets I’ve ever owned at a Wolford boutique in Boston. They were $40, but lasted for years. Don’t be afraid of the body-stockings: check this store out.

Prince between Greene and Wooster
North Side

Club Monaco
My pick for the fall season: it’s a top, it’s a skirt, it’s a sexy dress, it’s $69.

Camper
Vegetarian friends of mine love this store for their stylishly simple veggie friendly boots and shoes.

Prince between Greene and Wooster
North Side

Olive’s
A great lunch stop offering soups, salads, sandwiches, coffee, tea, and yummy desserts. The only kicker is the limited/non-existent seating.

Kid Robot:
Thanks to the cutie at Kid Robot, I got a look at all the newest designer toys. Many of the toys are imported from Asia, Australia, and the UK and designed by the likes of Murakami as well as up and coming underground artists.

Jamie Hewlett of Kid Robot is the designer behind the album cover artwork for the band Gorillaz. If you haven’t heard Gorillaz yet, check out their newest album Demon Days. Hottie Damon Albarn of Brit-Pop band Blur fame, is now immortalized in a limited edition toy.

West Broadway bet. Prince and Houston

Soho Nails
458 West Broadway, 3rd Floor
212.475.6368
Mon-Sat: 10am-8pm
Two words: Brazilian Bikini wax-twenty dollars. Okay, that’s five words, but $20 for a bikini wax? Yes, it’s true. Now, be forewarned, this is not your “high end spa gentle green wax” bikini wax, this is old school wax with muslin wax strips. Ask for Mimi: she’s fast, efficient, and she might even chuckle at your lame attempts to mask your pain or attempts at modesty. There’s no time to be shy when you’re laying buck-naked on a table with your legs up in the air.

Manicures are $7 and a pedicure is $16. You won’t find Zen-like tranquility at Soho Nails. There’s no soft lighting or Enya playing, but you can order food in or pick up an issue of Cosmo while you get a pretty decent pedicure.

Prince bet. West Broadway and Thompson
North Side

Vesuvio Bakery
Very Italian, very delicious. Breads, panninis, wraps, breakfast, and killer coffee.

Prince bet. West Broadway and Thompson
South Side

Café Borgia
Yummy hot chocolate!

Prince bet. Thompson and Sullivan
North Side

Mood Indigo
Kitsch for the kitchen

Prince bet. Thompson and Sullivan
South Side

Raoul’s
Can you say yummy in French? I cant’ either. Don’t worry, you don’t have to speak French to have a good time or to eat great food. Just go to Raoul’s and they’ll make you feel like you’ve been French for years.

Prince @ Sullivan Street

Ling Skin Care
191 Prince Street
212.982.8833
www.lingskincare.com
I’ve walked by this low-key spa for years, but never ventured inside. When I saw the Ling Skincare Challenge sign outside the store window, I knew fate was calling me and I’m glad she did. Ling, trained in Hong Kong, came to the US in 1976 and introduced her holistic, result oriented skincare line to America. Her skincare line has been written up in every major magazine and praised by Hollywood actors, supermodels, and regular mortals.

Ling has three lines of skincare, all treating dehydration, the major cause of skin problems according to Ling. The White line is preventative. The Blue line is a treatment line, and the Red label line is anti-aging and repairing. Ling suggests you use the 5 Simple Steps: cleansing, exfoliating, toning, moisturizing, treatment.

Guided by Kristen, a fellow face product junkie and a great salesperson, I was given a one-week regime of product for morning and night, plus a facial kit to be used three times a week. She encouraged me to come back for a facial and explained the products in great detail. The Ginseng Herbal Facial is $95 for the standard facial and $135 for a deep pore cleansing. Peels can be added to any facial treatment for $40-$80. Ling also offers high-end anti-aging, reparative facials.

I tried the 5 Steps last night after I gave myself a Ling facial: Honey and almond face scrub, the Papaya Peel, the Purifying Clay Mask, and the Moisturizing Face Mask.

My skin felt great. Next it was on to the evening regime: the Purifying Facial Cleanser, Refining Facial Tonic, the famous Oxygen Plasma Potion which relieves irritation and infection, Cell Repare which stimulates the growth of new cells and moisturizes without clogging, Clearlight which helps to remove age spots, acne spots, and uneven pigmentation, and finally a moisturizer. Whew! Then I jumped in the shower to try Ling’s exfoliating, detoxifying, and calming Black Charcoal/Rice Soap. It improves circulation and makes the skin soft-ready for shaving or to soak up body lotion.

I woke up with clearer skin and a more even skin tone, excited to begin day two of the challenge. I have sensitive acne-prone skin and I’m always looking for new products to help even out my skin tone without stripping my skin or causing more breakouts.

Six more days to clearer skin…tune in next month to find out the results of the Ling Skincare Challenge.

Originally published September 2005
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