City Pulse

By P.J. Gach

Now I’m just a city girl born and bred, and for some stupid reason I get nervous when my shoes (and the rest of me) leave Manhattan. I dunno, maybe it’s that famous Steinberg Cartoon image stuck in my head. The one that’s a quasi map that shows everything outside of New York is just a bunch of blocks with Kansas sitting check and jowl by Moscow. Anyway, I took the plunge and headed off to Hoboken, New Jersey for a pedicure.

I had heard fantabulous things about As U Wish, an intimate nail salon that has the most incredible treatments, so I had to go, even if I was being silly about leaving “Tara.”

Let’s just say that I was being idiotic. I picked up the PATH train at 33rd Street and in 15 minutes was in Hoboken. That’s much faster than say going to SOHO from my house in the Upper West Side.

The salon is owned by Skyy Hadley. She put herself through college doing nails for friends and it wasn’t until she was halfway through her Marketing degree at UMKC, that she realized that she wanted to do nails. It gave her joy, it was fun, and she got a tremendous sense of satisfaction when her customer was happy with her beautiful nails. She enjoys nail care and started learning about nail diseases. The more she learned, the more she became enthralled with nails, nail care and preventing diseases, the more she wanted to do nails.
So Skyy moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. She was in Sex and the City, The Best Man, and many commercials. To keep herself going while acting she began doing manicures and pedicures at Prive. Bliss heard about her and tried to steal her away, but she didn’t want to leave her clients behind, so she worked at both places until she finally moved onto Bliss. One of her first and most loyal customers is the actress Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU). She followed Skyy to Bliss and when asked by In Style magazine what was her beauty secret, she replied, “Skyy.”

Then other celebrities followed Mariska’s lead. Her client list reads like a who’s who of music, film, TV, society, and publishing. She does Cynthia Lieve, the Editor -In-Chief of Glamour magazine, Kim France, the Editor-In-Chief of Lucky magazine, Faith Hill is one of her dearest and most loyal clients. Other celebs include Claire Danes, Liv Tyler, Uma Thurman, Faith Evans, Puffy (Sean Combs), Alicia Keyes, Annette Waxman, Isaac Hayes, Lanette McKey, Debbie Langford, Chris Webber, and Johnnie Cochran.

Celebrities have been known to fly to New York just so that they can get a pedicure from Skyy. It’s easy to see why; she has an upbeat, warm cheerful personality and enjoys making everyone look their best. “I love it! When you know that you love something and your clients see that in you, it just makes you love it even more. My clients always say ‘Skyy you what you’re doing’ and I always ask how can you tell? And they say ‘you’re too into it.’”

When doing a pedicure, she prefers to deal with bad feet. “Because you can really get involved…when you see damaged feet and the customer appreciates it because they can see a big difference…with bad, bad feet, they (the customer) understand what you’re doing more than a person with good feet.”

Skyy decided to go out on her own because she believes in customer service. “I believe in catering to the customers no matter what, there’s no beyond…which is how I came up with the name. I want to be your genie, so your wish is my command.” Before she decided to create her own spa, she looked over the competition in the city, and the only spa that impressed her was the Greenhouse; because they used stainless steel tubs. “The reason why they use the stainless steel tubs is that they can’t harbor bacteria.” Skyy only uses stainless steel tubs for her magnificent pedicures at As U Wish. . One of Skyy’s missions is to educate her client. She feels that the technician needs to explain everything that they are doing to the client and if the client wants a sculptured, overlay, gel or acrylic nail to learn what will happen to their nails if they proceed and how best to take care of them. “A lot of people will sacrifice going to a good spa where they can get the education and pay the extra dollars, they’re going for quickness and their nails will be damaged within a week or two.”

Her salon doesn’t carry a lot of retail products, “we only put up for sale what works and what we know is in it (the product).” She doesn’t believe in gimmicks, she hates it when people say something is good because other people say it, she feels that you really need to know about the product before you endorse it to your clients. The salon carries Zoya, OPI, Essie and Nail Trind products.

Her salon, as I said before is an intimate place. There are three clocks on the wall and none of them tell the correct time. This was done so that the client will lose themselves in the treatment and relax. The spa is a warm and comforting place, the colors were chosen to relax and soothe .The walls are done in red, yellow, and orange with blue trim. As Skyy said, “Red is for love, orange is for calm, blue is tranquility and yellow is for friendship.” Wednesday is baby day at the spa. Mothers bring in their infants while they receive a manicure, pedicure or waxing and if a baby wakes up fussy, the colors (and the restful atmosphere) calms them down.

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The pedicure chairs are wicker and recline slightly. They have beautiful toss pillows that let you sink into them. Dalila is a charming young woman who grew up in spas. When she was a child, her mom owned a spa and now she consults with various spas where she lives. Dalila has a sunny smile and a friendly open manner. After a bit of discussion we decide to go with the “Blue Lagoon” pedicure. A stainless steel tub is filled with lavender water combined with a blend of peppermint fragrance and eucalyptus oil. Your feet rest on smooth stones placed in the bottom of the tub and after buffing, soaking and cleaning cuticles a peppermint shea butter sugar cream scrub is applied to your feet and calves, followed by a massage. The scrub is incredible, since it combines shea butter and exfoliants; your skin is not only cleansed, but moisturized at the same time. Then my feet were covered in warm paraffin and wrapped with hot towels. I felt energized, soothed and relaxed at the same time. Bliss!

There are many wonderful pedicures to try at As U Wish. They really are recipes that Skyy works on until perfection. “Milk Me Away” is a pedicure that is a warm bath of whole milk with a blend of vanilla oil and a sweet almond butter shea butter sugar cream scrub. “The Red Sea” is a jasmine scented foot bath, your feet rest on a bed of vanilla brown sugar with lemongrass and tangerine oil, along with a hot vanilla brown sugar cream scrub. If you have extremely dry feet, try the “Nine-One-One” pedicure. It comes with a sea salt scrub rubdown, cucumber heel therapy cream and a tea tree sea mud wrap with eucalyptus oil. There’s even a manicure for guys called, “Toetally Mister.”

There’s also a variety of manicures, “Spa Mani’s of 8 Cream flavors”; they are manicures that come with a warm silky cream of your choice (black cherry and nutmeg, mango and coconut, peach and ginseng, pear and dandelion, cran-berry, tangerine and lemongrass, lavender and jojoba, vanilla shimmer) along with the standard manicure. There’s also French and paraffin manicures as well as a choice of sculptured nails.

Skyy also offers waxing; from eyebrow to Brazilian to back, all at reasonable prices.

The clientele are professionals whose age range is from their late 20′s to early 40′s. Elisa Bartner is a 20 something, legal eagle who was in having her nails done. She’s getting married in the spring and Skyy will be beautifying the bridal party. “It’s the best place ever!” she exclaimed to me, “My favorite pedicure is the nine-one-one. I love the mask; it makes my feet feel soft and supple. This is the only place I’ve ever gone to where the pedicure lasted a month.”

It’s very hard to leave As U Wish. Skyy has created a place where it’s easy to sit, relax and forget about the rest of the world. She is so knowledgeable, approachable, funny, giving and delightful to talk to, that you feel like you’ve made a friend. It would have been so easy to stay and gossip about everything and anything and forget about obligations of the day.

If you are looking for an incredible spa experience- a pedicure or a manicure that you won’t get anywhere else, do make the trip to visit Skyy and her wonderful team at As U Wish Nail Spa. They’ll make sure that your nail shape fits your hands, that the polish is complementary to your skin tone. They won’t try to sell you items you don’t need. You’ll walk out with a thousand and one tips on how to take care not only your nails but yourself. How many places do you go to have your nails done and get hugged when it’s time to leave? And, yes I’ll be coming back to have my nails beautified.

Here are a few tips from Skyy and Dalila that I am going to pass on to you. Vitamin E will help your nails grow, do moisturize your hands and feet, but look for a moisture cream instead of a lotion. Cream is heavier and will skin in as opposed to slide off your skin. Pedicures are very important in the winter time. Your feet are stuffed into heavy sock and boots. They can’t breathe and need as much if not more TLC in the winter than the summer. While this summer’s hottest color is coral, it’s not for everyone, try mauve shades instead. In manicures and pedicures the polish that will be hot is sheer to white; like a French manicure, but paler.

As U Wish Nail Spa
258 Newark Street, Hoboken, NJ
Phone- 201-420-5959
Fax – 201-420-5156
http://www.asuwishnailspa.com

Hours
Mon- Wed – closed
Thurs & Fri 9 AM – 8 PM
Saturday 8 AM – 4 PM
Sunday 10 Am – 4 PM

Originally published January 2005
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