By Mrinalini Kamath
When most New Yorkers think about a relaxing visit to a spa, they think Manhattan: the Upper East Side, Soho, Midtown. But one of the things I’ve noticed about going to spas in Manhattan is that as quiet and peaceful as they may be on the inside, you’re thrust back out into the noise and crowds the minute you finish and step outside again. If you feel the same way, it may be worth your while to travel just slightly off the beaten path to visit Rejuvenate Face and Body in Astoria, Queens.
Located about 25 minutes outside of midtown, Rejuvenate is owned by aesthetician and skincare specialist Evelyn Gatzonis. A petite woman with beautiful skin herself, Evelyn first became interested in a holistic approach to skincare when she experienced severe acne from her early to late twenties, and went on a quest to rid herself of it. She ended up meeting and working with a holistic skincare expert who, in addition to administering acne peels, was able to tell her what was going wrong nutritionally that was causing her outbreaks. A light bulb went off for Evelyn, who up to that time had been working in retail. “I thought, wow, what a terrific way to live – doing something that helps people and really enjoying it.”
After getting her aesthetician’s license, Evelyn went on to work in some of the larger spas, including Equinox, but found it less than satisfying, as the time constraints of the big spas prevented her from giving clients a thorough analysis of their skin issues. So in 2004, she opened Rejuvenate Face and Body, an eco-friendly holistic spa a short walk from the Astoria Boulevard subway stop on the N/Q subway line. At the time, spas weren’t really focusing on being “green,” but she decided that this was the way for her to go as it was best in keeping with her ideals of how to treat skin issues: simply and nutritionally.
To that end, Evelyn imports the Trilogy line of products from New Zealand, since that country tends to have one of the best records when it comes to exporting products grown and produced in pristine environmental conditions. She also believes in addressing nutritional and lifestyle issues when working with a client’s skin, since what occurs on the surface is generally symptomatic of something amiss deeper down. “If something’s good for your digestive system, it’s generally very good for the skin as well, and vice versa.”
My own session with Evelyn began with her asking me if I had any particular skincare issues I wished to address. I explained that while my skin is basically good, I had been having some hyper-pigmentation issues lately. After carefully looking over my face, she thought that a salicylic acid peel was probably the best way to go, but since my last experience having a facial had not been a pleasant one, she suggested the gentler but also effective Vitamin C peel. Having overheard me empathize with her receptionist about allergies, Evelyn also offered to perform lymphatic drainage, where toxins are flushed and sinuses are helped to drain through the massaging of the lymph nodes. The combination of the two treatments, performed in a comfortable, quiet room and not at all rushed, (she explained what the purpose of each oil and mask applied) left me with glowing skin and the ability to finally breathe through my nose with no problems.
While Trilogy is the main product line that Evelyn carries, she also carries less expensive, but equally eco-friendly lines which, through a happy coincidence, happen to be owned by women business owners as well (it’s not her priority, but being a female business owner, she does like being able to support them). Other lines include bettijo scents, Marianella soaps, Coola skincare products, Melange, Nature’s Apothecary and Afterglow mineral make-up. In addition to a wide variety of facials and peels (including the most popular, the acne peel), Rejuvenate offers massages, reflexology, microdermabrasion (another highly popular service), body wraps , waxing and cellulite reduction treatment. When I stepped out of Rejuvenate, not only did I feel calm, relaxed, well-rested with glowing skin, I got to retain that feeling as I walked back down that quiet block of Astoria to the subway.