It was an early Saturday morning, just a few weeks before the official start of spring. Although it still felt like the dead of winter, I was about to get a healthy dose of spring at Bristol’s New Leaf Hair Studio. I was heading to Foxwoods later that night with my BFFs to celebrate a birthday, so I strategically booked some pre-game pampering.
The gray and gloomy skies all but disappeared as soon as I walked into the bright, sprawling salon. Michelle, my massage therapist that morning, greets me and walks me down to the Hideaway. Situated on the lower level, the Hideaway is a series of colorful and impeccably designed treatment rooms. Chandeliers, chevron rugs, and hot pink and lime green hues make for a whimsical yet trendsetting atmosphere. Add in a private room just perfect for brides, pedicure stations that look like they belong on a tropical island and a couple of Zen-like skin and body treatment rooms and I felt like I hit the gal time jackpot.
Michelle leads me to a serene room and steps out for a minute so I can get under the sheets on the warmbed. I’m there for the Ridiculously Relaxing Rubdown, a 90-minute massage that is expertly named. Michelle works wonders on my achy back and leaves me in tranquil bliss. Overly relaxed, I step back up to the upper floor of the salon for a blowout. My stylist Rachel asks me a few questions to determine the best style, and after describing my evening’s outfit we agree on a straight and sleek coif.
The details are not only in the décor at New Leaf. Each hair service comes with a complimentary scalp massage and makeup touch-up. Another fun extra is Therapy, a micro-boutique that master stylist and salon owner Amy Coccio co-owns with stylist Courtney. Located in the front of the salon, the retail space reminds me that shopping is indeed the best retail, and in between treatments I sneak into the dressing room with a few items.
Later, when I meet up with Amy, she explains that the extra touches are part of her plan. “We want you to feel special, to be wowed,” she tells me. With an emphasis on offering great services at affordable prices, Amy points out that New Leaf is not a spa. “I prefer retreat,” she says, explaining that her 13-year-old salon is all about making each client feel comfortable.
I, for one, was about to get cozy yet again: this time in Amanda’s chair for makeup. The salon sees upwards of 100 brides a year, and their cosmetic application area known as the Beauty Bar is large enough to fit a few ladies at a time. Amanda goes with a strong, smoky eye and light pink gloss on the lip. From head to rubbed-down toes, I’m casino ready.
It’s noon, and the salon is now humming with women of all ages. “Our motto is ‘experience the difference,’” Amy tells me with a smile. From the refreshing and inviting atmosphere, to fun treatments like the Speedicure and The Best $20 You’ll Ever Blow, I’d double down on that motto.