Whole Body

Face Value


At a Monday meeting I was introduced to a colleague and we began to quietly chat, asking each other the usual getting acquainted questions. When I mentioned my boys, she asked their ages, and when I replied, fifteen and seventeen, her eyes went wide, “May I ask your age?” she said. My answer elicited the best response a woman in her early fifties could hope for. “I thought you were thirty-five!” she said. “Do you do Botox?”

Nope, I’ve never done Botox, but just days before I did enjoy a completely wonderful Friday morning at Hair, Heart & Soul. Housed in an historic townhouse on Bristol’s Hope Street, owner Sarah Redman has outfitted the interior in a palette of calming coastal hues adorned with chandeliers. Wall art with phrases like “renew” help set the stage for the pampering ahead. In addition to refurbishing the property, Redman has also assembled a large, talented team of women who can attend to clients from head to toe. I was there for two appointments: a massage and a facial.

My “journey of relaxation and wellness,” as the brochure pledges, began with a walk upstairs to the spa’s new Himalayan salt infused room where I received a sixty-minute deep tissue massage. It had been many years since I had a massage, but recall it always being a treat tempered with awkwardness. This was not the case with Gretchen Polasek. Her warmhearted demeanor put me completely at ease and I was able to focus my thoughts on how nice it felt to have my tight muscles loosened.

When Polasek signaled that my hour was over, I was led down the hallway to meet Julie Cavalieri for my facial. This would be my very first, and I imagined wearing a salon cape and sitting with cream on my face and cucumber slices over my closed eyes. When I was asked to change into a fastened terry wrap and meet at the massage table, I was intrigued.

Cavalieri explained that this would be an Aveda facial and after studying my skin prescribed the Radiance Facial Treatment. There was a massage component of my neck, feet, and scalp, followed by the patting, buffing, and spritzing of my face. As alert as I tried to be as a reporter, I found myself in some kind of twilight state. When the sound of chimes made their way to my brain, I knew the session was complete and sat up bewildered at how very relaxed I was.

Upon exiting the room with Cavalieri, owner Redman greeted us at the bottom of the stairs, smiling and asking how everything went. Such a warm and homey vibe for a salon. My bones felt like rubber and I’d never seen my skin look so radiant – not humid-swampy but ingenue dewy. To my delight, Cavalieri had me take a seat in the main area where she proceeded to give me probably the best make-up application of my life.

Leaving the salon, I felt so relaxed, content, and pretty that I sat myself down at an outdoor bistro set and took a selfie. A couple of guys passing by in a truck caught this moment of vanity and honked and waved. Caught in the act, I just smiled and waved back because after all, I’m probably old enough to be their mom.

Hair, Heart & Soul
407 Hope Street, Bristol • 401-253-5200


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