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Caramella Skin Couture

Boosting Your Cosmetic Health

Are you all tapped out of ideas on how to spend your hard-earned cash with none of the tried and true pampering mainstays calling out to you? Luckily, there’s a delicious-sounding yet practical solution to spa ennui.

Name notwithstanding, Caramella Skin Couture doesn’t sport the kind of pomp and ostentation you might expect from your local urban oasis. But please don’t mistake it for a dump -- despite the fact that it inhabits a subdued nook of a run-of-the-mill Union Square office building, the services at this cozy establishment are nothing short of beauty alchemy. Just ask the dozens of women who’ve invested in monthly facials or body sculpting therapies here -- they’re accustomed to the kind of envious glances that confirm something truly magical is at work.

Caramella is an intimately sized family-owned business that literally specializes in the skin of the body. Exotic-sounding treatments like Phytobiodermie, Ionothermie, and Mezotherapy offer the latest advances in body sculpting, cellulite reduction, and anti-aging. Sound a little intimidating? Not to worry, because once you step into the modest environs and allow yourself to imbibe a bit of the tastefully earthy, incense-filled waiting room (not to mention the yummy organic lavender tea), all apprehensions will melt away.

For one thing, Caramella’s customer service philosophy definitely beats the anonymous approach of the emblematic high-end med spa. The three treatment rooms are practical without being clinical, and owner Klarissa Marenitch ensures that no more than two clients at a time inhabit the space. Although Caramella has only been around for a little over a year, the spa-queen-for-a-day treatment and the exemplary service have kept both men and women going back for healthy seconds.

The best treatments are a combination of therapeutic and simply relaxing. The revolutionary cellulite reduction therapy known as Phytobiodermie (which entails vacuum massage and ultrasonic application to firm your glutes and bust away fat) has become a particular draw for body-conscious clients. After just ten treatments, clients have lost as much as four inches and six pounds. Detox therapy that involves refreshing algae-French clay body masks provides a simpler and more relaxing alternative to slimming. And if you’re more concerned about the skin on your face, be apprised that the staff has been trained by medical professionals to administer Botox and Restalyne. Customers who prefer a more natural route can opt for the deep pore cleansing facial, especially effective for acne-ridden skin, or an Ionithermie pure collage facial, which is great for a big night out.

Given the all-around emphasis on beauty and rejuvenation, picking a treatment is a bit of a challenge. However, I finally decide on Phytobiodermie, at the very least to see what all the hype’s about. The treatment, which takes place in a cozy, softly lit room, on top of a revolving massage table, is a hard-hitting approach to cellulite reduction. An exfoliation brush is used to stimulate cells, right before a Delphia vacuum massage is applied to “problem” areas. At first, the sensation is mildly strange, but the rhythm becomes relaxing and more or less like a massage. A natural herbal cocktail that promotes the breakdown of cellulite is then applied to my skin, before an ultrasonic device (which aids in the penetration of the “slimming” gel as well as the breakdown of fatty deposits) is used in the final round to promote collagen production and tighten connective tissue. Because cellulite is generally the result of poor circulation, the idea is that the massage/ultrasonic procedure stimulates circulation and pushes toxins out (which is why I’m encouraged to drink lots of water after the treatment, to flush away aforementioned toxins).

While the 60 minutes of the treatment are unavoidably relaxing, Phytobiodermie really is for more therapeutic purposes rather than mere pampering. And while I definitely feel a bit lighter when I leave the quiet haven of my room, it’s impossible to tell whether or not the treatment has actually worked. While it boasts immediate results in the description, Phytobiodermie also comes in a package of 12, which is what clients truly looking for results might want to consider.

According to Marenitch, Caramella has a loyal base of repeat customers who go ga-ga over the personalized service and reasonable specials, such as the “Designer’s” 6 Package, which includes a complimentary treatment after the purchase of any six body sessions. With its intimate hideaway feel, Caramella is also a major hot spot for spa parties and birthday celebrations.

According to Marenitch, the client base ranges from people primarily interested in major cosmetic rejuvenation to those who just go for the yummy facials. But in general, she has discovered that the repeat clientele are aiming for as healthy a lifestyle as possible.

“There are three parts to being healthy -- exercising, improving eating habits, and paying attention to what you put on your skin,” says Marenitch. “Facials are not necessarily the most pleasant spa treatments, but for us and for the people who walk through our doors, they’re just necessary parts to living a life of optimal health.”

As I sip my organic lavender tea and thumb through the treatment menu, I realize that while I’m probably okay on the cellulite reduction therapies for now, I’ve been impressed enough by Caramella’s hospitality and thorough yet efficient approach that I’m considering coming back for an alternate treatment -- maybe one of those collagen facials I’ve been hearing clients rave about for months now.