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Primadona Premier Skincare & Spa
Therapy for Your Inner Diva
by Nirmala Nataraj on Jul 07, 2006
Union Street is saturated with a bevy of pampering mainstays, from posh eastern-themed dens to intimate hideaways that boast a single skilled massage therapist or aesthetician. The choices can be dizzying, and most likely you probably already have your favorites under lock and key, completely oblivious to the cluster of temptations that abound not more than two doors down. However, if you’re in need of a new place to coddle your inner diva, Primadona will happily pluck you out of the spa doldrums.
If you frequent the neighborhood, you’ve probably already been drawn to Primadona’s downstairs boutique, which exudes playful sophistication (in shades of pastel blue, no less) and boasts the crème de la crème of international skincare lines. Aside from the fact that owners Enzo and Gabriela Spaccia peddle some serious indulgence for your epidermis, they’ve also been in the business of making skin glow for nearly two decades. While Gabriela, an aesthetician with a background in biology, treats problem skin from the inside out, Enzo has 20 years of experience as a representative for some of the most well-respected skincare lines in the world -- even bringing a passel of little-known European products to the States for the first time.
While the husband and wife team has had plenty of experience in the luxury hotel and resort sector, Primadona is a classic European day spa sans the predictable ostentation and hoity-toity attitude of upper crust establishments. Sure, you might be intimidated by the fact that most of Primadona’s products will give your pocketbook a run for its money, but the package is so intimate and accessible that it’s easy to forget your budget for a few moments.
The spa only opened three years ago, but the skincare boutique is stocked with brands whose utter efficacy Enzo has verified from years of experience in the business. The brands include Cellcosmet, a ritzy Swiss line with the first skincare products containing stabilized bio-integral cells, which offer your face a rich reservoir of natural plumpers and stimulators. Saturnia, a line that harnesses the ancient cosmetic potency of the Italian Terme di Saturnia Spa’s fabled warm waters and muds, is both moisturizing and balancing. Primadona even carries a passel of Bond No. 9 perfumes, a fashionable line launched by French parfumier Laurise Rahme, who sniffed out the scents that she felt exemplified her adopted metropolis, New York City, and subsequently churned out tantalizing fragrances like Eau de New York and Riverside Drive.
However, Primadona’s most fabled crowd-pleaser is Darpihn, a “haute couture” skincare line from France that uses high-quality natural ingredients from pure essential oils and plant extracts. Delicious-smelling blends of rose, chamomile, and avocado are just some of the things you can find in Darphin’s silky-smooth products. Best of all, according to Enzo (whose skincare philosophy is to start from the very best rather than work your way up to it), the products are perfect for all skin types and work equally well for anti-aging and firming, overactive skin, and sensitive skin. A corrective serum from Darphin will easily cost you $200, but given that Primadona uses the line liberally in their luxurious skincare treatments (with facials that start at a mere $85), you can get the full benefit of the product without dropping lots of moolah.
After acquainting myself with a few unfamiliar but intriguing products, I retire upstairs to the dimly lit spa area, where clients can settle into plump lounge chairs and sip herbal tea as they wait for their treatments. Thankfully, waiting isn’t something Primadona customers are accustomed to, as Gabriela and Enzo prefer to set up appointments at least two hours apart so therapists have more than enough time to address clients’ particular needs.
I begin my afternoon of pampering with a 90-minute Swedish massage, administered by Doug Egigian, who has a covey of loyal adherents that consistently describe his bodywork as “the best massage I’ve ever had.” It’s a tall order to fulfill, but Doug delivers. In addition to paying almost Zen-like attention to all my problem areas, Doug adds some mild yoga stretches as well. By the time I walk out of my massage, I’m feeling fully revitalized and prepped for my facial with Gabriela.
Gabriela’s “Radiant Couture Facial” is another languorous 90-minutes of spa nirvana. The facial utilizes three types of massage, which zone in on target areas of the face to restore oxygen flow. It’s also my first exposure to Darphin’s delectable aromatherapeutic line of serums and creams. As Gabriela explains all the reasons breakouts might occur, she daubs masks and lotions onto my skin with the greatest of care. Even her extractions (particularly of a minor Vesuvius that sits pretty on the side of my face) are amazingly gentle and, as I discover two weeks down the line, non-scarring. At the end of the treatment, Gabriela administers some chamomile oil, which is known to comfort skin that’s susceptible to blotchiness and irritation. For the first ten minutes, I sport a greasy sheen, which finally absorbs to give my skin a smooth, mattified appearance.
As I retire to the downstairs boutique, it’s hard not to feel like I’m floating on air, equipped with everything I need to fight environmental damage and work stress. I’m also tempted to dispense with caution and purchase some Darphin products, but I refrain. Given that I’ve just been tickled pink with good, old-fashioned beauty know-how, I’m sure I’ll be back in the near future for some routine indulgence at Primadona.
by Nirmala Nataraj on Jul 07, 2006