The Best Beauty Treatments to Do on Your Lunch Break
Remember the Sex and the City episode when Samantha gets a chemical peel days before Carrie's book launch party and ends up looking like a piece of raw meat? The new lunchtime peels are nothing like that.
Take The Peel Bar by BeautyRx. It's a two-minute glycolic peel that gives your smoother, brighter, softer skin instantly—no post-procedure hibernation necessary. And these miraculous peels are now popping up on the beauty floors of Saks Fifth Avenue stores around the country. At $50 a pop, they are truly your best bet for a healthy, no-hassle glow.
Another idea: Look for spas using Bioelements products—they may offer a Fast Results Peel. Utilizing the skincare brand's advanced, ultimate strength formula, this quickie peel retexturizes dull skin in less than 30 minutes. Use their spa locator to find a nearby location. (If you'd rather get pampered at home, try one of these 10 Facial Peels That Banish Dead Winter Skin.)
Trendy blowout bars have washing, drying, and styling down to a science—so there's no need to worry about missing your p.m. conference call. "Our experts are trained in signature styles," explains Vanessa Yakobson, a franchise owner of Blo Blow Dry Bars. "They're able to create those looks in an efficient timeframe."
To guarantee your 'do will be done within a half hour, stylists recommend washing your hair before the appointment—though it doesn't need to be wet when you walk in. Some places—like DreamDry—offer fast services to clients on the go that take 15 to 20 minutes (think: braids and updos with no wash needed). And while most blowout bars schedule 45-minute sessions for clients, it rarely takes that long. Don't worry about waiting around to pay either—most blowout bars have online booking and payments. Some even have apps!
Did you know that the popular phrase "on fleek" stems from a Vine about eyebrows? Well, knowing that brows are not one-size-fits-all, brow bars wax, thread, dye, draw, and pluck hair to perfection. "Having good eyebrows can really make your eyes pop and the features in your face really stand out," says Erin McIntyre, lead aesthetician at Benefit Cosmetics Boutique & Brow Bar in Evanston, IL. At Benefit, each brow-shaping session takes approximately 15 minutes. And since tinting only takes about 10, you're looking at a 25-minute appointment, max.
Even more: There are brow-specific salons popping up around the country, such as Mondi's Brow Studio in Boston, MA and Boom Boom Brow Bar in Manhattan. Sparse hair got you down? See if eyebrow extensions, The New Beauty Treatment for Bold, Thick Eyebrows, is right for you.
Fun fact: Mini facials involve most of the same procedures as their full-length counterparts, just at an accelerated pace (or without the spa amenities, such as a massage with steam). You'll be cleansed, toned, exfoliated, and moisturized in 30 minutes—tops.
Bliss Spas offer several 30-minute services, including their signature Oxygen Blast Facial, which uses a specialized oxygen contractor machine and vitamin infusions to brighten dull skin. National luxury retailer Bluemercury has an $85 Fast-Blast Facial that includes cleansing, glycolic peel, and a vitamin oxygen blast.
And on both coasts, skincare clinic Skin Laundry uses a high-tech YAG Laser and Light Treatment that cleanses, hydrates, and unclogs congested skin in under 10 minutes.The added bonus? "[The laser is] able to penetrate your skin and remove the extra debris you might not be able to get to in a regular facial," says Gabrielle Gola, a Registered Nurse who administers the facial at Skin Laundry in West Hollywood.
Professional Makeup Application
Walk into any department store and you'll face slew of makeup counter clerks spritzing perfume and pitching their products. On your next lunch hour, sit on one of these stools. While you won't get a full-on smoky eye, you will get an instant beautification of one aspect of your makeup (think: flushed cheeks or full lashes) in minutes.
Some salons offer appointments for one feature only too. Pucker, a Manhattan-based makeup salon, has a "For Your Eyes Only" service for $35. At Blushington, a one-stop makeup studio in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas, the On-the-Move makeup application works for women who want to cover imperfections and enhance their natural look in 20 minutes.
And if these makeup studios aren't as accessible, find a M.A.C store nearby, where you can enhance one area of your face in 10 to 15 minutes for free. And let's not forget about Sephora! The makeup giant offers complimentary mini makeovers in 15-minute sessions.
Laser Hair Removal
For a quickie treatment that actually lasts, try laser hair removal. Just know: You'll need upwards of six treatments, depending on the area you're removing hair from.
Here's how it works: A concentrated laser beams light into your hair follicles, targeting the root beneath your skin surface and pulverizing it in one seriously strong zap. Contrary to what you may think, dark hair is easier to remove because the laser's heat source is attracted to pigment. (Weird, right? Learn more about the Bizarre History of Hair Removal.)
Of course, getting smooth is no walk in the park (it hurts!), but if you're after smooth skin, 10 minutes is all you need. Visit spafinder.com to find a treatment center near you, or ask your dermatologist for a reference. Many places offer discounts on their website or through Groupon or Gilt City. But be sure to vet the salon first—and learn more about laser before buying a package with these Answers to Top Laser Hair Removal Questions.