Are you a working girl in need of some TLC? Or perhaps a beau pondering a beauty treatment GC as a Valentine's Day gift? Whether it's facials, brows, massage, reflexology, or haircare you're after, these destinations deliver. Oh, and they've all been tested by yours truly.
4 Angels Beauty Care (1342 Burrard St.)
At 4 Angels Beauty Care, one brow shape does not fit all. (Thank goodness, because I've been traumatized ever since one aesthetician gave me Kim Kardashian brows without saying a word.) Owners Navkiran Sokhi and Kulwinder Malhi—who have a combined 35 years' of experience in the beauty industry—begin each brow threading ($22) with a consultation and end it with complimentary brow makeup application. For even more pampering, try the arm and hand massage ($25), a soothing treatment rooted in traditional Indian technique that melts away "I've been working in front of the computer too long" tension.
Black2Blond Hair Salon and Spa (3575 West 4th Avenue)
Black2Blond is the only salon in Vancouver that carries European beauty brand La Biosthetique and uses it in treatments exclusively. No wonder, then, that even a seemingly simple blowout ($38+) becomes a holistic, European-style three-hour ritual. Stylists greet clients with herbal tea and hot aromatherapy hand towels before diagnosing hair and scalp type. Products are then custom-selected and measured for each stage of the hair treatment. While you're getting your makeup touched up post-blowout, check out the La Biosthetique products formulated for every hair and scalp concern—including a hair growth treatment that brides-to-be swear by for achieving updo-ready length before the big day.
Collective Skincare (BeautyMark, 1268 Pacific Boulevard, 2nd floor)
I've already raved about Collective's facials, but the 90-minute Elevated facial ($140) goes one step beyond with an extended facial massage that lifts, tones, and boosts blood circulation. The result: glowing skin, lifted and relaxed features, and zero tension. Even if you're not looking for a non-invasive alternative to Botox and fillers (as this facial purports to be), the relaxing massage and afterglow are well worth it.
d.tox spa (1780 Manitoba St.)
No time? No problem at d.tox, the recent Olympic Village addition where urbanites can get manicures, pedicures, and reflexology treatments in less than an hour. Busy couples can book their treatments together: the boy was in a state of bliss as a Chinese-trained reflexologist pummeled the tension out of his dance-weary feet, while my nails were buffed and polished to navy blue perfection.
Spruce Body Lab (1128 Richards St.)
Three years after being introduced to Spruce, I still return for RMT massages and ask the boy to get me gift certificates from there. Yes, it really is that good. The private infrared sauna is such a treat. Post-treatment, peruse the shelves for Dermalogica and colorescience products, or for Spruce's in-house line of bath and body care. The "body lab" concept and relatively unisex white-and-green decor make this an ideal spa for guys too.