8 Sep 2009, 9:57am
Beauty Colorado Mountain Living Spas Telluride:
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Telluride’s Beauty Boutiques

Mountain Therapy at Mountain Lodge Telluride

Mountain Therapy at Mountain Lodge Telluride

I love the notion of a beauty boutique.  I frequented Beauté Boutique in the seventeenth arrondissement of Paris for many years.  It consisted of a sectioned off little space where (mostly) women had a variety of body parts attended to with the efficacy and regularity of a man’s visit to the barber shop.  It was a totally no frills operation but women maintained their monthly appointments for a short menu of treatments that included waxings, pedicures and facials.  “In France, all this is part of la hygiene personnelle,” la directrice once explained to me.

The approach in Telluride is not too unlike what I encountered in Paris.  Here the salons and spas are considerably more inviting than my neighborhood beauty boutique in Paris but these purveyors of poufing and pampering are indeed accustomed to meeting the needs of an equally demanding clientele.  In Telluride, many women remain just as committed to maintaining their beauté as the French.  This sort of fervent dedication to spas and salons is somewhat unusual in America but in my Rocky Mountain town where the air is often single-digit-humidity dry and the sun beams hard and bright most days of the year, personal upkeep is more of a necessity than a luxury.

If you’ve ever had to deal with wiry, brittle hair, feet with fissures and cracks as impressive as a river canyon and skin as tight and thirsty as a stretch of sun-baked mountain road above tree line, than you have a sense of the ongoing battles fought by the people (especially women, needless-to-say!) of Telluride, locals and visitors alike.  No one is spared, no matter how much water you drink and how often you turn on your humidifier, we all duke it out.  No one wants to end up looking like a puckery old miner.  And, of course, we’re not about to curtail our outdoor activities.  Come wind, rain, snow, scorching sun or bitter cold, we ski, hike and bike to our heart’s content and there’s no quantity or quality of skin or hair care product that can completely protect us from what Mother Nature throws our way.

Most visitors land graciously in the luxury spas located in our grandest hotels (more on those later), but Telluride’s charming little beauty boutiques are not to be overlooked, especially since these gems are largely frequented by locals, the very people that need these services the most.  I’ve come to know and greatly appreciate a handful of estheticians, stylists and massage therapists that have made me feel whole, healthy and hydrated time and time again, so I thought I’d share a few of the names in my directory with you.

Magical Fingers Providing Expert Skin Care at Studio G.

Magical Fingers Providing Expert Skin Care at Studio G.

For superb skin care, I recommend Studio G., a lovely little day spa that focuses on total skin wellness.  Ginger Medrick, the driving force behind this fresh-as-a-tropical-rainstorm boutique, has assembled a team of highly skilled women equally committed to superior quality skin care.  Signature treatments include The Wellness Facial and the Deluxe Clinic Facial which includes a Lactic Lift and Oxygen Blast.  Advanced skin peels, eyelash and brow tinting, UV-free airbrush tanning, make up applications and more round out Studio G’s menu of services.

I’ve frequented Atmosphere for years, mostly for regular waxings, and have found each one of this spa’s estheticians to be extremely well-trained and delightful company.  (Waxings are not the most relaxing treatments in the spa-osphere, so it’s essential to have someone adept enough to create a quick, pain-free and pleasant experience.  Girl talk is a must.)  I decided, however, to try out something different one day in an effort to break out of my routine waxings.  I always enjoyed the soothing, zen-like space of Atmosphere, but I hadn’t yet been introduced to their inner sanctum, a tiled treatment room that features a Vichy Shower, a wide sweeping wand with five shower hands that can soak and rinse you as you lie sleepily on the treatment table.  Cynda, a long-time therapist in Telluride, buffed, moisturized, massaged and polished me with all the quickness and skill of a magician.  (That’s exactly what you want when you’re bathed and pampered by a total stranger.)  First I was exfoliated, then slathered in mineral mud and wrapped cocoon-like in plastic “to cook.”  A heavenly scalp massage followed, until I was finally rinsed by the miraculous Vichy Shower wand and then dried with warm, crisp sheets.  All this transpired without me fulling realizing what had happened to me in my complete nakedness.  (Thank goodness for the Vichy and for Cynda’s expertise and discretion since I had achieved such a state of relaxation that I couldn’t imagine being any way but horizontal.)  End result:  deep relaxation and tingling, ultra-hydrated skin that made me feel brand new.

Great Shopping and More at Aromatherapy

Great Shopping and More at Aromatherapy

I love how sexy it makes me feel to put pedicured toes into hiking or ski boots.  And in Telluride, most estheticians are sure to take this into account, trimming nails and filing calluses so that your feet shine in both sandals and outdoor footwear.  I enjoyed hanging out in the comfy, casual boutique of Aromatherapy, not minding a bit the time it takes for toes to dry.  Owner Michelle Davis first opened an aromatherapy store on Long Island and one look around this bright and breezy boutique confirms that this is a woman who knows her redolent products.  You’ll find them in the form of everything from perfumed pillows to scented candles.  Thankfully Michelle’s select offerings don’t stop there; she stocks a supply of fun and sensual loungewear and casual wear on a regular basis along with lots of other girly goods.

For hair, I have remained loyal to Rosa Lea at Salon 7 ever since I moved here over six years ago.  A local’s and second home owner’s favorite, Rosa Lea regularly provides a great “cut and color” for women and men.  (Children love being in her chair as well.)  She’s sweet and caring and known to find just the right look for everyone that walks through her door.  Now if I could only make my hair as glossy-looking as she does.  (I think the secret is not to rush the blow dry and have lots of rich products at hand.)

I broke out of my hairstylist habits once recently to try out Shayla, another long-time Tellurider, that also boasts a strong local clientele.  She moved here from Hollywood where she worked in a salon in Melrose.  “Women in Telluride get their hair done to simplify their lives,” Shayla told me.  “In Hollywood, they’d have something done to their hair every two weeks to maintain their extensive colorings and highlights.”  I’m sure T-ride has been a delightful change for her even though her supply of conditioners likely dwindles as fast as a starlet’s success on the silver screen.

Hmmmm.  Massage.  Where else can you find so many sore muscles and aches and pains than in a mountain town?  I’m nearly convinced, too, that this wretched dryness must be making our bones brittle and hurting as well.  I don’t go for any froufrou massages here and I don’t know anyone else that does either.  We all need healing in this rugged environment and I’ve been lucky to find two healers that have hung out their shingles in quaint spaces both in the town of Telluride and in Telluride Mountain Village.  Lupe Eckenrod has been consistently voted the local’s favorite massage therapist for a number of years.  Her touch is firm, deliberate and a welcome relief to all ailments big and small.  Darren Miller works out of a few spaces including Mountain Lodge where he woos his clients with his healing hands and his array of essential oils.  And for those weary souls that don’t want to venture out, Darren’s Rolling Relaxation Massage brings his therapeutic touch to you in locations in and around Telluride.

I’ve completed my tour of favorite Telluride beauty boutiques.  At least for now.  You can bet that this town keeps many people gainfully employed in the health and beauty sector.  We understand more than most what it means to take care of yourself, inside and out.  Our definition of beauty boutique might be slightly different from the norm.  But as my French beauty maven explained to me, it’s about personal hygiene.  Yes, of course, and lots of hydration, too.

Studio G., 226 W. Colorado Ave., 970-728-8700, www.studiogskin.com

Atmosphere, 250 W. San Juan Ave., 970-728-0630, www.telluridespa.com

Aromatherapy, 191 S. Pine St., 970-728-9515, www.aromatherapydayspa.com

Salon 7, 300 Mahoney Dr. (at the base of Lift 7), 970-369-0050 or 970-708-1266, www.salon7telluride.com

Shayla,224 E. Colorado Ave. (2nd floor), 970-728-1558 or 970-708-2308

Lupe Eckenrod, 970-708-0692

Darren Miller, 970-369-5193 or 303-257-6070, www.mountainlodgetelluride.com and www.rollingrelaxationmassage.com

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