Beauty Break: Mizu and Sarra

Spring means no more Uggs and down parkas. For me, it also means an abundance of beauty treatments. While I could gladly succumb to a two hour massage (extra deep) daily, I’m not great about making time for all the other primping rituals. But alas, it’s all in a day’s work. For the third year in a row I’ll be writing the “Best of Beauty” (and “Weddings”) for the Improper Bostonian “Best Of” issue. That means weekly facials, multiple mani pedis, a haircut and maybe even highlights, depending on how dedicated I’m feeling, and a bunch of bikini waxes. (Everyone gets to rip an inch. Ouch.) This year I started early, but even so, the next few weeks will be jam packed.


mizu1This week I visited mizu, the new hair salon owned by Elan Sassoon (yes, his daddy’s Vidal), at the Mandarin Oriental Boston. The white-on-white, tunnel-like, futuristic space is more interesting from the outside and in. It makes an impact when you’re at reception, but once inside, it’s business as usual. It runs along the long corridor that connects the Prudential to Lord & Taylor across the way, with glass panels allowing passerbyers to peek in. While the overall experience wasn’t overly impressive (all was well, but no bells & whistles), I got a fantastic cut from the Managing Director, Patrick McGinley, who was formerly the Artistic Director at Vidal Sassoon in Boston. I can’t swing the $150 price tag on my own, but in the name of research, I will gladly go back.


sarra1Next stop, Sarra in South Boston (in the same warehouse as rocker hairstyle haven Shag.) As you can see, the space is amazing, full of light with glossy white furnishing and aqua accents. Proprietor Lauren Genatossio is a makeup artist and professional brow plucker who not only beautifies her clients, but de-mystifies makeup madness. She’s lots of fun and clearly loves her work. (She even owns another location in her hometown, Hingham, on the South Shore.)

She shaped my brows quickly and perfectly, then set about to fix my face with her own line of cosmetics. I absolutely adored step 1, the Retexturizing Face Primer with SPF 20. After that she smoothed on foundation to even my skin tone, showed me how to apply concealer so it wouldn’t weigh me down, and then played with color. I’m not sure I loved the peachy blush and nude lips (I’m more for a subtle rosy pink), but the purple-lined lids were appropriately smoldering for a sexy night. (Never mind all I had on my agenda that day was my son’s baseball parade down Charles Street.)

As a longtime beauty editor I’m pretty adept at navigating the cosmetic counters, but I know many feel overwhelmed. Lauren is the perfect antidote to too much information. Bring her your cosmetics case, dump it out, and she’ll help you make sense of it all. And if you’re planning a girl’s night, grab a case of Champagne, primp, and party. The lounge-y setting is also perfect for your wedding day. There’s plenty of room for you and your bridesmaids to get your makeup done in sun dappled comfort; the space is even be large enough to accommodate your MIL.