A Sweet Spa Day

A treatment good enough to eat


There are so many benefits to incorporating a healthy amount of chocolate into your life. First off, there’s the enjoyment that comes from eating it. Then there are all of the health claims associated with chocolate: as a mood booster, as a source of cancer-preventing antioxidants, and as a heart-healthy treat that has been found to lower both cholesterol and blood pressure. (Look it up. If you trust WebMD to diagnose your weird itch as definitely cancer, then you can trust it to justify your chocolate habit, too.) But for me, chocolate was always just chocolate – until now. Spa services that incorporate chocolate are popping up in Providence, and on one of the few snowy days we had this winter, I headed to Hairspray Salon for my sweetest spa day yet.

I had been past the subterranean Wickenden Street salon countless times, but had never really taken note of the place before. It turns out that Hairspray, and owner Luz Pray, have interesting stories to tell. Though the salon has been around for over a decade, Luz has recently transformed the space into an art gallery as well, hosting exhibits on a near-monthly basis. During my visit, Luz explained that the gallery side of Hairspray has become so popular that people come in off the street just to take in the artwork and jewelry on display, all of which is for sale, and almost all of which sells out during a given exhibit.

I headed upstairs to the day spa to experience my first chocolate facial and body wrap. We started with the wrap, which involved me getting dirty with a lady named Barbara.

Wait, that sounds wrong.

Really, it was me having my entire body painted with a luxurious, mineral-rich compound, mostly comprising fancy things from the Dead Sea... and a lot of mud. Barbara then wrapped me in a giant, heated foil packet, in which I roasted (in a good way) while she gave me the facial. She went through process after process: cleansing, steaming, extraction and a chemical peel. After my face was finished, I got out of my foil cocoon and headed to the spa shower to uncake myself of the mud that was now baked on to my skin. When I got back on the table, I couldn’t help but wonder: where was all the chocolate? Barbara explained that while chocolate does have a lot of benefits, the only real benefit of it being applied to the skin is the aromatherapeutic aspect. Smelling chocolate makes people happier, and, she explained while she was rubbing my back and legs with chocolate raspberry body oil, there’s no better time to give people an extra boost of happiness than during a relaxing spa service.

While I had envisioned having my face painted with actual chocolate, this was a much better, more enjoyable experience for me. I know it’s a betrayal of womankind to say this, but I don’t like chocolate very much, and the idea of being painted into a human candy mold wasn’t so exciting to me. This service incorporated another kind of decadence without the novelty-for-novelty’s sake present in so many frivolous spa treatments. After I was finished, Barbara gave me a piece of chocolate and sent me back out into the snow, feeling totally refreshed and smelling delicious. The opening for the Cumberland Alliance’s show at Hairspray is March 24 from 7-9pm.