Getting fit-faced, en masse

Toronto’s The 10 Spot (749 Queen St. W., 416-915-1010, 10spot.ca) has carved out a nice little niche for itself. When it first opened in 2006, it was one of many new nail bars spreading like wildfire across the city. But it was instantly likeable for its totally cheeky and hilarious attitude, and in the way it branded itself as the anti-spa, positioned way more as a place to congregate with your chicks rather than unwind and tune out the world.

Now, owner Kristen Gale has removed the relaxation/isolation component from facials with the addition of a Facial Bar, where the treatment is done in the same room as two other clients. Gale came up with this when she realized that while the demand for facials was there, at $100 a pop, most people were probably getting them done at an actual spa, with all the fluffy bathrobe and herbal tea trimmings. Re-configuring it to 45 minutes and pricing it at $65 makes the customized Dermalogica facial “more about maintenance rather than a luxury,” explains Gale. (True to her theory, I have to admit price is the main reason I never shell out for one).

Curious to see what the experience would be like I booked in with my beauty writer friend Janine (read her take here). I knew immediately that it would be different; instead of listening to the lame-ass sound of rivers trickling, my facial began to the tune of Radiohead’s “Reckoner.” While I loved the shortened aspect (one of the worst parts of any facial is being left alone to get steamed or allow a mask to ‘work’) I have to admit it was a little weird having someone next to me all bare shouldered, getting her visage massaged, even if I did know her. And I didn’t feel the least bit inclined to chat like I would during a pedicure—I wanted to zone out. But that didn’t diminish the overall experience—I still emerged fresh faced, with no signs of post-extraction trauma or greasy hair. So while I wouldn’t say it’s a gossip-conducive activity, it’s definitely a more affordable and efficient way to go if you’re hankering for some dermal love. And let’s just hope Gale doesn’t think bikini waxes should become communal too….