Beauty From the Inside Out

Special Beauty Feature
Beauty has come to mean a lot more than just a pretty face; it’s also a state of mind. Here’s how to get it all.

Bend deep, stretch long during a barre class at Exhale Spa.

The summer is long gone, and fall is under way: It’s time to break out those cardigans—and polish those pores. Toss your old beauty products, rituals, diet plans and fitness routines, and make room for the new. There’s a beauty revolution going on, and it’s come for more than just your body.

Enter: a new state of mind. Holistic health is taking the beauty and wellness world by storm, and it’s waking us up to the many components necessary to create a stronger, healthier, fuller version of ourselves. Now, experts are pairing glowing skin with a calm mind for beauty that, they promise, will radiate from the depths of the soul with poise and grace. Here’s how they are making that happen.


Taryn Toomey, creator of “The Class” (©Jaimie Baird)

Taryn Toomey doesn’t mess around—she knows where true beauty starts: in a deep, 75-minute mind-body workout called simply the class. (291 Broadway, 4th fl., 212.227.3039; schedule and location subject to change; verify online at At just $30 for a single class (therefore visitor-friendly), you’ll be too busy sweating to think about anything. I walked in, and, in less than five minutes, my worries melted away and my heart rate skyrocketed. Toomey pumped the music, dimmed the lights and guided the group through rigorous interval training that used cardio and strength training to delve into our souls. She pushed us onward by shouting out phrases about leaving the “garbage” in our heads behind and moving forward in life—lifting up more than just our bodies with her words and propelling us to empty our minds. By the halfway mark, I felt like I could own the world.

Anyone who scores an appointment for a facial with the exclusive Georgia Louise (39 W. 68th St., 347.703.2726) is in for a treat. Louise starts off her signature facial with a deep tissue massage and aromatherapy aimed at inviting relaxation as she delves into the magical mix of techniques that has made her a celebrity must, such as working with chakras in the body as a part of the facial therapy. Her success shows that the beauty world is responding well to a multifaceted approach, accessing beauty from internal energies and then using them in topical treatments.

Beautifying products from Elemental Herbology

“The skin, as the outer manifestation of our bodies, is one of the first areas to show when the elements are out of sync. Seasonal, lifestyle and hormonal change all have a significant impact on the way our skin looks and feels,” Kristy Cimesa, founder of Elemental Herbology products and spa, writes on her website. Elemental Herbology skincare products are used in sync with that philosophy at Shibui Spa at The Greenwich Hotel (377 Greenwich St., 212.941.8900). Cap Beauty & Spa (238 W. 10th St., 212.227.1088) also hosts an array of natural beauty products aimed at improving overall mental and physical wellness (the spa’s slogan is “beauty is wellness”) and features select treatments like the Root Treatment Facial, which uses a Japanese root technique to delve into the mind and body, find the weakest organ and detoxify it, release, tone and strengthen.

“People can come in and, even if they are strong and fit, whatever is weighing them down emotionally emanates in their bodies so they might feel overweight,” says Rupa Mehta, founder of the Nalini Method (48 W. 68th St., 646.775.6145), a custom-made workout that keeps off emotional weight as well as physical weight. Mehta focuses first on supporting each individual within the group class, shouting out their names and edging them forward. Throughout the workout, which combines Pilates, yoga, strength-training and stretching, she talks about balance, self-awareness and stresses that life isn’t a competition. A workout like the Nalini Method provides an opportunity to use your vacation to its greatest capacity for a total transformation upon your return home.

At the Y7 Studio (25 W. 23rd St., 4th fl., 646.820.0781), the elements of true beauty and well-being are also at work. A yoga class here uses heat and hip-hop while practicing in darkness—save for a few mock candles—to help unlock the connection between mind and body. At the end of each instructor-led flow, the music goes up, and practitioners flow at their own pace, allowing each person’s inner rhythm to shine through.

Engaging the mind gives us a deeper beauty experience, bringing intention into the transformation of our bodies and allowing our mind to open up and free itself. The salt room at Breathe Easy (1 Park Ave., 212.725.1138) opens the door to that transformation. Tiny salt crystals sweep through the room and detoxify the lungs and airways. Think of all the benefits of a weekend on the beach channeled into 30 minutes in one room chiseled out of pink Himalayan salt. Breathe Easy asserts that there is a transformative power to this salt therapy, which releases negative ions to reduce stress, headaches and feelings of depression. Afterward, clients feel well-rested and deeply relaxed.

From there, the city has no shortage of top-of-the-line treatments that send mind and body on a journey of rejuvenation. Holistic beauty goddess Susan Ciminelli has taken her legacy to a new locale, not far from her former digs at New York luxury retail institution Bergdorf Goodman. Susan’s treatments at the Susan Ciminelli Beauty Clinic (118 E. 57th St., 3rd fl., 212.750.4441) include the Anti-Aging Facial, where crystals are placed on all seven chakras for deep inner peace, and the Guided Color Meditation and Crystal Healing to empty the mind of the negative and open up the body to emotional and physical healing through deep relaxation.

The vitality pool at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental New York

The sumptuous Eastern-influenced experience at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental New York (80 Columbus Circle, 212.805.8880) hosts signature spa therapies, designed to fit each individual with the help of specialists in traditional Chinese medicine and expert aromatherapists. Mandarin Oriental restores a sense of balance and harmony between body and spirit through Eastern ritual and aroma. Best of all, the spa isn’t limited to guests of the hotel—so you can book a treatment regardless of where you are staying.

A host of “Energetic Therapies” like Reiki, an ancient ritual that uses touch to restore mental and physical health, and Vibrational Therapy, using tuning forks to “relieve pain, increase mental focus and create a general sense of overall well-being” compose one part of the menu at Exhale Spa (150 Central Park So., 212.561.7400). The spa’s Om Body Therapy ‘Tui Na,’ a massage that channels the flow of Qi, the Chinese word for “life force,” is a mind-body relaxation experience. With individual barre and yoga classes available with no membership necessary, Exhale promises to shape your muscles, spirit and skin.

Great Jones Spa (29 Great Jones St., 212.505.3185) also integrates the holistic approach into every aspect of its luxurious day spa to achieve a sense of wholeness. Great Jones offers an impressive range of treatments, from a chakra-light steam room to Reiki energy work, that initiate wellness and beauty from within.

The 1966 burger from Sakara Life

Food powers up the skin and soul from the inside: What could be better than having healthy meals brought straight to your hotel room? If you are staying for a week or more in the city, or on a business trip with a heavy meeting schedule, you might even want to skip dining out in restaurants for a day and order online from Sakara Life, a meal service favored by celebrities and models alike. Minimum order is a one-day meal package: Sakara will deliver breakfast, lunch and dinner right to your room. The vegan website offers delectable dishes. For example, “The 1966 Burger,” with purple potatoes and mango, is free of dairy, gluten, pesticides, chemicals, additives, preservatives and fake meats. Sakara’s website also features a host of holistic beauty solutions available to order along with your meal, from “beauty waters”—water fused with rose oil and trace minerals—to “skin food” from Bee Yummy, a moisturizer and healing salve made primarily from materials collected from bees.

Last but not least, if you are heading over to Brooklyn, you can find treatments for inside-outside beautifying there as well. Brooklyn’s restaurants, shops and spas have been competing with Manhattan for some time now. Area Emporium & Spa (281 Smith St., Carroll Gardens, 718.624.3157) accompanies each treatment with a free yoga class given by premium instructors. Try an aromatherapy massage and scalp treatment, followed by a restorative yoga class. Then cap off the day with a fine dinner at a spot like the highly rated Battersby in this foodie-centric neighborhood. You will feel happily satiated, from spirit to stomach.