8 ways to pamper yourself silly this summer
The season is short: here’s how to make the most of it
Custom-blended lipstick: Bite Beauty Lip Lab
1 At Queen West’s lip lab, persnickety makeup diehards can custom-blend their own unique lip colours on the spot. First, you choose from nearly 200 pigments, made from ingredients so natural—shea butter, beeswax, natural oils—that they’re actually edible. The lab artists mix the colours like Renaissance painters, adding a tinge of mauve here, a dash of coral there. Then, you select finishes that range from glossy sheer to matte creme, and top it off with a scent like coconut, wild berry or mint. The technicians cook the new blend, whip it in a centrifuge and set it for 10 minutes on a cold plate until it hardens. Watching the whole Willy Wonka process is almost as much fun as walking out with your own bespoke shade. $55. 678 Queen St. W., 416-860-5652, bitebeauty.com.
A boozy barbershop: Barber and Co.
2 It took Barber and Co.’s owners three years to find the perfect space in Toronto, one located smack dab in the city’s epicentre of cool, with floor-to-ceiling windows in the front and a secret bar in the back. Services include hot shaves, beard maintenance and expert renditions of the essential hipster haircuts: the pompadour, the fade, the undercut–man bun combo. And instead of the usual tap water or drip coffee, clients drink scotch and bourbon, or local beers. At night, the snipping stops, and the place turns into a full-fledged bar, mixing cocktails with ingredients like house-blended yuzu bitters, gardenia-scented dry vermouth and coconut-pineapple foam. 89 Ossington Ave., 416-551-9707, barberandco.com.
A spa with a killer view: Elora Mill
3 The 175-year-old former grist mill, an hour and a half from Toronto, was closed for eight years while it got a $27-million makeover. It was worth the wait. The hotel is perched on the side of a cliff overlooking Elora’s Grand River, and the spa has the best views of all, including a three-storey glass solarium that sits above a rushing waterfall. Guests can start the day with a yoga class, hop from sauna to steam room, enjoy specialized massages and mud wraps, and finish off with a mimosa by the infinity pool. 77 Mill St. W., Elora, 519-846-8464, eloramill.ca.
A very weird workout: GoGo Muscle Training
4 Electric muscle stimulation, the latest techie workout trend, condenses an hour and a half of exercise into a cool 20 minutes. It may sound like magic, but it’s actually science. Clients slap on a chunky black Lara Croft bodysuit studded with electrodes that zap the body every few seconds, causing the muscles to contract more frequently while they perform an already-intense workout of squats and planks. At $499 per month, membership is pricier than your typical YMCA, but the power to cheat time in pursuit of a flat stomach is worth it. 70 Yorkville Ave., 1-877-440-4646, gogomuscletraining.com.
A cedar-barrel sauna: The Wilfrid Boutique Farmhouse
5 Three years ago, Montreal expats Nancy Pavan, an art director, and Frank Ellefsen, a chef, bought a sprawling Victorian farmhouse in Prince Edward County that had been in the same family since the 1840s. The couple transformed the place into a posh yet cozy B&B, furnished with ornate antiques and modern flourishes. The perks are many—there’s a vegetable garden, a vineyard and gourmet breakfasts prepared by Frank—but the best reason to book a getaway is the massive wood-fired sauna made from a blimp-size cedar barrel. It’s both a rustic novelty and a genuine relaxation tool, the perfect place to sweat out every last drop of city stress. From $213 per night. 1375 Royal Rd., Milford, 438-390-2505, thewilfrid.com.
A blinged-out manicure: Pinky’s Nails
6 Cardi B gets credit for summer’s hottest nail trend: wildly over-the-top stilettoed tips bedazzled with more crystals and jewels than you’d find in an Ocean’s 8 heist. In Toronto, Justin Cappelletti of Pinky’s Nails is the guy drag queens trust with their fancy talons. Each design is more outrageous than the next: he does ombré patterns of cascading Swarovski crystals, iridescent beetle designs with crystal appliqué, and kawaii Sailor Moon nail art with faux pearls and glitter. 540 Sherbourne St., Unit 807, 416-964-6072, pinkysnails.squarespace.com.
A workout for your brain: Mindset
7 You know the wellness trend has reached its zenith when a “brain gym” arrives in Yorkville. Mindset is aimed at helping Bay Streeters build their mental stamina. In the gym’s meditation room, Zen-seekers don Muse headbands, perch on ergonomic vegan-leather bolsters, and listen to crashing waves or rainfall as an instructor walks them through 30-minute guided meditations. For private sessions, a pod is filled with calming LED Nanoleaf light displays and a zero-gravity reclining chair that makes you feel like you’re floating. Clients can book the room in 25-minute increments and choose from pre-recorded sessions on an iPad, which they listen to through noise-cancelling headphones. Even if your mind wanders all the way to sleepytown, it’s guaranteed to be the best nap you’ve had since preschool. Memberships $150 per month. 62 Cumberland St., mindsetbraingym.com.
A workout for your body: The Rosedale Club
8 The city’s hot new sweat shop looks less like a gym than a boutique hotel, with marble change rooms, eucalyptus towel service and a juice bar. The TechnoGym fitness machines—the same ones used in the Olympic Athletes’ Village—remember your Netflix profile and workout routine; the class selection includes modern dance, hot yoga and ballet barre; and the turf zone looks like a grown-up jungle gym. The only thing that isn’t next-level luxury is the monthly membership fee—only $99 for unlimited classes. 920 Yonge St., 416-479-1080, rosedaleclub.com.