Editor’s Note: "Beauty Queen" is a monthly column that sends fashion reporter Xazmin Garza out into the field to test the latest beauty products and services.
It’s a Wednesday evening and I’ve dashed from work to Ritual Salon & Spa in Henderson, where I find myself holding the golden ticket. Except the ticket has become plural, as in tickets. And while they’re actually blue, these tickets — all four of them — are indeed golden in value. As the night progressed, this became more and more clear.
When a spa evening — known as Wednesday Night Ritual Party — begins with a stick-on name tag, you don’t quite know what to expect. As I pressed my name tag onto my blouse, the receptionist exchanged my $55 (gratuity included) for my four tickets. I scooted onto one of four loungers and took my place among the crowd of women that grew larger and louder by the minute.
After a few sangria sips and several hors d’oeuvres nibbles, a smiling woman called my name. I trailed behind her as she gave me the spa tour, describing each of the six mini-treatments I could choose from that night: a mini-manicure; three-step lemongrass foot treatment; mini-massage; mini-facial; hair consultation and mini-do’s; makeup consultation and mini-makeover; and peppermint scalp massage. Each station had a clipboard propped outside it with a list of names, doctor’s office style.
I put my signature on the mini-manicure, mini-scalp massage, mini-facial and mini-massage sheets. Wednesday Night Ritual Party, emphasis on the party, runs from 6 to 10 p.m. I arrived at 6:20 p.m. and realized by the number of signatures above mine that was 20 minutes too late. Arrive early.
An hour and some change passed before another smiling woman called my name again. During that time, I ate enough pinwheels and cheesecake chunks to serve an entire baby shower and caught up on the most crucial of current events: B-12 shots and "Sex and the City." The further the sangria line went down on the punch bowl, the chattier the women became.
My first 15-minute service was a manicure, courtesy of Mandi Taylor. As soon as I sat down, she began filing away without asking my preference: round or square. She also sent me on my way with a line of dirt under one nail. Yes, 15 minutes presents a challenge but selecting clear polish should compensate for the time restraint.
Five hummus-smeared crackers and one Christina Aguilera song later, Georgia S. escorted me to her stylist chair for a peppermint scalp massage. Is it a coincidence that a woman named Georgia delivers the sweetest hospitality imaginable? She offered a beverage right away, then elevated my feet upon returning with bottled water. "You alright, baby?" she asked. Baby was definitely alright.
Although two women gossiped at the foot of my chair over an UsWeekly magazine, I was still taken away. In fact, the slumber party tone only enhanced the experience. I returned to the lounge and did just as the other women before me did: sang loud praises for Georgia S. and the peppermint scalp massage.
An hour-and-a-half after arriving, the girls’ night out atmosphere winded down. I heard women on their cell phones with husbands letting them know it would only be a few minutes longer. A couple had cashed in all four of their tickets and said goodbye to the crowd.
Before I could make myself comfortable, Stephanie Koob called my name. Koob worked over my clothes, which didn’t surprise me. She also managed to work every inch of my body, which did surprise me. Buttocks, heels, hands, all the way back up to my shoulders, which garnered most of her attention. As I collected my purse, Koob made a suggestion: heighten my computer monitors so not to stress my shoulders.
My mini-facial came almost immediately after my mini-massage. Tanya Priest collected my final ticket of the evening and I layed face up before her. The facial consisted of a few simple steps. Cleanse, tone, moisturize. No extractions.
As I made my way out of Ritual, the scene had completely changed. Every spa-goer had made their exit. Empty plastic cups littered the coffee table, as did cracker crumbs and used paper plates. The staff said goodbye, plastic trash bags in hand. They say you never want to be the last to leave a party, but I think the rules change when there’s pampering involved.
Contact fashion reporter Xazmin Garza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0477.before you go Ritual Salon & Spa is located at 9480 Eastern Ave., Suite #125, 254-2900, www.ritualsalon andspa.net. Appointments booked the day after attending a Wednesday Night Ritual party (6 to 10 p.m.) receive 30 percent off. Appointments booked after the following day receive 10 percent off.