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Urban Retreat: It’s A Man’s World Too

June 16, 2011

Surprise!  It’s Father’s Day again.  Snuck up on you, didn’t it?  I don’t know about your father, but mine is one hard man to buy for…  This year, I encourage you to think outside the box.  Sure, your father is a man, but that doesn’t mean you need to buy him a football, a shotgun, a necktie, or a new putter for Father’s Day every year.  If your dad is anything like mine, he’s probably a working man, taking care of business 9-to-5 every day.  With a heavy workload, comes heavy stress.  Just like anyone, he needs time to relax, unwind, and refresh.  This Father’s Day, I want to remind you that salons and day spas are not just for the ladies.  A spa package at Urban Retreat can be an unexpected, but perfect gift for dad this year, forcing upon him the respite he so richly deserves.

Sometimes, I look over at my father and I can actually hear his jaw grinding.  It’s that pronounced “fingernails-on-a-chalkboard” kind of sound that lets me know when he’s truly stressing out.  Most men struggle in the pursuit of tackling their ever-increasing levels of anxiety.  Where other coping strategies fail, the magic hands of our massage therapists are sure to succeed.  The stress alleviation derived from a massage can last weeks.  Urban Retreat boasts a vast array of therapy techniques including, but not limited to, Hot Stone, Swedish, and Deep Tissue massage.

Beyond massage therapy, Urban Retreat offers a number of services tailored to suit a man’s needs, turning your flustered father into a dapper dad.  The thing your papa is most likely to feel weird about is having his first manicure.  In case he is scared that this service is just a little too female-oriented, your quick-fire response can be, “Dad, how could something called a ‘MAN-icure’ be girly?”  In the corporate world, a handshake can be the gateway to a long and fruitful business relationship.  Clean, soft, manicured hands ensure an excellent first impression.

Whisking him over to the hair department, just a few snips of the shears can turn a weathered old man into a debonair world dominator.  A person’s hair really is their most obvious natural accessory; so, getting it right is crucial and that is something our talented and personable hair gurus will take care of with ease.  Once your father sees the results of his first session with a bona fide hairstylist, the generic $10.00 barber shop cuts will never suffice again.

Daddy also might feel a little strange about his first facial, but again, the results will speak for themselves.  Before I got into the salon & day spa industry, I’m not even sure my dad knew what a facial was.  Now, he gets them more than I do.  It never fails.  Once those ingrown hairs, blackheads, and pimples are gone, dad quickly realizes why his wife is always spending money on facials.  He may not tell his buddies at the golf course that he has them done, but he’ll keep on doing them nevertheless.

The common misperception that has existed for ages is that men don’t and shouldn’t care about their appearance.  As time goes on and humanity progresses, it is becoming increasingly evident that men do and should worry about and maintain all aspects of their aesthetic wellness; because, when you know you look great, you are much more likely to feel great too.  This year, tell your dad that it’s okay to relax and that maintaining his appearance is not just lady business by giving him a salon test drive here, at Urban Retreat.

To purchase an Urban Retreat Gift Package, please visit:  You can also stop by either of our convenient Houston locations, which leads me to an exciting announcement…  Starting Wednesday, our new, GORGEOUS River Oaks location will be OPEN FOR BUSINESS!!!

*Instructions for River Oaks patrons purchasing a gift package between Thursday, June 16th and Saturday, June 18th, please visit:

2329 San Felipe
Houston, TX 77019

*The River Oaks location will be closed Sunday, June 19th through Tuesday, June 21st for relocation.  The new River Oaks location will be open for business on Wednesday, June 22nd.  The address is:

2034-A West Gray
Houston, TX 77019

*To purchase a gift certificate at the Memorial Location, please visit:

6415 San Felipe, Suite A
Houston, TX 77057

*If you have any questions, please call: 713.523.2300


Protecting Your Hair and Skin: A Summer Survival Guide

June 5, 2011
Summer is officially here, ladies and gentlemen.  The sun is working full-time, the vacations are all planned, and (sigh…) the kids are all out of school.  As the mercury continues to climb up that old thermometer, we would be remiss if we failed to remind you that summer can take a devastating toll on your skin and hair.  The prolonged sun exposure, the chlorinated pools, the ice-cold mojitos, and the total abandonment of dietary self-restraint are just a few of the contributing factors that work to wreck and ravage your two most important accessories: your hair and skin.  There is no need to fear though, because the aesthetic aces at Urban Retreat are dedicated to guiding you through this scorching summer unscathed and looking more radiant than ever.
Skin Protection 
It is no secret that unprotected and excessive exposure to solar UV radiation accelerates the aging process, giving rise to fine lines, wrinkles, freckles, and sun spots.  Urban Retreat esthetician, Kimberly Gibson gave a little summer advice explaining that:
UVB rays work alone in creating sunburns.  That is not to suggest, in any way, that UVA radiation is harmless.  Sure, UVA rays do not actually burn the skin, but they do penetrate deep into the dermis and cause approximately 90% of all premature aging.
Unfortunately, failing to protect your skin from the sun can bring about far more dire consequences than premature aging.  While cosmetic skin damage is a valid concern, there are definitely some more distressing, health-related issues that warrant further consideration.  Specifically, there is a wealth of verifiable data directly linking excessive sun exposure to melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.  Don’t get us wrong.  No one is saying that you need to wear a turtleneck, jeans, and a sombrero to the pool all summer long; but, we do recommend that you take the simple, but critical precautions necessary to protect your skin from irreversible sun damage.  According to Gibson, “your best defense against those sneaky UVA and UVB rays is year-round, daily application of a broad-spectrum sunscreen and, if you know you’re going to be in the sun all day, it never hurts to pack a hat.”
Hair Protection
While most people are at least somewhat aware of the sun’s detrimental effects on the skin, many forget that those insidious solar rays also put their hair at risk.  Prolonged and unprotected exposure to UVA and UVB rays essentially cooks the hair, causing damage from the cuticle to the innermost structure of the hair.  This damage manifests itself in the form of color fading, dryness, brittleness, broken and split ends, and an overall weakening and thinning of the hair.  Luckily, Urban Retreat carries an array of products specifically designed to summer-proof your lovely locks.  Kerastase’s Soleil line is uniquely formulated to remedy the varied stresses that summer presents.  Eager to help you beat the summer heat, esteemed Urban Retreat stylist and hair care specialist, Sarah Mashburn shared:
Unlike the skin, there is no such thing as cancer of the hair; nevertheless, protecting your hair during the summer months is of the utmost importance.  So many people make the mistake of thinking that the summer sun is the only menace threatening to destroy your hair this season, but it isn’t.  For clients who color their hair, common swimming pool additives, such as saline and chlorine, really devastate and distort the color that the stylist and client have both worked so hard to achieve.  The trick is to find a product that contains both a broad spectrum sunscreen and an effective water protectant.  That is why I was so impressed to encounter products like [Kerastase’s] Soleil Aqua-Seal.  It creates this waterproof barrier around the hair shaft, shielding it from water additives and UV rays; so, all the fading, discoloration, and dryness that frequent swimmers and sun worshippers commonly struggle with can be completely avoided simply by using this one product.
Stop by Urban Retreat to purchase Kerastase Aqua-Seal and check out the rest of the Soleil line.  Urban Retreat Day Spa and Salon in River Oaks is currently located at 2329 San Felipe, Houston, TX 77019.  However, in just a few short weeks, we are thrilled to announce that we will be moving in to our brand new, state-of-the-art facility in the River Oaks Shopping Center (2034-A West Gray, Houston, TX 77019).  Perched atop the new Barnes and Noble (Shepherd at West Gray), this facility is built to impress.  For more information or to book an appointment with Sarah Mashburn or Kimberly Gibson, please call 713.523.2300.  Keep your eyes open for updates at

Urban Retreat Gives Gifts to the Naughty and Nice!

December 9, 2010

Urban Retreat will be kicking off their 12 Days of Christmas campaign on Monday, Dec. 13th. Each day a winner (or 2, or 3, or 4, or 5…..all the way up to 12!) will receive an amazing Urban Retreat service as part of this promotion.

We’ll also tell you how you can receive $395 worth of services for FREE when you purchase a gift card! So if you shop like me (“one for them, two for me”), this is a great treat! We’ll put all the details HERE on the blog as well as Facebook to make sure you’re registered to win! So whether you’ve been naughty or nice, Urban Retreat has a fabulous gift for you!!

Product Spotlight- Emulsion from Cosmedix

December 6, 2010

Becky Fultz has been an esthetician for 17 years and at Urban Retreat for 12 years. She says one of her favorite products is Emulsion from Cosmedix. This deep-penetrating moisturizer alleviates and helps prevent irritation following aggressive exfoliation. Emulsion is a soothing blend of nature’s hydrators—jojoba oil and shea butter—in a unique liquid crystal formulation.

Becky noted:

It’s sold as an intense hydrator (moisturizer for the face).  I really love this product because it takes just a pea size amount and works wonders as far as hydrating the skin.  The results are immediate.  Sometimes I will use it as a facial massage cream before a mask on clients who are dry and/or dehydrated.  And, it’s also used to add to a custom mask to boost hydration levels in the skin. Clients that would benefit most from this incredible moisturizer are those with dry skin, somewhat oily and dehydrated skin, and just about anyone who feels that their skin is compromised due to pollutants, climates, diets and especially when the air turns a little cooler and drier here in Houston.

This moisturizer may be used daily or as needed to help calm inflamed skin or prevent irritation. It can also be applied in the evening, after cleansing. Cosmedix products may be purchased at Urban Retreat Memorial or River Oaks. Becky is at Urban Retreat Memorial; her hours are Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Schedule your appointment with Becky today. Urban Retreat Memorial is located at 6415 San Felipe, Houston, TX 77057. For more information or to book an appointment, please call 713.523.2300 or visit us at

Product Spotlight- Franché Sea Mist

November 29, 2010

Rachel Tate-Study is one of Urban Retreat’s amazing make-up artists. Rachel says that her favorite Urban Retreat retail product is Franché Sea Mist with Vitamin C. This truly long lasting, all-natural toner remineralizes, revitalizes, and restores balance to your skin. It retails for $35 at Urban Retreat retail boutique and can also be shipped directly to you. Rachel says the Sea Mist is:

A fabulous product that can be used on anyone, any age…it’s a refreshing spray that can be used as a toner and hydrator. Franché Sea Mist can also be used alone or over your makeup for a flawless finish. It’s made of D20 (10% heavier than H20) which is natural water that comes from the sea and contains sea mineral complex that allows it to evaporate slower. At 3.3 oz., it’s the perfect size for traveling, use on the golf course, boat, etc. It calms the skin and is great for acne skin. Guys can even use this product or pick up the similar Franché product- B – CHIRAL Sea Mist with Vitamin C for Him to calm the skin after shaving.

Mist Franché Sea Mist over face and throat after cleansing. Mist on throughout the day to protect and refresh your skin. Everyone deserves fresh, youthful skin so pop into Urban Retreat today and pick up a bottle for you and a friend. Book your make-up appointment with the fabulous Rachel Tate-Study today at Urban Retreat River Oaks today before she’s booked up for the holidays! Urban Retreat Spa and Salon River Oaks is located at 2329 San Felipe, Houston, TX 77019. For more information or to book an appointment, please call 713.523.2300 or visit us at

Product Spotlight- Franché Eye Treat

November 23, 2010

Urban Retreat Make-Up Artist Edward Sanchez

Urban Retreat’s oh-so-talented and oh-so-energetic make-up artist Edward Sanchez chatted with me recently about his favorite UR retail product. Urban Retreat carries a multitude of product lines so when the service providers suggest a specific product, I’m all ears. There’s nothing better than free advice from an expert! Well maybe, a free product sample from said expert but I digress.

Edward said that his favorite UR retail item is Franché Eye Treat. Eye Treat is a light, creamy concealer base and under eye treatment, infused with herbs. It should be applied sparingly under the eye and extended outward above the cheekbone.

Edward commented:

Franché Eye Treat is one of Urban Retreat’s best kept secrets. It’s great for tired, puffy, and dark circles. As you may know, dark circles are corrective with makeup but how great would it be to correct them without having to apply concealer?! Dark circles can be caused by dehydration; and the first ingredient of Franché Eye Treat is WATER; also contains Lavender and Jasmine. Aloe is a key ingredient for soothing, chamomile for anti-puffing, and Ylang-Ylang essential oil to help repair small capillaries that may be contributing to the darkness. And at $18 it is a bargain.

Book your make-up appointment or make-up application class with the fabulous Edward Sanchez today at Urban Retreat River Oaks and pick up a tube of Franché Eye Treat. Urban Retreat Day Spa and Salon River Oaks is located at 2329 San Felipe, Houston, TX 77019. For more information or to book an appointment, please call 713.523.2300 or visit us at

Product Spotlight- Kneipp Warming Massage Oil

November 18, 2010

While enjoying the birthday festivities at Urban Retreat West, I took advantage of the opportunity to chat with some of the providers about their favorite products and product recommendations.

We chatted with resident massage therapist Ron Misik who recommended Kneipp Warming Massage Oil (Arnica) for joint and muscle relief. He says this is an amazing product for people who bruise easily as well as relaxing the muscles after a massage. The 3.4 oz. bottle retails for $22.62 and can be purchased at Urban Retreat Memorial and Urban Retreat River Oaks. Kneipp sales rep Amy Lampman is visiting Urban Retreat River Oaks today to discuss all Kneipp products and their benefits.

Book your appointment with massage therapist Ron Misik at Urban Retreat Memorial and pick up a bottle of Kneipp massage oil to take home and try out. Urban Retreat Day Spa and Salon River Oaks is located at 2329 San Felipe, Houston, TX 77019. Urban Retreat Memorial is located at 6415 San Felipe, Houston, TX 77057. For more information or to book an appointment, please call 713.523.2300 or visit us at