Best of Indy 2016: Health + Beauty
You’ll go for a haircut, but you’ll stay for the serenity suite. Designed by Chris Stuart of local firm Luur Design, the interior of G Michael Salon looks like a cross between a sexy cocktail lounge and a Stanley Kubrick film set. After relocating to IronWorks, the gorgeous salon’s business has taken off. But don’t worry: With nearly 20 stylists and operating hours six days a week, you can still snag an appointment. 2727 E. 86th St., 317-773-7700, gmichaelsalon.com
New Fitness Membership – Open Gym Indy
For some gym rats, only one facility, one class, one bike in the second row will do. For the rest of us, there’s Open Gym , a concept that has been popular on the coasts for some time and is now gaining traction in Indy. Members have access to more than 40 different gyms and studios in the area for one monthly rate ($79), and classes can be booked up to one hour before start time on a mobile app. Spinning, yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, Zumba—you name it, and it’s probably on Open Gym’s schedule. Even better news: There are no annual contracts, and 10 percent of the profits go to assist food-insecure children through The Patachou Foundation. 317-689-0022, opengymindy.com
Tennis Group – Indianapolis Racquet Club
Finding three other people to round out a doubles tennis match can be as challenging as a backhand overhead. Luckily, Play Tennis Indy creates foursomes from anyone who signs up. (Well, anyone with at least a 2.5 rating.) The Sunday-afternoon format runs 90 minutes at the Indianapolis Racquet Club, and teams switch courts every half-hour, moving in one direction if they win and the other direction if they lose. Organizers Barb and Frank Catanzarite ace the whole thing by letting players sign up week by week (no commitment!), but the benefit of being a regular is that they’ll get to know your game and pair you perfectly. Their lineup is designed so that every team should have a winnable match, one that’s a challenge, and a third that’s a toss-up. Matches might end with more than a handshake—players have been known to invite worthy opponents to join a league team. $13 per week. 8249 Dean Rd., 317-849-3531, indyracquet.com
Cupping – The Dragonfly Center
The treatment has been around since 281 A.D. in China, but it took circular bruises on Michael Phelps and other Olympic swimmers in Rio last summer to get everyone talking about it. The practice, typically done by a licensed acupuncturist, involves heating glass cups to create a vacuum seal on the skin. The seal pulls the tissues up, which some say improves blood and lymph circulation, stimulating the body’s natural healing by releasing lactic acid and stagnant blood from the muscles. Clients at The Dragonfly Center in Carmel swear by it for treating musculoskeletal issues like tightness or chronic injury. Even though the bruises get all the attention, cupping isn’t painful. The discoloration occurs because tissue rupture can be part of the healing process. And the spots, which disappear quickly, certainly didn’t make Phelps any harder on the eyes. 1200 W. Carmel Dr., Carmel, 317-993-3564, thedragonflycenter.com
Stroller Group – Athletic Annex Stroller/Play Group
Good news for all of the Lululemon-wearing moms out there: You can now join forces with other motivated women with toddlers and stroller-jog together. Every Wednesday at 10 a.m. (on weather-appropriate days), a crew of 15 or so mothers meets at Broad Ripple’s Athletic Annex to trot with tots for 30 minutes on the Monon Trail, then circle back to the running shop. There, kids enjoy toys on a blanket while moms refuel and engage over free coffee and mini scones, courtesy of Rene’s Bakery. There’s no cost to join, and signing up isn’t necessary. Just visit Athletic Annex Stroller/Play Group on Facebook. 6528 Cornell Ave., 317-253-1792, athleticannex.com
Hot Pilates – The Hot Room
Type-A fitness obsessives sometimes dismiss Pilates because they don’t sweat enough in class. Instructors call this “perceived exertion.” In any case, you won’t have that problem at The Hot Room. The place is heated to 102 degrees and 30 percent humidity, and there is a lot of sweating. In addition to the heat, which allows for deeper stretching and a higher caloric burn, the class adds weights, resistance bands, and medicine balls to a traditional mat Pilates class. Instructor Michelle Cohen has been teaching Pilates for more than a decade, and swears she’ll never go back to a class at room temperature. “I see faster progress and better results in the heat,” she says. “No question.” 3855 E. 96th St., 317-218-3728; 305 E. New York St., 317-955-3123, indyhotroom.com
Primal Workout – Tree House Indy
Tribal dance meets yoga and a hip-hop beat on Tuesday nights in Herron-Morton. The Buti Yoga classes at Tree House Indy are designed to clear the mind and tone the body with constant movement, so don’t plan on relaxing or moving gently through a series of traditional poses. These are high-intensity workouts that build strength and get your blood flowing. And Tree House claims to be the only place in the city currently offering them. 22 E. 16th St., 317-602-7707, treehouseindy.com
Eyelash Extensions – The Lash Lounge
Not all of us were lucky enough to be born with Kim Kardashian’s eyelashes. (Let’s be realistic, she probably wasn’t either.) But for those lusting after long and luscious lashes, The Lash Lounge in Carmel is a great substitute. The new high-end beauty salon specializes in semi-permanent eyelash extensions in addition to eyebrow extensions, brow threading, lash and brow tinting, and permanent makeup application. There’s also a makeup bar and retail boutique offering trendy clothing and accessories. So you don’t need to wink at us twice. 726 Adams St., Carmel, 317-494-7346, thelashlounge.com
BodPod at NIFS
The gold standard for measuring muscle and fat mass, this chamber has been used at the NFL Combine for years. Athletes need the information for peak performance, and amateurs need it to understand their risk factors for chronic ailments like heart disease, or to calculate caloric needs for weight management. Clients sit in the pod for three minutes, where air displacement technology measures body composition, giving trainers the information they use to prescribe food and exercise guidelines. And NIFS is the only public gym in town to offer it. 250 University Blvd., 317-274-3432, nifs.org
During cryotherapy, the entire body, except for the head, is exposed to hypercooled air (-240 degrees) for up to three minutes. Which feels something like running outside in your underwear this month. But the treatment, which eases rheumatoid arthritis, muscle fatigue, and insomnia, is a lot more private. During your time in a Cryotherapy Indy tank, blood races to your core to maintain a steady temperature around the organs. Upon finishing, the blood races back to the extremities, washing away toxins, speeding up the recovery time for soft-tissue injuries. 6330 E. 75th St., 317-449-2030, cryotherapyindy.com
Better Being Float Center
If your knowledge of sensory deprivation tanks is limited to the kiddie-pool scene in Stranger Things, you might want to check out the accommodations at Better Being Float Center. Water and Epsom salts fill a 9’ by 6’ vessel, causing the body to float effortlessly in it. The lid is closed, lights are off, and ears are plugged for a period of 60 to 90 minutes, resulting in the kind of personal reflection that’s possible only in absolute quiet and darkness. Clients tout its ability to melt away stress and lower blood pressure. 3065 Salt Lake Rd., 317-755-2677, betterbeingfloatcenter.com
Indiana Avenue isn’t the only place you’re seeing Madam C.J. Walker’s name lately. The country’s first female self-made millionaire and Indiana resident revolutionized the hair-care industry for African-American women in the early 1900s. Now, her brand is back on the shelves with a 25-piece line of hair products available at Sephora. Priced between $24 and $32, the four-piece sets keep with Walker’s roots (no pun intended), focusing on maintaining scalp health, moisturizing, fighting frizz, and defining curls. Fashion Mall, 317-587-0700, sephora.com
Style Blogger – Seersucker + Saddles
Beth Chappo brought her blog Seersucker + Saddles to Indy from Lexington this year, and we weren’t the first to notice how professional it looks. Southern Living has featured the trendsetting mother of two, who is beautiful in every shot on the site (seersuckerandsaddlesblog.com). Although Chappo has only lived here for several months, she has already found a few places where she feels right at home in mind and body.
“For about six weeks leading up to my wedding this year, I did Orangetheory four or five times a week, early in the morning before my daughters went to school. It’s really challenging, but it’s a great shock to the system and will lean you out. I’ve been a devout Pure Barre fan for a long time. Not only is it a great mental and physical outlet, it’s also how I met the majority of my girlfriends. I asked one of the instructors who did her hair, and she said, ‘Eva at The Beauty Lounge.’ She’s amazing with color. She can give you a once-over and know exactly what you need. They also offer men’s spa memberships where guys can get services for a monthly fee. I’m trying to convince my husband to join that.
“My hair is pretty low- maintenance, so I’m all about the drugstore find. I swear by Dove shampoo and Garnier Fructis pomade —I’ve used it ever since I cut my hair short four years ago. I also use coconut oil from G Michael Salon because the water here is harder than it was where I’m from.
“I get monthly facials and microderms at The Beauty Lounge, too. I think that’s pretty key. I buy most of my makeup at Nordstrom. If I was stuck on an island and could bring three products, it would be Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, Chanel lip gloss, and Chanel’s eyebrow pencil. When I get my makeup done, I work with Mandy Odle—she’s a freelance makeup artist and also works at the Chanel counter. She taught me how to do my brows.
“My older sister first taught me how to do my makeup—always with a light hand. I wasn’t allowed to wear it until I got into high school, and I plan to do the same thing with my daughters, Chase, 10, and Campbell, 7. When the time comes, I’ll teach them or take them to a makeup counter, because I’m all about learning new tips and about new products. But not until they’re in ninth grade. Let’s be honest, kids have gorgeous skin and they’re adorable as they are.”
Use of Coconut Oil – Skinny & Co.
Since launching in Indy in 2013, Skinny & Co. has expanded from one crazy-popular moisturizing product—a jar of raw, wild-harvested coconut oil—to an entire line based around the stuff, from lip balm to sugar scrubs that you can use on your body or in your morning coffee (true story). Find the products at Von Maur, Market District, and several local boutiques. 888-865-4278, skinnyandcompany.com
Microblading – Lash and Brow Design Company
A dolphin tattoo on your lower back is one thing, but an eyebrow tattoo? Not as taboo as one might think. Microblading, a new beauty trend, is a semi-permanent procedure designed to fill in, reconstruct, or recreate eyebrows. Replacing messy powders and tricky pencils, Lash and Brow Design Company in Carmel offers the service for $650. 600 E. Carmel Dr., Carmel, 317-507-4774, lashandbrowdesignco.com
Small Salon – Caitlin Van Kersen
Visiting Caitlin Van Kersen’s little northwestside salon has the feel of being in on a secret. Having sharpened her skills at places like Emmett’s and DL Lowry, it’s now just her in a one-room studio, with all appointments made by text, and new clients (including a New York Yankees wife) coming to her exclusively by word-of-mouth. In addition to her studio work, Van Kersen has an active Instagram feed and YouTube channel, where she shares beauty tips on everything from creating beachy waves with a flat iron, to self-tanning at home without streaks. So the secret is out online. 1265 W. 86th St., 317-603-6669, @pinkyvk
Foot Scrubs – Southern Hospitality
When it comes to foot health, Quinton Yeldell knows whereof he speaks. During his medical training as a podiatrist, he saw diabetics whose cracked heels led to systemic infections and a host of preventable problems. His goal: create products that delivered moisturized, healthy feet, but didn’t smell medicinal. The Southern Hospitality line (named in honor of the Indy resident’s childhood roots in Alabama) includes everything from Honeysuckle Orange Foot Cream to Mint Julep Sugar Scrub, and is made locally by Yeldell and his partner, Krystle Ford. Our favorite is the Honey Lemon Heel Balm, which glides on like a deodorant, making it the easiest way to moisturize feet before bedtime. sohofeet.com
Bath Products – 407 Botanicals
Southern Indiana resident Amy Smith wanted the benefits of department-store skincare, without the chemicals. Years of research and experimentation yielded the 407 Botanicals line of organic skincare, heavy on aromatherapy benefits, courtesy of essential oils. Her trick is matching the right oil with the desired effect. Eucalyptus and peppermint in the Muscle Bath Soak are said to support natural pain relief, while sweet orange in the Fresh Citrus Skin Renewing Lotion supposedly has mood-enhancing benefits. 407botanicals.com
Indy’s cup overflows with brewery-based yoga classes, but we’re partial to the Sun King Community Yoga series. The downtown tasting room partners with different Indy yoga studios and teachers to host one-hour classes each Saturday morning. Proceeds from the $10 donations go to local charities, and participants get complimentary samples of Sun King’s house and seasonal beer lineup after each session. Namatasty. 135 N. College Ave., 602-3702, sunkingbrewing.com
Running Podcast – I’ll Have Another
Long runs on the Monon got a little less lonely this year with the debut of I’ll Have Another, a new podcast hosted by Indy running coach and former Women’s Running cover model Lindsey Hein. Featuring guests such as Emily Infeld, the Nike-sponsored runner and 10K standout in the 2016 Rio Olympics, the podcast covers topics ranging from fitness to pop culture. Since Hein released the first episode in April, it has racked up more than 50,000 downloads. “As a stay-at-home parent, I love that listening to a podcast can make me feel like I’m a part of the conversation,” she says. “Especially when I’ve been home with people under the age of 5 all day.” Available in the iTunes Store and at lindseyhein.com.