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Fashion / Beauty

An Austin Beauty

This New West Ave Spa & Salon Bans Chemicals for a Healthier Pampering

BY // 06.24.16
photography Jenny Antill Clifton

Exiling all hazardous cosmetic practices may be impossible, but Austin-based spa and salon Milk + Honey is combatting the unnatural one chemical at a time. Milk + Honey opened in Austin in 2006 after Alissa Bayer and her husband, Shon, craved the urban spas reminiscent of their stints in San Francisco, New York City and Washington, D.C. The initial wave was four Milk + Honey spa and salon outposts concentrating on natural and organic products and services.

Ten years later, the duo unleashes its first Houston location with a two-story, 8,249-square-foot organic sanctuary in West Ave — Milk + Honey’s largest spa to date. Banning carcinogenic products, as well as services such as acrylic manicures, paraffin wax and chemical hair straightening (even the paint is VOC-free), services and amenities are chic as well as healthy. You’ll find 15 posh treatment rooms, eight salon chairs, six manicure and pedicure stations, state-of-the-art steam showers and a full menu of massages, facials, peels, waxing, lash extensions, natural nail therapy and hair styling.

A budding plant wall greets guests at Milk + Honey's entrance.
A budding plant wall greets guests at Milk + Honey’s entrance.

“The beauty industry has traditionally been an unsafe environment,” Shon explains. “The chemicals that are usually used, especially in nail salons, are carcinogens, and sometimes there isn’t proper ventilation. It literally is unsafe for their employees. So you can look at it from a client perspective, but you also need to think about it from an employee perspective. Those are the people that will be there 40 hours a week.”

“For me, personally, if we are going to contribute to people’s well-being, it needs to not only be a relaxing experience, but also everything we use to convey that experience needs to be extremely clean and non-toxic,” Alissa says. “It’s non-negotiable.”

Unwind with the signature Spa Partisan — a handmade coffee, almond meal and sugar scrub paired with an hourlong massage. Milk + Honey’s skilled therapists brush your body before applying the invigorating scrub. A brief steam treatment seals in the scrub’s effects before the treatment’s finale, a 60-minute Swedish massage tailored to your specific needs.

Guests can also take the Milk + Honey experience home with the brand’s line of plant-based organic products, including bath and body oils, body cream, cream deodorant, home fragrances and lip butter.

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