All week, Metro has been highlighting selections of the city's best -- from dining spots to nightlife destinations -- of 2012. Check back tomorrow as we honor the best, brightest New Yorkers of the year.
Best discrete and relatively painless bikini wax: Red and White Spa
484 Broome St.,
When it comes to personal pruning below the belt, you only trust a skilled few -- which is why we can safely recommend this SoHo spot for quick and reasonable -- and nearly painless -- waxing.
Best oak leaf beating that'll restore your skin and spirit: Russian and Turkish Baths
268 E. 10th St.,
Sometimes old-school is the only way to go. At the Russian and Turkish Baths in Alphabet City, the techniques employed are ancient but the results will be very real. With an ice cold pool, saunas, a steam room and even a sun deck, this facility offers plenty of amenities to help you cool your jets.
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Best place to feel like you're in a colorful Bollywood movie while getting your eyebrows threaded to perfection: Hibba NYC
Soho: 448 W. Broadway,
Midtown: 315 Madison Ave., 212-661-1695
Before opening up her SoHo salon in 2010, threading star Hibba Kapil worked a 9 to 5 in Midtown. "I would go to a local threading salon and it looked like yet another cubicle. I felt like threading salons don't have to look like a gym locker room," says Kapil. Hibba offers expert, all-natural services -- including amazing brow-shaping, waxing and sugaring, which involves an-all natural paste made from sugar, lemon and water that's said to be better than other methods. Customers can also enjoy Ayurvedic facials in this bright, colorful and happy salon. At both cheery locations, upbeat Bollywood music and the sweet staff make you forget the pain of hair removal.
Best place to get an eco-friendly blowout: Yarok Beauty Kitchen
39 W. 19th St., Ste. 610, 212-876-4293,
If the body is a temple, Yarok wants to give it as much eco-friendly devotion as possible. Mordechai Alvow is the mane man here, and his line of sustainable, organic products will shower your hair in nutrients and essential oils -- not harsh chemicals. He'll custom-blend your color in a glass bleaker as you sit in one of the salon's three chairs; there's no bumrush of people in this quiet, tranquil and earthy space.
Best way to get your makeup done for a wedding or party by the same artists who work backstage at Fashion Week -- all for the cost of a lipstick: Nars on Bleeker St.
413 Bleecker St.
Don't feel like dropping $150 to get your makeup professionally done but aren't confident about your smoky-eye skills for the glam affair you have to attend? Make an appointment for a makeup application at Nars' Bleecker Street boutique. Here the makeup artists are hand-picked by Francois Nars and are part of the team working backstage at the biggest shows during Fashion Week. They'll get you runway ready all for the cost of a lipstick, which you'll use to stay looking fab throughout the night.
Best place to use the machines (if you can afford membership): CLAY
25 W. 14th St., 212-206-9200
CLAY's Union Square studio is an ultra-chic, insiders-only wellness hub (membership is capped), where Metro's own Kristin McGee is a yoga teacher. There are private saunas, a rooftop sundeck and concierge and laundry services. It's not a bare-bones gym, and you'll pay the price for it (membership starts at $160 per month), but if you can splurge, this is where to go.
Best workout that will make it hard to climb the subway stairs the next day: Chaise 23
40 E. 23rd St., third floor,
When you walk in, you'll see an unassuming chair. By the end of the classes at Chaise 23, you'll look at it in a whole new light. Using a resistance pedal, you'll work your bod in all sorts of bendy shapes you didn't even know were possible. Oh, and there's a TRX cardio component as well, in case you didn't feel like you were sweating enough.
Best locker rooms with every convenience you could ever want: Reebok Sports Club/NY
160 Columbus Ave.,
Keypad lockers are just the beginning here. At nearly 4,000 square feet, these spacious locker rooms are the ultimate in postworkout pampering. The bi-level rooms boast showers stocked with all the essentials (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shave gel, razors) plus a sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi. Big-screen TVs show the news in the background.
Best gym that stays on-trend with its classes: New York Sports Club
Multiple locations, www.mysportsclubs.com/clubsched/nyscclubs.htm
You’ve got to hand it to the people at NYSC: They’re always coming up with new ways to lure us into the gym. Whether it’s dodging trackerjackers in the “‘Hunger Games’: Train Like a Tribute” class or sculpting arms before Election Day that would make Michelle Obama jealous, no doubt about it, you’ll leave class feeling refreshed — and a little more tuned into pop culture. Bonus: Many of the gym’s themed classes are free for members and nonmembers alike!
Best $32 gift you can give to yourself: SoulCycle class
Give yourself the gift of health with a rockin’ 45-minute spin class at SoulCycle. Strap into the saddle for the high-energy class that’ll leave the sweat pouring down your face as you tackle sprints, climbs and even crunches on the bike. Once you leave, you’ll likely understand why some say it’s a little cultish. Keep an eye out for Jake Gyllenhaal or Kelly Ripa on the bike next to you — word is that they’re devoted Soul-sters.
Best postworkout smoothies: Barry’s Bootcamp
135 W. 20th St.,
1 York St., 646-569-5310
After you sweat it out in the club-like studio that is Barry’s (think: neon lights and pulsating music), replenish with one of the delicious drinks from its Fuel Bar. We’re partial to the Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter (almond milk, banana, better n’ peanut butter, low-fat unsweetened coco powder, chocolate protein), and this fall’s seasonal pumpkin offering, which was milkshake heaven. Whichever flavor you get, don’t plan on hunger pangs for a while: Each shake has 25-33 grams of protein, unless requested otherwise.
Best yoga facility that could double as a spiritual retreat: Yogaworks SoHo
While this yoga franchise has locations all over the city, it’s the SoHo spot that makes us feel at home after getting blissed out in savasana. Built with eco-friendly materials, the studio offers two floors of spacious classrooms, plus saunas and plenty of places to sit and enjoy a contemplative moment with some herbal tea.
Best yoga studio for postnatal, prenatal and everything in between: Bend and Bloom Yoga
708 Sackett St., Brooklyn, 347-987-3162
Most yoga studios like to think they are inviting, welcoming locations for those who want to connect with their inner om, but few (especially in ultra-competitive NYC) actually are. Bend and Bloom is the real deal — a comforting place for low-key pre- and post-natal classes. Not on the mommy track? They have plenty of classes for everyone else, too.
Best place to get into shape for a wedding, vacation or photoshoot without stepping into a gym:
424 Broadway, #6B,
Need to get in shape quick? Sign up for one of Terri Walsh’s amazing bootcamp classes. The fitness expert will give you a consultation, assess your problem areas and help you get the body you want through one of her active resistance-based classes. The intimate sessions are perfect for gym-phobes who prefer one-on-one attention, and clients get it — Walsh asks for a daily food diary so there’s no slacking off. Can’t afford her 30-day packages? Walsh recently launched the A.R.T. Virtual Studio. For $7 a month you can get her full-length class streamed on your computer or iPad. There’s really no reason to hide behind a coverup on your upcoming beach vacay.
Best workout for unleashing your inner animal: Stoked Primal
160 Columbus Ave.,
Thirty minutes seems doable, until you get to Kira Stokes’ class at Reebok. You’ll use your own bodyweight to push, pull, jump, glide and crawl through class, just like animals do in the wild. For the newbie, it’s a struggle — but if you’re crunched for time, this is a hell of a workout to do. Available at Reebok Sports Club/NY.