Skin Beauty Bar is pristine. The whole spa feels like it is fresh out-of-the-box and staged for its grand opening.
Beaded curtains cast flecks of sunlight over the waiting area, separating the guests enjoying a coffee as they wait from those lost in the relaxation of a brief chair massage.
Although the spa looks freshly rejuvenated, it has been located upstairs at 749 Eighth St. SE (right next to District Doughnut) since 2014, when it moved down Barrack’s Row from its original location on the 400 block.
“I take pride in it,” said owner and lead aesthetician Meka Mathis. Born and raised in Northwest DC, Mathis graduated from New York City’s Parson’s School of Design. Graduating in 1998, she returned to the District a few years later to open Skin.
“It was missing in the neighborhood,” Mathis said of the day spa. “There were no facial or massages. We had hairstylists, but nothing in terms of spa services.”
With more than 20 years’ experience as an aesthetician, Mathis has brought together a five-member team of professionals to offer nationally-recognized spa services. The team includes herself and one other aesthetician, an eyelash specialist, a nail artist and a massage therapist.
Keeping it Fresh
Together with Skin’s other aesthetician, Rochelle, Mathis offers services including facials but also ear candling, teeth whitening and microblading, a form of tattoo artistry mimicking natural hair in the brows.
Skin also offers head-to-toe waxing and a service called a ‘vajazzle,’ which involves the bikini line and crystals or glitter.
“Believe it or not, our biggest category is the Brazilian wax,” she said, coming in just before facials and followed by eyelash and eyebrow tinting, which she said is trending.
Skin Beauty Bar’s air-brush tanning services were selected as the best Airbrush Tan in Washington DC by InStyle Magazine in their 2011 Ultimate Beauty Black Book. The service allows customers to select their ideal shade before they enter a small tent, where they are misted with a sun-kiss solution. The mist takes seven minutes to dry, leaving the body flecked with gold specks for the return home. After the solution sets on the skin for seven hours, a shower will reveal the skin’s new glow.
To occasionally revitalize the offerings at Skin Beauty Bar, Mathis explores day spas in other cities and countries whenever she travels. She first found the Finchberry soaps, delectable vegan handmade soaps that look like indulgent desserts, in a spa in Las Vegas.
“Where ever I go, I visit the spa to check out what they’re doing,” she said. This year she visited spas in Paris, London and Dubai, among others.
“It was a good year,” she said.
Maxing and Relaxing
The holidays are a great season to visit the spa, both to relax from attendant stressors and to maximize beauty potential before the whirlwind tour of parties, dinners and family gatherings.
“This is a great time to get a facial,” Mathis said of the holiday season. “Your skin will radiate and glow. After a facial, skin looks bright and dewy, and even make-up absorbs much better.”
Also popular are eyelash extensions. One member of the Skin team is an eyelash specialist who strictly focuses on offering extensions, a very popular item at this time of year. “People want to be very glam for the holidays,” Mathis said. “Eyelash extensions are an easy, subtle way to do it.”
A service in demand at this time of year is massage. Mathis just added a brand-new massage room to the day spa facilities. Skin’s massage therapist is Ray Tarber, well-known on the Hill for his work with local chiropractor Henry Jenkins. Tarber offers deep tissue as well as Swedish, hot stone and Reiki massage, and can also do isolated stretching and cupping.
“This is a great time to get a massage,” Mathis noted, “especially to relieve the stresses of the day, not only of work but from Christmas shopping.” Seated massage is also available in five- to ten-minute blocks.
Her shop can accommodate parties for up to 40 clients, and offers packages tailored to brides and vacations.
New clients should mention this article in the Hill Rag to get 20% off services.
Skin Beauty Bar (Second Floor 749 Eighth St. SE) is open Wednesdays and Thursdays 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., as well as select Mondays and Tuesdays. Call Mathis at 202-543-6993, or book online through the website.
An earlier version of this article gave the wrong name for Rochelle, Skin’s aesthetician for more than ten years. We sincerely regret the error.