In a fast-paced city like New York, moments of respite and rejuvenation are invaluable. But even though wellness offerings—from clean beauty boutiques to forward-thinking fitness classes—abound in the city, it’s easier than ever for technology to encroach on your self-care routine, whether you’re Instagram-scrolling your way through a haircut or firing off work emails during a pedicure.
This year, Manhattan luxury salon Oscar Blandi is actively working to bring mindfulness back to the salon chair. Starting in January, the salon, located in Midtown East, teamed up with the New York meditation studio MNDFL to offer in-ear guided meditation during any type of treatment (except shampooing and conditioning, for obvious reasons). It is the first salon in New York to provide an experience of this kind.
“We sometimes forget the true meaning of what a salon used to be,” Blandi, the salon’s founder, told DEPARTURES, “A time to sit, relax, enjoy, and draw away from other people to focus on ourselves. Back in the day, people would just be absent for a few hours for themselves without the incessant texts, emails, and calls. With MNDFL, we want to bring back that traditional calmness of the mind and soul that used to be associated with the salon experience.”
Upon arrival, guests who request the MNDFL experience (at no additional charge) are handed an iPad and a new pair of disposable headphones. Once in the chair, scroll a menu of more than 80 guided meditations with MNDFL instructors, pop in your earbuds, and begin. The videos vary in length (some are as short as two minutes, others are as long as 30) and are centered on topics like gratitude, love, and breath. Though MNDFL originally created these videos as part of a subscription platform available to their clients, the team worked with Oscar Blandi to select which ones would best fit the salon’s clientele. Currently, the salon is the only place where these videos are available for free.
The experience may seem best paired with processing, as the high volume of a hair dryer makes it a little tough to hear the soothing tones of a meditation instructor, even with earbuds firmly in place. But Blandi, who enjoys meditating with MNDFL himself, has a vision for what might take the experience to the next level: “We’ve talked about creating a separate meditation space within the salon that clients can use after receiving their beauty treatment,” he says. "We’ve really had a great response and would love to continue to help people truly unwind.” 545 Madison Ave.; 212-421-9800; oscarblandi.com.