The Faces of Self-Care

Story By
Lhiftya Fatmawardhani

Lately, self-care has become more and more popular among urbanites with many believing that self-care is important for both physical and mental health. One of the most popular forms of self-care is a beauty treatment from salons or spas. They might include manicures, pedicures, blowouts and, after all, what better way to instill confidence and feel recharged for the days ahead than by enhancing one’s natural beauty? Look good, feel good.

Sensing this rising trend, salons and spas are evolving to meet customer demand, not only in terms of the services they provide, but also in their design. Salons and spas are now in a continual race to provide both great package treatments and in a place where their customers feel most comfortable. Here are two establishments that excel in both departments as they cater to their customers.


Her Majesty’s Pleasure
by +tongtong


At King Street West, exists a place that serves as a small haven for beauty treatments. Her Majesty’s Pleasure, true to its name, aims to bring the utmost enjoyment and a sense of what it’s like being a royalty for one day to its customers by combining a café, retail boutique, beauty salon and a bar all, in the same place.

The place was designed by Toronto design firm +tongtong, under the creative direction of John Tong. Merging what at heart are four different establishments into one space without making them seem cluttered is not an easy feat. John Tong has managed to do this for Her Majesty’s Pleasure by installing ceiling-high windows between each section of the place.

The smart placement of clear windows as separators in lieu of restricting walls creates an illusion of a seamless and open space that both softens and emphasizes the lines between the café, the beauty salon, and the retail boutique.

As each section of Her Majesty’s Pleasure provides different services, the color palette is kept simple and fresh with white, light grey, charcoal, and varying shades of blue to avoid the impression of being too crowded or too much. The occasional hints of copper and bright yellow, along with a splash of Douglas plywood here and there, are there to add more warmth and vigor to the overall design of the place. The different floors, both the blue checkered patterns and the smooth dark wood ones are the final touch that ties the place together.


Barber Amsterdam
by Ard Hoksbergen


Sometimes, self-care is as simple as a quick trip to a good, trusty, and well-designed barber shop. This cannot be more true for a barber shop in Amsterdam, designed by a native Netherlander, Ard Hoksbergen. With its minimalistic and slightly industrial design, this barber shop aims to offer an unique, no-frills and no-fuss place for customers who only want a quick haircut or hair shaving on a pleasant Sunday afternoon.

To achieve this, Hoksbergen only uses materials that he deems will keep the place feel ‘raw and natural’; a floor of old sawn floor beams, clay plaster, pine plates, and concrete. White tile backsplash is installed on the reception area to add a little more modern feel to the overall aesthetics. The reception area is also adorned with a simple glass case to showcase the shop’s accessories. The key to this barber shop’s industrial look, namely the exposed copper pipes that run along the walls of the barber shop for water and electricity, also serve as an eye-catcher; a pop of color in a space dominated by mute, calming color palette of white, beige, and natural wood colors.

A touch of leather in the design comes from its good old-fashioned barber chairs. Though the barber shop is admittedly small in size, its mini space is also an advantage of its own as this may be more appealing to customers who don’t like being in a crowded place. With only three available leather barber chairs, one of which is separated from the rest by a plywood wall, the barber shop is a perfect place for customers who do not wish to be surrounded with too many people at once.

Photos by Lisa Petrole, Ard Hoksbergen