Chicago Beauty. Getting Perked Up and Pampered at Thairapy Plus Salon and Spa

May 17, 2011 • Beauty, Chicago, Fashion Blog, Yahoo

There’s no denying it—it’s been pretty wet so far this spring. Resigned to staying indoors, our usual springtime beauty routine may currently be “watered down” due to the lack of sunshine and frizz-free opportunities. But despite the droopy conditions, we deserve a chance to shed ourselves of the beauty blahs that have built up over the winter and infuse some mega-watt shine into our lives.

Sure, there’s a ton of swanky, upscale digs that can have you cut, coiffed, rubbed and painted for the equivalent of one month’s rent; or,  you can try this little gem that I had the pleasure of visiting one rainy afternoon in Lakeview—Thairapy Plus Salon and Spa. Tucked into the family-oriented area of North Center, this little spa/salon hybrid has been a neighborhood favorite for over  7 years. Upon walking in, the storefront space boasted an impressive, modern decor that belied the overt friendliness of the staff. I immediately felt like I had known owners Rebecca and Glenda for years as they greeted me with wide smiles, plunked a beverage in my hand (it was, after all, happy hour) and introduced me to my stylist for the day, Diana.

My sad, weather-worn locks (it was raining that day!)

The top two colors (center) used as my medium light and highlight

Through our consultation, Diana and I came to the conclusion that my hair was seriously drab, seriously sad and in serious need of a pick me up.  She recommended we brighten me up for spring by adding dimension with both medium lights and highlights. The combination of the two, she explained, would provide a richer and much more polished look. I didn’t need much convincing.

The stylists and Thairapy Plus are all avid fans of Wella Professionals products, the color and styling line that Diana was planning for me. Being somewhat familiar with the styling line and not at all familiar with the color line, I was eager to try it. Diana explained that Wella was one of the oldest haircare companies in existence, boasting 130 years of expertise. The philosophy behind the company is obtaining salon quality hair at home. Consumers love it because of the easily applicable products and stylists love it because of the vast color choices and customizable mixes that are offered.

The vast array of Well Professional products offered at Thairapy Plus

Diana chose a Volume 10 highlight for my naturally super dark hair due to its gentler nature over a bleaching agent and higher shine. The colors she chose was part of the ColorTouch by Wella line, a semi-permanent line that used my natural color as a base then built two warmer, richer tones of brown on top for the medium light and highlight. Diana explained the ColorTouch provided the most coverage possible with no angles and no lines. The multi-dimensional process that she had planned for me involved a combination of both foil and all-over color, but leaving out the front section so there’s no line when my roots begin to grow in (plus the front hairs are always more fragile). Needless to say, it all sounded great but the salon jargon overcame me and I had to just trust her!

SHere we go!

While she applied my color, Diana and I dished on all the other fun services Thairapy Plus had to offer. In addition to haircare, the salon and spa also provides extensive skincare with Dermologica products, as well as nails, waxing and massage services. They pride themselves on their warm and approachable family atmosphere that keeps both their regulars coming back and brings in new clients. Indeed, even as were talking, the salon’s demographic seemed to come in out of the rain—a combination of families with small children, young women and men and even a slew of older men—each of whom the stylists, estheticians and owners knew by name and immediately engaged with familiar conversation. As a veteran of a River North salon, Diana said she loved the laidback Thairapy Plus environment and the people she met made her enthusiastic about her job every day.

Diana went on to explain that in addition to the a la carte service menu, they also provide a wealth of spa packages (my two favorite words!), either pre-selected or customizable for specific needs. I was even able to receive a tour of the spa by esthetician Tamara who explained the perks of Dermologica, a skincare line scientifically-proven to be incredibly effective, especially for very sensitive skin (which I’m just lucky enough to have!) I made a mental note to schedule myself for either the Oxygenating Facial or Multi-Vitamin Facial and went to get my hair rinsed.

The madi/pedi station

The tranquil massage room

Where the facial magic is done

Back with Diana, my hair was getting the V.I.P treatment with Wella’s Brilliance line, the shampoo, conditioner and styling agents for my new ColorTouch color. Packed with antioxidants for environmental protection and real diamond dust for shine, the Brilliance line uses crystal lipid technology which wraps around the hair to nourish it and prevent color run-off. The smell was absolutely luxurious too and Diana noted it was a mixture of sandalwood, bergamot and musk. I was in love!

My own personal arsenal of Wella Professionals Brilliance for colored hair—shampoo, conditioner, treatment and styling spray

Finally my hair was ready for a trim and styling with my brand new color. Diana trimmed my ravaged ends to keep my hair healthy and blew it out. She then applied Wella’s Thermal Image heat spray before flat ironing to protect my new color and made it perfectly smooth and sleek with the British brand GHD flat iron. As a finishing touch, she topped it all off with Wella’s Mirror Finish Shine Serum for that glossy, frizz-free look. Not even the rain was going to ruin this perfectly coiffed style! The color  subtle standout hue, shades of caramel and gold threading through my entire hair. But the shine and the texture were amazing, just what I needed to feel that much needed lift for the season.

As I admired myself, Diana reminded me that if I ever wanted to come back for the latest tips and tricks, Thairapy Plus hosted style classes in the salon where clients brought in their own tools and learned about at home a care. “Hair should be easy,” Diana said as I thanked her and Tamara and Rebecca and Glenda for a perfectly lovely afternoon. “We just want to help you look and feel as good as you can all the time.” It’s been awhile but, thanks to Thairapy Plus, I now feel like I do.

That night at the Miram Cecilia Carlson Fall/Winter 2011 show, my hair glowed!

A week later, still shining and rich with Nicole Briese from Chicago Connection magazine at the Factor Model’s Fresh Faces show

Two weeks after that and the color is still vibrant and healthy-looking, with the girls from at Underground Chicago

Thairapy Plus

4247 N. Lincoln Ave.

Chicago, IL 60618


For  a service menu and to book an appointment, visit

-Alia Rajput

Photo Source: Second City Style,



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