“Becoming a mother is what really woke me up,” Gina Vincelli, a skincare technician since 1996, tells me in her Dunedin business Awaken Organic Skincare & Boutique. “The chemicals that women get exposed to in their beauty treatments can be dangerous, and I felt obligated to let them know what they were putting on their skin.”
In 2004, Vincelli thought she could advance her career by becoming a licensed medical esthetician, but it turned out that working in doctors offices was more disheartening than invigorating.
“Women would walk in the front door and sneak out the back door,” she says. She yearned for an atmosphere that lifted women’s souls and their spirits. She longed for clients that left the office happier, more beautiful and more relaxed than when they came in — not puffy, red and pained.
“And it turns out that money isn’t everything,” Vincelli says. “I didn’t have the freedoms that I needed as a single mom, like being able to take off work so I could see my son in a play or to volunteer in his classroom.”
So in 2010, she opened her own salon on the corner of Broadway and Skinner. Originally she had wanted to open a spa with massage therapist and good friend Kim Engle, but after looking at the size of the space and wondering if it was wise for their friendship, they decided to open the businesses side by side.
Awaken Organic Skincare offers manicures, pedicures, facials and waxing. Manicures and pedicures are done with products that are formaldehyde- and phthalate-free. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. Phthalates have been indicated in causing hormone disruption and birth defects. Some researchers believe there might be a link between phthalates and obesity.
“Customers come in as clients and leave as friends,” Vincelli says, and business must be going well because Awaken has expanded their space with new treatment rooms, including a couples room and an infrared sauna. (Infrared saunas are said to have many health benefits including easing symptoms of fibromyalgia.)
They have also expanded their treatment options. Visit their website for a full menu of offerings.
Look for their grand reopening Feb. 2 from 4 to 8 p.m. Awaken will offer free hand massages, free make-up color matching and discounts to mark the occasion.
Treat yourself to a Hot Oil Manicure or a Beyond Vitamin C Facial and then review it on Patch.