Text and photos by Stacie Joy
The first two months of a new year traditionally finds a focus on health resolutions and goals.
So in early 2022, I looked at a (new to me) wellness practice of the buccal or intra-oral massage. I dropped by esthetician June Xie’s new spa, June First Skincare, at 76 E. Seventh St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue to learn more about this practice and see it performed on Lana Rad.
How did June First Skin come to be? When did you open?
First Skin was born in November 2021. I saw a cute spot open down the street from my apartment, and I knew it was time.
But the beginning of this story goes much further back. I attended [CUNY’s] Queens College and majored in accounting because everyone advised me that finance is where the money is. I got a job as an accountant and for several years huddled myself into a cubicle, stressed out and eating bad food, doing a job I didn’t love.
One day, I looked in the mirror, figuratively and literally, and decided this wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. I quit my job and used my savings to attend Christine Valmy School for Esthetics. I learned skincare by day, and by night I read every dermatology book I could find, devouring as much information as possible. I graduated top of my class and got a job at the famous Christine Chin Spa, esthetician to the stars.
While training under Christine Chin (also known as the “Mean Christine” the Extraction Queen), I worked with several celebrity figures, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Padma Lakshmi and Queen Rania Jordan.
After that, I took a job at Glow Bar. Once I felt that my skills and product knowledge were where I wanted them to be, it was just a matter of finding the right location!
Why choose the East Village for your spa?
It is a dream come true to have my business in the East Village, one of my favorite neighborhoods in NYC! I live here and I love being in such a vibrant neighborhood.
It’s a treatment that requires the technician to wear gloves and insert fingers inside the mouth to maneuver the delicate muscle from inside out. It feels like an adventure and, at the same time, is deeply releasing and relaxing.
Many people are skeptical at first, but it can be a mind-blowing experience because the procedure works on rarely stimulated muscles. This maneuver is highly sought-after throughout most of Asia, and I learned this technique from an international master.
What would you tell people who have never experienced an intra-oral massage before?
What has operating a personal-care spa been like during the pandemic?
It is challenging, especially for a new spa. People are afraid of being in close proximity to their service provider, so they usually put off getting facials during this time. I am vaccinated and have the ventilation on and disinfect after every client to ensure the place is as safe as possible.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
Lately, I have been delving into the world of energy work and hypnosis. I am exploring those areas and I plan to create a few unique services on my menu that incorporate energy work into my facials. I think that is an exciting project for the new year.
You can keep up with the salon on Instagram.