This New Mini Spa Wants to Help You Slow Down With Your Wellness

Note to Self Wellness — a women-owned beauty and wellness space in Olde Kensington — offers restorative massages, facials, acupuncture sessions and more.

Note to Self, a new holistic beauty and wellness space in Kensington, prioritizes restorative self-care. / Photograph by Ben Leuner

Amidst the hustle and bustle of city living, taking time for yourself can often feel like another thing to check off your to-do list. But really, personal wellness should be non-negotiable — carved into your day and prioritized like an appointment you cannot miss.

Enter Note to Self Wellness, a new boutique spa in Olde Kensington that wants to help you commit more fully to self-care. The women-owned beauty and wellness space — which quietly opened its doors on November 18th — provides an array of restorative services that aim to make you feel good from the inside out.

There’s a menu of blissful massages, including Swedish, deep tissue, and Ayurvedic foot care, plus bodywork supplemented with CBD, aromatherapy, warm stones, and cupping. There are custom nurturing facials — that can be enjoyed for 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes — and skincare treatments like LED light therapy, Gua Sha, dermaplaning, microneedling, peels, and sculptural facelifting for natural contouring and smoothing. And there’s acupuncture, which can be received privately, in a community session, on your face only, or even without needles (meaning electronic stimulation and tuning forks will be used to treat typical pressure points).

Don’t sleep on the super special “Inner-gy” treatment facilitated by Lynn Gallagher, our 2022 Best of Philly esthetician. The one-of-a-kind experience focuses on energy healing and cell-level rejuvenation by combining sound therapy, Reiki, lymphatic and pressure-point massages, Gua Sha, LED therapy, and even a 24-karat-gold face mask for “a complete mind, skin, soul, and body reset,” according to Gallagher.

A treatment room at Note to Self / Photograph by Ben Leuner

All sounds ah-maz-ing, right? There’s more! Note to Self has a menu of beauty services: waxing, brow shaping and lamination, lash lifts, makeup application, makeup lessons, and wedding-day beautifying. Plus, there’s a retail/apothecary area where you can buy from local brands including Wilde Gatherings, Linear Beauty, and Joint Joint, along with global names like Bamboo Switch, ILIA Beauty, and Lunar Logic. Every product Note to Self carries is sustainable, organic, and/or “clean,” meaning they’re free from harmful chemicals.

Note to Self is the brainchild of esthetician Kelley Hughes and acupuncturist Pier Derrickson. Hughes, who previously worked at The Parlour (which she helped open in 2011, and owned the skincare, waxing, and makeup part of the biz) and founded skincare line Wilde Gatherings, found herself eager to evolve her holistic skincare offerings, so she linked up with Derrickson, and the rest is history. “I knew we had the same mindset,” Hughes says about Derrickson. “We both had the same goal: to create a calm, nurturing, healing space for wellness, skincare, and beauty.” It’s why she says the name of their biz makes sense: It’s a reminder to take time for yourself in a place that prioritizes slowing down and feeling restored.

Note to Self founders Kelley Hughes (left) and Pier Derrickson / Photograph by Melissa Alam of Alam Digital

Currently, Note to Self is operating in “soft opening” mode. The team is planning a grand opening by the start of the new year. On the horizon, Hughes tells me, are the soon-to-arrive molo walls, which will essentially create pods or movable/expandable rooms in the community area in the back of the space. This promotes flexibility, as Hughes and Derrickson hope to cultivate “Days of Wellness” where clients can layer on services during their visit. “For instance, maybe you have a massage booked, but then you realize you also want Gua Sha or cupping or your lashes lifted, so you add on whatever service is calling your name,” Hughes says. She adds that Note to Self plans to eventually host wellness classes like yoga and journaling, and create a pay-it-forward program where someone who needs some nourishment or TLC would receive a community-funded wellness service.

Note to Self is located at 1401 Germantown Avenue in Kensington. It’s currently open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.