Skincare experts who can truly alter your skin through touch, assessment and advice are rare. Danuta Mieloch, owner of Rescue Spa, meets that criteria and more, which is why women like beauty industry innovator/Glossier founder Emily Weiss and supermodel Naomi Campbell seek her treatments. And the newest Rescue Spa outpost in New York, a glamorous Flatiron space with a beauty boutique and services that include makeup, hair, nails, facials and soon massages, is a testament to Danuta’s expertise. (The original Rescue Spa, which is a now a 7,000 square foot space, launched in Philadelphia in 2004.) A facial with Danuta is a personalized experience—one I was lucky to experience (and plan on returning for more). She is obsessed with finding your glow and keeping it by scrutinizing your routines and habits, using the latest machines and recommending products. As high tech as a Rescue Spa facial is, perhaps the most important factor is the old-school hands-on approach that takes years of practice and an innate sensibility to master. Lucky for all us, Danuta thrives on mentoring up-and-coming estheticians. And, if you don’t live in New York, you can still get personalized, expert skincare advice on her site by just picking up the phone (1-866-772-2766).
Please tell us what you do and why: I’m skincare expert or esthetician and owner of Rescue Spa. The reason I decided to open my own business is because I worked in this industry for years and was frustrated at how inadequate the services are. I was always shorthanded with products or equipment or therapies that I wanted to incorporate. Opening my own business means I’m in charge so I can pick any product I like for my service, any machines, and finally I could realize myself as a skincare therapist.
You just recently launched in New York. Why? I used to live in New York and I’ve always loved it. I decided I wanted to be back in the city and I started looking, not super actively, but just keeping my eye open. I was invited for a Deepak Chopra and Eddie Stern talk at ABC. I was sitting at ABC Cocina and I saw a store for rent. I walked out and looked through the window. It is a beautiful building, high ceilings, great columns. It had that old New York feel so I decided to call the landlord. That was it and here we are.
What do you want your clients to feel when they walk into one of your spas? A form of relaxation and feeling they are in the bigger space. You are surrounded by beautiful things, a beautiful environment, and a relaxing atmosphere at the same time. We are a city spa. It’s not maybe like a traditional spa that you would enter in a hotel. It’s a little bit more buzz-y because we’re in an urban space. We have hair, we have makeup application as well but our specialty is skincare.
You do offer so many services, which is unusual for many spas. Why? As a consumer myself, I don’t like to run from place to place to get beautified. It’s nice to come into one location, especially in New York, and have A to Z so you can start with your day. Right now we’re not offering massages but in a month or two we will. You can have a massage, facial, manicure/pedicure, while your feet are drying you can have your blowout or a haircut and so forth and then makeup done. You basically don’t have to leave.
What do you love most about what you do? Skincare is my passion. I think the biggest pleasure is for me helping women navigate their skincare ritual and routine and helping them feel better about themselves. I also enjoy the fact that I teach and mentor younger estheticians.
What is your approach to skincare? Consistency–like with anything else, diet, exercise and lifestyle. It’s what we do every day that counts. It’s that ritual–doing your skincare regimen every day. Women who do their step one through three, cleanse thoroughly, exfoliate, and hydrate always have the best skin.
We tend to cut corners. As a human being, it’s a normal part of nature, ‘Oh, I might skip this. I might skip that.’ You can’t. You have to cleanse well in order to have good skin. You have to get rid of that buildup, that dead skin and dirt.
What a client comes to you what are they getting? The choices of the products I carry. My favorite line is Biologique Recherche. It’s an amazing line that delivers. Then it’s all about the assessment of the skin. Often times women are confused what they should be doing for their skin and it’s just sending everybody on the right path. There’s so much information out there. Everybody is reading the internet. There are so many new things coming into the beauty. Sometimes it can be confusing to navigate this world.
With the right system, the testimonials speak for themselves. Today I had a client who came in and she said, ‘Let me show you this picture. This is three months before I started using your regimen and I went to your spa in Philadelphia and I live in New York. I’m so happy you guys are here.’ She had acne and then her acne subsided and she has healthy skin. I hear this every day.
What’s special about us is we actually spend that time. It’s not something rushed. It’s more comprehensive approach than just, “Here it is” and use a script. You know? We take a more holistic and comprehensive approach. What can be done? Sometimes the road to better skin for a teenager is to really educate them how to cleanse their skin. Literally, physically, ‘That’s the pressure you should be using. That’s how you should be massaging your skin’ and maybe using a washcloth and making sure you’re removing everything, all the buildup and oil and possibly makeup.
Usually girls wear makeup and they might not be cleansing enough. Or they might be putting oils because they’ll say, ‘Oh my God. I’m dry.’ No, you’re not. You just need to exfoliate.
What is the most common mistake women make when it comes to their skincare regimen? It’s usually that–not cleansing properly. Or maybe using wrong products. We know how to clean our body, we know how to brush our teeth. I think with the face, women are slightly confused. Am I supposed to touch? Not touch? Wipe?
The face is the most exposed part of our body. It needs that thorough cleansing but at the same time not harsh. If you remove buildup and soften the skin, all the products that come after work all that much better.
Talking about Rescue Spa as a business, what was the easiest part for you when you started? What was the hardest part? I love what I do. That was the easiest part. I just know I can do a fabulous facial. I practice. I work at it. To give a good massage, to understand the muscles, to understand the skin, to understand the functions of the skin takes years of practice and you sort of inherit it, that understanding and common sense. I have that. I knew I could manage that aspect of it.
I think the thoroughly new aspect was managing people–but my approach is more coming from being a mentor and inspiring my staff and sharing. I currently have around 90 employees.
One of your attributes that helps you succeed: I love people. I love helping. I also try to meet where everybody is and try to understand everybody, just listen. I think listening is very important.
Role models: I think any woman in business is a role model for me. Also because I’m Polish, Helena Rubenstein is a role model because at the beginning of 1900 she sailed to Australia, started her own business and then traveled the world and built this incredible company.
Best career advice you received: The best education I had, which I get to appreciate now, is from my mom. It’s applying regimens and rituals. For me, it’s all about rituals and habits. We can all have good habits and bad habits, and I always encourage everybody to replace the bad habits with a good habit and watch the results. That goes with skin care, lifestyle, diet, exercise, even habits of thinking badly and correcting that with a happier thought. I think my mom taught me to create good habits and stick to them. She’s 83 and still inspires me. She’s more focused on helping other people than herself.
What has been your biggest success so far? My biggest pleasure is watching some of my employees grow with me. I have employees who have been with me from very beginning, and usually it’s very young women. It’s not like we’re attorneys and so forth. The beauty industry attracts girls who love all things beauty, but don’t necessarily have the proper education. I try to inspire them to go to beauty school, to get their diplomas.
For example, I have this girl in Philadelphia, when she was 18 she started helping and making coffee and tea for our guests, then, she moved on to work at the front desk and now she’s an assistant manager and she’s only 28 and she’s just blossoming. That is the biggest satisfaction, watching my employees grow with me and build our business. Today, I think the companies from the past are in the past. Working with Millennials you have to open up more to sharing.
What do you think your biggest dud and what did you learn from it? Business-wise I usually take risks and then I don’t look back.
What motivates you? I have 90 employees to be responsible for. That motivates me every morning to get up and show up, to practice what I preach.
What’s next for Rescue Spa? You just opened so maybe you’re not thinking that far ahead… Yeah, I think I’m okay for now. I’m really interested in keeping the company manageable, where I can be present in both places.
But we also have to keep growing. We have a beautiful online presence, which is incredible. It’s our biggest outreach. You can get skin care consultations over the phones. We have amazing experts and amazing relationships that have been built. You don’t have to be in New York. You can be in the middle of the country and call us. You can send a picture. We’ll look at your skin and can help you navigate your skin care regimen. That aspect of the business is growing beautifully. Yet we’re still keeping that experience personal.
Desert island product: Biologique Recherche Lotion P50. I call it facial in a bottle. It’s like your probiotic for the skin. It balances your PH. It exfoliates. It rehydrates. It preps the skin. It’s a second step after cleansing. You put on P50 and then you follow with the serum and the moisturizer and so forth. Dr. Allouche, who originally developed this, is brilliant. He and his wife were my professional parents, mentors. I hope to carry on their legacy in that sense. That’s why I’m an ambassador for Biologique Recherche. I love it.
Three words that describe Rescue Spa: Exceptional facial treatments.
Life goals: I live in the moment so I can enjoy every day. I don’t really plan too much in the future. I’m more focused on the daily routine.
Which is? When I wake up in the morning I practice yoga. I try to have a healthy drink–a green juice or the next day I might make ginger lemon water. Then I’m off to work and contributing. I think for me, it’s just creating. Then I always look forward to my evening with friends and having dinner, enjoying my meals. I also love all things spiritual.
How do you unplug? In the morning I start with yoga and meditation. In the evening I finish with a glass of red wine.
Hidden talents or hobbies: I love to cook. I love to take trips. Yoga and spirituality take center stage with my travels, too.
Do you collect anything? Ganesha, little Buddhas. Otherwise, I try to unclutter. I keep struggling with that—living life simply and collecting experiences rather than things. Although I love bags, unfortunately.
Biggest splurge you don’t regret: I guess any bag. I have Hermès, but I like the basic ones as well, so it depends. I’m really funny with brands. I sort of like them, but then I don’t like them, because they are brand names. Basically I like the high and low, you know? Like pairing H&M with something else.
Favorite small indulgence: Lunches at ABC V.
Album currently on repeat: Ed Sheeran, Perfect Symphony.
Scent that brings back memories: There is a candle from Cire Trudon called Spiritus Sancti and it brings back the memory of me, when I was little, going to church with my grandmother.
Lucky charm: Anything with Ganesh.
Favorite hour of the day: Early in the morning first thing when I wake up at 6. I’m always grateful and excited for the new day.
Follow Rescue Spa: Instagram.
all photos Andrew Egan