Mud, a new facial bar in SouthPark, mainstreams the luxury spa experience, making facials cheaper, faster and more accessible to the masses.
Instead of a 60- or 90-minute immersive, indulgent spa facial experience, Mud positions itself as a quick, approachable addition to your routine skincare. The formula is simple: 30-minute facials for $50.
And they’re launching in Charlotte with a $350 black card founding membership that’s good for 12 facials over the course of a year. That’s an unheard of $29 per facial (and the offer ends Monday 2/13). They’ll officially open on February 20.
“We believe that the solution to brighter, more youthful skin is through routine skincare and shorter facials, more often,” the website says.
That positioning is not unlike the mainstreaming of manicures and pedicures in the 80s and 90s that turned nail care from a luxury to an everyday lifestyle habit.
In the late 20th century, an influx of mostly Korean and Vietnamese immigrants and refugees opened a string of affordable nail salons, driving down prices and creating what is now a more than $7 billion industry.
Today, everyone I know gets semi-regular or at least special occasion manis and pedis.
Facials, on the other hand, are a rare splurge for me. I think Mud could change that.
The cost for facials in Charlotte varies.
A 30-minute facial can range from about $65 to $80.
The 25-minute express “Pick Me Up” facial at the spa at the Ballantyne Hotel is $65 and only available Monday – Thursday. Re Salon’s signature 30-minute facial is $65. Esthetique (my go to) has a 30-minute “Soothe & Restore” option for $75. And a 25-minute signature organic facial at The Ritz is a hefty $80.
Mud has a straightforward menu of 7 30-minute facials for $50 along with optional $10 add-ons.
Their vegan and organic skincare products are created by Uptown Yogi with active ingredients like milk, charcoal and kale.
I got so caught up in the hip juice bar vibe of the place that I thought my esthetician said the main ingredient in one of my treatments was hummus. She definitely said pumice, a volcanic rock used for exfoliation. Duh.
You can also add $10 upgrades like a neck/shoulder massage, collagen eye pads, lip plumper or breast milk. Yes, breast milk.
Mud sources breast milk from a local woman who consumes an all organic diet, but my esthetician told me they hadn’t identified their provider in Charlotte yet.
CA Digital Strategist Lizzy Sirkin and I both got facials on Wednesday evening and had drastically different reviews of the experience.
Mud shares a space with its sister concept AIR Fitness and although it’s sectioned off in a separate area, the facials are not fully private. There are three chairs in the facial area with treatments happening concurrently. And although there is a wall, it doesn’t go all the way to the ceiling so you can hear conversations in the lobby.
While I wasn’t bothered at all by the no-fluff, utilitarian nature of Mud’s concept and my personal exposure to other people around me, Lizzy found the setting uncomfortable.
“The facial and quality of the esthetician were great,” she said, “but it was not a relaxing experience whatsoever between thinking about people staring at my facial process through the front windows and hearing conversations on the other side of the wall.”
So if you’re looking for calming music, aromatherapy, privacy and a spa-like experience, Mud is not for you. I don’t care about any of that so I had no issues with the set up.
Environment aside, Lizzy and I both loved the actual facial. She got the signature Mud facial “for tighter, even-toned skin” and I got the Glow facial “for brighter, youthful skin.”
My favorite part was the use of the blue glass “globes” for massaging and distributing the products. They’re ice cold, felt amazing and don’t look weird at all.
Verdict: Mud is a smart, approachable concept that will do great as long as clients know what they’re getting before they get there — a quick, quality facial without any fluff.