Alicia Frazier opened the facial and waxing studio in May to provide a desired service for downtown workers and residents
Being born, raised, educated and employed downtown, Alicia Frazier oozes Detroit pride from her glowing skin.
But the 31-year-old will admit, she often had to drive to the suburbs for a facial to achieve that healthy glow.
“Being someone who likes to keep myself up, I’d have to travel outside the city to get the services done that I wanted,” she says.
Later, when she worked at spas in Grosse Pointe and West Bloomfield, she realized she wasn’t the only Detroit resident traveling 25-plus miles for skin pampering.
“I’d notice a good amount of Detroiters driving out to the suburbs to get their skin-care services,” she says. “So there’s definitely a huge need that I identified, and I wanted to be the one to help solve that need for the people that live and work in Detroit.”
In May, Frazier opened Bare Skin Facial and Waxing Studio inside the historic Bagley Mansion on Jefferson. She renovated a small room on the third floor, which she thinks hasn’t been touched since the ’60s, into a peaceful oasis with nature music and plants. The serenity relaxes her clients who come for her most popular service — Brazilian waxing — as well as facials for women and men.
Unlike spa franchises and the Detroit casino salons that funnel people in and out, Frazier says she’s focused on helping clients achieve their skin goals, whether they’re seeking anti-aging treatments or acne removal.
Instead of a complimentary glass of wine or Champagne — “those are horrible for your skin,” she gasps — she offers a liquid shot of collagen after facials.
She also provides a unique aromatherapy experience for Brazilian waxing, where clients inhale a calming scent and she applies essential oils behind the ears and wrists.
“It literally relaxes you and de-stresses you,” she says, explaining the oils promote serotonin, a chemical produced by the body that can alleviate anxiety and pain. That’s something anyone getting their hair ripped off wants.
Last month, August Nord waited outside the studio next to Valente’s Men’s Formalwear, hoping her first Brazilian experience wouldn’t be excruciating.
The 33-year-old moved to Midtown from New York City in November and struggled to find a waxing studio downtown. So she turned to Yelp for help.
“Most salons are outside the city limits that actually have good reviews and seemed to be nicer places to go to,” Nord says.
Then she saw Bare Skin Facial and Waxing Studio’s stellar reviews and decided to give it a shot.
“And I’d rather support businesses here,” she adds.
There is The Woodhouse Day Spa on Woodward and spas inside the MotorCity Casino Hotel and MGM Grand. Yet Frazier attests she has a unique studio “that solely focuses on esthetics.”
Kelli Coleman, co-founder of The TEN Nail Bar that opened in Capitol Park last year, says more personal care services are needed downtown for residents and professionals. When it comes to waxing and facials, she adds, women want “a more convenient and flexible option” than booking appointments at casino spas.
“I think that the Bare Skin business will do well given that there are aren’t many (waxing and facial) options currently,” Coleman says.
Besides Coleman, who’s 32, other female millennial entrepreneurs have recently announced plans to open beauty services downtown — such as Nia Batts and Katy Cockrel, both in their early 30s, who are launching the hair blow dry service Detroit Blows on Library Street.
“I think you’re seeing that younger millennial entrepreneur come to the forefront that much more,” Coleman says, “because they understand the priorities or the desires of that millennial consumer that’s frequenting downtown.”
That’s true for Frazier, who says she was always “obsessed with skin care.” Years ago, a friend suggested she should be an esthetician.
“I’m like, ‘What is that?’ and she said, ‘They do facials at spas,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, yes!’ ”
After graduating from Wayne State University, she pursued a corporate job in automotive advertising and marketing. Only when a friend enrolled in an esthetician program, she decided it was time for her, too, to pursue her passion.
In 2014, Frazier attended the Michigan College of Beauty in Troy and got her esthetician license. She kept her corporate job, stashing away savings to eventually cover the cost of rent and equipment.
“Thank God for income tax returns and having that corporate job to finance my dream,” she says.
She’s also thankful she found a space to serve Detroiters in the area she grew up. Yet, in a unexpected twist, she’s found clients are driving from the suburbs to her.
One Thursday last month, Lottie Robertson apologized for arriving a little late. The rush-hour traffic traveling from Auburn Hills was not great.
The 40-year-old head of supplier diversity and communications for Fiat Chrysler lives in Belleville — about 40 minutes away.
“I’m certain that I pass probably 50 (facial studios) between my house and work and here and back, but (Alicia) exceeded my expectations, so I have no reason to look elsewhere,” says Robertson, who tried a facial for the first time eight weeks ago.
Robertson was shopping for her wedding gown in Beautiful Bridal on the first floor when she met Frazier, who suggested a few facials may improve her skin before her July wedding.
Robertson thought, “Why not?”
“I could tell instantly a difference with my skin in terms of the glow, how full it was and it was much more even toned after the first facial, so I continued to come back,” she says.
“It changed my life,” she adds. “I wish someone would have told me to start (facials) at 30. ... I know a lot of women may not think it’s worth it, but I can tell the difference — and not just aesthetically looking at my face, but my skin feels better. It’s more hydrated.”
Bare Skin facials start at $65. The most popular — the Bare Skin Glow, which includes whitehead extractions — is $85. Waxing services range from $20 for eyebrows to $55 for Brazilians.
Thirty minutes flew by and Nord emerged from the white door, smiling and waving her arms as if she just crossed a finish line.
“It wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected,” she says. “I mean, it hurt, but I was expecting something like terror.”
Frazier applied lavender aromatherapy and played house music, which Nord says helped her relax.
“It’s not horrible,” says Nord, who decided to return for another visit.
Bare Skin Facial and Waxing Studio
2921 E. Jefferson, Detroit
7 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays
Book online at bareskindetroit.com
Frazier’s summer skin tips
Wash your face twice a day. Frazier suggests washing in the morning and night to remove oils and products. “In the summertime, you want to use a lighter moisturizer,” she says.
Stay hydrated. “Your skin is your largest organ, and it’s also the last organ to receive the moisture, so you want to make sure you hydrate from the inside and out,” Frazier says. To hydrate from the outside, apply a skin serum and then moisturizer no more than two minutes after getting out of the bath or shower. “That’s when your skin is more open to receiving nutrients and retaining the moisture.”
Apply SPF. “Sunscreen is a must,” Frazier says. She recommends a value of at least SPF 30 to protect against skin-damaging rays. Dermatologists also advise applying sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection.