A day spa retreat is a pre-wedding ritual of sweet indulgence. Pampering yourself and your bridesmaids with a decadent menu of spa treats can ease last-minute jitters and help everyone look her loveliest. If you’re a vegan, eco-conscious bride, it’s only natural you’d want to have a day of bliss – cruelty-free style.

photo credit: Uhma Spa

If you think a little TLC at a spa seems innocuous enough, think again. The bride-to-be can be doused with some ugly stuff: animal-tested cosmetics; parabens; formaldehyde; acetone; phthalates; animal-derived ingredients; and petroleum-based products. Most spas use toxic disinfectants and non-biodegradable detergents and generate a lot of waste – not pretty for you or the environment.

Luckily, green spas are sprouting up across the U.S., reflecting the trend toward sustainable business practices and the use of non-toxic and even vegan, cruelty-free products to pamper and polish the bride for the big day.

Many green spas cater to vegans, offering product lines such as SpaRitual nail color. But it’s always a good idea to check with the spa directly to ask which products are vegan and non-toxic. To avoid getting greenwashed, I recommend choosing a spa that incorporates an eco-friendly philosophy right into their mission statement.

photo credit: Avra Organics Spa

Below is a smattering of spas that exemplify organic practices. To locate a vegan-friendly spa in your town, visit Ecovian, a green-living hub that includes spas in its business listings.

Who says you have to compromise ethics for beauty? Have your vegan wedding cake, eat it, and look great doing it, all with a clear conscience.

The Green Spa and Wellness Center, Brooklyn, NY

Services: Vegan manicures and pedicures, massage, waxing, facials, make-up.
What makes them green:
“Recycled paper for our menu of services, business cards & shopping bags; recycled and energy efficient material to be used during our construction process; recycled denim to insulate our wall & environmentally friendly paints.”


Nusta Spa, Washington, D.C.

Services: Massage, body care, skin care, nail care, hair removal, bridal services.
What makes them green:
“From the choice of product lines and packaging to the paper and ink used for printed materials, an all-encompassing approach to eco-friendliness is a top priority.”


Uhma Spa, Miami Beach, FL

Services: Massage, facials, body treatments, water therapy, acupuncture.
What makes them green:
100% natural, organic, non-toxic and cruelty-free products.


Spa Habitat, Dallas, TX; Plano, TX; Thackerville, OK

Services: Massage, facials, body rituals, waxing.
What makes them green: “We research every ingredient in every product we use or sell to ensure that it’s safe and beneficial, and that the companies we work with use organic and eco-friendly business practices.”


Blossom Spa Boutique, Austin, TX

Services: Facials, waxing, make-up.
What makes them green:
“Blossom…participates in the Eminence Certified Green Spa program” and is “….actively involved in earth friendly practices such as reusable bags and linens, low voltage lighting, organic fabrics and facial & massage products.”


Avra Organics Spa, San Francisco, CA

Services: Body wraps, facials, massage, sauna.
What makes them green: “We do all laundry in-house using natural detergents and bleach alternatives. We utilize certified organic ingredients when possible; the remainder of our ingredients are either wild-crafted or all-natural.”


Mariola’s Organic Spa and Retreat, Long Grove, IL

Services: Facials, massage, body treatments, make-up, hair removal.
What makes them green: “All of the products used in our spa are organic, from green production to green packaging. This also includes all of the cleaning products used as well as the laundry products used to cleanse our linens.”


Pure YL Organics Vegan Salon, Laguna Beach, CA

Services: Threading, hair, nails, airbrush tanning, facials, waxing, body wraps, make-up.
What makes them green:
Hair services without ammonia and bleach. No DBP, acetone, alcohol, formaldehyde or acrylics. Facials free of parabens, sulfates, glycols, PEGs, alcohol and dioxin.



Annie Hall, LMT, is the owner of Body & Earth Organic Massage Therapy. She completed professional massage studies at The Massage School in Acton, MA and is certified in pregnancy massage by MotherMassage®. Annie has also participated in a yoga teacher training, an herbalism internship, and holds her B.A. in English and dance. In addition to her massage practice, she writes, dances, creates herbal tea blends, and cooks delicious, healthy vegan meals in Cambridge, MA.

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  1. Alyssa February 21, 2011 Reply

    How can Pure YL salon be vegan when they have butter, ghee, yogurt, and milk listed on their nail and hair treatments? Vegetarian, maybe, but definitely not vegan with those ingredients.

  2. Alyssa February 21, 2011 Reply

    On pure YL’s nails page, right below saying they’re a “no toxin vegan salon”, they list these nail treatments: Milk Soak, Butter Ghee Relaxer, Yogurt/Milk Moisture therapy. This honestly makes me angry. Why would someone have the word vegan in their salon name if they clearly don’t understand what the word means?

  3. Kris February 24, 2011 Reply

    Update from the author — Good news: turns out the “milk/butter”, etc. are made from almonds and soy. :)

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