Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I call this story, “The most interesting salon this side of the looking glass.”
For real though, you’ve probably never experienced anything like this. From a massage room made to look like a vintage dollhouse to a nail studio created to transport you deep into an enchanted garden, Midnight Society Salon & Spa, Plains Twp., aims to give its guests a pampering experience that’s magical and macabre, without skimping on service and quality.
The name carries several meanings, co-owner and licensed massage therapist Miranda Morgan explained to me. (Her fellow co-owner is Josh Balz.) It’s an homage to spooky 1990s Nickelodeon show “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” which featured kids sitting around a campfire in the woods telling ghost stories. (The salon is inside the Woodlands Inn and Resort.) The space also evokes the image of a secret society, as the salon and nail studio’s entrances sit behind doors made to look like bookcases. Its aesthetic is dark, mysterious, strange and beautiful.
It also points to the larger mission of the salon and spa staff to provide custom work that’s unconventional and just as unique as the person in the chair. While you can still get a gel manicure or highlights, Morgan said the salon staff also are skilled in services that allow the client to express him- or herself fully, such as vivid fashion colors; intricate braids and cuts; and hand-painted, hand-sculpted, detailed nail art.
“If a couple years ago you had bright blue hair or a half-shaved head, people would look at you like you were crazy,” she said. “It’s more acceptable now that people want to push boundaries with their looks, and that’s what we want to give anyone who comes in here.”
Balz — known for Kingston’s Strange & Unusual oddities parlor and Harry Potter-inspired cafe Steamy Hallows, among other projects with Gothic vintage and kooky roots — is no stranger to a business with a specific theme. The creative vision of the co-owners gives guests of the Midnight Society a one-of-a-kind experience thanks to its atmosphere, Morgan said.
Many of the items are vintage pieces Morgan and Balz found, and there’s no shortage of weird and fun things to look at. There’s a dizzying wall of clocks, a (fake) blood fountain, gold and stained glass panels from a former church, and lots of ceramic porcelain dolls and clowns. Inside the nail studio, ethereal lights enclosed in vintage bird cages and colorful flowers and vines hang from the ceiling. Instead of tile flooring, real grass makes you feel like you’ve stepped inside the Garden of Eden. The nail technician tables are repurposed sewing machines, and an old piano serves as the drying station. Some people may find certain aspects of it unsettling, but Morgan insisted it’s more quirky than it is scary.
On the wellness side, mind, body and spirit are covered. Massage sessions include Tranquility for calming; Sole Soother, a foot massage to release endorphins and promote lymphatic drainage; and Therapeutic to alleviate muscle tension and address physical issues. The spa’s certified reiki master deals with energy work and chakra alignment for relaxation and rejuvenation.
As I’ve said countless before and will say until I take my final breath, there are no set rules for beauty. You have to do what makes you happy and feel good. What makes us different is exactly what makes us who we are, and we should embrace each and every part of ourselves — even the weird stuff. As Morgan told me, Midnight Society Salon & Spa is a place where beauty standards are set by the individual and everyone is welcome. It’s also more than just a blowout or a color and cut: it’s an event for all of your senses.
“When people leave here, we hope they had a total experience,” she said. “We want this to be an attraction.”
Midnight Society Salon & Spa
- Address: 1073 Route 315, Plains Twp. (inside the Woodlands Inn and Resort)
- Hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Online: Visit @midnightsociety570 on Instagram and Midnight Society Salon & Spa on Facebook.
- Appointments: To book, call 570-550-9383.
Gia Mazur is an award-winning staff writer and beauty obsessive who joined The Times-Tribune’s Lifestyles department in 2015. She’s a product enthusiast who can’t live without an eyelash curler. A proud Virgo, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk is her go-to. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9127; @gmazurTT