4 On-Demand Beauty Apps Get Put to the Test
Zeel Backstory: Serial start-up entrepreneur Samer Hamadeh launched the on-demand massage app in New York in 2013 and, in August, brought it to SF. “Massage is popular everywhere, but especially in San Francisco,” he said, adding that Zeel is performing better here than in other markets because our culture is more aligned with living via apps. Zeel has 350 massage therapists on call. The app: Well illustrated and user-friendly, the app allows you to choose between Swedish, deep tissue and prenatal massage, the gender of your masseuse, and the length of your session (60-90 minutes). Cost: One-time massages start at $110, plus tax and tip. Monthly subscriptions begin at $99. Experience: It was slightly unsettling for me to disrobe with a stranger in my home. Although I’ve had several massages in spas and know the routine, I didn’t even think about this part of the treatment until my massage therapist, Scott, had set up his table in my studio apartment, after lugging it up three flights of stairs. Luckily, he couldn’t have been more professional and polite. “I’m going to go wash my hands,” Scott said courteously and tucked into the restroom, giving me privacy while I undressed and got under the covers. The massage itself was great. Scott’s a skilled therapist who even arrived with his own Bose speakers and soothing classical playlist. So, it absolutely was not his fault that I couldn’t relax: I couldn’t ignore the chaos in my apartment—dirty dishes in the kitchen, clothes piled on the bed. Sure, there’s something to be said for convenience, but there’s also value in the transportive nature of a spa which my apartment lacks: a new fancy robe, trickling fountain, dim lighting. Verdict: An easy-to-use app and expert treatment that, like the others, passed the Veruca test: I got what I wanted when I wanted it…now.