Celebrity makeup artist Alexandria Gilleo’s newest project combines relaxation and rejuvenating services in the Hudson Valley.
With additional reporting by Greta Stuckey
After being in the makeup business for more than a decade, Alexandria Gilleo, owner and founder of Bridal by Alexandria, took her knowledge of health and beauty to start a new venture in 2021: My Zen Den, a boutique wellness studio in Beacon.
My Zen Den offers services that boast both mental and physical benefits. As the first of its kind in Beacon, Gilleo intends for the studio to serve as a rejuvenating hub for the Hudson Valley community.
Upon entering, guests are immediately greeted by the heady scent of sage and palo santo. The raw wood furniture and shelves, potted succulents, and neutral walls provide a calming juxtaposition to busy East Main Street. Native American flute and Mayan drumming tracks — which Gilleo discovered on a healing experience in Tulum, Mexico — play softly in the background.
“When I was designing the space, I wanted it to feel like home and as close to nature as possible because when we are in nature, we are feeling more grounded and peaceful,” Gilleo says.
All of this is part of Gilleo’s plan for the utmost relaxation. When designing My Zen Den, she wanted guests to be transported to somewhere tropical, and for their senses to be awakened.
“I built a cabana space with branches that I found hiking,” Gilleo says. “The tables are made from a tree that hit my house during a tornado in 2017 because I wanted to turn something negative into something positive.”
My Zen Den offers two main services: full-body red light therapy and an infrared sauna. However, this year, the boutique will also be starting a new holistic skincare service by providing facial treatments. It will have two facial treatment options, namely the Gua Sha Lift and the Signature Yin Facial. Holistic esthetician Jeni Sykes, former co-founder of HeyDay, will serve as practitioner in residence for the facial treatments, with facials offered twice a week on Tuesdays and Sundays.
“Red light therapy is known for its ability to improve or reduce psoriasis, acne, eczema, dermatitis, scar tissue, and wrinkles by reducing inflammation, increasing available cellular energy for healing and repair, and stimulating new collagen production,” Gilleo says.
The boutique only allows one person in at a time, with the exception of purchasing a guest add-on, so visitors have the place to themselves for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to completely unplug and enjoy the different services offered.
Gilleo’s main mission at My Zen Den is to build community and help people with their overall health and well being. As someone who suffers from psoriasis and other autoimmune diseases, she wants to raise awareness about preventive and holistic health. In addition to its regular services, My Zen Den is working on creating an event schedule for the spring and summer months.
“Some events that we are working on include somatic breath therapy, mindful movement, and sound bath meditation,” Gilleo says. “We will also be hosting a monthly women’s wellness circle with a holistic pelvic care practitioner and MSOT who specializes in holistic pelvic care.”
As a celebrity and bridal makeup artist, Gilleo’s work has been featured in Vogue, can be seen in beauty stores like Ulta and Sephora, and has taken her all over the world, working with clients such as actors Charlie Sheen and Paul Rudd, and sports stars Joe Namath and Ali Krieger. Ultimately, it was the pandemic that pushed her to open up a wellness studio near her home, and share her knowledge and services with the public.
“For our mental clarity [over] the past year, what everyone’s gone through, people need to just come, relax, and zen out, even if it’s for 30 minutes,” she says.
My Zen Den is open seven days a week. To make an appointment, go to www.myzendenbeacon.com or call 845.232.1119. For more about Gilleo’s makeup and bridal businesses, go to www.alexandriagilleo.com.