TORRINGTON — Rebecca Conant looks out of the window of her new business overlooking Main and Water streets in Torrington. She seems pleased with what she sees and her interior surroundings.
“This is such a nice view, isn’t it?” the Woodbury resident said, as cars moved, pedestrians walked along below and a rare sunny day sent shafts of ambient light into her room. “I really believe Torrington’s downtown is starting to make a comeback and I’m excited to be a part of it. There is such a feeling of old New England here that I love.”
Conant’s appropriately titled “Mirror Mirror” beauty bar is located in a cozy second floor room inside the historic and centrally located, Allen Building.
If we might digress a moment, from Conant and her beauty and health salon, The Allen Building is classified as an “Art Deco” structure. According to “Historic Buildings of Connecticut,” it was designed by Torrington architect William E. Hunt (who designed other art deco buildings in Torrington), and was constructed in two sections. First came the north part, on Main Street, in 1930. It was built next door to the “Allen House,” a wood-frame hotel erected in the 19th century. After the hotel was damaged in a 1934 fire it was demolished and replaced in 1935 by an extension of the Allen Building that wraps around the corner of East Main Street.
Among Conant’s new neighbors in The Allen Building fronting Main Street are the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council, an eatery, a physical therapy practice, and a yoga studio. Her salon is decorated in a rather chic manner, mainly black and white with large black-framed mirrors and seats that are adorned with feathery cushions. She explained how she settled upon locating her business in downtown Torrington.
“I freelance for spas and salons and also going on location for various occasions, weddings and such. I wanted to set up a studio, a home base, where I could have my clients follow me to and provide more offerings at a central location.” Among the services Mirror Mirror provides are facials, skin treatments, facial cupping, makeup application and lessons, lash lifts, lash tints, brow waxing, and brow tints. “All my skin care products are organic and made in Guilford, Connecticut.” She also offers updos for hair and integrative nutrition programs with a heath coach.
Conant has lived in Litchfield County her entire life, attending schools in Watertown and, at the age of 18, enrolling in the Torrington Beauty Academy. At a young age, she launched a career as an aesthetician and also modeled for a number of years in her late teens and 20’s, learning about photography along the way and even serving as photographer’s assistant. She worked as a dental assistant for a bit, where she continued her education, if somewhat serendipitously, about the workings and structure of the human face. But it was skin care that always fascinated her and would be her life’s passion.
“I was amazed by makeup as a little girl,” she said. “I think I was born with a love of makeup and making yourself look good and presentable. My friends would always come to me to do their makeup and ask how to make themselves look nice.”
But Conant’s passion is more than looking good at a wedding, party or dance club. She is committed to helping her clients find their beauty and bring it to the surface in a natural, holistic manner.
“So many people these days are using Botox and fillers to make themselves look younger. If you are 50 and trying to look 30 that is a difficult thing to do. We can be graceful and healthy about aging. One of the biggest things that I stress to my clients is that they must seek to reduce stress. Stress can have such a detrimental effect on appearance. Proper blood flow in the face and neck are important to looking good. I believe I have an innate ability to make people relax and relive their stress. I customize my facials for each individual. Facial cupping is also another wonderful way to relieve stress and make the skin look more youthful and healthy.”
She also believes in teaching the benefits of proper nutrition as it relates to appearance. “If you drink and smoke a lot then you can’t complain when you don’t look good. Using proper skin protection when you are out in the sun, which most of us are a lot, is also vital in protecting your face. Most of your body is covered when you are in the sun (unless, of course, when we are at the beach) but your face is always exposed at all times of the year. Eventually, if you don’t protect your skin with the right products it will catch up to you.”
Conant’s services are very reasonable for her talent and knowledge. For instance, the customized facial she talked about will cost you only $78 for an approximately one hour session. While most of her clients are female, she is seeing more men seeking to take better care of their skin.
Conant’s business is still “a work in progress” and she hopes to, pun not intended, attempt to grow it “organically”.
“I will see what my clients want. I have all kinds of ideas, like having get-togethers here over wine and hors d’oeuvres, and holding “princess parties” for children. I would love to tap into the theater industry (with a nod to the nearby Warner Theater). Doing makeup for actors is such an enjoyable and creative experience. But nothing is set in stone right now. I’m really more into quality, not quantity.”
Sessions and consultations at Mirror Mirror are by appointment only. Call 860-459-4186, or email Conant at Freshface.email@example.com for more information or to book an appointment.