Yesterday I made you drool with tales of cucumber water and dark chocolate decadence combined with sweet-smelling amenities like California Woods-scented air and lemongrass bath products — all enjoyed while gazing out of floor-to-ceiling windows facing the Santa Cruz mountains. Welcome to Sense Spa at the Rosewood Sand Hill (about 30 minutes outside of San Francisco). Read Part 1 to this delicious spa saga here and enjoy Part 2 where I relive my two 90-minute sublime treatments below…janna Tags Facial, Intraceuticals, Luxury Spa, Rosewood Spa, Scrub, Spa
I’m shocked by how few women indulge in spa facials. Tune into My Beauty Binge this week to find out why — as the biggest spa slut in the world — I always opt for a facial at the spa. I’ll help demystify the misconceptions about facials and guide you through how to select the perfect one for you, and what you should say to the aesthetician to ensure you get the ideal results once you’re there. I’ll also share with you a couple of my most favorite decadent facials that will have you running to your nearest spa for a 90 minute facial. Binge on!
Download the podcast from iTunes or listen to it streaming on your computer here (it’s the 1st podcast) and it’s free! If you hit the “SUBSCRIBE” button in iTunes you will automatically get all my podcasts!janna Tags Dermalogical, Eminence, Facial, GM Collin, Intraceuticals, Kerstin Florian, Luxury Spa, Oxygen facial, Sensitive Skin
I was thrilled when I found out that Bliss was coming out with an “at home” version of their famous rubber mask, Bliss Fabulous Skin-Reviving Rubberizing Mask ($38), which I’ve enjoyed too many times as an expensive upgrade to their in-spa facials. (I find it’s tough for me to say no to upgrades and add-ons when I’ve been lulled into submission with a good neck and shoulder rub. It’s like the aesthetician can smell blood in the water and knows precisely when to slap me with a $60 upgrade option)
What’s so great about this mask? It goes on cold (which instantly soothes irritated skin) and calms the anger and redness right out of my skin, leaving it glowing. Its main ingredients (via Sephora):
Algin: Rubberizes the ingredients to allow key ingredients to be optimally absorbed by the skin.
Seaweed: Draws out dirt and oil while exfoliating skin. Refines pores and reduces inflammation. Aids in natural hydration of your skin.
Bilberry: Acts as an anti-inflammatory to soothe and nourish skin while reducing free radical damage that contributes to skin aging. Calms skin to reduce irritation and redness.
Vitamin C: Brightens skin discolorations (hyper pigmentation), helps promote collagen building, and provides superior antioxidant action.
Read the rest of this entry »
I heard about Mzia Shiman Spa via GiltCity. While other flash sites like Groupon and Lifebooker can be a bit of a crap-shoot (50% off a facial at a nail salon that calls itself a spa isn’t such a great deal), GiltCity has always been discerning when it comes to choosing spas partners. They take the class up a notch by offering deals from elite spas like The Peninsula, Trump Soho, and Bliss. I saw the deal for the Mzia Shiman Spa back in January offering a 60-minute facial and 30-minute reflexology treatment for $150 (usually $300) and thought I should give it a try. (To be honest, when any spa offers 50% off on GiltCity, I tend to do little thinking and just click “buy”. I’m yet to be disappointed and the vouchers go quickly.)
Once I did my research to prep for my appointment I was a little put off by the bare bones website – no photos, no prices, and very little information. I didn’t let it get to me, since I knew GiltCity would never let me down. After further research, I did find that Allure Magazine had named Mzia Shiman a “Skin Whisperer” and that she’s done facials for the likes of Naomi Campbell, Kirsten Dunst, and Dylan Lauren. I let out a sigh of relief and quickly made my appointment. Read the rest of this entry »Posted by janna Tags Facial, Luxury Spa, Mzia Shiman Spa
How fitting that for my first two “Sunday Splurges” of the year I am focusing on the Mauna Lani Spa on the Kohala Coast of Hawaii? I want to divide the Mauna Lani Spa into two posts for the pure selfish reason of reliving every detail. Well… not every detail. I could do without vividly remembering getting water-boarded during my Lava Watsu Experience, but it’s forever imprinted in my psyche. Let’s not talk about that yet. I’ll leave that tale for next week, but know that the Watsu certainly did not leave a black mark on the Mauna Lani Spa. It is still in my Top 5 Spas of all time.
I am quite familiar with the magic of this spa (obviously I’m not alone; It’s received top accolades from publications like Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler). The entire spa was designed around the history, mythology, and geography of the location. The locker room has outdoor lava rock showers, stocked with delicious coconut and ginger products. I usually first grab an ice cold washcloth and head for the steam room, which fills up with thick steam in 30 seconds with a push of a button. The spa has both indoor treatment rooms and outdoor thatched hales, surrounded by lava rock, a healing garden, and a fragrance garden. There are also two natural lava saunas and a Lava Tube Watsu Pool.
I’ve done the lava sauna before, and I kind of thought it was a waste of money. The open air sauna is a private lava rock walled-in area with a place to sit and spread volcanic mud on yourself or your loved one. Then you sit in the sun and “bake” and then shower off in the outdoor shower. It’s all lovely, but $79 for self-service? Really? At least I can say I tried it. Their spa has more than 50 services on its menu, most of which incorporate Hawaiian culture and local ingredients. Three years ago I discovered their “Fire and Ice” 120 minute facial, which holds the title of being my most favorite spa service of all time.
The “Fire and Ice” Facial is the culmination of everything I hold sacred in a spa service. It is two hours of constant massaging, treating, masking, and luxurious pampering. My esthetician, Shoko Motoyama, began by applying a moisture mask on my hands and feet and then covered them with warm booties. She then basically used every healing and hydrating product in the Eminence Organic Skincare line. Side Note: I don’t know if you’ve ever had an Eminence facial, but I highly recommend it. All of their products smell deliciously of freshly cut fruit and plants. It’s a special experience to devote an entire hour (or two hours if you’re lucky) to this hyper-aromatic experience, trying to guess which products your aesthetician used by scent. This is what a nerd I am — the aesthetician sends you home with a brochure that has a list of all the products, coded by skin type, richness, etc. She will mark off everything she used during your facial and what she recommends for at-home use. I pour over every product, looking at her choices, trying to analyze her reasoning. I have booklets from Eminence facials from 10 years ago. Pathetic, right? I tried to find an easy way on the Eminence website to search for spas offering Eminence facials, but I couldn’t find it. My advice is to cross-reference your location with “Eminence facial” and see what comes back.
Posted by janna Tags Eminence, Facial, Luxury Spa, Mauna Lani Spa
In honor of my first Sunday Splurge day, I am posting a review of my favorite luxury spa, the Peninsula New York Spa by ESPA. A visit to this spa could make me hang up my slut status forever and stick to one spa for the rest of my life. Oh, how I jest. If only I could fork out $295.00 for every 90 minute treatment whenever I want a facial (which is at least once a week).
I’ve been to many over-the-top destination and hotel spas in my day. I never thought any institution could come close to the Canyon Ranch in Vegas. Canyon Ranch is like spa Disney World, and has the same downfall – masses of people. The Peninsula may get busy, especially on the weekends, but you’ll never see more than a handful of fellow spa-goers at a time. They obviously take great care in not over-scheduling.
You get what you pay for at the Peninsula. Yes, it’s expensive as all hell, but you’re rewarded amenities and extravagant facilities that could keep you there all day (and always does in my case).
As soon as I walked off the elevator, I was greeted by a grand, two-story, dimly-lit circular lobby that has a spiral staircase leading up to the gym (I only know there is a gym up there because I see people come down the staircase in gym clothes; I’ve never heard weights crashing nor loud music). Once I checked in, I was escorted to the locker room where I was provided a robe and fluffy white slippers. There was chilled water and coconut water, a wall of gym clothes to borrow, and rubber flip-flops for the pool area (you can take advantage of their indoor pool and sundeck).
I padded to the wet area where I found black marble shower stalls, each with their own changing area. The showers had rain showers and handhelds, as well as the Peninsula’s signature bath products that smell like summer rain. Classy move: a lotion dispenser in the private changing area of each shower. Who wants to slather on body lotion in front of the entire locker room?? Not I!
The black marble steam room was full of thick eucalyptus-scented steam (and not a trace of a mildew smell, my biggest pet peeve!). There was also a cedar sauna, an ice fountain (which I’m still not sure of the correct way to utilize. Do I just scoop up the ice with my hands? There are no cups or scoopers), and an experience shower. To be honest, the “experience shower” was more of a shower with multiple heads and low water pressure, but since this was the spa’s only blemish, I’ll let it slide.
Once I finished steaming and showering I wrapped myself in an insanely plush towel that smells like it’s been drying in the breeze (another pet peeve of other spas– usually even the finest spas skimp on soft, fluffy towels, and they often smell of bleach. Travesty!)
After I was picked up by my esthetician, Lumi, for my Super Active Calming Facial ($295 for 90 minutes) I was taken to a large treatment room,
decorated in warm woods and creams. Lumi told me I could choose my preference of music as well as select the temperature in the room. I snuggled into the treatment bed and Lumi and I discussed my sensitive skin. She talked me through the calming products she intended to use and then sounded a bell to begin the healing. (I could have done without the bell, but I get the Asian vibe they are going for)
The next 90 minutes went by in a foggy blur of relaxation. Gentle cleansing, multiple masks (I agreed to a $60 add-on calming mask; even though I
believe it should be included considering the hefty price tag). Even the minimal extractions did not make me constrict a muscle. The facial also included a divine hair protein oil mask that Lumi masterfully massaged into my scalp, and advised me to leave in as long as possible.
Once the treatment was complete, Lumi escorted me to the piece de resistance – the relaxation room. You get your own little pod that has a remote
control adjustable bed, covered in a fluffy down comforter. There is a half circular pillow that cradles your head and you are given earphones to choose your own soundtrack. I was there for several hours – reading under my own little lamp and snoozing to classical music.
Once I emerged from my slumber and reluctantly put back on my street clothes, I checked out easily without any product pushing from the front desk staff. I made my way down the elevator, and even as I stepped out into the mayhem of Manhattan, I didn’t allow myself mentally to leave the Peninsula (until of course someone stole my cab).Posted by janna Tags Facial, Luxury Spa, Peninsula NYC Espa, Spa, Spa Slut, Sunday Splurge