Posts Tagged ‘Facial’

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bridal Skin Care Bootcamp: “Don’t You Dare” List for One Week Before Big Day

You would be shocked how many brides have asked me if they should try a new hair color or get a deep cleansing facial a week before their wedding (Miller, you’re at the top of  that list). What do you think my answer is? It’s always the same — “Are you fucking kidding me?” Ladies, seriously.  We’re talking about your wedding day here. Do you really want to open up Pandora’s Box full of possible disasters?? Not on my watch.

Here’s the list of things you best not be doing within a week of your big day:

1. Getting a facial with extractions. I don’t care if it’s a deep-cleansing facial, anti-aging facial or even a sensitive skin facial. DO NOT GET EXTRACTIONS.  NOTHING GOOD WILL COME OF IT. You’re risking a red splotchy face, pimples being coaxed to the surface, and possible scarring.

2. Getting any sort of acid peel or microdermabrasion.   If you have really oily skin and you’ve done peels an/or microdermabrasion in the past then do them at least 3 weeks before the big day. If you have normal skin, STAY AWAY FROM THE AGGRESSIVE EXFOLIANTS! If you are getting a facial in a spa, ask the aesthetician if she has any fruit enzyme peels. If you’re giving yourself an at-home facial, try a gentle enzyme peel like AMOREPACIFIC ‘Treatment’ Enzyme Peel ($60) which gives your skin a brighter, more radiant texture without risking looking like you got caught in a chemical fire.

3. Start using a new retinol, alpha / beta hydroxy, or salicylic-based product. Unless you want to risk your skin peeling off in layers like a leper on your big day, avoid any aggressive new skincare products, especially ones that contain retinol, alpha / beta hydroxy acids, or salicylic acids. Think soothing products for the week prior. Slather your face in nourishing oil like Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil ($48) which is rich in Vitamin C and essential fatty acids, giving you a brighter, smoother complexion without the risk. Seal in the moisture at night with a sleeping mask like Korres Greek Yoghurt Advanced Nourishing Sleeping Mask ($45) , which happens to be one of my most favorite skincare items of all time. It instantly cools upon application so if you’re an idiot and you get too much sun, this is the perfect mask to slather on to take down the redness and irritation. I personally use it every night to soothe my bitchy skin and seal in moisture.

4. Change your hair color and/or switch colorists. Seriously? Do I really have to spell out why this is a bad idea? Girl, you should have thought of this a couple months ago. It’s too late now.  You are risking the whole rainbow of bad outcomes by dabbling in a different hair color a week before your wedding.

5. Get your first Keratin Treatment or go to a new stylist. Again, the risk is not worth the reward.  You could end up looking like Mommy Dearest took scissors to your hair. I’ve seen some badly singed, fried hair as a result of this straightening treatment. So buyers beware. And don’t forget all the experts say the best thing you can do is wear your hair in its natural texture on your wedding day to minimize the risk of frizzes.

6. Get a spray tan or try a new sunless tanner.  Okay, this should be another no-brainer. But if you insist on having a little color for your wedding day you need to start testing spray tans and sunless tanners months before your wedding so you can pinpoint your exact natural shade. I can’t tell you how many Oompa Loompa brides I’ve seen walk down the aisle. I know I should be looking at her beautiful dress and face, but I can’t stop thinking about how she looks radioactive next to her groom.

So now you have the forbidden list. I don’t want to hear your pleas and tears when you break one of my cardinal rules. Now run along and be good little brides. Don’t forget to look for my final installment of Bridal Skin Care Bootcamp which will take you through your “day of” regimen.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spa Slut: Sense, A Rosewood Spa (SF Bay Area) Part 2

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…

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Podcast: DeMystifying the Spa Facial (Why I Love Them and the Secret to Getting Ideal Results)

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!

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Bliss Rubberizing Mask: Great As Long As You Don’t Lose the Measuring Cup

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.
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Spa Slut: Mzia Shiman Spa in NYC

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 PeninsulaTrump 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 »

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Spa Slut: The Mauna Lani Spa in Kohala, Hawaii (Part 1)

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.  

Getting back to the “Fire and Ice”… She used 1 cleanser, 2 toners, 2 gentle exfoliators, 1 serum, 3 face masks (she actually blended 2 different masks together 3 times, so she actually used a total of 6 masks), 2 eye creams, 1 eye gel, 1 lip exfoliator, 1 lip mask, and 1 lip balm during the treatment. No lie. I have the booklet to prove it.  You would think Shoko would be pretty busy applying all those products, but the majority of the two hours were spent massaging oils and creams into my hands, feet, neck, shoulders, and back using her hands, and hot and cold stones.  The “Fire and Ice” are represented by the hot and cold stones, which when used one immediately after the other, creates a stimulating affect (or at least that’s what Shoko told me).
I walked out of the spa with glowing skin that smelled like a freshly baked fruit pie.  The yum will continue next week when I tell you about my Kona Mocha Body Scrub. And yes, though not yummy, I will also tell you about the waterboarding (my husband insists I have a duty to my readers) during my Watsu massage.
Aloha and enjoy the week!


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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Spa Slut: The Peninsula NYC Spa by ESPA

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).

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