Saturday, March 30, 2013
I live in Santa Barbara, which could easily be referred to as The Spa Mecca. There are so many spas and salons here, ranging from the super-high-end spas at The Biltmore and Bacara to tons of small, one-person operations. I have been to five different spas since I moved here, the most recent being just yesterday, and there's still so many I want to try.
I read a lot of online reviews before deciding on a spa. After all, you're going to be getting naked there, getting touched all over, and they're putting stuff on your skin, so it's a big investment. I've been going to spas on and off for years, starting when I was 14 and my modeling agent told me that I had to get a facial before a photo shoot (please note that this was primarily bullshit). Anyway, I'd say I have some amount of cred when it comes to choosing a spa. Aside from generally good reviews, I also look for a relaxing atmosphere, product lines I like, reasonable prices (hopefully), and extras. I'm a sucker for extras.
For example, the spa I went to yesterday offered a complimentary foot soak and tea before the treatment. I got there early, and had about 10 minutes to sit in a cushy chair, sip some green tea, and soak my feet in a warm minty soak that smelled heavenly. The room was decorated with a zen, eastern Asian feel, and that typical "spa" music played softly in the background.
The rest of the facial was pretty relaxing, aside from the extractions, of course. I envy those acne-free women (and men) who can get a facial without that 20 minutes of agony. For those of you who have not yet experienced this, I don't want to ruin your visions of facial bliss, but you should be aware that if you have any kind of acne, no matter how mild, your esthetician will shine the brightest light you've ever seen over your face and poke and scrape until all of those little buggers are brought up to the surface and thrown away. If you're fair- and sensitive-skinned like me, be forewarned that your face will look like a pizza afterwards, so make sure you get a facial on a day when you can relax at home and only have to face the judgmental and slightly scared looks from your dogs and husband. I will say that a day or two later you'll notice smoother skin and less or no zits popping up for a good week or so. The point is to get all of the impurities out of your skin, and it works.
I also like a good scalp, shoulder, and arm massage with just the right amount of pressure, which this spa delivered. You need that to counteract the pain of the extractions, trust me. For products, this spa used two lines, one I'd never heard of before called Image, and the other is Dermalogica. While they are both pharmaceutical brands, they use high-quality ingredients and Dermalogica in particular is very highly regarded by dermatologists and estheticians alike. I picked up their Special Cleansing Gel & Daily Microexfoliant, and Image's SPF 30 Matte Moisturizer. I will let you know the verdict on those in a few weeks. :)
I'm sure this won't be the last time I post about spa experiences. I generally get some kind of treatment every 6 months and I definitely recommend trying a basic facial or Swedish massage if you're new to spas. It's addictive, and definitely fits the bill for "me" time.