.....WITH HIGH-PERFORMING PRODUCTS
(AND, DON’T FORGET THE RUBBER DUCKY!)
INTRODUCTION: The retail component in any business requires an acute awareness of not only the competition, but also what the demographic thinks it wants. Imagery, that first impression, is the “gotcha factor” that has always worked. The psychology of retail includes not only experiential marketing of goods and services, it also includes trying to convince the consumer buying what it thinks it really needs without the customer really knowing that they needed the product in the first place. Within the spa arena, these factors are especially critical when the business hopes to create a place and time in their guest’s memory recall engaging and evoking their experience all over again with triggers that include aroma, sound, taste, touch, and sight. Because the spa experience is a sensory-driven one, and if the senses aren’t engaged to some extent at various times, then the experience won’t be as successful, memorable and indelibly etched in the guest’s memory recall as it should be. One way to make the guest moment last beyond the brick and mortar is for the spa’s retail area to offer enough of a variety of products that fall within and outside of the range of treatment products with varied price points. A spa’s retail area should subtly motivate the guest to make purchases of the spa’s retail products for the guest’s at-home spa experience, whether or not it was part of the treatment experience. An at-home spa experience that reminds the guest of their spa visit should be part of a spa’s marketing strategy. Creativity and “thinking outside the box” is another critical element to sending the guest home with an at-home spa branded experience.
In almost every spa retail area I’ve observed, the same display methodology seems to be utilized in each one; they’re always attractive, but not very stimulating; everything is neatly displayed and organized by products and brands, but that’s a bit tired and pedantic. The retail area can be thought of as though it were a treatment room. Treatment rooms are designed with elements of ambience, allure, functionality, and élan. The spa’s retail area is no different. It should be creative and different and objectively be viewed from the guest’s perspective. Spa’s should be honest with what they see in their retail area. If they’re not impressed with what they see, chances are the guest isn’t going to be either.
If you’re reading this and you’re professionally involved with a spa operation, consider the following.
OPTIONS TO PONDER: Instead of arranging your product displays like a regimen of soldiers ready for inspection or about to step off for a parade, how about considering grouping your product displays based on your treatment menu? Or, how about considering arranging your product displays in various at-home collections that incorporate some of the treatment products (and others) that compliment the treatment products? Consider having collections that are themed around skin care, body care, aromatherapy, music, travel, make-up, hair care, spa cuisine, or combinations of collection components. Following are a few suggestions to further generate interest when developing these collections.
• Consider including a decorative card with your spa logo that instructs the guest on the proper usage of each product, the product’s benefits and ingredients, making sure to briefly review everything with your guest at the point of sale so they understand how to maximize the benefit of their purchase by using all products appropriately.
• Develop a “how-to” guide for as at-home spa weekend, and include it in one of your collections.
• Consider including a discount coupon that your guest can use for either a spa treatment or additional product purchase for a return visit, or to use when they call you to place any product re-order.
• Consider including a return visit coupon for a complimentary add-on treatment with any full service treatment appointment (e.g. hand/foot soak, or neck/shoulder massage, or face/scalp massage, eye mask, etc.).
• If you spa includes a café, serving spa/healthy cuisine, consider a collection of natural and organic-based seasonings, spices or products, as well as recipes from your executive chef.
• Offer to ship the collection so your guest isn’t bogged down with more “stuff” for their return trip, regardless of the distance they’ll be traveling.
• Whatever the collection display, make sure they’re displayed in attractive containers with recyclable filler, seasonal accents (silk foliage or flowers) and other visually appealing finishing touches.
Be creative by thinking up additional ways to make the retail purchasing experience for your guest an in-depth one that is layered with marketing strategies that ultimately encourage the guest to want to spend more time and money at your spa in its retail area. Obviously you don’t want these little add-ons to cut drastically into your profit margin, so take care in planning how you want to execute this type of marketing strategy. It’s also very important that whatever you decide as a course of action, that it isn’t intrusive or makes your guest ever feel obligated that they must buy anything from your retail area. You also don’t ever want your guest to feel that their patronage isn’t valued or appreciated. Above all, keep in mind that the hard sell approach never works, and if anything, often leads to alienation of the guest, which is counter-productive to any profit-generating situation.
Anything offered, displayed or sold in your retail area is essentially selling a renewal of the guest’s spa experience; once they’re home and they begin using their items, they’ll be reminded of their spa experience and your spa. That’s a powerful reinforcement to their experience and a unique way to brand your spa. In a perfect world, memory recall, especially of your spa and your guest’s experience, would always define that moment where other similar experiences would be minimized or not even recalled.
Aside from these retail aspects, other small measures that demonstrate that you care about the guest might include a follow-up email (or e-greeting) on either their treatment experience or their at-home experience with their product purchases. Some other ideas include making a follow-up call to the guest; sending your guest a handwritten note on your logo-ed stationery is also impressive and demonstrates that you care about your guests because you took the time. Consider how these seemingly small expressions and gestures can impact your spa’s advertising and marketing strategies. Whatever the guest experience, and preferably one that is a positive one, that experience is invariably shared by the guest with their circle of family, friends, and associates, who in turn generally share it with others. This type of free advertising, especially when it’s based on a positive experience, is the gift that keeps on giving and minimizes the business having to expend part of their operating costs on their formalized advertising and marketing campaign.
Whether you’re a spa professional, or spa savvy, or even a spa novice, consider the following.
PRODUCTS TO PONDER: That said, following are my takes this year on various products that viably compliment a retail environment; however, some spa operations might be limited either by vendor contracts, corporate policies or other restrictions in being able to offer some of these products in their retail areas. Additionally, many of these products are good for the greening commitment, and include those that use primarily natural or organic ingredients, are Certified Organic (US or Europe; AB, or Agriculture Biologique, or Ecocert), Certified Vegan, or free of toxic solvents and suspected carcinogens. The various products are definitely appropriate for your guest’s at-home spa experience. I do not list the products in any particular order due to preference or recommendation. They’re randomly listed. My assessments are personal, and therefore, subjective. I annually attempt to come up with a mix of interesting, known and little known products. At the end of the product type segments, there’s also a resource listing of individual company websites to visit and obtain additional product information.
Skin types and conditions vary, while product and treatment regimen preferences and approaches also fluctuate; then, there are those that aren’t interested in changing anything, no matter what the benefits may or may not be. Trying to find the right mix of products and services and ways to approach the guest’s needs does test the mettle of the most experienced and qualified esthetician from time to time. Personally, I don’t mind trying different products, because quite frankly, I do get bored with the same type of routine, and many I speak with, feel the same way; however, I’ve been blessed with good DNA, and try to take care of my skin as a result of working with many skincare professionals over the years; I also don’t stay with one product line indefinitely, since the issue of becoming bored, often ties in with the appearance that the products aren’t optimally working; compare it to trying to wear the same pair of shoes all the time; not necessarily a good idea. Lastly, it’s a difficult decision for the guest to make when contemplating making an investment on product line they’re not familiar with and more than likely first experienced as part of the treatment process; however, post-treatment, the guest may not get a sense of product efficacy until they’ve used on the product for a reasonable length of time to net out any adverse reactions; that’s another major issue many I speak with raise as a deterrent from wanting to make a retail purchase of products used as part of a treatment. The following products confirm my subjectivities; most products worked well on my skin type, with very little exception, which will be noted.
Vegan certified vonNatur Balance line of skin care products are unisex and geared for all skin types; I tried Facial Crème Cleanser, Facial Masque, Facial Exfoliant, Facial Toner, Under Eye Nourishing Crème and Facial Moisturizer; these ingredients use many organic and natural ingredients that include organic olive and jojoba oils, tamanu and coconut oils, red, white and green teas, aloe juice, cucumber, glycerin, essential oils of evening primrose, lavender, Roman and German chamomile and cedarwood, and vitamins A, B, C and E; products were gentle, non-drying and non-irritating; quickly absorbed, with no tacky residue; pleasant natural aromatic scents; although I enjoyed all of the products, my fav was the Facial Toner, which comes in the form of pads; great as a throughout-the-day refresher and pick-me-up; naturally cooling.
Terme di Saturnia, a perennial favorite offers some of their top skin care products in its Spa Discovery Kit; each kit contains one-ounce sizes of their pH Normalizing Complex (all skin types), 14-Hour Moisturizing Complex (normal to dry) and Purifying Thermal Facial Mud (normal, oily and combination); all products were gentle; I enjoyed the deep cleansing and balance to my skin texture from the Mud; I used the Normalizing Complex for day, and the Moisturizing Complex for night; pleasant aromas; the two Complex products had a stable consistency; easy application; absorbed quickly.
Nova System is a promising at-home skin care system is based on a patented delivery system of micro-vibrations that are said to “..release impurities and deliver moisture, nutrients and anti-aging benefits..”; included in the at-home system are a variable speed appliance (battery), changeable micro-fiber applicator coverlets, and skin care products; the products included Purify (cleanser), Reveal (exfoliator) and Quench (moisturizer); products had a neutral scent and were sometimes a bit sluggish going on the skin after applying them to the coverlets and then placing the applicator on the face; however, the results were good, but I also found the removable coverlet’s, which aren’t recommended for reuse without washing them first, was a bit of an inconvenience to change out going from one function to another; they’re also a bit difficult to get on and off the device. The three-speed applicator is sometimes difficult to control and when using the lowest setting, for example, and then having to cycle through the other two settings before being able to get to the “off” position. I did find the product vibration very stimulating, revving up my circulation; I also enjoyed the exfoliator product, but even using the lowest setting and minimal time, found my skin to be a bit flushed, and perhaps over-stimulated, although it recovered in a short amount of time; my skin’s texture was noticeably smoother.
Natura Bissé Glyco Face is an exfoliating moisturizer recommended for normal to dry skin; although my skin was slightly re-active to the glycolic acid and other AHA’s (Vitamin’s A, C and E, plus Lady’s Thistle extract, used to neutralize free-radicals), even though aloe vera is part of the formulation to soothe, but also to hydrate; because of its potency and occasionally re-active skin, I'm limiting the use to only a few times per week; this product is more on the line of an intense treatment therapy, versus a daily moisturizing routine; this dense product has a lovely aroma and was quickly absorbed.
Medique Eye Pads is another solid performing treatment product; a set of eye pads is protected in individual foil packets that are designed to fit the contour of the under eye area; a thirty minute treatment is recommended at least three times a week to optimize a cumulative affect of revitalized delicate skin in this area; glycerin, collagen, malva, retinol palmitate and ginkgo biloba are a few of the ingredients that generate results; once pads are removed, any residue can be gently tapped into the area.
Inspired by the tropics, Asiana Facial Masks are formulated with organic fruit juices, phyto-botanicals and sea minerals. The Papaya & Honey Facial Mask is a potent product that deep cleans, exfoliates and hydrates; ingredients include unripened green papaya, organic pineapple juice, organic honey, and green tea; this natural plant acid tingled the skin, but didn’t irritate; rinsed clean and left skin noticeably smoother and softer; neutral scent; the Soy and Oat Milk Facial Mask is ideal for dry skin; the ingredients sooth and calm, while gently hydrating, and include organic oat milk, honey and aloe vera, soy proteins, green tea and sea minerals; gentle and calming; rinsed well, leaving skin in better condition than its pre-treatment state.
Pangea Organics Facial Cleanser and Facial Mask are two wonderfully hand-crafted organic products that deliver noticeable results; the Cleanser’s short list of ingredients includes extra virgin olive oil, shea butter and coconut oil, as well as organic essential oils of Egyptian calendula, blood orange, lavender, evening primrose and Roman chamomile, and organic herbal extracts of calendula, rose and rosemary; the result is a high-performance multi-functional product that left my skin clear, toned and feeling hydrated; a real aromatic and sensory delight; rinses clean, no residue; easily dissolves stubborn makeup; another real treat is the Mask, which is another multi-functional product that detoxifies and deep cleans, while also exfoliating, toning and moisturizing; some of its power ingredients include açai and goji berries, matcha tea and many of the same organic essential oils and herbal extracts also found in the Cleanser’s formulation; non-drying, very effective, rinses well; smells terrific. I also love the fact that I’ll be able to plant, yes plant, the product containers; the packaging is made of recycled bio-degradable fiber bio-degradable that’s infused with Genovese Sweet Basil herbal seeds. This is an ingenious concept that tickles my imagination every time I think about it. Hooray for Pangea Organics for being the consummate good steward of the planet!
Kama Ayurveda Miraculous Beauty Fluid is an authentically formulated treatment, using only the purest of oils and herbs to not only deeply hydrate, but also to improve skin’s texture, diminish fine lines and brighten the skin. Some of the ingredients include saffron, liquorice, vetiver, lotus and sandalwood. This is intoxicating and pungently aromatic oil; even when used sparingly, and although its moisturizing and brightening properties were immediate, I wasn’t able to tolerate the upper note of the product’s aroma, which is saffron and a faint detection of plant resin, which darkens the aroma’s characteristic. Perhaps I’m just not accustomed to authentic Ayurvedic healing treatment products, such as this one; however, the product was effective and left the skin very hydrated.
kaplanMD Day Cream SPF 15 is an intense skinceutical treatment product and sunscreen that protects skin against harmful UVA and UVB rays and ultimately prevents cancer; it also inhibits or minimizes signs of aging (wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, etc.). The formulation contains optimal ingredients, some of which include soy, grape seed, white, black and oolong tea, black cohosh, shea and mango seed butter; it also includes Ceramides, which rehydrates and improves the skin's texture. In applying this very dense cream, I found that a little “goes a long way”; however, application wasn’t smooth, and a bit of a “drag”, unless my skin was slightly damp/moist; slow to absorb; aroma was definitely skinceutical, but dissipated quickly. Once the protect was applied, I noticed that the product also seemed to water-proof my skin with a natural barrier from moisture, which is ideal for a SPF-based product and avoids those inconvenient and frequent product reapplications to preserve the SPF properties; ideal for those that spend a lot of unavoidable time in the sun and sea.
Pür Minerals skin care products include Mineral Wash, Mineral Melt and Mineral Moisture Complex; the Wash is gentle, yet effective enough to be used on face, hair and body (and even hair brushes); contains magnesium, copper and zinc; non-drying; rinses clean; fresh scent; the Melt is ideal for removing stubborn makeup, but functions well as a weekly deep face cleansing treatment; ingredients include sunflower, olive, safflower, sesame and avocado oils, aloe, and essential oils of geranium, lemon, cedarwood and jasmine; lovely scent; leaves skin hydrated and clean; the Moisture Complex is an antioxidant, collagen enhancing, sun protectorant (UVA/UVB) moisturizer; includes zinc oxide, extracts of smithsonite, malachite and rhodochrosiet, whey protein, vitamins A and E and lactic acid; delivers wonderful hydrating results; quickly absorbed; no tacky residue; fresh scent.
Resources: Asiana (www.asianaspa.com), Kama (www.kamaayruveda.com), kaplanMD (www.kaplanMD.com), Medique (www.mediquebeautypads.com), Natura Bissé (www.naturabisse.es), Nova (www.novaskincare.com), Pangea (www.pangeaorganics.com), Pür Minerals (www.purminerals.com), Terme di Saturnia (www.beautimport.com), vonNatur (www.vonnatur.com)
Neck Down Body Care
To a great extent, the same considerations for facial skin care apply to body skin care; no situations are ever identical, but many have similarities that skew the conditions and/or situations in the same manner. Again, highly qualified and experienced esthetic specialists readily demystify any confusion. All of the products tried deliver exceptional results and had wonderful ingredient and aroma properties.
SAMPAR Winsome Body suite of power products turns any body care routine into an aromatic and luxuriant regimen that’s effective, and delivers noticeable results. These products are ideal for an at-home experience. Their proprietary “Urban Active Complex” is formulated with shea butter, mint leaf, plant sugar and lactate extracts, which protects the skin from environmental assaults, while hydrating, soothing and nurturing the skin. With product names like Dew It Again Shower Gel, Lap of Luxury Sea Scrub, Go Figure Slimming Gel, Lift Me Up Bust Cream and Joyous Body Milk, it was easy humming my way through using each one. I especially enjoyed the light delicate aroma of the Shower Gel and Body Milk; my absolute fav product was the Sea Scrub with its delightfully heady aroma; this exceptional formulation includes healing and restorative essential oils of rosemary, peppermint, lavender, cajuput, geranium and myrtle; the fine granules of sea salt exfoliated, but also fine-tuned my skin’s texture; the Sea Scrub works great as a tandem product to the Shower Gel, which also contains the same essential oils as the Sea Scrub. All products worked their magic, transforming my Winter “blah” skin to Springtime “ah” skin.
Asian-inspired Aspara Aromatics offers a variety of high-performance products with highly effective natural ingredients that include shea and cocoa butters, jojoba, rice bran and olive oils, Yuzu, a citrus fruit indigenous to Japan, evening primrose oil, lavender, ylang-ylang and sandalwood; the result is a heady and aromatic experience; products I tried included Mandi Susu Bath Soak, a luxurious way to revive and hydrate; Yuzu Renew Sugar Smoother gently exfoliates, leaving the skin texture noticeably refined and smooth; Yuzu Renew Body Silk further hydrates, sealing in the benefits of the Sugar Smoother.
Anakiri Andean Mineral Salt Refresher is an at-home regiment that incorporates some of the front-runners in this popular product line; this regimen calls for HerbalFusion Face and Body Oil, Andean Mineral Salts and Hydrating Water Essence; the Face and Body Oil contains calendula, rose geranium, lavender, chamomile and rosehip; this is then added to the Mineral Salts, which contain volcanic-rich salts, eucalyptus and sandalwood essential oils; this paste-like mixture is used to exfoliate and renew the skin, and then, without rinsing, you get into a warm bath; while soaking, the Water Essence, which contains lavender hydrosol concentrate, and essential oils of lavender and palmarosa, is applied and massaged to the face; the overall treatment ritual restores, soothes and hydrates; all of the aromas are exceptional; another great set of products that are ideal in the massage setting, providing an additional degree of relief aid are the new Relief Tone Gel and Restore Healing Balm; the first product has a base of cooling aloe vera gel, while arnica aids in the healing of bruises and inflammation; neutral scent and quickly absorbed; the second product is packed with healing propolis, anti-bacterial organic tee tree oil and soothing aloe deliver immediate relief; pleasant scent, cooling, and quickly absorbed; both products are ideal for targeted specific areas.
An absolute favorite of mine in this category is aromatic Pangea Organics Massage & Body Oil in Pyrenees Lavender & Cardamom; a blend of organic jojoba, safflower, olive, sesame, coconut and sunflower oils, plus essential oils of blood orange, wild lavender and cardamom, and vitamin E, the blend is geared towards full body rejuvenation, including clarifying the mind and warming the body; in addition to being a wonderfully aromatic and exceptionally hydrating product; don’t forget to plant the package.
Asian-inspired, Asiana Body Butter in Fresh Lemon is packed with calming and hydrating goodness; shea and mango butter, red algae, Japanese green tea, vitamin E and essential oils make for a wonderfully rich and dense, quickly absorbed moisturizer; delicious aroma made want to go and bake a batch of vanilla lemon cookies. Gentle and very effective,
Abrioné Red Wine Body Scrub’s superfine mica is a gentle exfoliant, which leaves skin smooth and renewed feeling; very pleasant aroma; complimenting this scrub is their Chakra Masques; these masks deliver healing and balancing properties to individualized chakra areas; effective applied by themselves, or use in combination with the scrub; skin is left remarkably soft and fresh feeling.
Certified vegan, vonNatur Coffee & Salt Cellulite Body Scrub’s dual exfoliants are gentle and thorough; lovely aroma; skin is noticeably moisturized; their Sea Kelp & Mineral Detox Soak calms tired achy muscles, while re-mineralizing the skin; strong, pleasant aroma.
Sweet Grass Farms Farmhouse Shea Butter Lotion in Lemon Verbena not only smelled divine and authentic to its namesake, it left my skin wonderfully hydrated without any unpleasant tacky residue; quickly absorbed, with a hint of aroma.
Bluewick Body Bar Milled Soaps add an intense aromatic dimension to the bathing ritual; the signature five-ounce, triple-milled bars are super-hydrating; long-lasting; wonderfully aromatic; I tried Starfruit, Yuzu, Peacharine, Guavapeel, and Melati; it was hard to pick a fav.
Choices Lavender Organic Body Oil is a wonderful blend of five organic oils (soy, olive, almond, jojoba and grapeseed), plus lavender and rosewood essential oils; the result is an exceptional massage oil that is a super-hydrator, which stimulates the olfactory with its wonderful aroma; quickly absorbed. The Choices line offers handmade products through The Enterprising Kitchen, a non-profit Chicago-area social agency whose mission is to provide disadvantaged and abused women with life enriching and sustaining programs, training and employment.
Resources: Abrioné (www.abrione.com), Anakiri (www.anakiri.com), Asiana (www.asianaspa.com), Aspara (www.aspara-aromatics.com), Bluewick (www.bluewick.com), Choices (www.theenterprisingkitchen.org), Pangea (www.pangeaorganics.com), SAMPAR (www.samparusa.com), Sweet Grass Farms (www.sweetgrassonline.com), vonNatur (www.vonnatur.com)
Glam-It Up Color
Color is a finishing touch for sure; companies develop and introduce new products and especially new color palettes to coincide with seasonal change. Spring and Summer calls for lighter, more airy feeling colors and those that enhance Summer’s glow; Fall and Winter calls for a darker and enriched color palette that illumes the face. For an ideal transformation, change colors to coincide with the cycle of seasons.
Industry leader and mineral make-up innovator Jane Iredale continues to introduce exciting products that treat and enhance the skin, while adapting to seasonal changes. The Spring and Summer colors are gorgeous and made me think of picnicking, walks in the park and beach-ing under a wide-brimmed straw fedora. Formulated with anti-inflammatory minerals and sun protection, Brush Me Bronze Bronzing Powder, adds just the right hint of sun-kissed healthy color to tame winter-washout; great twist applicator and silky brush; easy glide, non-streaking, non-fading and long-lasting. The color “pink” is so very Springtime, and the Power of Pink Collection doesn’t disappoint with its radiant variant hues that includes Think Pink PurePressed Triple-Eye Shadow; layered or worn individually, the trio of pinks ranging from light to dark, render a look that’s crisp and fresh; for the lips there’s the richly intense Kirsten PureMoist LipColour and the just-for-fun Cotton Candy PureGloss for Lips; to perk-up areas on the face that need a quick and thorough cover-up, there’s the wonderful new Active Light Under-eye Concealer; a great start to any shadow application calls for a lid primer to help set the color; try Lid Primer in Lemon; to set that freshly applied look, or for a refresher anytime throughout the day, try the new Pom Mist; I chill it a bit, then spritz to cool-down; wonderful aroma; leaves skin feeling soft.
For those that prefer their mineral make-up to be primarily certified vegan, there’s vonNatur Mineral Makeup (caveat: a few of their color products include the color carmine, a naturally occurring dye from cochineal insects, which disqualifies the product as certifiable); products were light, silky and easy to apply; Springtime colors tried were Natural One Cheek Colour, which I used as an all-over on the face; enhances with a subtle hint of pastel pink, followed by the matte Complete Setting Powder; for the eyes, I tried Eye Colours in Agate, accented with Morganite and a hint of Turquoise; the combination reminded me of the tropics and were fresh and lovely.
Lastly, I tried some of the Spring colors from Pür Minerals; the pressed powders were easy to apply; illuminated with subtle hints of color; I tried the Marble Powder in Bronze followed by Pür Radiance Illuminating Powder; the combination added just the right amount of subtle fresh color; for a bit more color depth, I also tried their 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup in Golden Medium (foundation, concealer, finishing powder, SPF15), and accentuated my brows with the dual compact Brow Perfection (wax and powder); the beautiful Lip Tint in Island Pearl is subtle for day, while the Mineral Lip Plumping Gloss in Sassolife Bronze enhances a sun-kissed complexion.
Resources: Jane Iredale (www.janeiredale.com), Pür Minerals (www.purminerals.com), vonNatur (www.vonnatur.com)
Mani and Pedi Variants
With growing concern over infection, contamination and poorly cleaned/sanitized implements and accessories, many in the medical profession are being proactive and introducing preventative consumer kits like the Sole Savior Safe Salon Pedicure Kit, an all-in-one personal take-with kit developed by leading podiatrist Dr. Colleen Schwartz. The kit includes all of the standard implements plus antibacterial and hydrating tea tree oil; implements are easy to maneuver and ideal for travel.
For those concerned with fungus, mold, bacteria or allergic reactions, try Poshe’ nail care products; all are geared towards promoting healthy hands and nails; the Anti-Microbial Cuticle Oil and Anti-Microbial Base Coat products hydrated my cuticle areas and made nail color adhere better without discoloration; the Potion of Youth hand and nail lotion has cumulative anti-aging benefits that minimize wrinkling and photo-aging; lovely aroma and super-hydrating; all products are safe, hypoallergenic and free of toluene or formaldehyde, both toxic solvents and suspected carcinogens.
For a lovely aromatic and revitalizing experience, Balinese-inspired Aspara Aromatics Floral Foot Soak will soothe and revive tired, achy feet; soothing salts, aromatic essential oils of lavender, peppermint, spearmint, eucalyptus, and lemongrass, plus jasmine, lavender and rose petals will transport you to the islands and have you planning your next getaway.
For cracked or calloused skin, Abrioné Heels and Elbows; the hydrating and exfoliation properties (alpha hydroxy acids) are gentle and non-irritating; dense cream, lovely scent and quickly absorbed; immediate, noticeable results; hydrating and exfoliation properties are cumulative and long lasting.
Now that especially the peds have been primed and preened for sandal wearing and summer exposure, to complete the transformation, try SpaRitual definitely sandal and suntan inspired colors, Chocolate Oasis and Best Cocoa In Town (commemorative formulation for the Hershey Spa); these colors are Vegan and DBP-free certified (DBP, or dibutylphthalate, is another toxic solvent and a suspected human endocrine disruptor/inhibitor).
Resources: Abrioné (www.abrione.com), Aspara (www.aspara-aromatics.com), Poshe’ (www.poshenails.com), Sole Savior (www.solesavior.com), SpaRitual (www.sparitual.com)
I’m not a good traveler, but knowing that I have quality take-along “stuff” makes being away from hearth and home a bit more tolerable. Hooray for SAMPAR Paris for developing an ingenious way of packaging a portable version of its efficacious Five Essentials skincare ritual products; the Good Weekend Kit is packaged in individual, re-sealable tubes, 5ml of each product; includes Velvet Cleansing Milk, Skin Quenching Mist (non-spray), Equalizing Foam Peel (non-pump), Ultra Hydrating Fluid and Nocturnal Lifting Mask; all products worked well for me; wonderful consistencies, quickly absorbed and no tacky residue; lovely aromatic scents; gentle, although the peel was a bit intense and made my skin briefly tingle; minimal irritation; I was able to get two treatments out of each tube.
Precision implements are a must, whether traveling or not, and Esthétic Plus offers some of the finest tweezers I’ve ever used; its Velvet Soft Touch Slanted Tweezers with Non-Slip Grip comes in a regular size, or an adorable Mini version, and are great take-with grooming aids; easy grip and very accurate targeted removal of those “unwanted sprouts”.
Traveling can expose one to germs and bacteria that can easily attack the immune system; Simply Gargle Salt Water Rinse contains a salt water solution that’s infused with vitamin C and extracts of grape seed, sage, rosemary, rosehips and witch hazel; these pre-mixed disposable good-to-go-anywhere ampoules that soothe and protect irritated throats. For additional “travel aids”, refer to sections: “face it variants”, “mani and pedi needs” and “olfactory indulgences”.
Resources: Esthétic Plus (www.estheticplus.com), Simply Gargle (www.simplygargle.com), SAMPAR (www.samparusa.com)
Creating an aromatic ambient atmosphere that stimulates and revives can be a bit perplexing at times, especially since aroma imprinting is as complicated as aural imprinting on the senses; one aroma will represent different things to different people (the same with our aural sense). A good way to avoid this conundrum is to have products that are natural or plant-based, with subtle and never cloying aromas, although some natural ingredients can be irritants to those with allergies. Aromas stimulate the olfactory (which can also stimulate our sense of taste) and imprint our psyche, so that whenever we come across the aroma or smell something similar, our memory recall will often generate a recollection of a moment in time when that aroma was first sensed, which can evoke pleasant and/or pleasant memories.
Sweet Grass Farms offers products that are consistently welcome-springtime-favorites like Farmhouse Lemon Verbena Linen & Room Spray and Laundry Sachets, which I used as room pomanders; emits a beautiful fragrance; all products impart a true-to-nature aroma; other aromas include White Lilac and Lavender; these fragrances brought me back to my childhood.
Bluewick Soy Candles offer intoxicating and sophisticated scents that subtly transform the active environment; the variety of impressive and complex aromas will appeal to anyone; packaging is beautiful and comes in glass and metal, as well as travel tins; I enjoyed Wyeth (linden and cassis), Casuda (lavender and eucalyptus), Groove (whiteflower), and Canberra (eucalyptus and clove); the aromas was intoxicating and very sophisticated. If maintaining candles is a bit of a chore, then the increasingly popular aroma diffuser sticks are an ideal alternative to the wick and burn routine.
Stick Scents offers long lasting and subtle aromatic diffusers in an eight-ounce size; creative combinations of natural oils makes for a heady aroma that isn’t what one might expect; I enjoyed Orange Blossom (fresh orange, citrus, gardenia and jasmine) and Green Apple (peach, pear, green apple, musk and berry); fresh, clean and subtle.
Xela Aromasticks was the industry’s first to introduce and define the innovative aroma diffuser concept and experience; using natural bamboo reeds and superior natural essential oils, the complex formulations emit heady, subtle, clean and genuine aromas; the purity of ingredients extends the life cycle of the product; available in sixteen, eight and four ounce sizes; the four-ounce size also comes with a natural atomizer and is ideal for travel. New introductions to their already impressive array of multi-dimensional aromas that are based on unusual aroma combinations include Loving (red currant berries, bergamot and bitter orange), Relaxing (lavender and amber), Energizing (pink grapefruit, citronella and geranium), and Mesmerizing (ginger, cinnamon, maple, clove and vanilla); these new formulations are very sophisticated and gently embrace the senses without clobbering them; their other aroma blends are all exceptional and long-lasting.
Resources: Bluewick (www.bluewick.com), Sweet Grass Farms (www.sweetgrassonline.com), Stick Scents (www.stickscents.com), Xela (www.xelaaromasticks.com)
Culinary and Cupboard Contenders
If your spa offers spa cuisine to its guests (and even if you don’t), why not consider offering various retail products for them to continue (or consider) their healthy regimen? Products for the spa foodie are a welcome addition to any at-home experience. The following are a few suggestions, but again, use your imagination, and refer back to the section on “options to ponder”.
The originators and developers of Vinothérapie products and treatment process, Caudalíe Paris now offers its exclusive Draining Organic Herbal Tisane (tea) to those who can’t make it to one of their treatment spas (France, Italy, Spain and US); this delicious and tasty tisane is served in Caudalíe’s Vinothérapie Spa Tea Room; the “draining” or diuretic properties come from the exclusive blend of cinnamon, red vine leaf, blueberry plant, orange bark and blackcurrant; outstanding hot or cold; prescribed as part of a wellness intensive program at their spas.
We all know by now that olive oil, omega and other oils are very healthy choices; healthy and balanced, not too mention incredibly delicious, is organic Olivado Gourmet Foods Omega Plus Oil; this beautifully fragrant and rich green oil is a hybrid combination of three oils that include extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, and avocado oil are also super-charged with Omega 3, 6 and 9; great tasting and especially good for heart health; this multipurpose oil is ideal for all types of cooking and eating.
Want to wrap your hand around a bulbous bottle of clean tasting oxygenated water? Well, The O-Company “OGO - The Breathing Water” is now available in North America from its natural spring source in the Netherlands; the company represents that studies reveal their water as having thirty-five times more oxygen than other brands of bottled water; I don’t know about that, but it was delicious and clean tasting; I tried the “still” version; there’s also a “sparking” and “flower power” (lychee and elderflower) version; holding the chubby bottle was a bit awkward.
Anyone who’s had the pleasure of dining at a gourmet restaurant and admiring the cuisine as an art form on one’s plate will get a wealth of eye-candy and heart-health inspiration with the award winning “Naturally Peninsula - Flavours” Cookbook. This eye-popping global compilation of recipes, culled from the Peninsula Hotel’s extraordinary Executive Chefs, will enthrall and inspire, while shaking up one’s culinary wannabe angst, in addition to revving up the taste buds and making the mouth salivate; the emphasis is cuisine as an art form, and one that is also healthy and based on fresh, pure, seasonal, local, and organic; a real winner; next best thing to experiencing this luxury brand of hotels; the book is also crammed with artful photography.
Another outstanding must-have for any foodie, spa or otherwise, is Charlie Trotter’s “Spa Cuisine” Cookbook. When it comes to being inspired by a gifted chef whose culinary genius is inherent and intuitive, mega-award winning culinary and philanthropist Chef Charlie Trotter was doing the organic, natural, fresh, local, and healthy-food-thing long before it became de rigueur. Firmly committed to healing from the inside out with the bounties of flavors and good-earth food, this outstanding collection of Trotter’s finest touches the senses dramatically and makes eating healthy not a trend, but a necessity. This new cookbook is the result of twenty years of culinary genius that had its roots in his original and world-renowned eponymous restaurant in Chicago and . Trotter’s culinary passion is again firmly positioned with this inspiring must-have cookbook and was intrinsic to his former signature restaurant “C” (“The One&Only Palmilla” Resort and Spa, Los Cabos, Mexico). If your local PBS station carries Trotter’s impressive “The Kitchen Sessions”, you’ll marvel at his culinary wizardry. This is a must-have cookbook for anyone that is committed to healthy spa-focused cuisine; the gorgeous photography and tantalizing recipes are definite sensory perks.
Keeping things fresh and clean in the kitchen calls for high performance and effective cleansers that are effective and gentle on the skin. One option is aromatic Sweet Grass Farms Farmhouse Dish Soap in Lemon Verbena; crisp, true-to-scent aroma. Another option is Choices Citrus Blossom Liquid Hand Soap; pleasant, fresh aroma.
Resources: Caudalíe (www.caudalie.com), Choices (www.theenterprisingkitchen.org), Naturally Peninsula (www.amazon.com), OGO (www.ogolife.com), Olivado (www.olivado.com), Sweet Grass Farms (www.sweetgrassonline.com), Charlie Trotter (www.charlietrotters.com)
THE END: Lastly, regardless of the spa retail area’s size, its design, layout and functionality is paramount in maximizing guest appeal with creativity, visual impact, assorted product mix with variable price points. Engaging the guest before, during and after the treatment experience should also include the retail area as an intrinsic part to the overall guest experience. Oh, and one last thing; remember the creative touches needed for putting together an attractive and appealing display, including at-home spa collections? It never hurts to include a rubber ducky - they’re adorable and whimsical, and always seem to make others smile, including me.
By Terry Herman
Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the spa industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker.
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