Thursday, September 2, 2010
The latest news and review bits from my desk…..
~ SPA-DOM’S MISCELLANY~
Best Buddies Hamptons Gala and Immunocologie ~ Immunocologie was a proud donating sponsor of their skincare products to the Third Annual Best Buddies Hamptons Gala, held this past August 21st. Best Buddies is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping persons with developmental disabilities attains self-sufficiency. The gala was held at the home of noted philanthropic and political fundraising icons, Anne Hearst and Jay McInerney. For more information, visit http://immunocologie.com/ and http://www.bestbuddies.org/.
Elysian Hotel Spa Yoga Retreat Weekend, Chicago ~ September is National Yoga Month, and to celebrate it, Chicago’s exquisite luxury hotel and spa destination, the Elysian Hotel Spa & Health Club, will be hosting a Yoga Retreat Weekend this September 10-12, featuring yoga iconic instructor Mandy Ingber; Ms. Ingber is the go-to yoga instructor for aficionados and celebs like Anniston, Shields and Hunt. The 3-day/2 night Yoga Retreat Weekend rates start at $1,445.00 and include accommodations, lectures, demonstrations, classes, a spa treatment, in-room amenity, Lululemon mat, and lunch with Ms. Ingber. For more information, visit http://www.elysianhotels.com/ and http://www.yogamonth.org/.
ESPA International ~ The iconic spa brand’s founder and CEO, Susan Harmsworth, received a unique honor by being recognized for her outstanding services and tireless commitment to the spa and beauty industry during the U.K.’s recent 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honors. Ms. Harmsworth now holds the title of Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, or MBE. For more information, visit http://www.espaonline.com/.
Gehwol ~ The long-established and innovator of foot-health products and care, is now offering its therapeutic mani and pedi treatments, using their extensive line of products, at the exquisite The Spa at Trump SoHo. Guests of The Spa will be able to purchase these iconic products, or find them in their rooms as in-room amenities. For more information, visit http://gehwolonline.com/ and http://www.trumpsohohotel.com/.
Leela Palace Kempinski Udaipur, India ~ To commemorate the opening of India’s first ESPA, the luxury hotel and spa is offering a “Spa Divine@The Leela Palace Kempinski Udaipur” package that includes airport transfers, accommodations, meals and spa treatments; the special package runs through September 30, 2010. Rates are based on double occupancy, minimum of two-night stay, and begin at $375.00 per person. The spa is set among a grove of flowering guava trees, where traditional European and Ayurvedic-based treatment therapies are administered in nine historically designed Rajasthani tents (some include over-sized marble soaking tubs). For more information, visit http://www.theleela.com/.
MUD (Make-Up Designory) ~ The name behind the iconic brand of beautiful cosmetics, tools and two teaching academies (LA and NYC), can add to its list of accolades a continuing partnership with cable television’s hit reality show, “She’s Got the Look” (TV Land). The MUD partnership is now in its third season and the glam look behind the show’s runway hopefuls. For more information, visit http://mudshop.com/ and http://mud.edu/School-Site-2010/.
Spa Chakra ~ After much hoopla and fanfare with the Waldorf-Astoria Corporation, Guerlain and Spa Chakra launching the new luxury brand, Spa Chakra, in the Fall of 1998, troubled times kept biting them on their proverbial backside. And, having filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last December 2009, hope abounded when private investment firm Hercules Technology Growth completed the acquisition of the troubled luxury brand in March 2010, with promises of growth and expansion. Then, without any warning, the doors were abruptly closed on August 20th, leaving fifteen worldwide Spa Chakra luxury branded spas up for grabs, not too mention all of the staff, spa faithful and gift certificate holders. Hotels where these spas were located are scrambling to try and work out details on space retention and continue spa operations, but under different and individual names. I’m sure there are many legal hurdles to overcome given the complexity of the asset assumption and ceasing of operations. Hmmmm, wonder what happens to all that inventory of equipment, products, etc.? A distress sale, perhaps? I digress…..the Conrad Indianapolis will retain their spa facility and operations, and will open in the Fall under a yet to be disclosed name. Besides the Conrad Indianapolis, some of the other shuttered Spa Chakra doors include the Palmer House Hilton Chicago, W Retreat & Spa Vieques Island and the Ritz-Carlton Marina Del Rey. The short-lived and storied Spa Chakra had its roots with the luxe brand Guerlain. The Guerlain Spa at the tony Waldorf Astoria is also shuttered, since they were part of the brand. Tough times. Sad to see a spa fade like this. Too much drama. Stay tuned for more developments. I’d give a reference website, but that isn’t viable, either.
Wyndham Grand London Chelsea Harbour, UK ~ The luxury hotel brand has announced the opening of The Blue Harbour Spa, which will feature specialized treatments for “mums-to-be” and an indulgent signature treatment, the Melt Massage, which involves a melted heady-scented massage oil candle that’s dripped all over the body as part of a seventy-five minute body massage. Men aren’t being overlooked and will an extensive list of treatments to soothe their savagery and release manly stresses. Rounding out the spa’s focus on well-being, the area will also include a twenty-four hour fitness area, steam, sauna and a sizeable seventeen meter pool (nearly fifty-six feet in length), complete with soothing “swan’s neck hydro faucets and jets. For more information, visit http://www.wyndhamgrandlondon.co.uk/.
~ OF THINGS ESTHETIC AND AROMATHERAPEUTIC ~
Amrit Organics Spa Specifics ~ Another product line I’ve heard great things about in the world of “organics” and “spa”, but hadn’t ever tried any of them until now. I was slightly hesitant trying products that were “oil” in the dead of the dog days of summer; heat and humidity, which I hate, didn’t seem like a good fit. When I’m wrong, I’m wrong. I tried the Golden Nutrient Serum and Eye Serum Roll-On. The beauty behind this brand and especially these products is that there aren’t any synthetics, chemicals, additives or preservatives. The Golden Nutrient Serum is based on their signature blend of organic sunflower, jojoba, and olive oils, natural vitamin E, organic essential oils of lavender, lemongrass and rose geranium. If you’ve been reading my articles on a regular basis (since the mid1990s), you’ll know that I have a passion for using products that are aromatherapeutic. Just look at the list of organic essential oils in this product and you’ll appreciate why I was enthralled using the product. But a great aroma doesn’t equate to an effective product. In this case, however, it does. In addition to these scrumptious aromatherapeutic essential oils, the three organic oils combine to become super-hydrators, delivering antioxidants to the skin, while helping to brighten skin tone, combat aging and rejuvenate. Used sparingly, I preferred using this for my night regimen. The Eye Serum’s applicator seemed a bit unusual, since I’ve never seen a “roll-on” as the delivery component for this type of product; but it’s a very logical design, not too mention extremely hygienic. I loved on easy the roller dispensed just the right amount of treatment serum to the under eye area; I didn’t even need to tap it into the skin; it absorbed without any irritation and like the face serum, hydrated well, minimized fine wrinkles and left no greasy residue. The Eye Serum’s ingredients include organic jojoba oil, organic freeze-dried aloe vera and organic chamomile. Simple, pure ingredients that deliver results. For more information, visit http://www.redcherrygroup.com/.
Bambola Beauty ~ This new eco-conscious skincare line includes a full-range of natural and organic-based products. I tried their Hydrating Eye Gel. Key ingredients include aloe (hydrates), arnica (diminishes discoloration), green tea extract (plumps, anti-aging properties) and Mannentake mushrooms (vitamins A, B. B2, and C, which nourishes and promotes smoother and firmer skin in the delicate eye area). The product absorbed quickly, left no residue and gently hydrated. For more information, visit http://www.bambolabeauty.com/.
ESPA ~ I’ve never had the opportunity to experience any of these products until now. ESPA Floral Spafresh Spritzer and ESPA 24 Hour Balancing Complex were two exceptional hot weather weapons in combating the onslaught of heat and humidity, which I don’t tolerate too well. The Floral Spafresh not only was a lovely toner post-cleansing routine, it was also soothing; this non-alcohol product was also refreshing and uplifting; its delicious aroma added to the enjoyment of using the product; some of the aromatherapeutic ingredients included rosewater, neroli and tangerine oil. The product was ideal for my sensitive skin, was non-irritating, and lightweight; it provided effective all-day hydration. I also used it throughout the day as a refresher and pick-me-up. The Balancing Complex was also ideal for my sensitive skin and helped stave off my face from perspiring due to the heat; it seemed to add a delicate, but effective barrier to my skin; my skin felt silky smooth to the touch; the texture of the product was silky, and left no residue, and was quickly absorbed. The product is recommended for sensitive or dry skin and is well suited as an anti-aging moisturizer. Some of the high-performing ingredients in this wonderful product included evening primrose oil, apricot kernel oil, myrrh and rose geranium oil, as well as coconut, jojoba, and frankincense; with all of these aromatherapeutic properties, it’s no wonder why I also loved its delicious aroma. For more information, visit http://www.espaonline.com/spa-products/.
Fleur’s ~ Fleur’s has launched a brand new product, Sérum Hydratant Absolu )Absolute Moisturizing Serum). A key ingredient is the floral essence of the blue orchid, which is prized for its inherent moisturizing, anti-aging, antioxidant and softening properties. Other key ingredients in this exceptional product include shea butter, known for restructuring and moisturizing; grapefruit seed extract, known for its fruit astringent properties, which regulate sebum production and staves off blackheads; and wheat germ, soy, and sunflower plant oils (all rich in vitamin F and essential fatty acids), which help to reduce water retention, retain ceramides, while reinforcing cellular content. This is product’s aroma is divine, with a heady scent of orchid. It glides on with its lightweight and silky texture, and is quickly absorbed; applied morning and evening, it can be used alone, or as a “booster” underneath preferred moisturizer. I found it performed wonderfully without the addition of moisturizer and left my skin feeling hydrated, while improving the overall texture and adding subtle radiance. I thoroughly enjoyed using this aromatherapeutic product. For more information, visit http://www.fleur-s.com/en/s01_home/s01p01_home.php.
Skin 2 Skin ~ Here’s another brand of highly regarded natural and organic products that are advanced with scientific properties in its ingredient profile. I refer to them as cosmeceuticals because of the advanced scientific components, particular for anti-aging. I generally avoid these types of products, because my occasionally reactive skin, well, reacts negatively to some of the ingredients. Unfortunately, a few of their products didn’t fair too well on my skin. Products I tried included White Tea Anti-Aging Face Wash, Oatmeal & Pomegranate Face Scrub, Anti-Aging Renewal Serum, Aging Intervention Cream, Un-Wrinkle Forehead & Crow’s Feet Cream, and Anti-Aging Revitalizing Eye Gel. With the exception of the Renewal Serum and Intervention Cream, all other products performed better than anticipated; they were gentle, non-irritating, favorably consistencies, quickly absorbed, left no greasy or tacky residue, and had a pleasant aroma. My favorite products included the Face Wash, Face Scrub, and Eye Gel. Although I did try the Un-Wrinkle product, fortunately, I don’t have crow’s feet or deep-set wrinkles; still the product gave a nice level of hydration to those targeted areas. Initially, the Intervention Cream (alpha lipoic acid, dermaxyl, and vitamins A, C and E) worked very well in maximizing my hydration levels, until I noticed irritation and drying around my nose area after a two-week period; I discontinued its use. I had almost immediate irritation and stinging in the eyes when using the Renewal Serum (17% matrixyl) on targeted areas, like the forehead and the nasal labial folds; since its 17% concentration of matrixyl represents the maximum percentage, this product is probably best left in the hands of a qualified esthetician, which I’m not. Matrixyl treats wrinkles while repairing the dermal matrix and is an alternative to retinol and vitamin C; it stimulates cellular production of collagen and improves the tissue; clearly, this ingredient represents the latest advancement in anti-aging ingredients. I tried to understand a research paper on the science behind this advanced peptide; the research results were difficult to appreciate, let alone comprehend, because it was science-speak; I even had a major flashback to chemistry classes; it wasn’t a pleasant memory, reminding me of my geeky years; but, I digress….Another product I tried was the Light Tint Photoaging SPF 30 Moisturizing Cream; unfortunately, even though it was a Light Tint, it was too dark for my fair skin and I didn’t want to walk around looking like I was either late for a theatrical performance, or something else; still, consistency was creamy thanks to the jojoba and shea butter ingredients. For more information, visit http://www.skin2skincare.com/.
TALIKA ~ The authority in lash care since 1948 has set a new standard. TALIKA has improved its original LIPOCILS product, making it even more effective, with the introduction of LIPOCILS EXPERT. Enriched with silk proteins and 12 plant extracts, including nettle, hamamelis and apple, clinical trials resulted with some participants experiencing up to a 36% lash growth, and an increase in color of up to 50% on participants with light-colored lashes; these results were documented after a twenty-eight day trial, involving a twice daily application of the product. Lashes are also conditioned and less brittle, eliminating “fall out”. TALIKA EXPERT’s unique dual applicator wand has a tip for applying the gel to the lash roots, as well as a brush to maximize even gel distribution to lashes. Growth is stimulated and lashes are treated. In using the product, I found that it delivered. My pale puny lashes became slightly darker, thicker and definitely more conditioned and healthier to the touch, and weren’t brittle to the touch; I also noticed a slight curl to my lashes. For more information, visit http://www.talika.com/.
ZENSATION Sense of Luxury ~ This Swiss company promises products that are based with natural and organic ingredients, which deliver results. Not being familiar with this brand, I tried one of their multi-tasking products, Radiance Brightening Cleansing Cream. Not only did the product thoroughly and gently clean and remove my makeup effortlessly, its creamy texture also hydrated and brightened my skin as well. Some of the product ingredients include mulberry root, grape and sarmentosa extracts, known for their skin brightening properties, rose flower oil, rose flower water, and vitamin E. I enjoyed using this product. Its creamy texture was rich and rinsed off easily without leaving any greasy or tacky residue; the subtle scent of Damask rose added to the pleasure of using the product; skin felt thoroughly cleansed, hydrated, with a very silky texture. For more information, visit http://www.zensationbeaute.com/.
OTHER BODY PARTS
Gehwol ~ Since 1882, Gehwol products initially began treating and tending to feet, but through its success and technological advances, have included a product range that addresses problems with hands and nails. Behind the success and endurance of this company was Eduard Gerlach, a German pharmacist, who is credited with opening the first-ever drugstore in 1868 in the region of Westphalia. He would also be regarded as the pioneer in modern foot care, after successfully introducing the first-ever commercially manufactured medical cream for treating and alleviating foot conditions. Although I was vaguely familiar with the company, I never had an opportunity to try the products, until now. I tried the Gehwol Med Callus Cream for feet and Gerlan Hand Cream. The Callus Cream promises removal of stubborn calluses with a twice daily application within twenty-eight days or less restores affected area to normal. I was amazed when I noticed initial results occurring within hours and only after the initial application, it was remarkable. The Callus Cream’s powerful ingredients include urea, allantoin, avocado oil, glycerin, lipids and silk extracts. With regular use, problem areas become more manageable, and the stubborn callus is easily removed. I enjoyed the product’s pleasant aroma; its texture was rich and creamy, was quickly absorbed and left no greasy residue. The Hand Cream was also very effective in moisturizing and treating my hands; it was also enjoyable to use; I especially liked how it treated my dry cuticle areas and fingertips, making them soft and hydrated. Rich and emollient, this pleasantly fragranced product was quickly absorbed and left no greasy residue. Beneficial ingredients include aloe vera, jojoba oil, panthenol, and bisabolol (from German chamomile). For more information, visit http://www.gehwolonline.com/.
Karmissie ~ Although I’ve never had my eyebrows threaded, the Karmissie Threader Deluxe Kit is an impressive at-home kit for those experienced in having their brow growth thinned and shaped using this ancient method. The Kit includes an instructional CD that was very thorough, with easy to follow instructions and product demonstrations. The Kit also includes Feel Less, a de-sensitizing pre-treat lotion, Chalk for highlighting the brow hair, The Closer, a post-treat lotion that calms, soothes and inhibits breakouts (due to hair removal from its roots), and a Threader device, complete with snap-in cotton threading material. Threading removes ragged or excessive hair from the brow area, and with removal, also smoothes and polishes the skin’s surface; increased frequency of use will also make newer growth less visible and finer in texture. For more information, visit http://karmissie.com/.
Lotus Wei ~ I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing other products in this line of natural and organic whole body care, flower essences and elixirs, energy mists, and body oil. This time around, I tried some of the suite of products that with regular use, can affect one’s state of mind and especially calm and uplift. I tried the Infinite Love Flower Elixir, Energy Mist and Body Oil (Balancing Serums), which are geared towards “being kind to yourself”. The Flower Elixir is taken five times a day, 5 drops under the tongue; ingredients include vibrational flower and gem essences in a base of pure water, organic grape alcohol and glycerin; I detected a faint taste of cinnamon; very pleasant. Next came the Energy Mist, which was also refreshing and uplifting; its aroma was delicious; some of the ingredients included rose absolute, rose geranium, orchid, lemongrass, lotus, and pink magnolia; also recommended to be used five times a day; I loved it chilled. The Body Oil was also refreshing, quickly absorbed and left no greasy residue; I loved pouring some on my palms, rubbing for friction, which seemed to release more of the aromatic vapors; some of the ingredients included safflower oil, vitamin E, and those found in the Energy Mist. Other varieties include Joy Juice, Inner Peace, Quiet Mind, Inspired Action, and Pure Energy. A definite must-have to keep at arm’s reach when a lift and refresh are needed; wonderfully aromatherapeutic. For more information, visit http://www.lotuswei.com/.
Votre Vu ~ Votre Vu’s On Holiday Huiler Pour Le Corps is a lovely scented Moisturizing Body Spray that drenches the body with a formula rich in hydrating oils, including grape seed, sweet almond, apricot kernel, wheat germ and jojoba. These oils are rich in properties that not only hydrate, but also nourish and calm dry, irritated or itchy skin. On Holiday was quickly absorbed, non-greasy, and didn’t leave any residue on my skin, while noticeably leaving my skin with an improved texture and elevated levels of hydration. The combination of these benefits, plus the subtle aroma it imparted on my skin, made this product very enjoyable to use. This product is part of a series of body care products that also include a Body Scrub, Shower Gel and Body Lotion. For more information, visit http://www.votrevu.com/.
MAQUILLAGE & BEYOND
FACE atelier ~ I rarely use foundation because I find it too heavy feeling on my face, especially when it’s hot and humid outside (lately the norm in my area). I also don’t like the consistency, which seems tacky, greasy and pasty. I felt this way until I tried FACE atelier Ultra Pro Foundation; the color I tried was their #2, which complimented my fair skin tone beautifully; the product went on easily and smoothly, and covered the skin evenly, without any telltale sign I was even wearing a foundation. Behind the products effectiveness are ingredients like cylomethicone, which fills in fine lines, glycerin, which hydrates and binds moisture to the skin without any over-saturation or unwanted “dewiness”, and silicone, which inhibits forces that degrade the product (heat, cold, sweat, and water). The product is also oil and fragrance free, and non-comedogenic. I also found I didn’t need to apply any powder over the foundation; results were very natural looking. For more information, visit http://www.faceatelier.com/.
MUD (Make-Up Designory) ~ This was another brand I wasn’t familiar with, but had the pleasure of experiencing a number of their products. Whether it involved the special seasonal color palettes, such as Summer, Autumn or Holiday, the colors were exceptional and easily transitioned within color palettes and season. Each palette included an eyeshadow quad of brilliant colors and treatment lip gloss. Palette colors included Summer ~ Magnolia Lip Glaze, Dulce de Leche, Pixie, Cajun, and Sapphire eyeshadow quad, and Endless Summer bronzer; Autumn ~ Java Lip Glaze, Brownstone, Moss, Espresso, and Honeysuckle eyeshadow quad, Black Forest eye pencil, and Rose Petal blush; and Holiday ~ Cupid Lip Glaze, Tinsel, Cashmere, Voodoo, and Onyx eyeshadow quad, Vintage eye pencil, and Rose Beige blush. The products went on effortlessly, were easy to blend, didn’t fade or irritate. The colors were beautiful and could be as subtle or as intense as I wanted. I also enjoyed using their Travel Brush Kit, containing seven must-have professional applicator brushes. For more information, visit http://www.mudshop.com/.
Skindinavia ~ Skindinavia’s Cool Flash Makeup Finish not only sets makeup, but helps to cool skin surface temperature so there’s no heat degradation with makeup. The product is also heat resistant and ideal for those hot humid summer days, hot flashes, or while doing exertive activities. With its cooling mist, the product is also refreshing on those tropical days. Leaves no residue and ideal for sensitive skin (like mine). Product is also oil and paraben free. Can be applied throughout the day or evening as a refresher spritz. For more information, visit http://www.skindinavia.com/.
That’s it for this edition…until the next one…remember to take care of yourself and those around you.
……NEXT EDITION ~ Reviews on Astara Skincare, DayNa Decker, Nune & Nature, Obagi, Sunday Riley, ‘The Maybelline Story’……
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. You can email her at email@example.com.
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(Photo credits as represented from the specific brand.)