Monday, July 25, 2011


…with Phytomer, Moroccanoil, Kerstin Florian and Shiffa Dubai…

Recent spa experiences at Avani Spa (Lake Geneva, WI), Kohler Waters Spa Chicago (Burr Ridge, IL) and The Spa at Trump Chicago (Chicago, IL) were not only enjoyable, but the treatments received were therapeutic and restorative. Each treatment experience involved a variety of high quality treatment products that were also available for purchase either at the spa’s retail boutique, or online. Products adapted well to an at-home regimen. Every time I used the different products at home, I was reminded of my treatment experience at each respective spa, making for its at-home use all the more enjoyable.

While the initial treatment product’s efficacy in the spa treatment setting is momentary and not necessary a gauge for long-term suitability, having used the products over a period of time in an at-home controlled environment allowed for me to gauge the product’s efficacy and better determine how the products would improve or maintain the texture of the skin and its firmness over time, and whether or not there was any noticeable improvement to the overall quality of the skin. Other products, such as those used on the body or even hair, had the same criteria applied when determining their overall efficacy and noticeable improvements. For each of the following at-home product reviews, I tried to consistently use each product over a period of four weeks to gauge their levels of effectiveness.

Caveats ~

Before making a purchase of any product at the spa, always consider the at-home suitability before making the purchase. If you enjoyed the results post-treatment, in all likelihood, you’ll enjoy using the products at home. And, as with any product, should contraindications occur, or the performance isn’t at the level of expectation, don’t hesitate contacting the spa. Lastly, be sure to thoroughly understand how to use the products correctly in order to maximize their efficacy and adaptability to an at-home regimen. Consulting your spa professional on these matters, which includes asking questions and seeking their advice, is highly recommended. This approach may not be “science”, but the time spent looking into such matters will yield better results and no disappointments. Based on my experiences, however, this approach works every time.

Quick Reference ~

To read about the spa and treatment specifics, following are the original review article dates. Go to the “article archive” section, locate the date and then click on the link and read each article.

  • Avani Spa ~ April 12, 2011
  • Kohler Waters Spa Chicago ~ May 16, 2011
  • The Spa At Trump Chicago ~ July 5, 2011


Phytomer Custom Facial ~ Phytomer Product Range

  • Vegetal Exfoliant
  • Youth Reviver Age-Defense Mask
  • Perfect Visage Gentle Cleansing Milk
  • Rosée Visage Toning Cleansing Lotion
  • Expert Youth Wrinkle Correction Cream

Why the products work ~

All of these products were gentle, non-irritating, and delivered results. The key to the products includes formulations rich in marine by-products that are nutrient-rich; seaweed, like laminaria digitata, a very dense and potent marine by-product that re-mineralizes, nourishes, hydrates, and restores is a stellar ingredient in this product line. The immediate thing I noticed after using the products was that my skin looked healthier and refreshed. These products drenched my skin with moisture, without leaving any tacky residue; the cream was quickly absorbed and hydration levels remained throughout the day. I loved the gentleness of the Gentle Cleansing Milk and the aroma of the Rosée Toner. A real winner was the Vegetal Exfoliant, an enzymatic peel (papain from papaya) that exfoliated without assaulting or damaging the delicate facial tissue (often the case with harsher exfoliants). The Age-Defense Mask corrects fine lines and wrinkles; it removes easily and leaves no residue; skin is noticeably brighter. The Wrinkle Correction Cream is one of my new faves. I loved its texture and aroma; it definitely improved the look and feel of my skin.

Aqua Embrace Hair Treatment ~ Moroccanoil Product Range

  • Oil-No-More Professional Scalp Treatment
  • Intense Hydrating Mask, Argan Oil Enriched
  • Light Oil Treatment For Fine and Light-Colored Hair
  • Hydrating Styling Cream For All Hair Types

Why the products work ~

Using products rich in Argan Oil on my fine and oily-prone hair seemed counterintuitive. Argan oil, the power ingredient behind this line, has been cherished for centuries for its healing, nourishing, repairing and revitalizing properties. Because of my fine and oily-prone hair, I tend to totally avoid conditioners and hair masks like they were some form of communicable disease. What I end up with is semi-fried and dried feeling and looking hair. Never mind that I think that’s how my type of hair should feel and look after it’s been shampooed. Then, add to this the abuse from styling and blow-drying products, and you have the perfect storm. That is, until I was introduced to Moroccanoil products, at the Avani Spa.

Moroccanoil is THE product that has taken salons by storm, so much so that it’s difficult to keep product stocked for the fanatical devotees. The power ingredient is Argan Oil, which has been used for centuries by women in the Middle East either as a skin-softening agent, hair treatment, or even in food preparations. Although I have fine and oily hair, the marvel of these products was that instead of being weighted down with an oil, my hair was actually volumized, made thicker and healthier to the touch, and of course, it added a luster that I thought I had lost forever as part of the aging process.

The Scalp Treatment is a professional-only formulated product. The Hydrating Mask left my hair wonderfully smooth and silky once the hair was completely dried. And whether the Light Oil was used on either damp (or dry hair to tame the “wild-ones”), it added a beautiful luster and brought my lifeless hair back to life. The Styling Cream heightened the vibrancy of my revitalized hair. I didn’t use all of the products at one time, since that would be “over-kill”. I used the Mask one to times a month, the Scalp Treatment monthly, the Light Oil one to times a week (or on the ends as needed), and the Styling Cream, occasionally (since I’m not one to regularly style my tresses, especially since I have short hair). Not only did these products perform exceptionally well, their aroma was also fabulous. Any Light Oil residue was rubbed into my dry cuticles, all over my hands and onto my elbows; the residue added a good dose of hydration to those areas. I’d love for Moroccanoil to formulate a body lotion. I think it would be another stellar product for their line and one that dull, dry and lifeless skin would greatly welcome!


Kohler Waters Seasonal Wrap ~ Kerstin Florian Product Range

  • Rehydrating Neroli Cleansing Milk
  • Rejuvenating Thermal Tonic
  • Rejuvenating Anti-Stress Oil

Why the products works ~

These products are exceptional for a facial regime, but were administered during the facial massage portion of the body wrap treatment. All of the products were gentle and non-irritating. The Cleansing Milk formulation included green tea, algae, aloe vera, apricot kernel oil, orange flower water and grapefruit seed extract. The overall texture was light and non-drying; it rinsed clean, left no residue, and had a neutral aroma. The Thermal Tonic formulation included witch hazel extract, chamomile and rose oil. It was refreshing and removed any traces of the Cleansing Milk. Its aroma was neutral. The Anti-Stress Oil formulation included essential oils of geranium, Melissa and lavender. The product was quickly absorbed, left no residue or tackiness and maintained levels of hydration. The combination of such healing and aromatic essential oils made this product my favorite.


Signature Balancing Diamonds Massage ~ Shiffa Dubai Products

  • Signature Gemstone Diamond Body Oil

Why the product works ~

This extraordinary oil penetrated deeply into the skin, adding a renewed level of hydration, while also improving the overall texture of the skin. The oil quickly absorbed without leaving any residue or tackiness. This custom blended formulation is rich in oils that nourish, heal and revitalize.

This luxe formulation includes almond, sunflower, macadamia, apricot, sesame, jojoba, evening primrose, orange, damask rose and neroli oils. In addition to providing superior hydration that lasted for hours, the evening primrose, damask rose and neroli oils made for an exceptionally aromatherapeutic product that was delightful to my olfactory sense. The formulation also included minute particles of diamonds, which infused gemstone energy within the oil to aid in balancing, calming and restoring. This exquisite oil was gentle enough for the face, and I loved spreading the residue on cuticles and hands. This custom gemstone signature oil is available at any of the Trump Spas that offer this signature treatment, while the Shiffa Dubai website offers other types of oil blends for online purchase. There is also a complementary Balancing Gemstone Candle, infused with the same aromatherapeutic properties of the exquisite oil.

For your consideration ~

Next time you enjoy a treatment at a spa that you truly enjoyed, be sure to check out the spa’s retail boutique before you leave, and see if some of the products used in the treatment are also available for purchase. And be sure to ask a staff member for assistance; they’ll gladly assist you with your purchase and even share with you recommendations on ways to properly use the product at home to maximize its efficacy. Most spas are more than happy to also help develop an at-home regiment for you. If the products aren’t available at the spa, check out the respective product website and consider purchasing the product online. Lastly, while most products are available for consumer use, some may not be available due to the formulation being limited for use only by your trained spa professional.

Either way, taking a bit of the spa home with you ensures that you’ll be reminded of that spa experience and how much you enjoyed everything about it, including the products used, each time you incorporate the product(s) in an at-home regiment. Using the products at home is one way to reactivate the sensory-driven experience, which is what spa-ing is all about.

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the 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. She also serves on EXPERIENCE | PREMCHIT Journeys In Retreat To Wellness Advisory Board, which is comprised of ten international experts in various fields of wellness and spa, and is Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz. You can email her at


(Photo credits as represented from the specific brand.)


  1. Nice beauty regimen you have there. I would love to try this product.

  2. Hello ~ which product are you referring to? May I suggest you contact the website and inquire about obtaining samples, or ask about a spa in your area that uses the products so you could go in and experience them? Good luck with these endeavors. Thanks for taking the time to read my article and respond to it. Enjoy your week. Bye!


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