Friday, December 13, 2013



This is the special time of the year when hope, joy, generosity and optimism converge with warm thoughts and fond recollections of memories from years gone by.  In this spirit of the season, I’ve assembled some of my favorite things to consider as gifts.  I hope you enjoy this year’s assortment of gifting ideas, whether they’re for a loved one or for yourself.  


Clarisonic ~ Clarisonic has been on the forefront of technologically advanced skincare products that are as effective in the hands of a skilled spa or salon practitioner, or when used by the consumer.  Clarisonic has clearly revolutionized skincare technology with simple and cost-effective products that continue to receive praise from both sectors.  I tried Clarisonic’s latest and greatest products, which included their PLUS Face & Body Sonic Cleansing System, the Deep Pore Detoxifying Solution and the PEDI Sonic Foot Transformation.  The PLUS is an expanded Classic unit with three variable speeds of sonic cleansing, adjustable timer, plus a body mode and brush head with an optional body extender wand.  Users can now thoroughly tend to face and body with proven effectiveness using variable cleansing speeds and brush head options (sensitive, normal or body); the unit comes with a recharger cradle, a two-year warranty and is also waterproof.  The Deep Pore unit is a Mia 2 with timer and two adjustable speeds; it also includes a specially designed Deep Pore brush head that removes any pore clogging gunk gently and effectively; designed to be used with the unit is a specially formulated Daily Cleanser that is formulated with fruit acids and Japanese Green Tea; a corresponding Deep Pore Detoxifying Clay Mask is also included, that’s formulated with sugar and fruit extracts, aloe vera gel, and pore detoxifying clays (kaolin and bentonite); a charger and carrying case round out this complete set; waterproof and warrantied for two years.  Lastly, a recent newcomer to this phenomenal line is the PEDI Sonic Foot Transformation system.  This system is like having a perpetual nail technician at your beck and call.  The impressive system includes a revved up version of the Classic with a specialized motor that is more suited to foot care, versus the face; the base unit also has three variable speeds and adjustable timer; it’s also waterproof and comes with a charger and two year warranty.  Specific to the base unit are a special texturized stainless steel precision disk that smooths and softens dry skin on the feet (under no circumstance is this head or any other head specific to this PEDI to be used or interchanged with brush heads on any of the facial units).  Also included with the PEDI is a separate wet/dry buffing brush head that is designed with varying lengths of filaments to effectively buff and exfoliate the feet is also included; the PEDI also comes with specially formulated products that aid the prepping and finishing of the feet (Pedi-Buff, Pedi-Balm and Pedi-Boost).  My overall experience with using each of these systems is that my face, body and feet were left scrupulously cleaned and revitalized; continued usage also helped to improve the overall texture and condition of the skin due to increased circulation.

Crabtree & Evelyn ~ This continues to be one of my favorite brands; it never disappoints.  Crabtree & Evelyn knows how to develop scents that are authentic and evoke memories of cherished moments; I also enjoy their body care products, which have healing and restorative formulas.  Each year, I look forward to their holiday collections; this year, I tried their beautiful Home Fragrance Sprays in Noël and Gilded Chestnut; both were part of their signature Home for the Holidays offerings.  Noël diffuses essences of balsam and persimmon, with hints of mulling spices; Gilded Chestnut diffuses essences of pear and spice, with hints of crisp berry; both aromas evoke cherished holiday memories and subtly scent without leaving any strong aromas.  I also tried their new Verbena and Lavender de Provence collection’s Cologne and Shower Gel. I adored the light and fresh authentic aromas, and found them to be uplifting and aromatherapeutic; the Cologne includes extracts of verbena, lavender, cedarwood, white amber and Tonka, making for an authentic, fresh and uplifting aroma; the Shower Gel also includes extracts of verbena and lavender and gently cleanses without drying the skin.

Manifesto of Light Gorgeous Rose Collection ~ A phenomenally intense, rich and decadent pure rose essential Perfume Oil Serum and Body Cream that is nearly impossible to describe without committing an injustice to them.  Both products contain the precious and highly coveted Rose Damascene Absolute and Rose Damascene Otto, and are artisan crafted by hand; the formulas contain no water, which assures the purity of the oils.  The Serum also contains Italian cold extracted hazelnut oil, Myrrh and Geranium.  The Body Cream also contains African wild harvested shea butter, Italian cold pressed hazelnut oil, Myrrh and Geranium.  Over the years, I’ve experienced many products that used pure essential rose oil in their formulas, but I can honestly state that with these exquisite and precious products, I’ve never experienced so pure, so nearly perfect rose formulas that touched my olfactory, transporting me to a dimension of calm and restoration.  Both of these products are dense with 100% essential oils from this cherished flower and as such, only a miniscule amount is needed to achieve sensory enjoyment; the purity of product also nurtures the skin and is an incredible super hydrator.  Unique to this exquisite collection are the signed, numbered and expiry dated certificates of authentication for both the Gorgeous Over One Hundred Bunches of Real Roses in a Bottle Double Blended Serum and the Gorgeous Over Thirty Bunches of Real Roses in a Jar Double Blended Cream.  Both come are packaged in black glass containers, which are impervious to degrading light; each comes in full-sized containers and includes a handy refillable travel container, complete with a black suede embroidered travel pouch.  Exquisite all around…from packaging, to presentation, to product!

Pevonia ~ Radiant skin doesn’t happen by accident.  The skincare pros at Pevonia have been doing all-things skin in spas and salons for decades.  The latest buzz is their Celebrate Radiance Micro-Retinol Repair Gift Set.  Only available through a qualified Pevonia spa or salon location, these products are absolutely amazing and while immediate results are noticeable, over time, their effect is cumulative.  The kit includes the Micro-Retinol Essential Foaming Cleanser, Micro-Retinol Essential Serum and Micro-Retinol Essential Moisturizer and comes in a sweet winter white quilted travel bag (I love the tasseled zipper, too).  Products work synergistically together with key ingredients that include hyaluronic acid, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Retinol; this formula is perfect for diminishing signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles, while nourishing, repairing and smoothing skin that’s left luminous and brightened.

Superstar Nail Lacquer ~ Just in time for the holidays and all of those social events on your calendar, the Superstar Nail Lacquer collection is perfect for that making all of your digits festive and glam.  The three spectacular colors I played with included Michelle Is Ready For The White House, a brash dark glimmery red; Bright Lights, Long Nights, a pearlescent wintery white; and, Purple Party, an rich iridescent purple with night sky undertones.  The nail lacquer collection is formaldehyde-free and vegan-friendly and longwearing; I tend to prefer just having my toes painted, since on my hands, I tend to clumsily ruin color in seconds.

VENeffect ~ With the harshness of winter setting in, what better way to nourish and restore your fragile skin than with this dynamic new treatment line that’s garnering a lot of hot press and praise.  I tried the VENeffect Anti-Aging Intensive Moisturizer, Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF15, Firming Phyto-Lift Serum, Anti-Aging Eye Treatment and Anti-Aging Lip Treatment.  These products are ideal for aging skin that needs to restore depleted levels of collagen with natural phytoestrogens; the unique formulations protect skin from sun’s harmful rays, while delivering anti-oxidants that diminish signs of aging; products are also hypo-allergenic.  I noticed a slight visible improvement after only one use of these products, especially under my eyes and cheek areas, which are two dry-prone areas of my skin.

Votre Nu ~ The holidays remind us of beautiful scents to use and remember.  The festively packaged Holiday Rollaway Gift Set is a perfect way to gift someone with the experience of beautiful French organic parfums in aromas like Les Naturelles Sacré Coeur and Les Naturelles Festival.  The rollerballs deliver just the right amount of fragrance to all the secret places where the natural body heat radiates the scents.  Sacré Coeur is a light floral of Nenuphar, the European White Water Lily.  Festival is a crisp and bright lemon. To tame the holiday chill that assault the lips and hands, there’s stocking-stuffer perfectly sized restorative formulas, there’s Champagne Kisses Enhancing Lip Balm, which drenches the lips in nourishing and soothing grape seed oil, and the dynamic all-in-one bébé Duette Luxe Lips Moisturizing Balm and Almond Luxe Hand Cream; the Lip Balm drenches parched lips with coconut oil and shea butter and protects with UV filters, while the Hand Cream nourishes and heals with sunflower seed oil, grape seed oil, aloe, and UVA/UVB filters.

Ilike Organics
JAMU Organic Spa Rituals
Kneipp International
PINO Natural Spa Therapy


“The holidays are the perfect time to introduce the spa to friends and family,” said Lynne McNees, president of ISPA. “The number one reason people go to the spa worldwide is to learn how to manage their stress. Gifting loved ones with tools to aid in relaxation and stress management is one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give.”  Here is a sampling of International SPA Association members and their products, just in time for the holidays: Ambre Blends in Fishers, Ind. offers Skin Tonic SET, a package including Ambre Blends Roll-on Essence and Skin Tonic.  Ba6 Botanicals, LLC in Hampton Bays, N.Y., offers Moringa Facial Oil, formulated with nourishing moringa, olive and avocado oils to immerse the skin in antioxidants, vitamins and powerful essential fatty acids.  BloqUV in Miami, Fla., offers 24/7. With elongated sleeves and a functional pocket, this garment blocks 98 percent of the sun’s rays. The fabric has moisture wicking and dries quickly, cooling you off when wet with sweat or water. Epicuren Discovery in Laguna Hills, Calif., offers Tahitian Vanilla After Bath Moisturizer, which replenishes and hydrates dry skin, leaving the body feeling hydrated, soft and silky.  Erbaviva in Chatsworth, Calif., offers Erbaviva’s Hand Cream, combining the antioxidant benefits of rosemary extract and the skin rejuvenating, anti-aging properties of commiphora mukul for soft, beautiful hands.  Hylunia in Henderson, Nev., offers Hydrating Neroli Mist. Gently infusing moisture into skin, this product offers hydration the helps skin appear younger and fresher. Makes Scents Natural Spa Line in Lancaster, Pa., offers Organic Mocha Mint Cappuccino Body Scrub, a 100 percent organic scrub with the tantalizing scents of rich dark chocolate, refreshing peppermint and invigorating coffee that will indulge the senses of those on your gift-giving list.  Performance Health in Akron, Ohio, offers Biofreeze 360° Spray. Working from any angle, this is the perfect gift for anyone experiencing aches and pains.  Phytomer Corporation in Salt Lake City, Utah, offers Night Recharge Youth Enhancing Cream. Formulated with detoxifying microalgae, this cream eliminates free radicals, toxins and pollutants that disrupt the proper functioning of cells.  Sothys USA Inc. in Miami, Fla., offers Secrets de Sothys Luxury Gift Set, a luxurious box that includes Secrets de Sothys Global Anti-Age De-stressing Care and Serum.  SpaRitual in Los Angeles, Calif., offers Illuminate Lacquer Duo with Fair Trade Bag. This set includes two luminous lacquers, Intention, a red shimmer color, and Intuition, a purple shimmer color and a custom-designed fair trade bag.  Spiller U.S. in Canton, Ga., offers Sanvita Gift Box, a specially packaged set of Dr. Spiller’s green tea-based product line including containers of Sanvita Cream, Sanvita Gel and Sanvita Mask.  Sprayology in Tinton Falls, N.J., offers Party Relief, the perfect holiday accessory that prevents and relieves hangovers naturally. Universal Companies in Abingdon, Va., offers ESS Aromatherapy Roll-Ons. These essential oil roll-ons are available in seven blends that are aromatherapeutic.


If you’re stumped for gifting ideas, think local and consider gift certificates to restaurants, day spas, salons, hotels, museum memberships, fitness club memberships and related.  Other great gift ideas include putting together your own themed gift baskets for the wellness-focused foodie, or the DIY-er, etc., or IOU coupons (babysitting, dog sitting, a meal or two when someone is ill, etc.).  Be creative and consider all of the possibilities. 


The holidays, especially Christmas, are magical and remind us of the innocence of the child within where anything and everything is possible as long as you believe.  Keep this in mind as you celebrate the spirit of the season.  And, when gifting, remember that it’s the thought that counts and not the gift logo or its value; don’t go into debt being gift-generous; sometimes, the simplest of gifts are the best and most cherished.  Celebrate this season with hope, joy, gratitude, generosity and optimism.

That’s it for this edition.  Until the next one, remember to take care of yourself and those you love.

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 the 1990s, she authored an extensive "Glossary of Spa Terminologies" and holds two copyright registrations.  Consumer and trade publications have also interviewed her as an expert.  She also conducted an extensive nationally broadcasted interview tour on aspects of creating an at-home spa, interior design, stress and time management.  Her work has been published extensively in print and online in both consumer and trade publications.  In addition to writing, reviewing and being interviewed as an expert, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker.  She currently 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.  She also served as a Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz.  Be sure to read her food, wine and culinary digital magazine, TERRY’S SECOND HELPINGS.  You can email her at


(Introductory photo, a family Christmas past.  Additional photo credits as represented by the specific brand.)