Monday, March 25, 2013


I’ve been covering aspects of spa for over twenty years, and while it is possible to approximate and create a spa experience at home,  the only genuine way to experience a spa and benefit from it is to actually go to one.  That being said, however, one can replicate aspects of spa experiences while in a home setting, provided planning, organizing, conditions and product mix come together as one, but again, it isn’t meant to replace an actual spa experience.  For example, just in the area of the treatment experience at the hands of a highly skilled, trained and experienced spa technician, it is impossible for one to replicate that individual’s touch and skill in the home setting. 

The spa experience is sensory-driven and should engage the five senses of tactile, taste, auditory, visual and olfactory.  The innate senses such as emotion and psyche, which greatly rely on perception and imprinting recall, also come into play.  When one’s senses are engaged, the efficacy of the experience is elevated.

Following are a number of products I recently tried that effectively transform your spa at home experience to one that captures the essence of a spa experience, as if you’re at one.  I’ve also included a few DIY tips and treats for you to also consider as part of your spa at home experience.  The products, tips and treats are all based on engaging various senses throughout the experience to magnify one’s sensory acuities.  So, get ready and go and get your spa on…..


Tarocca Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Body and Hand Care Collection ~ Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing various products from Crabtree & Evelyn, and have always enjoyed the unique aromatic and restorative formulations.  Launched in mid-February, this product range was aromatherapeutic, hydrating and restorative.  I tried the Ultra Moisturising Hand Therapy, Skin Invigorating Bath & Shower Gel, and Silk Silkening Body SoufflĂ©.  Each product was infused with anti-oxidant rich Vitamin C, Tarocca Sicilian red orange extract, eucalyptus extract and sage extract.  Some of the other key ingredients included cedarwood, patchouli, aloe leaf, macadamia seed oil, angelica, shea butter and juniper berry.  The aromas of the ingredients were uplifting, fresh and invigorating.  Ingredients were restorative and revitalized.  Hydration levels were noticeably improved after one use and were maintained throughout the day.  The Bath & Shower Gel thoroughly cleansed without leaving skin dry.  The Hand Therapy and Body SoufflĂ© were quickly absorbed and left no residue or tack. 

Your Skincare Solution Spa-At-Home Essentials Kit ~ This handy all-in-one Spa-At-Home Essentials Kit is ideal for home or travel and comes complete with Pevonia’s top performing skincare products.  Included in the Essentials Kit are Silky Skin Body Scrub, Anti-Stress Bath Salts, Anti-Stress Bath & Shower Gel, Preserve Body Moisturizer, Spalasium Spa Ambiance Candle (Place of Serenity Lavender aroma) and a handy reference card “Four Easy Steps to Spa-At-Home Bliss”; everything is neatly stored in its own white waffle cloth design zippered carrying bag; the inside of the bag is made of waterproof material to prevent any leakage or spillage from getting onto clothing, if used in traveling.  Ingredients in the Scrub included safflower seed oil, sage extract, chamomile flower extract, rosemary leaf extract, aloe leaf gel, lemon peel oil and jojoba seed powder.  Ingredients in the Salts included sea salt, ylang ylang essential oil, lavender flower oil, balsam fir oil and orange peel oil.  Ingredients in the Bath & Shower Gel included hazel nut oil, sweet almond seed oil, sesame seed oil, chamomile flower oil, cornflower extract, lavender flower extract, and linden flower extract.  Ingredients in the Moisturizer included safflower seed oil, Vitamin E, alpha hydroxy acids, rosemary leaf extract, chamomile flower extract, horsetail leaf extract, pine leaf extract, lemon peel oil, French rose extract and orris root.  Each product delivered intended results beautifully and effectively.  My skin was clean, gently exfoliated, revitalized and exceptionally hydrated.  The aromas of each product were refreshing and calming.   Over the years, I’ve reviewed various Pevonia products and have always enjoyed their formulations and effectiveness; it’s understandable why this spa brand is a preferred one at so many spa facilities.

Hand Scrub and Salt Soak ~ The Hand Scrub (Midnight Garden aroma) was ideal for hands, elbows, knees and other body parts that were in need of gentle exfoliation.  Key ingredients included Atlantic sea salt, aloe leaf juice, shea butter, coconut oil, dried rosemary and essential oils.  Product gently and effectively exfoliated, while restoring hydration levels; after rinsing, there wasn’t any greasy residue or tackiness; pleasant aroma.  The Salt Soak (Southern Pecan aroma) was ideal for bathing or foot soaks.  Key ingredients included Atlantic sea salts, pecans and essential oils.  Product effectively restored hydration levels without leaving any trace of the sweet aroma, which was more like pie than a treatment soak.  All products are handcrafted and packaged in beautiful recylced cobalt blue glass or plastic containers.  Environmentally and ethically formulated without sulfates, colorants, parabens, petrochemicals or animal products.  Products are available in a variety of natural aromas.  One of my favorite aromas, rose, is their latest fragrance edition to this lovely line.  Packaging can also be custom imprinted for special events, which makes for ideal gift giving (bridal or baby showers).


In General ~ Set aside time to disconnect from reality and create a new one that’s filled with relaxation and restorative indulgence.  Consider the type of relaxation music you want to listen to and then have it ready to play throughout your special time.  Prepare ahead of time the healthy fruit or veggie infused waters you’ll refresh yourself with throughout the day.  Begin your day with simple stretching movements, followed by introspection and contemplation.  Plan a light and healthy breakfast, such as green tea or an herbal tisane, Greek-style yogurt with fresh fruit and a nutrient-dense healthy muffin (same for a healthy lunch of a hearty salad).  Plan your time accordingly and block out any outside influences and the extraneous that might be disruptive to your relaxed rhythm.  Take the time to go for a walk and get reacquainted with nature and just having some personal time without anyone else seemingly bothering you.  If you have children, make arrangements for someone to take care of them while you’re restoring yourself.

Dry Brushing ~ If you don’t have a body brush with firm bristles, consider buying one; in lieu of a firm-bristle body brush, a loofah chunk or mitt is recommended.  Using one of these on dry skin is great for exfoliating and revving up the circulation.  Using circular small motions, begin from the feet and work your way up the body, towards the heart.   Make sure to avoid any sensitive areas, especially areas with broken skin.  Do not dry brush to recently shaved or sunburned skin, otherwise irritation will result.

Gentle Facial Scrub ~ You’ll need a gentle oil, such as almond, jojoba or olive, as well as corn meal.  Place a small amount of corn meal in the palm of your hand and to this add a small amount of the oil, or enough to make a paste.  Apply this to face and gently rub the skin using small circular motions with the fingertips.  Gently rinse off with warm water and blot dry.  The oil will provide sufficient hydration to the skin.

Pedi Soak ~ You’ll need a large bowl or basin (I use a large stainless bread mixing bowl), Epsom salts (or baking soda), a scented essential oil (optional), marbles (floral or conventional), pedi paddle or super-fine grade sandpaper block (or a dish scrubby), and a gentle oil (almond, jojoba or olive).  Fill basin/bowl with warm water.  Add Epsom salts (or baking soda, or both), and any optional scented essential oils; mix all ingredients thoroughly.  Add marbles.  Soak feet in mix, taking time to gently rub the soles of your feet over the marbles to stimulate and revitalize the circulation; this is also great for giving oneself a foot massage.  After twenty to thirty minutes of soaking, remove feet and then dry; gently exfoliate any calloused areas (use a pedi paddle, sandpaper block or dish scrubby); apply the oil to feet and moisturize (or use one of your body moisturizers); to keep the feet protected and to seal in the moisture, wear cotton socks.  This is an ideal treat prior to retiring for the evening.

Rosewater Toner ~ A culinary-grade Rosewater (available at specialty stores, Indian or Middle Eastern grocery stores, or in mass retail grocery chains with an import section) is an inexpensive alternative to facial-grade Rosewater, and it’s a very refreshing facial toner.  Transfer the Rosewater to a fine mister for ease of applying.  The culinary-grade is wonderful when chilled and sprayed on the face throughout the day as a quick pick-me-up. 

Witch Hazel & Rosewater Astringent Toner ~ Mix the culinary-grade Rosewater with Witch Hazel.  The gentle astringent property of the witch hazel in combination with the rosewater makes for a gentle finishing toner.  I use this mix especially during the summer or after a vigorous workout.  This is ideal for cooling down an over-heated face and as a refresher throughout the day. 

These are just a few of spa at home DIY Treats I’ve put together and have enjoyed during my own special time. 


Prior to your spa at home experience, plan what you want to accomplish and organize your approach, and remember that taking time to regroup, unwind, decompress, relax and restore isn’t hedonistic ~ it’s an investment in self.  Don’t regret the time you’ve set aside for yourself.  And while spa at home may be all about you, you’ve earned this time and you definitely deserve it!

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 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.  She also serves as a Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz.  You can email her at


(Introductory photo from Spa and Salon Supplies Canada  All other photo credits as represented from the specific brand.)

N.B.  Google’s blog platform is incompatible with my Mac OS X and Firefox browser latest software versions, which is why some web links appear in different colors and why when attempting to have embedded images, their sizing is consistent and/or can’t be sized. 

Friday, March 15, 2013


It’s amazing how many different products and brands are out there for the consumer to try and buy.  For me, I learn about new products through Internet research, by a public relations firm contacting me about their client and the latest and greatest products, or getting samples at a spa or industry show.

Caveat, before making a significant investment in purchasing any of these products, ask about getting sample sizes first to test-drive and make sure your skin doesn’t react adversely to any of the ingredients, or if they aren’t doing what was expected or advertised.  If the retail or online outlet, salon or spa doesn’t offer any samples, make sure to inquire about a return policy for full-sized product purchases in the event there are adverse reactions to the product or the product’s performance wasn’t as “advertised” or represented.  If these are “if-y” or nonexistent options, I’d recommend that you pass on the purchase altogether, especially since there is a huge selection of other products to consider that may have comparable formulations.  Following are some recent new product finds I tried and wanted to share with you.

Eva-NYC ~ Get Up and Go! Hair Care Travel Kit
I came across this company’s exhibit at the recent International Home+Housewares Show in Chicago.  In the Travel Kit were the Clean It Up Shampoo, Soften Up Conditioner, Therapy Session Hair Mask and Hungry Hair Oil Treatment.  I have fine, oily hair; during the colder months, however, it becomes dry due to decreased levels of humidity.  The products I tried performed well on my hair, since it was still the temps were still on the colder and drier side.  The primary ingredients in each product included Keravis protein and Argan oil; the Keravis strengthened, while the Argan nourished.  After using the products, my hair was nourished with a healthy shine; they also tamed my static airborne strands of hair.

Fiafini Marula Oil Skin Care ~ Delicate Cleansing Emulsion, Divine Hydration Moisturizer, Exceptional Skin Serum and Deluxe Anti-Aging Eye Cream
Over the years, the skincare industry has seen a number of ingredient trends for hydration and nourishment.  Some have included oils and butters derived from Almond, Jojoba, Olive, Coconut, Kukui, Macadamia, Argan and Marula.  Many of these oils and butters have been used for hundreds of years by women from around the world as multi-purpose substances used in cooking, for healing wounds, or for hydrating the skin and hair.  Always in search of the next best ingredient trend, companies and their product formulators have turned these ingredients into global wonders.  All Fiafini products contain Marula Oil, known for years by South African women for its hydrating properties; it’s also rich in antioxidants and Omega 9 and 6, essential fatty acids, both known to minimize the signs of aging by nourishing and treating the skin.   Fiafini products also contain natural plant extract derivatives and essential oils, which further enable the products to have natural therapeutic properties.  Some of the additional healing and restorative ingredients include agave, cactus, Evening Primrose, aloe, yucca, lavender, oat and avocado.  Each product I tried was gentle and hydrating.  The Cleansing Emulsion didn’t dry my skin and left it slightly hydrated.  The Skin Serum and Hydration Moisturizer were quickly absorbed and left no tacky or greasy residue.  The Eye Cream was non-irritating and quickly absorbed without leaving any residue.  Products are recommended for all skin types, including sensitive.  The aromas are subtle and I especially enjoyed those containing lavender essential oil.

Joey Healy Eyebrow Collection ~ Brow Structure Clear Set
Joey Healy brings his expertise and passion as a licensed esthetician, makeup artist and eyebrow stylist with products that turn dull and lackluster eyebrows into the natural beauties they were meant to be.  I tried the Brow Structure Clear Set.  The product groomed my brows to their natural arched line by lifting and defining the growth without making it look stiff or artificial.  I loved the tapered brush, which gave maximum lift and definition without leaving any telltale signs of product.

Night Care ~ Intensive Healing Foot Cream
Like anyone else, my feet take a beating just with the daily routine.  Callouses and dry cracked skin result, turning the skin into a weapon that snags hose, not too mention makes the feet look unsightly and grooming-ignored.  I saw an immediate improvement to my foot issues after one application of the Foot Cream; I applied it to my feet and then covered my feet with socks.  Rough cracked skin was smooth and super-hydrated.  Main ingredients include mineral and corn oil, lactic acid and Vitamin A and E; the lactic acid was gentle and non-irritating.  I also enjoyed the fact that its aroma wasn’t the ubiquitous minty smell, so common with other comparable products.

PUR Attitude ~ Fountain of Youth Serum and Insta-Results Face Lift Gel
My skin can be finicky at times; during the winter, the T-zone is normalized and the cheek areas are dry; the reverse occurs during the summer.  The Youth Serum can be used alone or under moisturizer.  After cleansing and toning my face, I applied the Youth Serum, which has a clear gel consistency.  It was quickly absorbed and didn’t leave any tacky residue; its aroma was neutral.  The only issue I had with the product was that the texture of my cheek area didn’t feel hydrated and its texture was grainy.  The Insta-Results Face Lift Gel was a bit challenging for me, since I don’t have sagging skin or visible wrinkles.  I did, however, apply the Lift Gel in the inset of my “marionette folds”; the product tightened to slightly soften the inset skin.  This product went on easily, was absorbed quickly and didn’t leave any sticky residue; its aroma was neutral.  The philosophy of the company is “Safe Beauty” and their products are formulated to avoid the inclusion of harsh chemicals, parabens, PEG’, glycols, sulfates, petrochemicals, synthetic fragrances and artificial dyes.  For an additional resource on the beauty industry, David Pollack, the name behind the brand, has written a concise insider’s book on everything and anything you always wanted to know about the industry, “Just Stop the Lies ~ Secrets the Beauty Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know”.  Lastly, I’d like to suggest a different cap for each product; the squared plastic edges are very sharp and made for difficult uncapping of each product.
For additional information on each product, be sure to check out their websites and explore their entire product line. 

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 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.  She also serves as a Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz.  You can email her at


(Photo credit by

N.B.  Google’s blog platform is incompatible with my Mac OS X and Firefox browser latest software versions, which is why some web links appear in different colors and why when attempting to have embedded images their sizing is consistent and/or can’t be sized.