Friday, September 20, 2013


Engaging the senses has always been key to the spa experience.   This engagement can mean the difference between remaining stressed-out or achieving relaxation and restoration.  Going to a spa isn’t hedonism or an indulgence, but rather an investment in self.  Unfortunately, far too many spas have overly emphasized the hedonistic aspects of the experience, rather than the healing or restorative qualities of the experience. 

Historically, relaxation, and restoration were the driving forces behind traditional health spas and why individuals sought them out.  The often-haphazard temporary fix so many consumers have sought in going to a spa to “cure” whatever was ailing them today, undermines and diminishes the real purpose for going to one.  If one rushes into a spa all stressed-out and then gets a therapeutic body massage, for example, and leaves expecting to have all of their stress dissipated by that single treatment without fully understanding why they were stressed out and how to eliminate it, then they’re missing the purpose of the spa experience.  Many spas are also missing an opportunity of informing and educating their clients on how to continue any benefits of relaxation or restoration they experienced from the treatment once they leave the confines of the spa, and returning back to reality.

Whether we realize it or not, everything we do each day is impacting our senses.  Sometimes the impact is pleasant, while other times not so pleasant.  Those real life sensory experiences have a dramatic impact on our memory, since the experiences are imprinted, which explains why some people prefer certain colors, or aromas, or types of music, etc. to that of others.  Keeping that in mind, the following products also impact the senses, and in differing ways.  These products are restorative for the face and body, while also being aromatherapeutic, which does brings about a sense of calming and relaxation.

Colorlab Custom Lipstick, Sinnissippi Rose ~ This special color of Sinnissippi Rose was customized for a Rockford Park District (IL) Wine and Roses Gala in 2012; held at the Sinnissippi Rose Gardens, one of Rockford’s Great Gardens, the gala was a benefit for the Rockford Park District's City of Gardens and the Sinnissippi Rose Garden Endowment.  The Sinnissippi Rose Garden boasts of two thousand rose plants from sixty-two varieties.  The custom Lipstick was named after this garden to represent one of its many rich hued roses.  Colorlab lipstick formulations are rich in Vitamin E, oils of jojoba, macadamia nut and grape seed, green tea extract, shea butter, and aloe; the hydrating formula drenches the lips with natural ingredients that protect and nourish.  Photo by Lyndi Toohill.

Eight Skincare Lavender Body Softening Oil ~ This Lavender Body Softening Oil comes in a handy spray bottle that’s ideal for travel or workout.  Before showering, I prepped my skin with a thorough dry brushing, which helps get the circulation going, but also helps slough off any dead skin cells.  After showering and then spraying the Softening Oil all over, my skin felt incredibly hydrated.  The product was quickly absorbed without being greasy or tacky.  My skin felt silky and hydrated throughout the day.  Key ingredients include oils from safflower seed, lavender, jojoba seed, apricot kernel, sunflower seed, sweet almond, avocado, rice bran, wheat germ, gardenia flower extract, and evening primrose.  The product was also very aromatherapeutic.

Jurlique Rose Shower Gel, Rose Hand Cream, Rose Body Cream, Rose Moisturising Cleanser, and Rosewater Balancing Mist Intense-Deluxe Edition ~ I love the aroma of rose and these products didn’t disappoint.  The Rose Shower Gel is highly concentrated and very little was required to create a rich cleansing foam that left my skin feeling hydrated with the delicate aroma of pure rose on my skin.  Both the Hand Cream and Body Cream drenched my skin with nourishing hydration that was quickly absorbed without leaving any greasy or tacky residue; both also left a subtle aroma of pure rose on my skin. The Moisturising Cleanser created a gentle and hydrating foam that deep cleans the skin without stripping it dry; it’s also rich in anti-aging antioxidants.  The Balancing Mist also hydrated the skin, while toning and refreshing the skin; it set the skin perfectly for my moisturizer; the Balancing Mist was also ideal used throughout the day to freshen the face; key ingredients include a proprietary blend of rose varieties that are equal to ten thousand rose petals per bottle, as well as marshmallow, aloe vera, glycerin, and grapefruit seed.  The rich dense aroma of pure rose makes all of these products highly aromatherapeutic.  Jurlique has been providing natural skincare for over twenty-five years, using organic and natural ingredients grown and harvested from their own farms and used in their product formulations.

MIYU Teas & Beauty A Prettea Little Quartet ~ The pairing of coordinated skincare with tea is a unique lifestyle approach that’s also forward thinking and has healing attributes based in Traditional Chinese Medicine, which involves the sense of beauty originating both inside and out.  MIYU’s approach is to combine a serum with a tea to achieve that balance and involves a Hydrate and a De-Stress component; the first is for the morning and the second, the evening.  The Hydrate Mi component is a two-step approach involving a restorative and nurturing spray serum paired with an energizing tea.  The Hydrate Mi Spray Serum is rich in antioxidant botanicals that include wild pansy, rose, goji berries and mangosteen.  The Hydrate Mi Tea is a blend of green rooibos, goji berries, and rose petals.  Pansy improves circulation and improves hydration; rose is soothing and softening and also aids in circulation; mangosteen is rich in antioxidants; green rooibos is rich in flavonoids, which tackle free radials; and, goji is also rich in antioxidants and collagen-enhancing Vitamin C, which also aids in maintaining the softness of skin.  The De-Stress Mi component pairs a recovery and restorative spray serum with a calming tea.  The De-Stress Mi Spray Serum includes five essential minerals (silicon, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc) that protect the skin’s barrier and decreases stress, irritation and inflammation; it also includes dandelion, which also functions to decrease stress and inflammation; it also contains ginger, a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory; another soothing ingredient is licorice, which contributes to skin brightening; and, honeysuckle sooths and protects the skin from negative environmental affects.  The De-Stress Tea contains peppermint, rich in Vitamins A and C, which is both refreshing and calming; it also contains licorice root, another calming and anti-inflammatory ingredient, and chamomile, which further soothes, calms and heals.  Each Serum Spray and its corresponding Tea were refreshing.

Molton Brown Kumudu Volumising Shampoo and Conditioner ~ I loved using these products.  My short, fine, oily hair was left in the best condition I’d seen or felt in years.  The key ingredients in both products include Brazilian Kumudu Fruit extract for conditioning and enhancing body volumizing; amino acids help to improve the luster and shine, and extracts of magnolia, grapefruit and cedar make for an intense aromatherapeutic quality, which was delightful.

Osmotics Cosmeceuticals Anti-Radical Age Defense Moisture Complex and Cream Extreme Intensive Repair ~ I’m not a fan of “cosmeceuticals” because many are too harsh for my finicky skin.  That being said, I was pleasantly surprised at the gentleness and effectiveness of the Anti-Radical Defense Moisture Complex.  Geared for normal to dry skin, key anti-aging ingredients include vegetable squalane, hydrolyzed wheat and soy protein, Vitamin E, Ubiquinone 50, watermelon fruit extract, and linoleic acid.  The Moisture Complex had a rich consistency that when on smoothly and was quickly absorbed without leaving any greasy or tacky residue; my skin maintained its hydration levels throughout the day.  The product was non-irritating and distributed balanced moisture; areas that were normal never became oily, and areas that were dry, became hydrated and brought to a level of hydration as the normal areas; the skin had a silky texture; the aroma was neutral.  The Cream Extreme Intensive Repair, which is recommended for dry and sensitive skin, was too rich for my skin; although my skin has dry patches and is frequently reactive, the formulation was dense and ointment-like, even after warming it in my palm before applying it; the aroma seemed medicinal. 

Philip Kingsley Pure Silver Shampoo and Conditioner ~ My once-upon-a-time dishwater blonde hair is nearly all gray and defines my age.  I enjoyed using these products, which are formulated with violet hues and optical brighteners to add luster and shine to dulling gray hair.  Both the Shampoo and Conditioner left my hair very soft and easy to manage; they also left a hint of shine.  I also loved the aroma of lavender essential oil, which is in both products.

Weleda Arnica Massage Oil ~ I’ve been a huge fan of this line since the 1970s.  The Arnica Massage Oil does double-duty as a massage oil and as an exceptional moisturizer, which left my skin feeling like I’d just applied a dry oil.  The product was quickly absorbed without leaving any greasy or tacky residue.  Key ingredients include sunflower seed oil, olive oil and Arnica Montana extract, rosemary and lavender.  The Arnica Montana is also very soothing for stiff and sore muscles.  This product is definitely aromatherapeutic, while also being calming, restoring and hydrating.

Whish Coconut Shave Crave Cream and Deodorant Swipes ~ The Shave Crave Shave Cream is ideal for women’s shaving needs.  The formulation includes key ingredients like natural squalene, an Omega-3 fatty acid and organic shea butter; soothing organic green tea and organic coconut oil; and, nourishing and restorative organic joboba seed oil.  These ingredients left my skin incredibly smooth and also hydrated and helped the razor glide without tugging or nicking.  Whish suggests a “double shave” to optimize closeness and ingredient benefit ~ once “with” the hair growth, then a second application of product, and then “against” the growth.  While I enjoyed the product and how my legs and underarms felt after using it, I’m not a fan of Coconut.  Whish Shave Crave Cream comes in a variety of aroma profiles; I would’ve loved trying Lemongrass, Lavender or Almond; maybe next time.  The Deodorant Swipes are a dual-purpose product; first, they inhibit hair growth when used regularly after shaving and second, they’re supposed to eliminate odor.  While my experience was that the Swipes were gentle and didn’t irritate the delicate underarm skin, the odor wasn’t tamed at all.  The Deodorant Swipes key ingredients include chaparral extract to inhibit growth, seaweed extract and organic sea buckthorn fruit extract to protect and firm, and odor inhibiting ingredients like odenone and saccharomyces ferment.

~ Esthetics Under the Surface ~

I’m not one to want to get an injectable in my face to make myself appear younger or deal with the natural on-set of aging, code for sagging and wrinkles; and I certainly don’t begrudge others for wanting to go that route.  Dermal fillers, or injectables, have improved over the years through extensive research, development and technology.  Many of these fillers include Collagen, Botox, Restylane, Juvederm, Captique, etc.  However, before pursuing this journey, a person needs to perform extensive due diligence as to what products are currently being offered for cosmetic esthetics, making sure they’re all FDA approved, and which products are safest, including case studies, before and after imagery, duration of effectiveness, pain or side effects, and recovery time; and, above all, the individual must do sufficient research as to the qualifications and experience level of the plastic surgeon or dermatologist who will be administering the injectable. Take a tour of their facility, ask plenty of questions, ask for multiple referrals, etc.  Also, make sure to have a conference with your doctor fully exploring any contraindications you might encounter during and after the procedure. 

Normal hormonal changes as the body ages is also part of appearing old; this includes the body losing its ability to naturally produce collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, which are the basis of healthy and firm skin; a normal decrease in estrogen and testosterone also contribute to the aging process.  As these normal processes change, the skin begins to sag and lose its elasticity and suppleness, and also contributes to facial wrinkles. 

Injectables are an option that puts back what normal aging has taken away.  Those seeking cosmetic options like this generally do so to diminish their visible signs of aging.  And although aging is a natural part of life, its effects are further impacted by lifestyle, including stress, diet, smoking, alcohol, sleep deprivation, etc., assessing these factors and making appropriate changes should also be part of the course of action, in addition to seeking any cosmetic procedure.  To reiterate, arm yourself with as much information as possible before you go through with any invasive procedure, including injectables.  Following are a few options to consider that represent the latest in FDA approved injectables for cosmetic procedures, which are part of Merz Aesthetics. 

Radiesse Volumizing Filler ~ Radiesse Volumizing Filler has been clinically tested to be the only wrinkle filler that immediately replenishes lost volume, while stimulating the production of the patient’s own natural collagen for long-lasting results; it has also been clinically proven to last a year or more in many patients.  Patients treated with this product were significantly more satisfied than patients treated with other leading wrinkle fillers based on the efficacy and longevity of the injection.

Belotero Balance Dermal Filler ~ Belotero Balance Dermal Filler is designed to integrate into a patient’s skin and mold it to their distinct facial contours, which softens lines and wrinkles around the nose and mouth for a smooth and natural appearance.  The product’s versatility cam handle deep treatment areas like the nasolabial folds as well as more delicates areas such as vertical lines above the lip.  Clinical trials supported the effects to last up to six months or more.

Xeomin ~ Xeomin is used in facial aesthetics to temporarily improve the appearance of moderate to severe glabellar frown lines between the eyes (glabellar lines) in adults.  It also contains botulinum toxin type A.  It acts on nerve endings in muscles to prevent the muscle fibers from contracting; by reducing these contractions, frown lines on the forehead and between the eyes are temporarily reduced.  Clinical trials supported the effects to last up to three months or more.

Lastly, remember to take some time for yourself and create a sensory experience that will enable you to de-stress, relax and restore.  You’re definitely worth 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 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.  You can email her at


(Introductory photo, Fall at Anderson Japanese Gardens.  Additional photo credits as represented by 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

1 comment:

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