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When traveling leaves you fatigued, don’t let your face give it away. Perhaps easier said than done, but a few products out there can help mask the culprits of long days of sightseeing and fun-filled nights on the town (namely dark under-eye circles, grime, dead skin, and large pores). Read on for a selection of four products that I don’t leave home without, thanks to their ability to transform tired-looking skin. The best part is that they can all be easily packed and stowed away in a carry-on bag. Read more
Last week, I visited the Guerlain Spa at the Waldorf-Astoria New York to check out the recent renovations and sample the new signature Abeille Royale Expert Treatment. This is the queen of all facials – the Abeille Royale line of creams and serums, featured prominently in the treatment, makes use of a honey manufactured only by queen bees, among other bee products. The multi-step anti-aging process also involves a rice powder exfoliating scrub, thyme and tiger flower massage “stamps,” and a purifying peel.
For the City Slicker: The Ritz-Carlton at L.A. Live
A recent renaissance in downtown L.A. caused an urban revival that’s left the area pulsating with award winning restaurants, classic cocktail bars, and hip hotels. The Ritz-Carlton, the first luxury hotel of its caliber in downtown L.A., plays a prominent role in the revival and in L.A.’s urban, iconic landscape.
Check in to one of the Ritz’s 123 well-appointed guestrooms, one of its 14 suites, or even its 3,000-square-foot Ritz-Carlton Suite. Jet set your way to the Club Lounge with views of the beach, city streets, and Hollywood Hills. It looks like a first class airport lounge with service so sublime, you’ll find yourself requesting a pillow to park it for the night. Do manage to mosey on so you can sip a signature cocktail in a cabana at the rooftop pool bar or make a resto reso at WP24, Puck’s place, where the duck is world-renowned.
If Mom can spend her special day ax throwing or white-water rafting, why not send Dad to the spa? These brand-new packages and treatments for Father’s Day will leave your dad relaxed, refreshed – and in a much better mood to hear about how you’ll be taking summer classes this year to make up for your party-heavy spring semester.
Ciel Spa at SLS Hotel Beverly Hills
This L.A. hotspot has put together a Dad’s Day of Relaxation package, redeemable on any day Dad chooses. Along with a 60-minute massage and a 30-minute facial, the package includes a beer and steak salad served at the spa. Deal Alert: Booked a la carte these services would cost over $250, but you can score them for your dad for just $175. cielatsls.com/specials
Come Valentine’s Day, spas are typically packed with couples getting side-by-side Swedish massages. But this year spas are playing with the concept – and making it even cozier – with side-by-side facials for couples, a valentine that says, Love me, love my clogged pores?
The customized Be My Valentine Side by Side Facial ($230 for two, 60 minutes, www.oasisdayspanyc.com), offered at the Oasis Spas in the New York City area, uses Rose Garden or Chocolate oils, and includes scalp and foot massages.
And body wraps for two that envelop you both – not for the commitment phobic or claustrophobic!
The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Amelia Island is now taking reservations for the Couples Chocolate and Pomegranate Wrap. This Valentine’s ritual ($650 for two, 2 ½ hours, www.ritzcarlton.com/ameliaisland) begins with a Honey Vanilla Milk Bath, then you’re both covered in chocolate “a natural aphrodisiac” and cocooned together in a thermal blanket for the Chocolate-Pomegranate Wrap. It concludes with a massage.
Would you give these treatments as a romantic gift to your Valentine or are they too close for comfort?
While one-off organic spas with fastidiously natural skin-care treatments have always existed, now a number of high-end hotel spas are adding all-natural, non-toxic spa treatments to their menus. These hotels spas are catering to a customer who’s concerned about chemicals in her cosmetics and wants beauty treatments to be as carefully sourced and crafted as her dinner at ABC Kitchen (or groceries at Whole Foods). Here are five hotel spas offering luxurious all-natural facials:
1. The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
The South Florida spa just debuted eco-luxe treatments with Amala, which means “most pure” in Sanskrit. It contains no synthetic ingredients and whole plant ingredients (and is one of the most popular product lines at Barneys New York). Its pioneering founder, Ute Leube, sources a majority of the ingredients from organic farmers around the world.
Treatment to try: Amala Worth Avenue Firming Facial. www.fourseasons.com
2. The Sahra Spa & Hammam at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Treatments at this brand-new spa use Kahina Giving Beauty, a high-end natural skin-care line based on the benefits of argan oil. This nourishing ingredient is sourced from Berber women’s cooperatives in Morocco, and every facial gives 10 percent back to them.
Treatment to try: Kahina Giving Beauty Facial. www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com Read more
Pumpkin is not just great in a pie. It’s also great in a skin-care product or in a facial. Particularly pumpkin enzymes, which literally digest dead skin cells, helping along the skin’s exfoliation process. By clearing these surface skin cells, pumpkin peels help prevent pore congestion and pimples, and they help smooth, refine, and brighten your skin almost immediately. (While it would take several treatments to see dark spots lighten, new skin cells revealed by exfoliating tend to be more even in tone and reflect light better.) Fruit enzymes like pumpkin (or papain from papaya or bromelian from pineapple) sound gentle compared to peels with the word “acid” in them, but they’re definitely potent ingredients.
Pumpkin’s also a multivitamin for the skin, since it contains beta carotene, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and E – all great antioxidants that help protect the skin from free radical damage and signs of aging. “Pumpkin is a super-ingredient for the skin,” says Kristin Carpenter, director of the Eau Spa by Cornelia at the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach. “It’s a natural cleanser that exfoliates and fights aging.”
A season of heat, humidity, and sunning yourself (even if it’s inadvertently) can leave skin looking lackluster. That’s why facial peels – the best way to brighten and improve your skin, in my expert opinion – are a popular facial treatment come fall.
I’m not talking about a deep chemical peel that requires a dermatologist, a week of downtime, and a burqa until you heal. I’m referring to a no-downtime peel to gently exfoliate your dead and possibly damaged top layer of skin.
Oxygen facials can plump fine lines, making them less noticeable, and can famously give skin a red-carpet glow with one treatment. But they might also be giving you free-radical damage.
That’s the not-so glamorous possible side effect of the popular facial, which is used in many spas from Bliss Spa to Trump – and by every celebrity come Oscar season.
The facials use a small machine that sprays atomized ingredients onto (and possibly into) the skin using a stream of pressurized oxygen. The idea being that oxygen is good for skin’s cellular metabolism and that the pressurized form can help deliver vitamins and nourishing ingredients into skin’s deeper layers. Additionally, the bacteria that cause pimples can’t live in oxygen’s presence (that’s the principle behind Proactive and other hydrogen peroxide-based acne treatments), so the facial is used to help clear up skin, too.
I’m not a fan of seasonal spa treatments, since most of the products used come from a jar, not a farmer’s market. But I do think that spa treatments should be adjusted for summer. Our skin breaks out more thanks to sun, sweat, and sunscreen, and is more susceptible to irritations (like heat rash) and puffiness (like water retention). Here are some of the treatments you’ll find on summer spa menus that help you beat the heat and its seasonal skin-care woes:
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