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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?
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.”
All kinds of beauty products bill themselves as travel-worthy. But that often just means they’re packaged in small enough jars to not get confiscated by TSA. Or they include what you need once you arrive in your destination (shampoo, etc.) rather than what you need in flight to keep your skin from tightening up like drum or looking ashy and lackluster like you’ve been at sea for months.
My ideal in-flight travel kit has five hydrating skin-care products (plus toothbrush and toothpaste) and is super low on scent: It’s not nice to besiege your fellow passengers with heady perfumes, so I stick to natural-leaning lines with products that smell no stronger than a cup of herbal tea.
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:
A shoe-in for LEED silver certification, the luxury Viceroy Snowmass resort glistens on the sweeping slope of Assay Hill in the Aspen area of Colorado. Muting Aspen’s reputation as an extravagant celebrity destination, the Viceroy sells opulent ambiance complimented by pragmatic and intimate design at reputable prices. Through June 16, the Springtime in Snowmass package offers guests discounted room rates starting from $150 (regularly $225) on their beautiful studios and apartments, along with 30 percent off all massages, facials, rituals, and manicures and pedicures at their 7,000-square-foot spa.
For reservations visit www.viceroysnowmass.com, or call 888-328-1724.
About the Resort: The brainchild of respected architect Jean-Michel Gathy, Viceroy Snowmass is a wonder of sustainable design, with 30 percent more efficiency than traditional edifices. It comprises 173 residential ski-in/ski-out accommodations outfitted with fireplaces, private sundecks, full or convenience kitchens, flat-screen televisions, DVD players, and wireless Internet. Indulge in local, seasonal offerings at their restaurant, grab a snack at the poolside café, or break a sweat at the state-of-the-art fitness center – better yet, stroll down one of the newly thawed hiking trails.
Mothers and daughters in search of an affordable spring spa getaway should check out the top-rated Golden Door Spa, located within the 23-acre Naples Grande Beach Resort on Florida’s gulf coast. In celebration of Mother’s Day, this posh property is now offering an affordable spa special that includes one 50-minute Golden Door Massage and one 50-minute signature facial per person, followed by a side-by-side Mother-Daughter pedicure. The Mother Daughter Togetherness Package is available from May 10 to June 10 and starts at $304 per person. Along with these services, you’ll both enjoy access to the spa’s indoor and outdoor relaxation areas, sauna, whirlpool and steamroom. Head outside for tranquil walks along more than 200 acres of lush mangroves and nature preserve, or simply unwind on your room’s private balcony with panoramic view of the Gulf. Spring rates start at just $99/night.
If your hectic schedule has you feeling stressed out and spent, we have just the antidote. Located in scenic Santa Fe, New Mexico, the landmark Eldorado Hotel & Spa is offering the perfect package for travelers in need of some stress-free down time. Starting at just $199/night, guests will enjoy deluxe accommodations plus one free daily spa treatment with each night of their stay. You can choose from a 50-minute massage or facial, treatments normally valued at $130, or opt to apply the spa credit of $130 towards a more expensive alternative treatment. This value offer is available through April, and there is no limit to the number of nights you can book.
Located in easy-going downtown Santa Fe, The El Dorado Hotel & Spa offers a chic stay ideal for anyone in search of some stress-free pampering. Boasting a luxurious rooftop pool and Jacuzzi, a locally inspired spa and the top-rated Old House restaurant, you’ll find all you need to unwind at this posh desert oasis. Try the El Dorado’s Stress Relief package, entitling travelers to a free daily spa treatment with each night booked. Guests can choose between one 50-minute massage or facial at no additional cost, treatments regularly valued at $130. Rates for this special offer start at just $199/night through March 31 and $229/night from April 1-30.
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