Upping the ante on the art of pampering, top-notch spas are putting away preservative-filled products and offering services that fuse vitamin-rich fresh foods, herbs, and spices into luxe treatments. — Amy Tara Koch
The use of pure foods in beauty rituals is not new. Honey, sugar, olive oil, milk, ginger, citrus, oatmeal, lemongrass, and various nut oils were used in ancient Roman baths to rejuvenate the skin. The beautifying benefits of these natural wonders? Honey is an antioxidant and a humectant that is said to stimulate the growth of new skin cells. The lactic acid in whole milk is a natural exfoliant and soothes irritated skin. Mint and ginger improve circulation. And ground oatmeal softens and soothes dry skin. With so much to choose from, we put together a list of spas offering our favorite treatments. Don’t want to make a spa trip? No problem. We’ve also come up with a do-it-yourself guide to pampering yourself without spending big bucks.
Treatment: Warm Honey Wrap and Orange Blossom Milk Soak
Golden Door Spa, Escondido, California, (800) 424-0777, www.goldendoor.com
Pure, fresh honey from the Golden Door’s own beehives is massaged into your skin, and you’re wrapped in skin-softening thermal blankets while a foot massage transports you to an even deeper level of relaxation. Treatment is finished up with a warm milk bath (infused with orange-blossom oils and powdered milk) in the hydrotherapy tub. $7,500 for a week at the spa, which includes this 45-minute treatment.
1. Warm the honey so it becomes more liquid. Be careful not to overheat it.
2. While the honey is warming, prepare the milk-and-orange bath: With the warm water running, add 1.5 to 2 cups of powdered milk to your tub. Add slices of orange to the milky water. If available, add orange blossoms and a couple of drops of orange essential oil.
3. The next step should take place either in your shower stall (if separate from your bath) or next to the bath, on a towel-covered piece of plastic. Liberally apply the warm honey to your skin and massage it in; the longer you leave the honey on, the better.
4. Step into the milk-and-orange bath and soak for 15 minutes. The honey will melt away into the water, softening your skin while the milk bath soothes and relaxes you.
5. There is no need to rinse after stepping out of the bath. Simply dry yourself off with a soft towel and apply your favorite moisturizer.
Treatment: Lemongrass Scrub
We Care Spa, Desert Hot Springs, California, (800) 888-2523, www.wecarespa.com
This uplifting scrub uses natural sea salt with pure extracts of lemongrass, lime, and coconut oil, transporting your senses to the essence of exotic Thailand. 30 minutes, $70.
DIY: Mix four to six drops each of essential oil of pure lemongrass and lime, a half cup of natural sea salt, and a half cup of fragmented (fat removed) coconut milk in a bowl. Gently rub over your entire body in the shower. Leave the solution on for a few minutes and then rinse it off.