5 Tips for Choosing a Day Spa

“So you’re new to town, and you’re wondering where to go for some soothing relaxation and beauty treatment. You’re looking for a day spa, but not just any day spa, you’re looking for quality. There are a 5 tips you should keep in mind whilst on your search.” – Botanica Day Spa, Owner/Aesthetician, Gen Obolensky

Gen shares her 5 tips on how to choose a spa that is right for you:

1. Don’t choose a salon or spa based on price. Many people have a misconception when it comes to prices at spas. Don’t choose a spa just because it’s cheap, you’re most likely not going to get the customer service or quality of service you are expecting. Then again, don’t choose a spa just because it’s expensive. You may have your expectations very high for a place like that, and you may be getting overcharged. You’re looking for a place where you are getting quality service, customer satisfaction, while paying a reasonable price in exchange for what you are getting. Choosing a spa for yourself shouldn’t depend solely on what you would be paying.

2. Look, don’t just listen. There is nothing wrong with asking around about a good spa or checking for online reviews, but remember to look for yourself as well. Somebody may tell you that they recently got a brow wax at a local spa, and that they loved it or they hated it. Make sure you actually look at their brows to see how the spa did. You might hear that a certain place is awful and to avoid, but ask yourself if this person’s critique is truly a well-rounded review. In other words, try not to make a decision based solely on what you hear. One of the best advertisements for a spa is the actual product created; the quality of the brow wax, manicure, pedicure, etc., will show for itself.

9509632741_d8e4c32522_b

3. Look for good customer service. Customer service is a huge element of your spa experience. Let’s say you go to two different places for a pedicure. Both of the spas give the same great pedicure, but at one of the spas the technician is interested in making sure you are comfortable, is interested in talking to you and is generally kind and considerate towards you. You are going to enjoy yourself much more at a spa like that. People who have had a great spa experience will often rave about it. Keep your ears out for these kinds of reviews on your search!

4. Make sure they offer the kind of services you want. Visit the spa’s website or call in and speak to someone directly (also a great way to gauge the spa’s friendliness and customer service) to check out what services they have to offer. Spas usually have a “menu” listing their services and prices. Some smaller day spas may not have a service that you’re interested in, so you may want to check and see if they have what you’re looking for. A full-service day spa or med spa is more likely to offer facial treatments, body wraps, sauna, laser, botox and therapeutic massages but the cost may be higher.

5. Make sure it’s clean. One of the main things you want to be sure about regarding choosing a day spa is cleanliness! This is very important. Spas often have many clients back to back, one right after the other. If the sheets are not changed after every client massage/facial or if the tools are not cleaned after every pedicure/manicure, germs and bacteria can spread rather easily. A good spa is a clean spa.

Do you currently have a spa you’re loyal to? We’d love to be YOUR new spa! Come check out our two locations – SkinCatering in Springfield and D.Hotel Spa in Holyoke.

Love,

Leanne & Kim

kim and leanne 2

Advertisements

Cater To The Bride

Congratulations on your engagement! Let us cater to your needs as you prepare to embark on a new chapter in your life.

close up of a diamond ring

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Day 1 – Get a hand treatment will leave your skin fresh & youthful, and instagram ready! Perfect for showing off your new ring to everyone you meet (they WILL ask to see it.)

Day 15 – Schedule a Custom Facial with your favorite spa. (If you don’t have one you are loyal to, we would LOVE to be your place!) This initial skin analysis & cleansing helps form a bond between you and your esthetician. Your skin care professional will help educate you on your skin and recommend a maintenance routine that will be the best fit for your lifestyle and results you’re looking to achieve. This will ensure your best face forward for all of your upcoming photo opps!

During this visit with your skin care expert, you should discuss concerns you have about your skin, stress level, and lifestyle. Your specialist will help guide you as to how many professional facial treatments to get before your wedding, and what can easily be done at home.

Spa-girls-with-eye-pads

Six Months Before Wedding – This is a great time to start discussing bachelorette party options with your Maid of Honor, or thank you gifts to your bridal party. Wouldn’t it be cool to ‘shut down the spa’ and have it all to yourselves for a few hours?! We customize spa parties that suit your party size and budget. You’ll want to schedule this party with 2-3 months notice to the spa, more if you have a larger party or are getting married in a very popular month. A credit card to hold the space is usually required, if not a 50% deposit.

We recommend having this party a 2-4 weeks before your wedding. It’s an enchanting way to say, “Thank you” to your bridal party during this (can-be) stressful time. You get to chill with your lady friends and enjoy each other’s company (and maybe a glass of bubbly!)

3 Weeks Before Wedding – Come in for an hour long massage. You’ve earned it, so treat yourself!

1 week Before Wedding – A final express facial and body scrub/wrap treatment are in order. This ensures beautiful, fresh skin for all those photos of you on your big day!

Day 1 As a Married Couple – Schedule a Couples Massage to set the tone for your lasting marriage. A relaxing experience, just for the two of you, setting the intention for a positive mindset.

Book Now

SkinCatering.com (Springfield, MA)

DHotelSpa.com (Holyoke, MA)

woman relaxing relax spa

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A Whole New World From Someone New to the Spa Industry

Pic 2I have always taken care of my skin or at least that’s what I thought. Remove your make-up daily, wash your face every night, use moisturizer, and always wear SPF. This was my typical routine. I never used a mask, exfoliator, different creams for different times of the day, and I’ve only had one facial in my life. Although I knew there was more I could do, I thought I was doing ok and certainly better than a lot of people I know. And then I started working at SkinCatering where my first day on the job included talking about marketing goals and getting my first ever mask (all while on social media). That’s when I realized I was in for quite the ride.

Going on the Road

In mid-January, I was lucky enough to join Leanne and Kim on an adventure to Chicago for the Skin Inc. Face and Body Spa Conference and Expo. Although I have been to many expos in the past, I was overwhelmed with the number of products and different variations of those products, all saying why they are the best for your skin or why they are the best for a spa service.

As we walked the isles of the expo floor, it was clear how much Kim and Leanne knew about the products being represented: what ones were good or not so good, which were the ones that actually do what they say. We came home with three new items from the show which we are very excited to introduce to all of you.

Pic 1

• The Perfectio Infrared Light Therapy is a rejuvenation therapy to help revitalize your skin, both face and body. It uses infrared light in repairing collagen in the skin and help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and is grCupping Trialeat for all skin types.
• The Perfectio Sapphire Treatment is used to help with the reduction of oils in the skin and is most suited for those with acne. The blue light therapy is shown to increase blood flow and thereby, helps to naturally heal the treated skin.
• Cupping Therapy may be all the trend now but it is actually an ancient form or pain therapy. This is used to help with blood flow, pain, and overall well-being. The cups we are utilizing for our new treatment are silicone which allows for them to be moved from place to place using massage techniques.

As with anything, it is so important to continue learning. There are always new products and techniques that may be just right for a customer. It is up to our staff to find the items that are just right to offer, continue to learn, and stay current.

And let’s not forget, there might have been a bit of fun during this trip!

Pic 5

 

Practicing Safe Sun

Practicing Safe Skin Through the Summer Months

blogtitlenosun

With the unofficial start of summer here, it is time to start thinking about how to keep our skin safe when out and about in the sun. Although it is recommended to wear an SPF year round, we start thinking about it now that we are spending more time outside, gardening, cooking out, relaxing, and going on vacation. The best way to protect ourselves from the sun is to cover up, wear a big hat and sunglasses, finding shade, and using a beach tent if you are planning on being in the sun for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, that is not always possible, so I have put together some facts and resources on staying sun safe with sunscreen!

You may be wondering which sunscreens are the best. To be honest, I don’t have a perfect answer, but I can help guide you to find a sunscreen that can best fit your needs. As we are becoming more aware of the toxins in mass produced skincare products, I find myself choosing physical sunscreens over chemical sunscreens. Physical sunscreens are a good option for those of us who may have skin that is sensitive/sensitized, acneic, or is experiencing any other skin conditions.

There are two types of sunscreen’s, physical and chemical. The packaging may not label your sunscreen as such, so it is always a good idea to know what to look for in the ingredients. These ingredients are also good to know when looking for something like a daily moisturizer with an SPF.

father-daughter-beach-sea-38302A physical sunscreen’s active ingredients will include titanium dioxide, and/or zinc oxide. These are mineral based ingredients that will reflect or scatter some of the UV rays.

A chemical sunscreen’s active ingredients oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone. These active ingredients are organic (carbon-based) and will absorb the UV rays, turning them into heat and then releasing from the skin.

Remember regardless of which type of sunscreen you choose, you always want to make sure to apply at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure, and to reapply as stated in the FDA’s guidelines. This can be a feat for those of us that wear makeup or find it messy to keep reapplying a lotion through the day. There are alternatives, such as mineral sunscreen that you can brush on throughout the day like a setting powder. They even come with a cover and a built in brush for easy portability.

According to FDA sunscreen guidelines
“Reapply at least every two hours. And more often if you’re swimming or sweating. (Remember to read the label for your specific sunscreen. An average-size adult or child needs at least one ounce of sunscreen, about the amount it takes to fill a shot glass, to evenly cover the body.)”

https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm049090.htm

pexels-photo-210106Shopping for sunscreen can also be a daunting task, as it can be overwhelming standing in that aisle. Lotion, spray on, or stick, different strengths, and brands, how do we know which are tried and tested? Every year the EWG (Environmental Working Group) publishes a Guide to Sunscreen. They go more in-depth and rate the best and worst brands of sunscreens, according to their research. This is a great resource to check the score of your sunscreen or to find one if you don’t already have a preference.

In my personal circle of friends and on social media I have noticed an increased interest in skin health. Using a daily sunscreen can help you maintain healthy skin, and slow down extrinsic aging. Once we are into adulthood, it is never too early to start preventative anti-aging. Using sunscreen daily can be an easy, quick, and vital role to your daily routine.

As stated by The Skin Cancer Foundation, “Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent and the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.” http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts

If that sun kissed glow is what you absolutely desire, you can always opt for a sunless spray tan. Plus you can always choose to skip the tan lines when you go sunless! Skincatering offers sunless tanning by appointment in their Springfield location. Although sunless spray tanning does not offer any UV protection, it does give you a healthy natural looking glow without the effects of long term UV exposure.

Summer Wellness Tips

summerwellnessIn the summer I am out and about much more than I am in the cold winter. The season starts with graduation parties, progresses to birthday parties, cookouts, pool parties, and ends with labor day parties. In between all that we are going to the beach, and planning summer activities with our family to make the most of the summer months. There are times in the midst of all these activities and parties that I sit down and realize I have been going non-stop for days and then I realize, it is time for a self-care day. We all need to make time for them, no matter how many things we have planned in our calendar, taking time out for yourself is vital. Since we are smack in the middle of summer, I thought I would give a few tips for self-care that you can always make time for.

Hydrate yourself. I know I talk about hydration in almost all my posts, but I keep it up because it is so important. Water is essential to keep our bodies running, so staying hydrated is something we should stay conscious about. How much water should we drink each day? The old adage is 8 cups of water per day to stay hydrated, while a good general rule of thumb you may need more than this when you are spending more time outside in the heat or exercising. If you have a hard time remembering to drink water water-glass-heat-drink-161425through the day or maybe water just doesn’t suit your fancy, there are ways to remind yourself or make your water more palatable. These are all to personal preference but you could add it into your daily planner or journal, get an app that reminds you to drink water through the day, keep a big water bottle with you at all times. To make your water more fun or interesting, there are so many ways to infuse water with fruit to help you enjoy it more, of course, the one that comes to mind is lemon water because it is so common, but if you go onto Pinterest and search fruit water, you will get more ideas than you ever imagined!

Wear your sunscreen every day. Even if you feel as though you won’t be outside (unless you are actually staying in all day) you will likely be exposed to the sun on your commute or getting from A to B. Even just wearing a good broad spectrum mineral based sunblock-1461397_1920sunscreen on your face and decolletage will help guard you from the suns rays, that over time can break down collagen and elastin and increase your risk of health issues related to sun damage. If you will be out at the beach, or in the sun more than from home to work, find a good sunscreen that will help protect you while enjoying the summer weather.

Take some time out of your busy schedule to relax. Book a one hour massage or custom facial. There are more benefits to massage and facials than you may realize. Yes, they are wonderful to wind down and relax, but here are some massage benefits you may not have known. Our facials at SkinCatering are more than just relaxing, we customize our wellness-285590_1920facial to your skin type and your greatest concerns so that we can work together to help provide you with relaxation and results. Our Esthetician Holly is also a Certified Reiki Practitioner and offers Headache Relief Massage Reiki sessions and Custom Facials with Reiki which is the ultimate in self-care! We offer massage and facial services in Springfield and Holyoke, and Holly offers Reiki services in our Holyoke location.

pexels-photo-68468.jpegMy last tip, take a breath and enjoy life. Sometimes when we are caught up in the hustle and bustle of life we forget to take a minute to stop and breathe. Whatever it takes for you to take a moment for yourself is up to you. Some prefer to meditate, some just like to sit and relax by the pool, while others may want to join in on a yoga class. When it comes to self-care, even just taking a few minutes a day to clear our mind and relax can yield significant outcomes in our well-being.

 

5 Reasons You Should Get a Massage

benefitsmassageMost of us know that massages can be a nice relaxing way to pamper ourselves, or others when life gets a little hectic but did you know that there is much more to massage than just indulging yourself for an hour or two? The benefits of massage go far beyond that, read on to see the five reasons you should make an appointment for a massage today!

headache-1557802_1920.jpg

Headaches – Massage may help relieve chronic tension headaches in less than 24 hours. In a study where chronic tension headache sufferers were given massage in the neck and shoulders, they saw reduced symptoms and frequency during the treatments and continued to see a reduction of symptoms during the study. If you are suffering headaches, you may want to stop into SkinCatering for a 15 or 30-minute Headache Relief Massage today.

 

Digestive Disorders – The reduction of stress and use of some aromatherapy can help relieve symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). In addition to that, the physical manipulation of massage may also help alleviate IBS symptoms by relaxing abdominal tense muscles causing pain and constipation. If IBS is something you are dealing with, it is best to find a professionally trained and licensed therapist and start with a consultation, letting your therapist know your history and current symptoms. Your massage therapist will be the expert on best methods of treatment as some massage methods could exacerbate symptoms.

StockSnap_46BMYP2BDJInsomnia – If you suffer from insomnia you are likely no stranger to anxiety and sleepless nights. Massage can greatly help us relax, relieving anxiety, but can also help us holistically treat insomnia. According to Nicole Cutler L.A.c., “The chemistry of sleep is relevant to massage therapists because massage can directly influence the body’s production of serotonin.” This connection calls for additional research of the direct impact massage has on serotonin and sleep. Meanwhile, the current research is enough to recommend consistent massage if you are suffering from insomnia.

Sports injuries – If you are an athlete I am sure you are no stranger to pain and injury. Massage helps to relax muscles and relieve tension and is a great therapy to help with sports related pain. Although you may not immediately feel the effects of massage, you should feel it within a day or two. Sports massage can help improve circulation, which can also aid your metabolism, can improve range of motion, shorten recovery times, prevent overtraining, and may even be able to help prevent and help injuries. SkinCatering offers Sports Massage at both their Springfield and the Holyoke locations.

pexels-photo-264300

Soft tissue strain – Strains and sprains can be a real pain, even long after you think they may be healed. Another benefit of therapeutic sports massage can be to aid in preventing further injury. When a soft muscle injury is healed, it is usually replaced by scar tissue which will mean the loss of flexibility and will be much more likely to become reinjured. Consistent sports massage could help to reduce or remove the scar tissue in the affected area.

No matter the reason you are coming for massage, always make sure to let your therapist know if you have had any injuries or changes since the last time you saw them, and let them know your biggest concern so they will be able to help you best by focusing on those areas.

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447303/
http://www.ibs-symptoms.ie/?q=advicecenter/stress-anxiety/massage-therapy
http://www.integrativehealthcare.org/mt/archives/2005/08/insomnia_seroto.html
http://www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=13434
http://stretchcoach.com/articles/sports-massage
https://www.amtamassage.org/approved_position_statements/Massage-Therapy-for-Those-Who-Exercise.html

Cell Turnover and Aging Skin

cell turnover and aging skinOur skin is our largest organ, and the way it works truly fascinates me, but I suppose that is partly why I became an esthetician. Did you know that the cells of your epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) completely turnover on average every 28 days? Pretty amazing (and kind of gross knowing that most dust is actually dead cells that have shed)! This turnover is also called the Cell Renewal Factor or CRF. There are some factors that can change the rate at which our skin cells turnover, the biggest factor being age. Our cell turnover slows down as we age, and this is why we turn to things such as AHAs (alpha hydroxy acid) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acid) to help speed up that cell turnover.

Cell Renewal Factor that changes as we age:

Babies – 14 days
Teenagers – 21 – 28 days
Middle age – 28 – 42 days
50 and up – 42 – 84 days

As babies, our cell renewal factor is quick, which is why babies always have such soft,

baby-1178539_1920

smooth skin, as we age this factor slows down, we start to see the fine lines, and wrinkles in our skin, as well as start to see thinner skin with less elasticity. Our skin also has a tendency to feel more dry or dehydrated as we age as well. All of this causes the cells to stick instead of shedding from the skin because they are not turning over like they should be, which means new youthful skin is not appearing as quickly. There are many products, modalities, and treatments to help increase cellular turnover and increase collagen and elastin to help prevent aging. Some of these include enzymes and peels, microdermabrasion, dermaplaning, microcurrent, and ultrasonic facials. Using these treatments can help prevent, and to some degree, help to reverse the signs of aging.

 

Our skin starts to feel more dry and/or dehydrated as we age. These are not one in the same. Dry skin is a skin type, that is due to a lack of oil in the skin. Thus causing it to be dry. A dry skin type can show signs of aging sooner as the lines are more pronounced in a thinner, drier skin. Dehydration, which can happen to any skin type is a lack of hydration (water). As we age our body does tend to produce less oil, so although our skin type never changes, a normal or dry skin may see a more pronounced decrease in oil production, and increase in fine lines. Professional exfoliation and at home maintenance will help greatly with improving dry skin and aging, as well as a beauty oil’s such as omega_serum_2-copy-600x600SkinCatering’s Omega Serum  (in fact the entire advanced skin care line is a great way to increase cell turnover!) Dehydration, can be much easier to combat than dryness, as it is a condition and not a type. This could be caused by many things such as nutrition, sun exposure, medication, hormonal imbalances. Once you know the cause, you can start to treat your dehydration, hyaluronic acid, and a good moisturizer can help, as well as increasing your bodies hydration as a whole.

No matter how dry, dehydrated, or hydrated your skin is, your skin health should be a priority and it is not too early to start maintenance facials to prevent the signs of aging before they even start. At SkinCatering Spa, Springfield, MA and D. Hotel Spa by SkinCatering, Holyoke, MA our team of skilled estheticians can give you a full skin analysis and recommend the best treatment options for your skin type to keep it healthy no matter your age.

9509632741_d8e4c32522_b

Sources:

http://www.justaboutskin.com/dry-vs-dehydrated-skin

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-does-skin-wrinkle-wit/

http://www.cosmedicine.com/blog/skin-cell-turnover-time-cellular-renewal-factor-part-1-of-2/

https://www.aad.org/public/kids/skin/how-skin-grows