You know and love your hairstylist, the corner coffee shop is your morning haven, but what’s this?! Your best friend just gave you a gift certificate for an entire day at the spa! Your jump up and down, squeal with delight, and give her a hearty hug. Wow! It’s your lucky day!

Evening rolls around you inspect the menu of services and all that is going to “happen to you” at the day spa. You discover you will be getting a facial, a Vichy shower treatment, a 30-minute massage, and then a manicure, followed by a haircut and style! Sounds like a busy day! How will you be able to relax with all of THAT going on?!

Do you wonder how you should dress? Is everyone going to clammer around you with fans and feed you grapes? Will you have to have to be buck naked in front of several practitioners? Should you tip these people separately or all together or not at all? You think, why am I feeling exhausted and stressed out about something that is supposed to give me a sense of calm and peace?

You arrive at the spa about 10 minutes early. The receptionist escorts you into the locker room where she shows you to a locker with a fluffy robe and slippers waiting for you. She also hands you a terry gown which you will be wearing during your facial. You slip out of your clothes and into the warm, soft gown and robe. It’s already starting to feel cozy here, you think.

Now, you go into the waiting area of the spa. It is very secluded from the hustle and bustle of the hair and nail area with overstuffed chairs, soft lights, and faint music playing in the background. You begin filling out the paperwork and there seems to be a lot of it.

You wonder if all this is really necessary… Do you use alpha-hydroxy acids or retinol A? Are you pregnant? (like that’s anyone’s business?) Do you smoke? Do you have any condition that might interfere with massage of the neck, etc… Ok, all that’s done, and now here comes a friendly-looking woman in a Japanese-looking jacket.

You are led to the facial room and lie on a bed that looks like a massage table. After you are tucked in under a soft blanket the esthetician begins to ask you questions about your skin. What products you use and what kinds of changes you would like to see in your complextion. The facial is great, soothing and virtually painless, except the few extractions of blackheads, but hey, now they’re gone and time for the vichi shower and massage!

Next you are shown to a dimly lit room that is warm and the therapist has you lie face down on the massage table. The kind voice overhead assures you that you won’t have to be too exposed and a towel be covering your groin area at all times. It is completely up to you about the towels. Your skin all over is being gently massaged with a natural body scrub and it feels great! Next the overhead shower to rinse it all away. Invigorating!

The therapist explains that our skin is the best defense we have against all the nasty bacteria, germs and infection we humans have to deal with everyday. Also, this treatment will be very purifying and detoxifying, so drinking plenty of pure water for the next few days is very important. You feel extra good now! All this pampering is actually great for your body too! Better than the mid-afternoon chocolate break anyday!

On to another room that is very serene and calm. The massage room. A warm, soft table and warm body oils massaged into your skin. You feel your muscles relaxing. This is heaven. She even massaged you head and scalp. You could really get used to this. A towel is used again if you prefer to cover up as desired. You realized you had nothing to be worried about. All is well in your world at this moment. You drift off as she finishes with your feet.

That’s it for the spa part of your service. You are escorted back into the sitting lounge of the spa and given a steamy cup of herbal tea to sip as you watch the fish in the aquarium next to you and think of nothing in particular. You go into the locker room to get dressed and discover that there are lots of products for you to use, just like at home.

Always try to arrive early for your scheduled appointment. If you are late, you will sometimes not get the full treatment time because other clients are booked after you. Usually, the therapist will do his or her very best to work with you if you are a little late.

It is very acceptable to wear a bathing suit bottom, two-piece suit, or your underwear when having a body treatment or massage. Many times men like to wear a suit because it is more comfortable and then there doesn’t have to be a clumsy towel in the way. We are all unique when it comes to modesty issues. Be sure to communicate these to your therapist and most of all don’t worry. Your therapist is very used to seeing bodies in all shapes and sizes.

If you are planning on having any facial or body waxing, PLEASE do not use alpha-hydroxy acids or retinol A cream on the area being waxed for at least a few weeks. This is VERY important. These creams have a tendency to make the skin more sensitive and if you try to wax, you may end up with a very sore area or even a red patch that will take days to disappear. Some salicylic acids can upset the balance of the skin enough to cause problems during waxing. When in doubt, ask your esthetician or dermatologist.

Try to arrange your facials and massages when you know you will have the time to enjoy them. I have seen many individuals who squeal in, heart racing, after fighting the evening traffic or the like, and it can take half of their treatment time to get settled down. I always feel like they weren’t able to fully enjoy their service.

Tipping is not required but is greatly appreciated by your practitioner. Many therapists are paid on an hourly basis. A day spa, like a hair salon, is considered to be part of the service industry. Just as you tip your waitress according to the quality of your meal, you may wish to tip your practitioners in the same manner. You can do this very easily and discreetly at the reception desk. Some clients prefer to give a gratuity in the treatment room at the end of their service.

This is your very own hour or two or three. Just for you to focus inward and relax. If something doesn’t feel good; for example the temperature is too hot or cold, feel free to ask your practitioner if he/she can change it.

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