Picture this – You’ve just started your holiday. Before you know it, you're whisked away to a luxury spa and are being pampered with the view of the open sea in front of you and not a worry in the world! Everything is being taken care of and all you’re in charge of doing is sitting back and relaxing because it's only smooth sailing from here. Literally - because you're on board a Norwegian Cruise ship and being treated like a princess in their Mandara Spa. Mandara Spa is on board every Norwegian Cruise ship and I was given a taste of this experience when I recently escaped winter for the afternoon at the Mandara Spa at Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge in London. As I sunk into the massage table and enjoyed a Balinese massage and mini facial, I closed my eyes and imagined watching the vast deep blue as if I was cruising. My therapist carefully chose the most suitable Elemis products to hydrate my skin, which needed a little boost after being exposed to the cold winter weather. The spa uses signature Mandara, Elemis and Bliss products and has an indoor swimming pool, fitness centre, sauna, manicure and pedicure area. In addition, there is also an amazing salt grotto which is surrounded with layers of body cleansing salt crystals and is said to help skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, as well as colds, allergies and respiratory ailments. Norwegian Cruise line has been voted the World’s Best Cruise Spa by the World Spa Awards so you know that you’re in the right hands when it comes to choosing a holiday focused on a little “me” time. What I like about the idea of cruising with a luxury spa on board is that you can have a week (or two!) of trying different treatments, seeing different destinations and you only have to unpack once! Norwegian Cruise ships also have a large selection of entertainment and restaurants on board to cater for all interests and taste buds. From waterfront bars to specialty restaurants, you are spoilt for choice. There are also many healthy dining options available, so for those who are worried about returning from a week of indulgence looking like a house – fear not! What better way to see the world than replacing stressful flights with days spent looking out to sea. Beach hair, sun kissed skin and a trip to the spa to top it off...dreamy! Have you had the chance to spa at sea yet? Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!
Review by Courtney Smith “You should get a facial,” I would hear my sister-in-law say to me over the past few years, “they are so great, so relaxing.” It sounded nice, but other than imagining mud plastered over my face, I really did not know what a facial was or what kind of benefits to expect from getting one. Low and behold as I made my daily drive past Breathe Salon and Spa of Lansdale, PA I noticed a big sign that hung promoting anti-aging facials. Weeks away from thirty-five and with enough fine lines on my face to show it, anti-aging sounded fantastic to me. I have had the pleasure of enjoying Breathe Salon and Spa’s knock out cut and colors in the past and thought this would be a terrific opportunity to explore one more, of the many, self-care aspects that the salon and spa has to offer. Per usual the staff was friendly and welcoming, the environment was creatively inspiring and offered a sense of serenity, and upon meeting Maureen Barnes, Breathe’s premier certified Esthetician, who is filled with 20 years of cosmetology wisdom, I was provided with a tour of the room where my facial would be done, as well as educated on what to expect from our time together. Maureen displayed confidence, professional and practical knowledge, and her presence emitted calm energy that placed me in a mood of ease for the hour we spent together. She was able to answer all my questions and then some and offered me some simple tips to assist me in dealing with the season’s harsh effects on my skin and for my my anti-aging (appearance) journey. The facial was so much more than mud on my face. It was an investment into myself that I am seeing positive effects weeks later. Since I write from the every day woman’s/mom’s perspective, as well as with the eye of a healthcare professional as an RN, I feel it is pretty realistic to say many everyday woman have NO idea what a facial has to offer or what is involved. With that said I want to equip you with some well rounded know-how and encourage you to go indulge in a facial! Yes ladies, just because we are tired and perhaps a little worn from all of our daily duties does not mean we have to look it, and when we begin to take even a little time for ourselves we can get some release from feeling it too! My view of the top 10 benefits of a facial:
- De-stressing of skin, emotion, and over-all mind, body, spirit
- Increased circulation to the skin on our face (this has enormous health benefits)
- Decreased sinus pressure
- Release of toxins from our skin (if you only could have seen mine, whoa!)
- Minimize the appearance of pores
- Decrease in fine lines and wrinkles
- Increase in moisture balancing
- Decrease appearance of age spots
- Firmer skin with an added glow
I am a big believer in monthly facials. I wasn't gifted with perfect skin and in order to keep a younger looking appearance sans plastic surgery, taking care of my skin is a priority. I love going to The Woodhouse Day Spa in Kingston, PA (and there are others around the country too) and have had their Four-Handed Massage and Minkyti Facial before, so I was all for experiencing something new. As I just turned 37, I became most interested in a new facial they are performing there involving the NuFace toning device. I've heard a lot about NuFace and I'm familiar with microcurrent technology, so I was ready to see if it would work for me. This facial starts off like any other facial at The Woodhouse Day Spa, using products from Amala skincare to cleanse and exfoliate (from the Rejuvenate collection), then NuFace's Conductivity Gel is applied. As the esthetician smoothed the NuFace device ($325) on the right hand side of my face and under my chin, I felt absolutely nothing. I even began to wonder if it was on, assuming I was supposed to feel my skin tingling. However, once she got near my hair line, especially my eyebrows, that's when I began to feel a tinge here and there. Whenever you are getting a facial (or any spa treatment) it's good to speak up if you feel any discomfort so that the treatment can be adjusted. Once I told my esthetician that I was feeling small pin pricks, she applied more gel and that remedied the situation. The esthetician moves the device with the contour of your face and the microcurrent is delivered to lift and firm the skin. As we age, we lose about 1% of our skin's elasticity each year. So if you want to avoid going under the knife, this is a great way to reprogram your muscles. (I asked if it would work on my chest too, but she just laughed. I was serious though!) After about 10-15 minutes of using the device, she then spritzed my face with the Optimizing Mist and applied Amala's Rejuvenating Face Cream. I was told that it takes about 8 treatments to see a complete difference, then maintenance with the device about 1-2 times per week. However, I did notice that my skin felt a bit tighter, especially above my eyebrows and in between them. I had the esthetician take a before and after picture and you can see that the wrinkle I have between my eyebrows is much less and that the skin above my eyebrows does appear to pull them up slightly. While I didn't purchase NuFace (the kit is about $325) I was still happy with the results. The facial itself is $70. What do you think? Have you tried NuFace for yourself? If you are local here in Northeast PA, please visit The Woodhouse Day Spa via their website or Facebook fan page. If you happen to book a spa treatment, let them know you heard about them from A Girl's Gotta Spa! Not local? You can still find The Woodhouse Day Spa nearest you by visiting their corporate website. Ps. They sell Farmhouse Fresh products in their boutique! I've tried their Honey Heel Glaze....AMAZING.