Los Angeles: home of innovative procedures and beauty spas. With a full 48 hours in LA — I was in town for the Nam Vo Masterclass — I took the opportunity to hit the best beauty spots on the market.
But since there are so many great places to check out in LA, it can oftentimes get overwhelming. When planning my itinerary, I found myself deeply entrenched in a Yelp wormhole, coming up for air only when I sectioned the trip off into three parts: a massage, a facial, and an infrared sauna session. The beauty trifecta. Three things that are reported to help those with high-stress chill out — maybe if I do them in succession, I will be extra chill.
So, for those of you who are headed to Los Angeles on a moment’s notice, here are some easy-to-book wellness spots. And bonus — they are budget friendly!
The NOW – West Hollywood
7611 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
I start my day off with a trip to The NOW for a massage. Massages are something I often shy away from because they simply sound expensive, and I don’t want to add yet another wellness ritual to my monthly routine. But The NOW is affordable luxury available to all, setting themselves apart with their modest pricing and monthly membership options. It is also convenient for those who can’t get away from the office early thanks to their extended business hours (10 a.m. – 10 p.m.).
Jen Atkin, Busy Phillips and Whitney Port are known to frequent The NOW, which made it a must-see in my book. And let me preface by saying that the pictures do not do this boutique massage destination justice. My mouth gaped as I walked through the corridor to my private curtained room. I felt as though I was somewhere other than LA — Tulum perhaps?
I chose The NOW massage — a signature Swedish-inspired massage whose benefits include stress relief, lessened anxiety and increased well-being. My massage therapist asked me to select a pressure level, to which I replied seven as I think I am a warrior, and soothing ocean sounds played on loop speaking to my Pisces moon. Underneath the cozy throw, I attempt to quiet my mind, which proves to be a near-impossible task for my anxiety-ridden brain. Enter the enhancements.
Enhancements can be added to your massage for the low price of $10 — and I picked two! The first enhancement, Crystal Healing, involved placing charged healing crystals on my chakras. (If I start acting different, just know it was the crystals.) The second enhancement was Calm Balm, a cannabidiol (CBD) balm application — applied where you need to help alleviate pain most — with their broad spectrum peppermint balm, Nourish by The NOW, which promises an increase in sensory stimulation.
Face Haus – Studio City
12332 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
Facial bars are a new frontier, and Face Haus has helped pave the way. While LA is a hub for celebrity facialists, you often have to book your appointments months in advance, but Face Haus is specifically designed for those who want a quick full-service facial without the high price point. And since I was on a time crunch, Face Haus, with its five California locations was the perfect spa for me.
As a Drybar frequenter, I understand the business model of removing unnecessary frills in order to reduce price point and speed up the process. Their package deals allow you to give your skin the regular TLC it needs. Six facials for $355 also makes this place a great birthday party spot.
Upon entering, I felt like I was in a beauty utopia — nine people were spread out in the middle of the room getting facials simultaneously. And while it sounds impersonal, the facialists do a great job at making you feel right at home on your chair. Plus, your eyes are closed a majority of the time so it doesn’t really matter who is in the chair next to you.
I tried the World of Difference facial, which included a smoothing peel, extractions, LED and a vitamin C and algae mask. This specific facial is great for all skin types, and the LED light therapy helps with acne (my main concern). As the warm steam hit my face, I make a mental note to order a steamer as soon as I get home, all while my facialist walks me through each step of the process. Fifty-five minutes later my skin was bright, plump and noticeably hydrated.
And let me tell you — my skin has never looked better, and I am ready to be back ASAP. But how often does one need a facial? “We recommend getting a facial approximately every four weeks. This philosophy is based on the life cycle of skin cells. Skin cell production and replacement slows as we age, but it takes approximately 28 days for the average, middle-aged adult. By encouraging a 28-day replacement cycle, your skin’s texture will be soft and smooth. The complexion brighter and more even,” says Anne Marie Cilmi, vice president of education and innovation at Face Haus. And for those who diligently take care of their skin? “Nowadays, exfoliating ingredients like enzymes, acids, polishing beads and retinol are being used daily in products ranging from cleansers, masks, toners, serums and so on. If you have a consistent home care regimen you may find that you can wait a bit longer in between appointments with your skin care professional,” she adds.
HotBox Infrared Sauna Studio – Downtown
835 S. Hill St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014
HotBox studio is designed to help you sweat in style. Conveniently located in Downtown LA, it is easy to book an hour appointment for an infrared sauna session. Japanese health practitioners developed infrared saunas in the 1970s, differing from traditional saunas because they heat your body from the inside out, which allows you to sweat longer and more comfortably. Some benefits include detoxification, a reduction in wrinkles, renewed skin elasticity, lowered blood pressure, reduced soreness, and improved feelings of happiness.
Let me just say: this was the best time of my life. I went into HotBox expecting a serene, calm, reflective experience similar to float therapy, and instead I was greeted with a party.
Before your session, you are encouraged to buy a water bottle at the front desk to bring in the sauna with you — and drink a good amount before even arriving. (The more water you give your body, the more you will sweat.) After checking in, you are led to a private room that includes both the “hot box” and a vitamin-C infused rain shower. HotBox utilizes chromotherapy, the science behind the healing power of electromagnetic color. Each infrared hue is linked to a different mood property and can help you transcend to a state of blissful euphoria. Notable example: the joy you feel when bright sunlight hits your skin after a week of thunderstorms. I pick confidence (orange) and inspiration (purple) and quickly hop inside.
Clients have the option to play songs on Spotify or watch Hulu or Netflix. I pump up the Jonas Brothers and have a full-on jam session by myself. I go through stages of karaoke, reflection, lollygagging on my phone (it is allowed inside), and dancing in my 45-minute session. At the end of the session, I jump in the shower and exit feeling upbeat and alive. According to the studio, it is safe to sweat daily, but most people frequent one to three times a week.
As the last place on my itinerary, I sob a little knowing that the real world is about to hit me smack in the middle of my freshly exfoliated face. In tandem, all three studios worked to transform my anxiety into serenity. I hop on my flight feeling rejuvenated, that is, until my legs cramp up thanks to the lack of leg room, and the children behind me shriek the entire time. I close my eyes and pretend I am back in the sauna — my new mental escapade for when things get too hectic.
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