Monday, January 31, 2011

A beauty first that I hope to make a regular occurrence...

I am a firm believer in giving gifts that you normally do not buy for yourself so I am so happy that my little sister gave me a gift coupon to a day spa in the Laurel Heights neighborhood in SF, CA. I had the daunting task of choosing between a facial and a massage...gee, I hate decisions like this, don't you? I never get facials just because I am always fearful of thinking about what it would do to my super sensitive skin after the process. Then I thought more about it: steam cleaning, exfoliating, bad could it be? I get massages all the time so why not mix it up? I was willing to take a risk with my skin. I really wanted to look glowing and well rested for once.

I am still thinking about how relaxed and refreshed I look right after the process. This was last Friday and I cannot wait to go back to this place!

I found myself in Laurel Heights Friday morning - took the day off to spend time with my Pops and I wanted a bit of me time before hectic family events later in the evening. Laurel Heights is a quiet and charming neighborhood. I was born in the hospital in this area, SF Children's Hospital and then it turned into the California Pacific Hospital where my daughter was born. I guess that's why I have a soft spot for this area. You will also find little independent clothing boutiques, great restaurants and lovely Victorian/Edwardian homes from another era. Please take a look at this link for more pictures and details.

The spa, Tre Balm is located on Sacramento Street and it served as the original location for the stationary store, Papyrus.

 The front of the store carries a variety of products - candles, bags, cosmetic pouches, lotions, apparel/lingerie and of course skincare by Phytomer and Jan Marini. Once you make your way to the back of the Spa it gets a little quieter and dim - a bit cavernous but it does help to get you into SPA MODE. It wasn't till after my facial when I noticed the walls were a bit thin. I heard voices from the other room as I was sipping the rest of my tea before checking out.

My aesthetician (and co-owner) Sarah Amborsek was awesome. She definitely made me feel comfortable and welcomed the moment I walked in. I needed to use the restroom before we got down to business and I saw this sign right above the toilet.
Yes, there was a small room spray called "Poo-Pourri' right on the lid of the top of the toilet. I had to use it even though I only went #1 (yes, TMI, I know) because I couldn't resist. I really need to buy a bottle of this - it's pretty awesome.

Okay back to the facial. I tell Sarah right off the bat about my problematic eczema skin and because of it I avoid facials at all costs. I tell her the products I use: topical pro-topic ointment, Philosophy's Purity Made Simple cleanser and Clinique's Comfort on Call cream moisturizer. She asked me why I used those products and I gave her my answers and she didn't push any of their products on me. We did talk about the awesome powers the Clarisonic brush has on all that crosses it's path. For the very first time, I experienced the fine, deep cleaning of the that brush. I am smitten.


I heard and read just how awesome this brush is now I know why. I am considering buying the smaller, travel size, the Mia. The only problem that it just has one speed. But the price tag on this one is much friendler than the regular, multiple speed version ($149 vs. $225)

It comes in other colors but I am really feeling this spa blue shade. I normally would gravitate to the girly pink. Something tells me I should just save up for the original version because I would probably end up buying that in addition to the Mia.

I also experience professional extractions for the first time. Wow, am I doing that wrong. Yes, it was unpleasant but not as much as when I do them myself. I know that's frowned upon but please don't tell me you have NEVER popped a zit on your forehead the day before picture day! I also asked Sarah if she recommends I come back monthly for facials and she said since my skin didn't look problematic to her I can do the basic facial quarterly (every 3 months). I appreciated her honesty - she could have easily said Yes, come back monthly....let's get you on a a package...blah blah blah but no. I loved her even more after that.

Although my facial was pretty basic: steam cleaning, cleansing, extractions, masques and my favorite facial, neck/shoulder massage. This was 50mns of pure self-love fest - I know that sounds like that should be kept private but I am just so happy with the results. I was glowing, radiant and happy. Sarah only recommended two products - Phytomer enzyme masque and toner - but I told her I would come back another time for them. Then she told me for the month of February a special the spa will be running - a $50 purchase in the boutique will get you a FREE 50mn facial. YES, I WILL BE BACK.

Bottom line:
It's a wonder what I have been missing out on when I have been obsessed keeping up with never-ending makeup collections. I recommend this Day Spa in SF and I cannot wait to come back. This facial really did make me realize that I needed to take more time out for pampering myself.

That said, I need to book that next hair appointment. I can see my roots and I'm not the biggest fan of the whole "Ombre" hair movement. I keep thinking that's just an excuse for lazy girls to walk around with five inches of root showing.

Spa info:

SF residents that are interested please look into the Special Offers tab for the month of February.

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