It sounds like the ultimate in frivolity – paying somebody to rub cream into your skin before they swaddle you in a blanky and let you take a nap. However, beauty experts insist the warmth generated during a body wrap helps product be absorbed more effectively into the skin, giving far superior results than if you were to simply smear it on after the shower. Besides, having a professional do it means they’ll take time to ensure it’s applied properly and in a relaxing way. Taking this advice to heart, I took on the tough job of sampling some of the different types of body wraps around.
Anti-Aging One of Decléor’s signature treatments (available at salons around the world), the Aroma Tonic Envelopement is designed to hydrate and firm aging and fatigued skin. After ascertaining what my chief skin concerns were (uneven texture and dehydration), the therapist mixed up a custom-blended exfoliator containing black pepper and thyme to stimulate circulation. She applied it carefully over my body before buffing it off, which was a strange but lovely sensation.
Once back under the towel after the first of my two showers, I was covered in a zesty butter containing the impressively named “Immortal” essential oil. With lemongrass, rose and camomile to help with dryness and other signs of aging, it also smelt divine. I was then wrapped up in warmed towels and a plastic blanket, piled with more blankets and treated to a dreamy head massage. After shower two, Decléor Divine Rejuvenating cream was massaged in to help with firming and hydration. My skin felt peachy perfect for the next few days. Aroma Tonic Envelopment, $140 for 75 minutes, from More Than Skin, www.morethanskin.co.nz and selected Decléor salons nationwide.
Detoxifying For centuries, human beings have used mud and clay for its unique healing and detoxifying properties. I was amazed that when I had a clay body mask applied before a massage a while back, it simply refused to dry on the exact two spots on my back where I was experiencing deep-seated muscle tension, allowing the masseuse to hone in on them.
As a result, clay and mud is a popular ingredient in many body wraps, in particular the silt sourced from the Dead Sea. I opted for a Darphin Tantalizing Body Mud Wrap that began with a vigorous scrub with sea salt mixed with tangerine oil, followed by an application of the thick black clay that tingled as it worked its magic. I was then wrapped up in a foil survival blanket and left to bake, before having the black goo sponged off. Of all the body wraps, this one left my skin feeling the silkiest, and the results lasted for one whole week. Darphin Tantalizing Body Mud Wrap, $130 for 75 minutes, from The Elements Medi-Spa and Beauty, www.theelementsspa.co.nz and selected Darphin spas nationwide.
De-stressing As 1990s as it may sound, aromatherapy is a great way to improve your wellbeing. Fragrant essential oils are one of the most popular products to use in body treatments, and using them in wraps intensifies their effects.
My aromatherapy oil wrap began with a brisk dry body brush to invigorate the skin and allow the warm oil to penetrate more deeply. From the three Bioelements oils that were waved under my nose, I went for Indian Sandalwood, which is used for mood balancing and stress alleviation. Once that was massaged on, I was zipped into an enormous plastic sleeping bag and given a scalp massage – my third in as many weeks.
As this treatment is less focused on the skin and more on the mind, I wasn’t expecting my skin to feel as soft as it did afterwards. As for the mood, it had improved dramatically – even the Auckland traffic on the way home didn’t faze me. Whether that was due to the power of the sandalwood or the result of the small daytime snooze I’d had, is really quite hard to say. Recommended either way. Bioelements Aromatherapy Oil Wrap, $109 for 60 minutes from Forme Skin and Body, www.formespa.co.nz
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