Imagine yourself leaving a busy day and walking into a calm environment where you immediately don a soft robe and plush sandals. You enter a relaxation room where a glass of champagne or cup of hot tea awaits. After a few moments of quiet, you receive a restorative service, perhaps a Therapeutic Himalayan Salt Stone Massage or a Signature Seaweed Leaf Pedicure. Suddenly, you feel more balanced, rejuvenated. Suddenly, you feel “more like yourself,” says Giselle McBee, Co-Owner of Woodhouse Day Spa Metairie.
What you just imagined is how McBee paints the picture of a Woodhouse Day Spa experience. She and other spa owners across the city curate these experiences and design these environments to not only create a space for self-pampering, but rather a space for self-care. While a spa experience can be indulgent – and there’s nothing wrong with that – spa and salon professionals see the self-care benefits of their services as the most important component.
Feeling like yourself is crucial to positively navigating life’s challenges. More than a “beauty” experience, services at Woodhouse and other spas are meant to heal the mind, body and spirit. So why is it so hard to actively pursue a self-care regimen? Spa and salon service providers credit guilt as one main reason a person will neglect their care – guilt from taking time away from work, family and other obligations.
“Many people put others ahead of themselves, especially if they have a family, are taking care of elderly parents or are focused on building a career,” says Ellen LeMaire, General Manager of Belladonna.
There is a common metaphor used in the industry to describe this dilemma: the personal cup or bucket. Instead of trying to fill our own cup or bucket, we have a tendency to try and fill others’. However, you can’t effectively fill another’s if your own bucket is empty. Self-care refills your bucket, giving your body the rest and rejuvenation it needs to continue being there for yourself and for others.
“Anything important in life takes commitment,” says LeMaire. Self-care is no different. Regimens can go a long way in providing the nourishment that the body needs, whether through regular massages, facials or other services.
“A monthly or bimonthly massage will provide benefits such as stress reduction, sleep improvement, immunity enhancement and elimination of toxins in the body. Adding essential oils can improve congestion and increase energy,” says LeMaire.
Stefanie Kemp, Owner of Meli, A Traveling Spa, likes to use the metaphor of the body as a car or your main mode of transportation.
“How can you drive if there’s no fuel in the tank or air in the tires?” she says. Transportation requires maintenance.
Aside from guilt, she notes another reason some people avoid self-pampering. The spa world can be overwhelming – it’s hard to know what products and treatments will be most beneficial and a worthwhile investment of time and money.
“We’re here to guide you, whether it’s a single massage or facial all the way to a full-blown spa party with friends or family,” she says. As a mobile spa, Meli brings the experience of premier facial and body care to clients’ homes and events, customizing services – massages, facials, waxing, hair, makeup and more – that appeal to both spa savvy clients and guests receiving their first treatment.
Kemp is passionate about self-care.
“Self-care activities also help you to stay engaged with your parasympathetic system, leaving you in a restful and rejuvenating mode, as opposed to your body staying in sympathetic mode – guarding, increased heart rate, sustained tension in the muscles,” she says. She adds that when you regularly make time for you, you send a positive message to your subconscious that you matter.
“If you look better, you feel better, and it trickles into other aspects of your life: self-confidence, self-awareness, self-love,” says Kemp.
At Spa Aria, located inside the Hotel Monteleone, owners Sandy Blum and Cindy Cocke see self-care as a therapeutic way to combat the ill effects of stress. When stressors overwhelm us, they say, we tend to give up things that seem unnecessary or costly.
“The reality is that during difficult times, self-care is an absolute necessity to help weather tough circumstances,” says Blum. “Combating stress through frequent spa visits can not only be a preventative measure to avoid more doctor visits, they can save money and are much more pleasant, too,” she says.
Blum and Cocke recommend weekly or monthly massages first and foremost. If clients aren’t comfortable with a full body massage, their next recommendation is a foot massage, which Blum says can bring the body back to balance. Facials are also an important choice.
“A good facial leaves skin with a vibrant glow, clears it of pollutants that build up and boosts the lymphatic system and circulation. Many people may not realize that the skin is the largest organ and it deserves attention,” says Blum.
Spa Aria offers a local’s discount of 10 percent off services Mondays- Thursdays. The newly renovated spa also features a retail area with skin and beauty products in addition to local gifts and candles as well as toiletries and makeup for hotel guests and neighborhood residents.
While the health benefits of a massage or facial may be more easy to pinpoint, there are also benefits to beauty services and products, such as hair coloring, blow-outs, manicures and pedicures. According to Emily LaBorde, Proprietor of BLEU, a Blowdry Bar, there are a lot of reasons one might neglect their hair or body in summer – everything from strained budgets to vacationing, to carting kids around to and from camp.
“The simple joy of having 45 minutes to yourself is a treat. Combine that with BLEU’s luxurious blowout experience – which not only leaves you with fabulous hair but that fresh boost of confidence as you sashay out – and it’s truly the best $40+ you’ll spend all week,” says LaBorde. Additional services such as a scalp massage or hair mask can be added for an extra luxurious boost.
While a confidence-boosting great hairdo benefits the mind and spirit, BLEU also features products that help improve hair strength and health.
“We are excited to offer the Olaplex Blowout Experience, a six-step treatment process using all Olaplex products followed by our BLEU signature round-brush blowout. Super concentrated products work on a modular level to seek out broken bonds in the hair caused by chemical and thermal damage,” says LaBorde.
At Mia Bella Beauty Lounge, owner Mia McNeal tries to make self-care convenient so that it doesn’t take a back seat in clients’ lives. As a one-stop shop for hair, nails and skincare needs, Mia Bella offers a comprehensive menu of salon services in addition to a range of express services for those conscious of time and cost.
“I wanted to create an environment that was all-inclusive and offered a variety of price points,” says McNeal.
McNeal recommends skin care services such as the Dermaplane Facial as a high-impact repeated service. Exfoliating the outer layer of dead skin cells, it creates a smoother texture and fresh-faced appearance.
“It really creates a healthy glow and is a nice alternative to Microdermabrasion or chemical peels,” she says. As a nail tech, McNeal also sees the benefits of regular manicures especially for those wearing gel polish, which is best removed professionally to avoid damage to the nail.
Also taking a one-stop approach to self-care is Chronos Body Health Wellness, which incorporates a variety of spa, med spa, fitness and other services in-house. Their team of professionals includes physicians and medical staff in addition to estheticians, trainers and coaches, massage therapists and more. At Chronos, everyone’s journey begins with a consultation. After discussing your goals and budget, a wellness plan is devised.
“Self-care is often neglected because people think they can’t afford it. But we have something for everyone,” says Kelly Alberado, Spa Concierge. Chronos offers varying memberships that include combinations of services at discounted prices. Whether you’re looking for relaxation services or skin rejuvenation, you can find a monthly package to suit your goals, whether that’s losing weight, restoring vitality, finding peace, getting fit or defying age.
“We’re like a family here,” says Alberado. “We love making people feel good – when they leave with a smile on their face, it’s so rewarding for us.”
2900 Magazine St.
BLEU, a Blowdry Bar
701 Metairie Road, Suite 112-2A, Metairie
5228 Magazine St.
3200 N. Arnault Road, Metairie
745 Baronne St.
Spa Aria at Hotel Monteleone
214 Royal St., 2nd Floor
Woodhouse Day Spa
4030 Canal St.
(Woodhouse Metairie – Coming Soon)