Cremes, Gels, Lotions & Oils
- One of the most prevalent motivators among the massage, esthetics and bodywork graduates I have met is the desire to work in an environment where they have the opportunity to heal others through touch. But the art of healing requires more than a pair of skilled hands (or in the case of some modalities- feet). It actually starts right at the basics- the moment where you have to decide which product or products you would like to use during your service. The right products can help you turn a good spa service into a memorable experience your clients will return for as often as they can.The key lies in knowing where to start.Choosing the Right FormulationLet’s start with the basics: Should you choose a lotion, oil, cream or a gel formula?First determine what kind of service you will be performing, which will determine what level of “glide” or “slip” you need to perform your strokes.Oil formulas will provide you with excellent glide, allowing you to cover large areas without having to reapply multiple times during the service. They can be highly moisturizing, but be mindful that some clients may prefer formulas that feel a bit lighter on the skin. Some oils can leave a light layer on your client’s skin post treatment, so be aware of how much you use during the service. A little goes a long way. While searching, also look for water dispersible formulas, which can be easily washed out of your linens.Looking for something a bit lighter in texture? Try a lotion, which has a lighter feel than oil and absorbs quicker into the skin. These formulas are great for services that require slightly deeper bodywork; however, the lighter texture may result in a few more applications during your service.Creams are very popular formulas because they are ultra rich and usually very nourishing, while giving you better glide than lighter lotion formulas. Be mindful though that since these formulations are ultra rich, a little goes a long way here as well. This principle applies not only to massage creams for the body, but also for facial massage creams as well. Facial massage creams are important because they are specifically formulated for the delicate skin on the face and décolleté. Massage creams intended for use on the body will sometimes congest the pores when the product is worked into the client’s facial skin, resulting in dreaded breakouts.Gel formulas provide great glide without leaving behind a greasy feel on the client’s skin. They are very versatile products that can be used in all sorts of treatments, even hot stone massages. They are also great formulas to have on hand for clients with a significant amount of body hair. The gel will allow you to cover the surface area without dragging on the hair itself.Massage balms are relatively new to the market, and are great tools for treating areas like the feet (which is a wonderful add-on to any spa service) or even for deeper tissue work to help your clients achieve deeper relaxation. Just be aware that many balm formulas are too thick to be squeezed out of tubes or pumped out of bottles. Spatulas and treatment bowls are necessities if you plan to use a balm as the product will have to be “scooped” out prior to each service.Body Butters are ideal finishing products, especially after any sort of exfoliation service. Look for vitamin-packed formulas that will hydrate and nourish the skin. Butters are also great to sell in small retail sizes at your guest checkout area. Suggest that clients purchase a body butter to continue pampering their skin before their next spa service. You can also gift body butters during special occasions or as a special incentive for repeat guests.
- Once you’ve determined which formulas are right for your treatments, explore the ingredients. Look for nourishing formulas that repair and restore skin integrity, while helping to treat muscle pains and strains. Here are some of our customer’s favorites:Aloe: Promotes skin healing, minimizes scaring, helps moisturize even the driest, most irritated skin; helps lock in moisture and increase skin firmness.Arnica: Effective ingredient for treating overworked muscles, minimizing bruising, and reducing pain and inflammation.Avocado: Promotes skin softening with its intensely moisturizing properties. Also known to help increase collagen levels, reduce skin spots, and protect skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays.Coconut: Its high emollient properties result in softer, smoother skin. The oil is also known to protect the skin from ultraviolet rays, as well as treating burns, scrapes, itchy skin and even acne. It can also help reduce muscle inflammation and joint pain.Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): This enzyme is naturally produced in the skin, but levels decrease during the aging process. This powerful antioxidant is an essential component of the most powerful anti-aging facial creams because it helps increase collagen and elastin production.Grapeseed: This oil is full of skin-loving antioxidants to help protect skin from free radicals, while helping to even out skin tone. It also contains fatty acids, which are easily absorbed in the skin, leaving your guests with a more hydrated, glowing look to their skin.Jojoba: An extremely versatile oil that quickly penetrates skin, keeping it soft and supple, while reducing the appearance of fine lines, stretch marks and fading scars. It is also an ideal choice for clients with sensitive skin, or skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema.Olive Oil: This oil is chockfull of Vitamins E and K, as well as powerful antioxidants. It helps repair skin and increase elasticity, while soothing any irritation. It is also said to brighten and even out skin tone.We work in a constantly evolving industry where new products are introduced to the market on a daily basis, making it difficult to decide what products truly deserve a spot in your treatment room, mobile kit or your spa back bar. Your space and time is limited, so streamline the selection process by selecting multi-tasking, high-quality ingredients that will help you make the most of each service throughout your day.