Sunday, February 21, 2010

Put Your Best FACE Forward

Penny's Positively Radiant!
That is because last Friday evening I had one of the best facials I've ever had! (And you know Penny has had her fair share of spa treatments. LOL!) Germaine Williams, founder of The Red Bloom Wellness Spa in Bethesda, MD is amazing! ( This was a wonderful experience in relaxation, meditation and education. After a brief consultation and examination of my skin, Germaine provided me with a thorough, soothing, rejuvenating and hydrating facial with a few minor extractions. The upper body massage (complete with hot stones) was the icing on the cake! Fabulous! (Penny has always wanted to try a hot stone massage...what a fantastic sensation; will have to ask if they do the hot stone body massage...hmmmm).

I started this blog the night of my facial but was too relaxed and sleepy to finish (that's a big deal for this insomniac). LOL! I also realized that I learned so much in my one visit that I needed some time to pull it all together. One of the things I love most about The Red Bloom is that they use treatments with approximately 90% certified organic ingredients, and they have a commitment to natural skincare. Some of the brands currently sold include Hylunia-Sensitive Skin Specialists; Osmosis-Pur Medical Skincare, 80 Acres, and Diana B. They are a new business so they will be introducing new products and maybe services in the coming months as well. Just call and ask if you're interested in a particular product or procedure (301-907-9001).

Many of the products might be considered to be a little pricey, but Penny is used to paying for 'quality' products; and some of these lines can only be purchased in a spa or doctor's office. Pssst! Penny also did her usual research on some of the products I bought and the prices at spa were the same as online, so that was nice to know. Penny believes that no matter how fabulous your spa facial may be, if you can't afford to keep up a healthy regimen with the products that are best suited for you, your visits could be a waste of time and you will be starting over each time, trying to achieve the same goal. This doesn't mean that you have to shop every time you go to the spa; but at least jot down the products that provided good results and maybe look for budget-friendly alternatives. Or simply budget to make a purchase at your next spa visit and buy one product at a time. [Note: If you purchase any products at The Red Bloom, ask about their recycle program].

Now to the specifics of my facial. (read full story...)
When I arrived at the spa my biggest areas of concern were uneven skin tone, texture, and dry patches on my sensitive, eczema-prone skin. I recently noticed what might be sun damage or melasma on my face where I have developed clusters of dark spots outside of my eyes and cheeks; almost like a mask (as if my dark under eye circles weren't enough of burden). I already struggle with new moles and freckles all the time as those are hereditary, but this diva didn't find her new mask 'sexy' once mardi gras was over. *sigh.*  After discussing my skin with Germaine she explained what the treatment consisted of and why it was a good facial for my skin type. (I chose the Replenish facial when I attended the open house after reading the description and discussing it briefly with Germaine to make sure that was the best for me). As I mentioned, Penny is no stranger to facials, but what was unique about this one is that I was being treated by someone who was well versed in the various treatments and products, and I immediately felt comfortable with the process. I believe that going to any spa should be an 'experience' and that YOU play a role in whether that is a good or bad experience. My first and most important tip to any spa-princess, novice or veteran, is to ask questions; have a dialogue and share your fears, concerns, and things that you like. This helps the esthetician to make the necessary adjustments to your treatment, and more importantly, avoid anything that could be unpleasant for you.

For example, instead of the chemical peels I have tried in the past, Germaine used a papaya enzyme mask on me, as well as a gommage treatment (usually a creamy mask that is applied, left to dry, and then rubbed off of the skin), both of which had a mild stinging sensation. However, I was not alarmed because she had already told me this would happen but to let her know if it got to be too much, and it didn't. But had I not know in advance those active enzymes would sting, I may have been more uncomfortable or thought that I was having an allergic reaction. So please, talk to your esthetician before any procedure. And let them know afterwards what worked and didn't work. A good spa will make note of that to help ensure a positive experience each time. 

As I mentioned in the beginning, this was a major educational experience for Penny as well; too much to go into here. You may see another blog on "enzyme" peels (i.e. papaya, pineapple, or pumpkin), and the increasing use of "hyaluronic acid" in skincare products (basically water-based fluid produced by our own bodies). I left the spa with a list of natural ingredients to shop for and items to add to my diet to help improve my skin's health (i.e. Omega 3-6-9 oil, spiriluna, etc). I took home a sample of Hylunia Healing & Restoring Cream, and Hylunia Pure Hyaluronic Acid to incorporate into my daily regimen. The healing cream is a moisturizer recommended for eczema-prone skin. The hyaluronic acid gel provides intense hydration and helps to regulate sebum production (is also recommended for acne prone skin). If I am pleased with the results of these two products, I will purchase these items at my next visit if not sooner. I also purchased the following:
  • Hylunia Papaya Enzyme Mask - (for exfoliation twice a week)
  • Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare 'Enlighten' Serum - (for hyperpigmentation; daily treatment)
  • 80 Acres Olive Oil Balm - (for dry skin; body; and because I love how it felt on my hand. LOL!)
Check out the following websites for more details on each of these.

The Red Bloom is a cozy space on the 2nd floor of 7215 Arlington Blvd., in Bethesda, MD...only a couple blocks from my job (yay!). The ambience, aromatherapy, and decor are nice and conducive to the spa and wellness services they offer. I hope to make The Red Bloom one of Penny's favorite neighborhood jaunts in the coming year(s).

Be blessed. Be beautiful.

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