Relax and Renew

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The latest, advanced spa treatments turn back the hands of time and give that sought-after glow with noninvasive techniques and all-natural products.

By Debbie Lavdas

IMG_7781Laguna Beach is a land of beautiful places, people and some of the finest spas along the West Coast. Behind those healthy glows are the latest spa advancements, from facials and scrubs to manis, pedis and polishes.

To see what the new year has in store, we set out to investigate the latest trends and techniques, including organics, non-surgical facelifts and a bounty of less invasive methods to renew, rejuvenate and look as young as we’d all like to. Sit back and discover what you have to look forward to at your next spa appointment.

All Natural 

At Spa Montage, one of the secrets of their advanced treatments at their sprawling 20,000-square-foot spa is the quaint, organic Studio Garden on the property.

While you might expect an expensive litany of surreal new-age facial machines to do the miraculous beautifying at the resort’s wellness center, Michael Conte, assistant spa director at Montage Laguna Beach, says that it’s really more of a return to nature with indigenous fruits and botanicals.

“Everything is done ‘from scratch’ in the treatment room, including using organic ingredients from our garden located at the resort,” he explains.

LBM_35_Spa_St Regis_ByJodyT-16

“Our estheticians meet with you, analyze your skin, and then create masks and individualized aromatherapy massage blends from fruit and algae powders, botanicals, hydrosols and essential oils to enhance each facial. For example, we may use strawberry leaves from our garden for their astringent, oil-control properties. Geranium is also wonderful for balancing hormonal acne and oil production as well as rosehip powder for its high vitamin C potency. We also use gigartina red algae for its rich carrageenans—a super food for skin that is high in vitamins and minerals and essential fatty acids.”

Spa Montage also offers nonsurgical anti-aging facials. “Using connective tissue massage techniques in conjunction with effective products, the estheticians boost collagen and increase blood flow to the facial muscles to reduce fine lines and give skin a natural lift,” Michael says. (949-715-6010;

LBM_35_Spa_SurfNSand_ByJodyT-51Super Machines

If beauty’s skin deep, the best form of microdermabrasion will always be in demand. Spa Gaucin at The St. Regis Monarch Beach offers a Diamond Tip Microdermabrasion service that uses a diamond tip to exfoliate the skin, leaving it remarkably smooth.

This rare machine, the PP1000, is apparently the only machine that can use dual red and blue medical-grade light therapy on the skin during diamond-tip microdermabrasion. The red light stimulates collagen production and improves circulation, while the blue light sterilizes and kills bacteria responsible for acne.

If you’re ready to green-light the Diamond Tip Microdermabrasion, you can add it to any of the facials offered at Spa Gaucin, including their Wellness Facial, Radiance Facial or Alpine Oxygen Facial. (949-234-3367;

Product Advancements 

“We only use the advanced physician-grade skin care lines of Neocutis and Esente,” says Summer Batlle, president of Athena Day Spa. “Neocutis is [an] advanced line that was actually designed for burn victims. The healing properties of Neocutis are quite unique and were created by physicians who discovered that fetal skin has the ability to heal wounds without scarring.

“Esente’s cherry bark exfoliant is my favorite. You can feel it go right to work on your skin and the intoxicating cherry smell is delicious,” she adds.

What’s currently the most trending treatment with her guests? “Our most popular skin care treatment is our Signature Tetra Peel—a four-layer peel to rejuvenate sun damaged and aging skin. It’s intense but doesn’t require hiding at home for days after,” Summer says. (949-376-7918;

RW_23481_05New Factors 

“I recommend human growth factors as the best in the market today,” says Sandra Woodard of Laguna Image Skin Care.

“Human growth factors are naturally found in the skin and are proteins that bind to receptors on the cell surface,” she explains. “They stimulate cellular division. Think of them as chemical messengers between cells.”

Sandra says the beauty of topical use of human growth factors is that it improves and enhances skin texture, reduces lines and wrinkles and improves appearance of pigmentations. She advises using the product morning and evening under a moisturizer.

Sandra also is a believer of NuFACE, a nonsurgical face lift treatment that stimulates and tones facial muscles without any damage to skin. “There’s no knife, no injections, no needles, no lasers, and treatments can be performed in the comfort of your home,” she explains. (949-485-5229)

Back to Organics

The organic trend at Surf & Sand’s Aquaterra Spa is seen in the seasonal Made Fresh Daily treatments, such as their Chocolate Lovers treatment.

“Our spa experience is a more intimate experience, and the unique nature of our Made Fresh Daily concept is that we hand-make the product used in our treatments from seasonal raw organic ingredients that are beneficial for the skin,” says Cindy Boody, Aquaterra spa director.

Because each season brings with it different challenges for the skin, such as itchy winter skin or sun-exposed summer skin, the spa likes to creatively address those needs with the best of organics. “Think cherries, pumpkin, lemons and more for our limited-edition offerings,” she says.

Aquaterra Spa created their Chocolate Lovers treatment of chocolate-chip scrub, white chocolate souffle wrap and chocolate massage to offer the benefit of chocolate’s antioxidants to help boost skin’s moisture content and caffeine to help speed up circulation. (949-376-2772;

Catching the Currents

When it comes to current technology and progressive skin care lines, The Ritz-Carlton Spa prides itself on staying informed. The Laguna Niguel spa offers several treatments and products to consider. “Currently, we are using microcurrent therapy to lift, tone and sculpt the skin and also sonic frequency and technology to cleanse, exfoliate, soften and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” says Spa Director Kristin Pellerin. “We also use high frequency for acne-prone skin, glycolic, salicylic and lactic acid peels, infrared, spray and vacuum suction.”

Products preferred by the spa, in treatments such as their Ritz-Carlton Signature Facial, include Naturopathica, a botanical-based skin care line, as well as Skin Ceuticals, a high-performance, advanced skin care system paired with science. (949-240-2000;

Now that you’re up to date with the town’s top spa secrets, treatments and can’t-live-without products, which to choose and try? You’re bound to be rewarded by any and all, but it’s always refreshing to try new experiences. So, select your spa of choice, go in with an open mind and ask what the professionals recommend instead of booking what you think might be best. Afterward, relax, soak up the soothing music and candlelight, and invite your mind and body to unwind. LBM

Beauty By Nature

With the trend toward organic and natural salons, you many want to put these three Laguna Beach names on your beauty list: ROOTS The Beauty Underground, Pure YL Organics and Katresha Oils & Creme.

ROOTS, the new nontoxic cosmetic store in town offers organic hair color and organic makeup application. Owner Laura Linsenmayer can teach you glowing at-home services. “It’s extremely important to me that guests are educated on the product that they are purchasing, so they are able to maintain their treatments at home,” she says. (949-424-4266;


Pure YL Organics is a vegan salon, created by owner Nikita Chawla. She says that the healing energy in the salon is among the most advanced in town. “Believe me when I say this: The energy and vibes at Pure YL salon makes our clients want to come back. Bringing in my Indian culture and old traditional remedies, I have designed spiritual healing salon services using pure and very simple vegan ingredients.”

Nikita offers a slew of services suitable even for cancer patients, pregnant mothers and diabetics. Choose from a hair cleansing detox service (deep cleanse/removal of hairspray, mousse, chlorine, salts) to threading and vegan facials. (949-294-4416;

Finally, Katresha Oils are trending at newer spas such as International Spa Laguna, located inside the Hotel Laguna. Katresha Moskios’ secret oils continue to grow in almost cult-like status. A former model with a background in skin care and nutrition from the London College of Beauty Therapy, Katresha created her pure, natural skin care line for her own skin after a serious car accident. She continues to woo women with her oils’ wondrous effects. Find her sought-after oils and creme at Hotel Laguna as well as at The Pearl Laguna—a yoga, hiking and cleansing retreat to heal the body and mind (another advanced concept she recommends to those in Laguna Beach). (949-673-3442;

NF_InUse_HiResThe Ultimate Spa Giveaway

If reading about all the fabulous spa treatments currently trending put you in the mood for a spa day, enter Laguna Beach Magazine’s Ultimate Spa Giveaway at The following prizes, generously donated by local spas, are all up for grabs:

Spa Gaucin 

Win a 60-minute wellness massage (a $175 value) plus a spa gift bag from Spa Gaucin at The St. Regis Monarch Beach. Your muscles will melt under Swedish massage techniques, expertly executed by talented artisans. Spa Gaucin’s organic grape seed massage oil supplements your skin’s wellness with a rich blend of antioxidants and vitamins A, E, C and D.

Athena Day Spa

Enjoy a relaxing back, neck and shoulder massage at Athena Day Spa (a $60 value). Customized with personal attention, Athena’s licensed therapists integrate their training of modalities to ensure each massage is as unique as every guest.

Spa Montage

Montage Laguna Beach celebrates its 10th anniversary with the “10 Years of Bliss” package, featuring a 60-minute massage or facial, 30-minute massage or facial and Spa Montage smoothie (a $315 value). At Spa Montage, the therapists’ extensive knowledge is combined with the ocean’s many beneficial properties and a wealth of soothing indigenous botanicals to renew, refresh and boost the immune system.

Aquaterra Spa at Surf & Sand Resort

Win a mini Made Fresh Daily treatment from Aquaterra Spa at Surf & Sand (a $130 value). The treatment includes a 25-minute scrub and a 25-minute wrap. Aquaterra Spa celebrates the sea with certified organic products made fresh locally to bring the best of the beach to you.


More Spa Experiences

Art of Spa

Blu Laguna Salon and Spa

The Hudson Salon & Spa

Laguna Canyon Spa

Laguna Thai Massage & Day Spa

Marciena Complete Retreat Day Spa (949-497-5414;

The Pink Palace

Pure Body Wellness Center

Spa Josephine




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