In case you haven't noticed by the considerable spike in temperature (yay to being 120 degrees in the Valley on Monday!), Summer has officially arrived. And though I've been working on my tan, my diet, and my six pack, I don't feel like I've shed my winter skin (or hibernation pounds) quite yet. But lately, I've been getting totally pampered in time for summer; from facials to infrared saunas, I've tried them all...just for you (isn't that so kind of me?). And while there are a multitude of huge in the city that promise plenty of new treatments, sometimes looking at smaller, local spots is where you'll really see innovative techniques, high-quality facials, and a chance for self-education. Here are 3 of my favorite spots around L.A. for just that.
1. 7E FitSpa
Located off Montana and 7th in Santa Monica, 7e FitSpa is a deceptively large, airy space that provides customized facials and innovative treatments aimed at creating an all-around healthy lifestyle, appearance, and mental state. They have an infrared sauna, a few different treatment rooms, a luxurious bathtub, and a collection of products from lines such as Dermalogica and Phytomer.
Customized Facial: I was lucky enough to get separate facials with Lisa and another aesthetician, who were both extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and happy to educate me on their methods and products. The facials experiment with additions like oxygen and stem cell masks, both of which I did, and every time, I left my skin glowing, soft, clear, calm, and moisturized. Each time, the facial managed to be relaxing but effective; yes, they did incorporate lovely shoulder and facial massages into the experience, but certainly not to the expense of using strong products that produce serious results.
Torc Body Contouring: I also was able to try one of their signature treatments-- the Torc Body Contouring. This was my first experience with any sort of body treatment aimed at reducing cellulite, contouring the body, or losing weight. I did one session lasting approximately half an hour (they did this at the same time as a facial) and targeted my thighs. Basically, they fasten straps around your legs, fitting these electrode-pads under the straps and on your muscle. When they turn on the machine, it feels as if your leg has fallen asleep (tingly, not numb). The Torc aims to work out a targeted muscle group, creating lean muscle and breaking down fat and cellulite. It's certainly not meant as a cure all for those looking to lose a ton of weight, but works as an extra boost to those who are already working out and eating well. It couldn't hurt, right? Though I've only had 1 treatment (and so it's hard to recognize any potential results), I've heard stories from other users who, after visiting a few times a week for multiple weeks, have seen themselves lose as much as 1.5 inches from around their waists!
Speaking to Sophie, the owner of Shapehouse (which boasts locations on Larchmont, in Santa Monica, and Pasadena), you suddenly start to believe that sweating is life's cure-all. After you spend 55 minutes wrapped up like a burrito in what is essentially a human toaster (or, The Valley on a particularly hot day), she regales you with stories of Shapehouse customers who've lost weight and rid toxins from their body after incorporating this intense urban sweat lodge into their health routine. But in case you think it's just a lot of hype, you can talk to her dedicated clients, who will personally tell you about their improvements in everything from chronic psoriasis to eyesight since they started sweating. The experience is aimed at detoxing the body, losing weight, burning calories, clearing the skin, and lifting your mood.
The Sweat: After arriving to this urban sweat lodge, the kind staff will lend you long sweatpants, a long sleeve shirt, and warm socks to change into (you know, to make sure you're as hot as possible). They lead you to a little veiled bed, complete with a large water bottle, headphones, and a Roku-capable TV! You get into the sauna-bed, put on your headphones, and watch Netflix like it's any other Friday night...except it's really hot. I pretty much started sweating immediately, and had to take my arms and chest out of the bed a few times. The staff comes to check on you a few times throughout your sweat, providing you with cool lavender towels and extra water if needed. After your sweat, you can hang out in the relaxation room, where the staff will bring you tea, oranges, crisp seaweed (to replenish your salt), and nuts. They have showers available, but recommend waiting a few hours to shower as it will wash away all the Vitamin E and collagen that has just been sweat out of the skin. I definitely recommend drinking A LOT of water afterwards, as I was quite dehydrated. But I did sleep really well that night and felt great the next day. Again, it's hard to say whether or not I lost weight or did indeed rid my body of toxins after 1 sweat, but I would totally go back and do it again.
3. The Yellow Door Spa
A beautiful little oasis in the heart of Rancho Park (complete with, you guessed it, yellow doors), The Yellow Door is a Boutique Spa specializing in body waxing, spray tans, and skincare. I was lucky enough to receive a customized facial, which was great-- their aestheticians are super knowledgeable, and use products that focus on combining natural ingredients with high-tech ingredients. I also had my brows done, and they did a great job taming them back into shape. In case you need something that thoroughly detoxes, they offer a "Mystic" facial, aimed at refreshing your mind, body, and spirit, as well as your skin.