I am a self-confessed beauty and wellness fanatic. I am a proud VIB cardholder at Sephora, my skincare routine has more steps than Machu Picchu, and when my clock strikes 5:45 AM, I am up and off to barre, yoga, or spin. With that being said, prior to these last few weeks I was a spa virgin. A lover of face masks, though I’d never had a proper facial. The only massage I’ve had was when my roommate and I thought it would be a bright idea to get a chair massage at a nail salon in Chinatown in hopes of soothing our headaches, and ouch! I think the masseuse was actually trying to kill us. I get my nails done, but it always seems more like a chore than a treat. I simply haven’t had a true spa experience. I have no problem with treating myself, but I hadn’t yet tested those waters. This all changed when I entered the doors of Bella Santé Spa on Newbury Street.
After hearing all the buzz about HydraFacials, I reached out to Bella Santé as I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I booked my appointment, and when friends of mine that work at other spas in the city heard I was going to Bella Santé, they gasped with envy, proclaiming, “they are the BEST!” When I arrived at the spa, I was led to the locker room where I changed into a soft and fluffy robe. A very friendly staff member who was tidying up the changing area asked me what I was having done. “Oh I hope you get Alexandra,” she told me. “We love her here. We call her our skin goddess.” Well, I felt like I won the lottery when I was greeted by Alexandra in the waiting area! I completely melted into the spa bed which seemed to mold to my body perfectly, and Alexandra began working her magic. First, Alexandra pointed the light directly over me, as it was time for my skin diagnosis. Normal to combination skin, a little dehydrated, with some breakouts around the chin area. “Do you have any food allergies?” she asked. My mind raced as I tried to think of why she could be asking me this. I told her I was just diagnosed with Celiac disease as of two weeks prior, and can’t eat gluten anymore. Alexandra told me that breakouts in the chin area are a tell-tale sign of small intestine and digestion disturbances, and that they should clear up now that I’ve changed my diet. Good to know!
A HydraFacial, I learned, can be compared to microdermabrasion and is a new way to give even sensitive skin a quick treat that exfoliates and moisturizes with just a few passes of the wand. The first part of the treatment is all about hydrating the skin, per its name. Instead of blasting skin with grit to exfoliate, a HydraFacial uses controlled pulses of serum to lift away old skin cells. The official description, as seen on Bella Sante’s website, is as follows.
“This treatment, that can be used on many areas of the body, uses state-of-the-art vortex fusion skincare technology and begins with a facial lymphatic drainage massage, which increases circulation and eliminates toxins. The skin is then given a deep cleanse using a lactic acid solution, followed by a mild, nonirritating glycolic/salicylic peel. The pores are cleared of congestion and debris, then a multitude of antioxidants and peptides, including Vitamins A & E, white tea extract, and rosemary are applied to help strengthen your skin and provide you with a firmer finish. Finally, LED light is used to help further reduce oily or congested skin, while also soothing irritation and redness. The end result is firmer, more radiant skin that lasts for weeks.”
To clear the pores, a tool that is essentially like a sort of vacuum for the face is used to suck out all of the debris, and it felt quite funny on the skin. Alexandra also applied pure hyaluronic acid to my face, giggling, “We call this part the fountain of youth!” My face, neck, and décolette were massaged until I was so relaxed that I felt like jelly lying there. Through each step, Alexandra explained what she was doing and the effects that it would have. She even complimented my elastic fibers and collagen in my skin, telling me I have great genes! (Shout out Mum & Dad). At the end, my face was left feeling incredibly smooth, hydrated, and glowing without a clogged pore in sight. The best part of all was that Alexandra took the time to write down a custom skin regimen for me, and the order in which everything should be applied. She truly is the skin goddess.
During my day at Bella Santé, I also had the opportunity to try their Dazzle Dry Vegan Manicure, which dries in only 5 minutes, is non-toxic, and lasts for up to four weeks. It is fortified with proVitamin B5 and Calcium, strengthens the natural nail, wears like gel, and removes like polish. I went with a soft pink color similar to my beloved ‘Ballet Slippers’ by Essie but minus all the chemicals. I think I’m sold. A previous advocate for ordinary gel manicures, this Dazzle Dry manicure made my nails feel like they could actually breathe as opposed to just hiding under layers of hard-as-rock chemicals. My manicurist, Jess, was amazing, and gave me insider tips on what to look for in other salons that are a tell-tale signs they are not clean. Bella Santé , I should point out, is utterly spotless.
I don’t think I have too much fiddle room in the budget to squeeze in the recommended monthly facials and still keep my head above water when it comes to finances. The worst part of being the self-proclaimed poster girl for the phrase “champagne taste on a beer budget” is that I’m not able to indulge in everything I’d like to- yet. Now that I’ve had a taste of the pampered life, though, I know I will certainly be back when I want to treat myself. My skin will thank me! As far as the Vegan Dazzle dry manicure, though…Bella Santé can expect to see me sooner rather than later!