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Or: How to fool your waiter that you are half your age!
Life is so stressful. There’s the big picture, things like war, politics and the world economy, and there’s the little picture, things like arguments, family and my economy. The source of stress doesn’t much matter; if it makes your heart race, your face flush, gives you hives, headaches or insomnia, you’ve got to pull a plug somewhere. Either that or visit a spa. The timing was nearly spot-on for my invitation to the Murad Inclusive Health Spa.
Located in El Segundo, California, Murad Spa is nestled in Los Angeles County’s South Bay, a stone’s throw from tony Manhattan Beach. On approach one notices the unlikely, un-spa-like setting of a corporate industrial park with mazes of mirrored buildings and parking garages, each looking like the one before it. Yeah, I got lost after parking my car. Once inside the correct glass and steel building with a lovely atrium, I got lost again. Thankfully, I eventually caught sight of a Murad poster. Relief.
Trick mirrors and my horrible sense of direction aside, all the stress of my morning commute to El Segundo from Hollywood on the 405 (if you are not from L.A. and are unfamiliar with this freeway, suffice it to say that it’s not the most pleasant route of travel) were immediately whisked away.
At once I was led to a women’s lounge with showers, restrooms, changing rooms and dry spa, and shown to my locker containing a bathrobe, comfortable spa shoes, towels and toiletries. I slipped into the thick robe and thongs and headed to a sitting area stocked with spa waters and tea, ready to meet my massage therapist.
Relief once again assailed me as I met Claudia, a calming, nurturing type. I don’t know about you all, but when I get a massage, I don’t want the therapist to be someone with whom I’m going to feel self-conscious. I mean, if you’re going to knead my butt cheeks, I don’t want to wonder what you think of them — it defeats the relaxing purpose of the massage. With Claudia I felt like I was being tucked in for a bedtime story.
Before we began my Murad Signature Massage, Claudia asked how I prefer my massages and performed accordingly — not too hard. She also asked if there was an area on which I had wanted her to concentrate. I asked that she focus on my upper back and shoulders where I carry a lot of tension. Once again, Claudia performed my request, playing the knots in my back like a banjo, heat radiating from my tight muscle like sound waves.
One of the most relaxing parts of the massage was the lovely mixture of scented oils used in the hot towels and pillow, Claudia’s own blends. The scent of lavender and mint mingling with the New Age music on the sound system nearly put me to sleep.
At the end of my blissful hour, Claudia suggested that I use a warm wrap on my back, neck and shoulders for fifteen minutes a night, every night, to relax away my tension. She then told me to take my time, and when ready, roll off the table and drink all of the water she poured for me. She could have told me to do nearly anything and I would have, her quietly confident, sage persona suggested no need for questioning.
I made my way to the sitting area to await my facial (Murad offers one for every skin concern) and used the time to fill out the form given to me upon check-in. The form asks some general medical and wellness questions, along with questions pertaining to the kinds and brands of cosmetics currently being used. I had a little trouble with this form when that old self-consciousness crept in. On a scale of one to ten, how do I rate my stress level? I think I said “six.” Is that accurate? It feels like eight, but it shouldn’t. Will checking “eight” make me look unstable? Six it is.
Just as I’m second-guessing my answers, out bounces Tracee, a pretty, energetic young lady who apparently is excited to extract my blackheads. I’d feel bad for making her do that if she didn’t seem that she loved it so much. She brings me to another low-lit room where I am proffered a terry tube dress and told to slide under blankets once again. This was my very first facial (yes, really) and I hadn’t known what to expect. So far, it seems a lot like my massage.
When Tracee comes back in we talk about products I use and what they contain, making sure that I’m not currently using any with retinol. I tell her I’m prone to redness and occasional hives and itchiness. With that she begins.
First, Tracee cleansed my skin using the Soothing Gel Cleanser and Essential C Cleanser. Next, she toned with a hydrating toner, followed by a regular strength AHA Rapid Exfoliator. Extractions came next, the part to which I was least looking forward. Of all these, none were terribly uncomfortable. The AHA Rapid Exfoliator burned slightly and the extractions pinched a bit. Luckily, my hands were encased in bags of paraffin so I wouldn’t be tempted to reach for my face.
As Tracee was prepping me for the High Frequency Treatment (to stimulate collagen production, firm the skin and kill acne-causing bacteria), she asked about my foundation and whether or not I use a primer. I told her that I did indeed use foundation and occasionally a primer for a smooth finish. She told me that these are clogging my pores and suggested I switch to a tinted moisturizer.
Tracee also mentions Rosacea. Rosacea? Me? I thought Rosacea was bulbous, acne-like cauliflower skin like W.C. Fields? Apparently my itchiness and flushing has another name. I never knew.
Moving on, after the high frequency treatment, I’m misted with Eve Taylor #3 essential oil, given a soothing mask to cool and comfort, and finished with a body firming cream on my neck, chest and arms, topped with an Oil-Control Mattifier (SPF 15) and a swipe of lip balm.
Before parting ways, Tracee makes me a cup of tea and tells me that she made a prescription for me that which will be filled at the front desk when I check out. I am encouraged to take my time using the spa facilities. A phone call from my waiting husband makes me bypass the dry spa and quickly slip into my street clothes, taking quick note of my dewy appearance in the spectacularly lit locker room.
Upon leaving, I am given a lovely bag along with an official-looking prescription for healthy skin. After thank-yous and good-byes, hubby and I headed to Manhattan Beach where we had lunch by the ocean in the gleaming sunlight of a bright patio, even though I had forgotten my sunglasses.
When I ordered a glass of bubbly to accompany my fresh oysters (what else would I have on this relaxing spa day), the server asked to see my I.D. My nearly forty-three-year-old unmade-up self offered it quickly, explaining that it must be the facial. I took a deep breath of salty sea air and smiled.
This leads me back to the question of stress. What stress? Murad Spa is just what the doctor ordered to relax my cares away from the inside out. That server didn’t hurt, either.
we heartsters – have you discovered the wonders and relaxation found at the Murad Inclusive Health Spa?
Disclosure: This review includes products and services that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.