Makeup & nails
Jul 29, 2008

Spa etiquette: Tipping and stripping

Author: Elle Canada

Makeup & nails
Jul 29, 2008

Spa etiquette: Tipping and stripping

Allison Hegedus, President of Vida Wellness Spas ( ) shares with her top 10 tips on what to expect when you visit the spa.

1. "Minute to minute experience."
Spa operators are constantly looking for ways to maximize their revenue. One of the biggest industry trends we are seeing is to shorten 60 minute massages to 50 minutes or 90 minute massages to 75 minutes. This allows spa staff ten minutes to clean post treatment and set up for their next treatment. This also allows the spa more time to book another treatment on the hour, or more treatments within the day.

To ensure that every area of your body is effectively treated, I would never recommend a massage less than 60 minutes. If you can, opt for the 90-minute treatment every time. You will never go back! Most spas rarely promote 30-minute massages for this reason.

2. Value of treatments
It is not acceptable for your therapist or esthetician to leave the room throughout your treatment. If you are having a facial and the maks is activating, your esthetician should be massaging your scalp, arms, hands, legs and feet. Every minute that you have paid for should be spent with you; pampering you from head to toe.

3. A time and a place
When receiving a facial, your esthetician should respect your time and relaxation while talking only at specific points throughout the treatment (ie: She/he should explain the different treatments she'll be performing on you at the beginning of the session.) She/he shouldn't be gabbing throughout the entire procedure unless you instigate it. Going in for a spa treatment is just as much about the mind as it is about the body. Allow yourself to drift into a full relaxation state.

4. If you look, they will come
Comedomes (blackheads) do exist in every skin. If your esthetician tells you that you do not have any to extract, tell them to look harder! Leaving a comedome will lead to larger pores and potentially breakouts.

Your esthetician should be spending a minimum of 10 minutes and up to 20 minutes on extractions. Areas such as the sides and top of nose, forehead, on and under the chin, sides of cheeks, eyebrows, behind and in the ears, and neck should all be examined closely.

5. Slow down
The speed and pressure of each massage movement is what begins your journey into relaxation (Check out our picks for relaxation retreats!). If your mind is under pressure or very active, why would you want you entire body to experience the same!

Your therapist should be moving slow and rhythmically through each move. These feelings of movement will automatically slowdown your mind vs. making it more active through fast and intense movements.

The pressure of the move should also be to your desire. A medium pressure should be felt to benefit underlying muscle tension. If a massage is too light and superficial, your muscles do not get the work out they need and often times the guest receiving the massage becomes more anxious. Feel free to verbalize this to your therapist. They are there for your enjoyment!

Do you go in the buff? Find out on the next page!6. Never long enough
Never be afraid to tell a therapist or esthetician what areas you enjoy having massaged during your facial or massage.

Massage is the greatest luxury point during a facial. Your esthetician should be spending a minimum of 15 minutes massaging your face, neck, shoulders, décolleté and scalp. If you prefer a longer massage, your esthetician can shorten other areas of the facial to accommodate this.

When experiencing a 90-minute body wrap, 30 to 45 minutes should be allocated towards massage at the end of the treatment. A 60-minute body wrap does not allow for massage allocation however your therapist should be apply a cream application over your entire body at the end of the treatment.

7. If you say it, back it
When your esthetician is explaining a product to you they should explain what the product is and why it will make a difference in the condition you are concerned about.

After using the product for a week, if you are not seeing any change in your skin or are not happy with the results of the product, you should feel comfortable returning the product to your spa to exchange for another product that may be more suitable for you skin type or condition.

8. Cell phones
In order to respect your time and relaxation -- and everyone else's -- turn your cellphone off the minute you walk into the spa. In almost all spas gabbing on your cell is against house rules, so if you find yourself next to another spa-goer who's chatting about last night's rendevous, don't be afraid to let an employee know.

9. In the buff
Although most spas recommend you strip-down for your treatment to increase the comfort factor, it is not mandatory. Every spa should offer you a robe and slippers upon your arrival, so how you choose to lay under the covers is entirely up to you.

10. Tip, please
Tipping is discretionary not obligatory. If you particularly enjoyed the experience and the esthetician, than a 10% tip over the treatment price is typical, but you should feel no pressure to do so.

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Spa etiquette: Tipping and stripping