Are You Being Ripped Off by Counterfeiters?

OlaplexAre you buying genuine products?  You may not know that popular hair, skin and makeup products are counterfeited.  Many don’t.  It has gone on for years and will continue as long as there is big money to be made from the success of sought-after products.

Counterfeiters are experts at duplicating the packaging, fragrance and texture so that you are tricked into believing it is the real deal.  However, they leave out the expensive active ingredients that you would benefit from.

You think you are buying the technology and high quality ingredients that make those products unique; while, instead, you are being cheated.

Don’t let the price fool you.  These rip-off artists have gotten smarter over the years and have learned that if they price a product too low, you might get suspicious. If “it’s too good to be true”, you won’t buy it.  So, by pricing the product just a little lower or even the same as it’s original counterpart, it will ease your doubts and you will be fooled into making the purchase.

Over the years I have seen this happen to product after product – Sebastian, Matrix, Dermalogica, Obagi and Olaplex, to name just a few.

Olaplex is what inspired me to finally write this article.  As a hair stylist, I have come to depend heavily on the benefits of what this product can do for the hair and I need my clients to be using genuine Olaplex.  It is the only product available that actually re-forms hydrogen bonds that have been broken by the abuse of chemicals and heat.

As hairstylists, we now have the option of pushing the hair a little further by keeping the hair healthier through the use of Olaplex in three ways:

  1. Incorporating it into our chemical services (color, highlights, relaxers, Brazlian Blowouts, thermal straighteners, perms) t help prevent damage.
  2. In-salon treatments to help prepare or repair.  Prepare for a chemical service when we know your hair needs more strength to prevent breakage and repair hair that has been damaged.
  3. At-home Olaplex #3 to prepare and repair at home.  When we recommend Olaplex #3, we are counting on it’s benefits to improve the integrity of your hair.  If you happen to be buying counterfeit, you are not getting the repair and bad things can happen:(Olaplex #3 has quickly risen to the top of any counterfeiter’s list.  In the two short years that it has been on the market, it is the number one most recommended product by professional hairstylists/colorists around the world!

    Many of these “knock-off” products are sold through sites like Ebay, Amazon (yes…Amazon!), and a plethora of online beauty stores.  While these may be very convenient, you are at risk of buying counterfeit.

    If you want to know you are buying genuine products, go to that product’s website and look for their list of certified retailers.

Is your Olaplex genuine?

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Cold Cap Therapy Gives Hope for Keeping Hair!

It seems there is finally hope of keeping hair, along with a sense of identity and empowerment, during the Chemotherapy treatment process.  This comes from the use of freezing cold ice caps being applied to the scalp before, during and after treatment.  Sounds crazy, but, once you understand how it works, it makes complete sense that this therapy has an 80% success rate!

cold capCold Cap Therapy has been available for over 20 years in Europe and has just made it’s way to the U.S. over the past few years.  Here is how it works.  A patient rents several specially-designed, gel-filled caps that are frozen to -22 degrees Fahrenheit.  At this temperature the blood vessels in the scalp are constricted.  Therefore, limiting the amount  of the chemo drugs to a minimum.  The first cap in put in place 50 minutes before the chemo treatment starts.  The first and second caps are worn for 20 minutes each and every cap after that is changed every 30 minutes.  Caps are worn throughout the chemo treatment and for an additional 3 to 4 hours afterward.  This gives the liver time to dilute the strength of the chemotherapy medication in the blood so the hair follicles aren’t killed.

There has been extensive research on the effectiveness and safety of Cold Cap Therapy.  You can find much of the information, including data from clinical trials, here.  In other parts of the world there has been advancement to a single cap system, where the patient puts on a single cap for the entire procedure and then cold liquid is circulated through the cap by an attached machine. FDA approval is pending for the first single cap system in the U.S. By 2016 this machine based system will slowly start to become available to American patients.


TherapunzelprojectThe word about this type of treatment is spreading thanks to The Rapunzel Project.  I first learned of this organization and the treatment it supports in the August/September issue of  In this article, Nancy Marshal, cancer survivor and Co-Founder of the non-profit organization, explains “the science behind the cap is straightforward.  Chemotherapy attacks the body’s fastest-growing cells, and along with the cancer cells, the hair follicles are also killed, which leads to hair loss.  The cap constricts the blood vessels in the scalp, drastically reducing the rate at which the chemo drugs reach the follicles.  It’s admittedly cold and uncomfortable, but the results are heartwarming.”

There has been extensive research on the effectiveness and safety of Cold Cap Therapy.  You can find much of the information, including data from clinical trials, here.  In other parts of the world there has been advancement to a single cap system, where the patient puts on a single cap for the entire procedure and then cold liquid is circulated through the cap by an attached machine. FDA approval is pending for the first single cap system in the U.S. By 2016 this machine based system will slowly start to become available to American patients.

Penguin cold capsAt this time, the only way to get the Cold Cap Therapy system is to rent from Penguin Cold Caps.  They provide you with all that you need to get you through your treatment program.  The starting cost is $580 and goes from there, depending on how many months your treatment lasts.  It includes as many crylon gel caps as you need, velcro straps, support literature and your individualized schedule of use.   Anyone using the program will need to have a support person in place to help with the process of changing the caps at the designated times.

CCAPS-Logo-177x60Unfortunately, in most cases, insurance is not on board with covering this type of treatment.  However, there is an organization, Cold Caps Assistance Projects, that is available to help those with a financial need.  It is important to apply for assistance before ordering your caps because they will assist only after your application has been approved.  The application is pretty simple and is sent in with your previous year’s tax return.  Ccaps will provide up to 100% funding depending on financial need along with guidance and support through the rental and treatment process.

Finally!  It is nice to have an option to inform those, who have already had the devastating news of having cancer, that there is hope of keeping their hair during treatment.


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New Self-Tanning Technology

April 16, 2015 – We’ve just begun testing Eclipse Tan by Keyano.  We were among the very first to receive the world’s first DHA free sunless melanin booster.  Pretty exciting stuff!  It is supposed to gradually increase your skin’s natural melanin so you get a tan that exactly matches what your skin would get in the sun.  If this stuff works we can say goodbye to orange skin caused by traditional self tanners:)

Eclipse TanThere are two products available with the system.  Eclipse Exfoliate is applied prior to getting in the shower.  It utilizes lactic acid to slough away dead skin cells and prepares the skin for the application of Eclipse Tan.

We can already tell you that it definitely doesn’t smell like traditional self tanners.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite – it has a light, delicious smell of creamsicles.

The salon testers are: Jenn, she is using the Eclipse Exfoliate and Tan, Tammy is doing just one arm for a side-by-side comparison, Adena is using her Clarisonic body brush and Eclipse Tan, Lindsay is using a Dermalogica buffing cloth and Eclipse Tan, Abigail is creamy white so it will be interesting and Barbara has several tattoos.

It takes 14 days to see results so we will keep you updated.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it is worth the wait and we can have a natural looking tan without harmful UV rays.


May 2015 Update – Eclipse Self Tanner

This product is a definite NO!  We were so disappointed that the promised results of this lotion were completely non-existent.

Not one of our six testers saw a bit of difference in the color or their skin.  Tammy tested just one arm for a side-by-side comparison.  After an entire month of use twice a day, there was virtually no difference between one arm to the other!

This is the very reason we test products before we offer them to our clients.  Fortunately, most times, products stand up to their claims.  However, this one was an epic fail:{

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The Dermaplane Truth

I learned dermaplaning almost 15 years ago and much like riding a bicycle, you never forget the feeling of the smooth glide.  It is a vintage staple becoming high in demand.  What is dermaplaning, you ask?


A high quality, sterile blade is a necessity of the dermaplane service.

Esthetically, dermaplaning is a simple, safe and non-invasive technique that manually exfoliates, removes dead cells and “shaves” off vellus hair, peach fuzz, from the face using a sterile blade and a skilled hand.

Almost everyone can benefit from dermaplaning. It produces an even skin tone and texture resulting in smooth, radiant skin. It is pain-free and requires no downtime or anesthetic. It is safe for women and men of all ethnicities and ages.  It is even safe for pregnant or nursing women who are seeking a higher performance, chemical-free treatment. Only hypersensitive skin or skin with pustular/cystic acne should avoid this treatment.


Your esthetician should be knowledgeable and thorough.

Dermaplaning smooths and removes the build-up of the outermost layer of our skin.  Removing this dullness is called hyperkeratosis reduction. It simultaneously thickens the remaining layers of our epidermis and dermis.This thickening increases the skins’ proteins, such as collagen and elastin, making it an excellent firming treatment.

If that isn’t anti-aging enough for you, lets discuss all the benefits of enhanced product penetration.  Dermaplaning preps the skin for mild and medium strength chemical peels and enhances the penetration of all corrective products for that matter. Retinols, Hydroquinone, Kojic and Lactic Acid help with unwanted Hyperpigmentation. Retinols, Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide enhance acne reduction. While Retinols, Human Growth Factors, Vitamin C, and peptides penetrate deeper to give you a better anti-aging result.


Dermaplaning removes the dull surface layer of the skin along with vellus hairs.

Last, but not least, this exfoliation service has the added benefit of removing unwanted hair. When it comes down to the root of it, there are many ways for removing unwanted hair. Women undergoing menopause or hormonal changes can start growing unwanted hair on the face.  Laser hair removal is just not effective for blonde vellus facial hair.  Waxing is still the most common removal technique, but these effective treatments can be prone to problems.  Mature skin and skin undergoing professional exfoliations and use of high quality prescription and cosmeceutical ingredients may be susceptible to burning or even tearing. Ouch!

It is a total myth that shaving your hair will make it grow thicker and darker. This could be why, in American culture, shaving your face may be considered taboo. However, in other cultures women shaving their faces focuses on the benefit of the exfoliation, not so much the hair removal.  Although a hair-free face is a beautiful beginning for a flawless makeup application.  Kate Somerville, esthetician to the stars, is a firm believer in the power of the razor and maintains that the greats such as Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe shaved their faces for completely bare skin and an added dose of exfoliation.

If one or more of these skin care benefits is enticing you, be sure to look for an esthetician that has a diverse education and many years of experience.  It is important to consult with a skilled professional that can deliver high performance results customized in a treatment that is right for you.

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Men’s Brazilian Waxing aka Manzilian

What the heck is a “manzilian”?  Well…it’s a men’s Brazilian waxing service that removes all of the hair in the private areas.  It can also be referred to as ‘Bro’zilian.

Razor TransparentOver the past decade or so, shaving has become outdated.  It is irritating to the skin and requires constant daily upkeep.  This can leave the skin feeling burned and in poor condition.  Waxing, on the other hand, is an excellent alternate hair removal method that leaves you hair-free for weeks with substantially little aggravation.

Body waxing of any sort can seem intimidating, and Brazilian waxing, in particular, is certainly no different.  It is important to go to an expert that will offer you guidance on how to prepare yourself and what to expect during your service.  As well as what you should anticipate afterward.  Hopefully, this article will help serve as a guide in your understanding of all aspects of this unique service.  WARNING – once you have experienced the incredibly smooth skin that comes from waxing, you will be hooked for life!

Get Prepared

Clippers TransparentFirst and foremost, in order to prepare for your Men’s Brazilian Waxing service, you will need to stop shaving.  The hair will need to be at least ¼ of an inch long and that can take 2 – 3 weeks; so be sure to plan ahead.

Think about scheduling your appointment well in advance.  As soon as you decide to start growing the hair for waxing, call to schedule your appointment three weeks from that point.  If you wait to schedule when the hair is at the right length, you may not be able to get an appointment right away:(

There are numbing creams on the market that some apply right before visiting the salon.  Quite frankly, these don’t penetrate deep enough to really make a difference.  Save your money, time and avoid the mess.

If you are someone who’s skin can get tender easily, it can be recommended to take an aspirin-free pain reliever such as ibuprofen.  Don’t do anything that is known to thin the blood such as drink alcohol or take aspirin prior to your visit.  As always, contact your physician if you have any questions about medications.

A common question is “Does it hurt?”.  Everyone’s pain tolerance is different.  Many feel it’s not as bad as they imagined while others find it quite uncomfortable.  You just won’t know until you give it a try;)

It’s Appointment Time

ApeC’mon!  Don’t back out now!  You’ve already made it through the most difficult part…you are now hairy.  This took patience, now we are looking for bravery.  Get in there and get it done!

Once you arrive you will be shown to a private room.  After a consultation, your esthetician (a fancy word for your waxing professional) will leave while you disrobe from the waist down and cover yourself with the towel you were provided after laying on the table.  Take a deep breath and know that the reward is great.

Each waxer may have a different methodology, but it should go something like this:

some powder may be applied first to help prevent the wax from sticking to the skin.
a thin layer of warm wax is applied to a small section using a wooden spatula.
cotton muslin is smoothed on the surface and used as a tool to remove the wax and the hair in one quick motion.
This is repeated until the desired look is achieved.
A calming lotion may be applied to help sooth the freshly waxed skin.

Hallelujah! It’s Done, Now What?

Screen Shot 2014-06-01 at 3.19.05 PMCongratulations on your show of patience and bravery.  Now it’s time to sit back and relax with your newly smooth skin and not worry for about 4 to 6 weeks.

After your first waxing, you will probably want to schedule more toward the four weeks rather than the six.  As you get more experienced, you will be able to gauge how quickly your hair grows and how often you will need to schedule.

Freshly waxed skin can sometimes be a little puffy and tender.  If you took something like ibuprofen for pain and inflammation before your appointment, that should help.  If you are a “wait and see” type and you end up with some discomfort, you can take something if you need it.  You can also apply some aloe for immediate relief.  However, these symptoms usually doesn’t last more than 24 hours.

Ingrown hairs can be an occasional occurrence.  To prevent them you should consider using a gently abrasive cloth in the shower and applying an exfoliating product like Tend Skin after.
FYI – Dermalogica makes a great Buffing Cloth that is easy to keep clean and bacteria-free since it can be washed with your laundry.

Some Final Thoughts

Hair grows in cycles.  This means your first waxing will remove the cycle that is visible.  The following cycle is just beneath the surface of the skin.  What this means to you is you may see hair growing back after your first visit faster than you expected.  Be patient!  Over time the cycles all come together and when that happens the area will be completely hair free after a waxing.  PLEASE NOTE:  In order for this to happen, you absolutely cannot shave between waxing appointments.  (Nope, not even a little.)

You will experience WAY less itching when the hair grows back in compared to shaving.  Since a new hair has to be formed in the follicle before it grows out, it doesn’t irritate the skin nearly as much as a sharp, shaved-off hair can.
Bottom Line

The perks of waxing include:

  • No more razor burn or nicks from shaving.
  • No more coarse, stubbly regrowth that itches.
  • Smoother skin than you thought possible.

Written by Leith Fava and Tammy Hurley


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Oops! Color Gone Wrong, Part II


Now for the exciting conclusion…can the hair be saved?

In the previous article I mentioned the term “color correction”.  The simple definition is  to remove color that has gone too dark or to replace color that has gone too light.  That’s it.  As easy as that sounds, however,  it isn’t always easily achieved or even possible.  In this case we are dealing with both scenarios (too light and too dark).

color correction before

Color Correction Before

Let’s really examine what we are dealing with.  Take a look at the extremely over-lightened hair right next to her scalp.  I need to add a little color here to tone down the brightness but still maintain a natural blonde color.  Next, I will need to see if I can lighten up the red-orange color found throughout the rest of her hair.  You will notice that it is even darker in the hair closest to her face.  Lastly, the client has decided she doesn’t mind the bottom underneath section of her hair being darker.  Therefore, I need to make it a more pleasing brown color without taking it back to black.

Now that I have an outline of what needs to be done I need to see if it is possible.  So my next step will be trying a few test strands*.  In this case I did three test strands – one to see how well a color would take, and two more using bleach to see if I could get the red section and darkest section to go any more blonde without completely destroying the hair.

The results of the test strands gave me a lot of valuable information.  The strand with the color grabbed a little dark and drab so this told me I needed to go a little lighter.  The bleach strands lightened more than I thought they would and the damage was manageable.  Great!!  We can proceed.

Color Correction After

Color Correction After

I got better-than-expected results by applying a light blonde color on all the hair closest to the scalp and a light brown color on pieces put in foils to create darker strands.  The highlights were done using a pretty strong bleach formula.  Good news…the results are better than either the client or I expected.  Bad news…there will be some breakage due to damage.

Unfortunately, the damage is unavoidable when you are trying to remove color.  The right products and special care of the hair can help manage the condition of the hair and help control breakage.

Here are some side-by-side comparisons of the before and after.

color correction before

Color Correction Before

Color Correction After

Color Correction After




Color Correction Back Before

Color Correction Back Before

Color Correction Back After

Color Correction Back After














Color Correction Front Before

Color Correction Front Before

Color Correction Front After

After Color Correction

*A test strand is done by taking a strand of hair (about 1/4 ” wide and 1/8″ thick) and applying a color or bleach to see if I’m going to get my desired result. The last thing you want to do is create a worse mess by using the wrong colors for the correction.

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Oops! Color Gone Wrong, Part I

Mistakes happen, right?  Right.  For most situations you just move on and forget it.  It’s not always that simple when it comes to your hair.  It usually involves a visit to your local salon’s hair color specialist. That is exactly what happened in the situation shown in this post.

Now that the mistake has been made; what happens next?  Color correction (we will get to what that means a little later).  First and foremost we need to know what has been done…a little history.

color correction before

Before Color Correction

In this case the young lady’s natural hair color is light blonde.  You can’t see any trace of her natural color since she made the mistake just two days prior to this photo.  She had been coloring around her face and underneath black for a couple of years.  The rest of the hair had been a red color for about nine months.

The mistake occurred when she decided she wanted to be her natural color again.  So, of course, she did what most anyone would think you could do; she bought a “color remover”. Simple enough…apply the remover, let it sit the recommended amount of time and the color is gone.  OH NO!! It didn’t work.

Color Correction Back Before

Color Correction Back Before

What next?  Bleach!  Surely that will work!  She applied a bleaching agent all over from the scalp all the way to the ends. The package said it could stay on for up to 90 minutes.  Worry started setting in at the 60 minute mark so she washed it out.  The additional 30 minutes wouldn’t have made that much of a difference anyway.  The result of all this effort is what you see in the pictures.  Quite frankly, the hair was in better shape than I would have expected.  Don’t misunderstand, however, there was a significant amount of damage.

So, this is what I started with.  Over-lightened at the scalp, dark red brown around the face and underneath and orange/yellow on the rest.

Color Correction Front Before

Color Correction Front Before

Now that I have the long and sordid history it is time to see if we can move forward with the goal of having a more natural looking blonde color.  There are no promises or guarantees of giving her exactly what she would like.  However, I can guarantee it will look better.

To be continued…Oops! Color Gone Wrong, Part II


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An Inside Look at Hair Extensions

Having the hair you’ve always wanted requires only a few hours of your time.  I will walk you through the process of getting a new set of bonded extensions from the consultation to the finished look.

At Studio 33 Salon & Spa we require a consultation prior to scheduling the actual extension service.  During the consultation we will ask a few questions to  determine if extensions are right for you, such as:

  • What is your normal hair care routine? – You need to plan on spending a little more time on your hair on a daily basis.  Brushing your extensions a couple of times (morning and night) will help prevent tangling and dreadlocks from forming.   Other than that, they are treated like your own hair.
  • Are you looking for volume or volume and length? For volume most clients get anywhere from 50 to 150 extensions.  Adding length requires 250 to 300 extensions.

Once we decide what you want, the next step is to match your hair color to the desired extension color.  Usually at least two hair extension colors are chosen to give a more natural blend.  We custom order extensions for each client to ensure we have exactly what you need on the day of your appointment.

Ok…now we’ve figured out what you want and it’s time to get started.

This is Lindsay and she is going for volume and as much length as she can get.  She has a nice amount of length already (this really helps with blending) and quite a bit of layering.  Therefore, we have planned to use 300 extensions.

Lindsay Before Extensions

Lindsay Before

Lindsay's Extension Hair

Lindsay's Extension Hair










On the day of her appointment she just needs to show up.  No need for her to shampoo her own hair on the day of the appointment since it will be shampooed with a deep-cleansing shampoo multiple times.  This will ensure the the optimum amount of adhesion between the bond and her hair.

After a thorough cleansing it is time to part the hair off and start the extensions.  Placement is critical so that the extension cannot be seen on the surface or when the hair is pulled back.

Lindsay during the Process

Extensions in Progress

Lindsay's extension application

Lindsay's Full Application










You can see she gained a considerable amount of length.  All of the after shots below have not been cut or styled.

Lindsay Before Front

Lindsay Before Front View

Lindsay After Front View

Lindsay After Front Vew










Lindsay Before Side View

Lindsay Before Side View

Lindsay After Side View

Lindsay After Side View









Lindsay After Back View

Lindsay After Back View

Lindsay Before Back View

Lindsay Before Back View










A pretty dramatic difference from start to finish!!  I am currently waiting for some pictures of Lindsay’s new hair after being cut and styled.

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Six Reasons Why We LOVE Gelish Nail Polish

Gelish Nail PolishFor those of you who may not know what Gelish Polish is, let’s do a quick overview. Gelish is one of the many brands of gel polish to hit the market over the past few years. A very big part of the current trend in long-lasting manicures. Simply put, Gelish is a special nail polish that is cured under a UV or LED lamp to make it last up to three weeks with no chipping, peeling or fading.

We know….we know….it sounds too good to be true!! This is definitely an exception to the rule. So, here they are…Studio 33 Salon & Spa’s six reasons we LOVE Gelish:

  1. Easy Application. Gelish is amazing because of it’s easy application that allows very little room for sloppy results. Especially in the skilled hands of a professional nail tech.
  2. No waiting.  You can dig right into your purse to grab your keys or lip gloss immediately after your Gelish manicure.  No kidding!!  It’s a tough concept to grasp if you’ve been used to having to hold your hands in an unnatural position for an hour after a manicure to avoid ruining what you’ve just spent your time and money to get.
  3. It really lasts!!! Gelish can truly last up to three weeks with no chipping.  However, most of our clients don’t like the look of having regrowth near the cuticle much beyond two weeks.
  4. The color stays vibrant and shiny.  You no longer have to refresh your manicure with layers of top coat in between services to keep the color bright.
  5. Your nails feel stronger.  Gelish has helped many clients grow their nails when they’ve never been able to before.
  6. Gelish causes no damage.  If you should decide you want to take a break from Gelish, it can be removed with no damage to your natural nail.  Very different from the days of having acrylic nails removed and having to baby your natural nail back into reasonable shape.

Well…there you have it…all the reasons we really love Gelish nail polish.  If you have any questions or would like to add a comment, we welcome you to post it to this article.  Should you want to speak to someone, give us a call at our salon and we will be happy to talk to you.

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The Lowdown on the Rubdown – The Basics of Receiving a Massage.

Maddie Lavelle, Licensed Massage Therapist

Maddie Lavelle, LMT

Many people have never had a massage simply because the are unsure of the process and what they need to do to get the most from the massage experience.  The following tips should help answer many of the questions you may have about your part in the massage procedure:

First Massage? – Be sure to let your therapist know it’s your first time so they can better assist you with how they do things.  They should tell you where to put your clothes and how they want you to lay on the bed to start the massage. If they don’t, ask.

Get Undressed – All therapists are taught the art of keeping all private areas of the body covered while exposing only the part of your body that needs massaging.  Modesty will be respected at all times.  With that in mind, if you undress completely, it makes the therapist’s job easier.  However, you should undress to your level of comfort.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate – Communication is the key to a relaxing, effective massage.  The best time for the therapist to determine your specific needs is during the consultation prior to starting your massage. This is your opportunity to let the therapist customize the massage based on the input you provide.  Some examples of communication may be:

  • “I would like you to focus a little more on my neck and shoulders”
  • “I really don’t like to have my feet massaged.”
  • “My shins tend to be sensitive and a lot of pressure hurts.”

Your needs may be similar or very different from these examples.  Whatever your needs may be, keep in mind you are paying for the time allowed for the massage, it should be exactly how you want it.

Relax! – Absolutely do not feel the need to talk during the massage. It is your time to completely relax and unwind.   A good therapist will take the cue from you. If you don’t start a conversation then they shouldn’t either.

Wake Up – The massage therapist will let you know when they are finished and they are leaving the room.  Take a couple of minutes to regroup; gather your thoughts and redress.  Don’t rush but, at the same time, don’t dawdle as there may be another appointment scheduled after yours.

That’s basically it.  Each spa may vary slightly in their procedure.  The receptionist is usually well aware of the practices of their facility so you can always call ahead to familiarize yourself.

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