The Most Relaxing Beauty Treatment I've Ever Had

Can you believe this was my very first facial?
Publish date:
July 2, 2014
skincare, facial, healthy skin, Sanctuary on Camelback, spa treatment

As someone with sensitive skin, ­­and as someone who's sensitive about my skin, ­­I've always been apprehensive when it comes to spa facial treatments. And no, it's not that I hate being pampered or resist new experiences. I've relished in hours-­long massages in Thailand, gotten fish pedicures in Seoul, and enjoyed many a manicure. Facials, though? Never.

Until recently, that is. I finally decided to head to a local luxury spa in Scottsdale, Arizona called Sanctuary on Camelback. The spa gets its name from its location (on Camelback Mountain) and is a quiet, scenic reprieve tucked away in the rocky terrain.

I had a 9:30 a.m. appointment and, as I got ready, I found myself kind of nervous about everything. Does it really matter what I wear? Do I have to leave the house bare-­faced and take on the world with these gnarly acne scars? Will they judge me if my nails aren't properly manicured? Should I have gotten a pedicure first? What about that cystic acne on my cheek? Would the products they use break me out even more?

Those were but a few of the questions spinning around my head as I got ready, fed the cats, and spooned Cheerios into my mouth. I did apply a BB cream and I did dress up ever­so­slightly (this is Scottsdale, folks), and then I headed out the door.

I'd say the height of my nervousness kicked in as I was directed through the spa's corridors and handed a plush, green robe. But after I stripped down and wrapped myself up, waiting for my therapist to greet me, I couldn't help but feel calmer. Maybe it was the music or the candles. Maybe it was the fact that I was no longer wearing restrictive clothing. Either way, I felt a lot better.

The spa grounds were absolutely stunning, as is expected for any luxury spa. There were both hot towels and iced towels, a bounty of beverages to sip on, dim lighting, an outdoor zen oasis, and plenty of friendly faces ready to answer all my questions.

My therapist's name was Jessica and, before we started my 60-minute facial, she looked at my skin and asked me a few questions to help determine the best treatment. I'm dealing with some hyper­pigmentation and scarring from a bad product reaction, so she recommended a pumpkin enzyme peel (similar to the one DaMonica recently got at her facial). Then I disrobed, hopped on the comfy table, and waited for the fun to begin.

From start to finish, the experience was far more relaxing than I thought it'd be. It was also much more encompassing than I'd expected. When Jessica wasn't applying products to my face, she was massaging my arms, hands, and fingers; applying a softening lotion to my feet; or otherwise helping me decompress even further.

What struck me the most was that everything she did was so deliberate and thoughtful. There were no haphazard applications of creams or serums, and with each step I fell deeper and deeper into relaxation. In that sense, the facial wasn't just about walking out with glowing skin, but walking out with a renewed sense of calmness. Honestly, that was my biggest surprise of the day.

In addition to my enzyme peel, there were glorious antioxidant tea­infused warm eye masks, a consistent flow of steam, hot rocks placed carefully under my back, a series of extractions (way more satisfying than I thought), a hydrating aloe gel mask, soothing carrot seed facial oil, a neck and head massage, eye creams, and even a gently applied lip balm. Basically, I left the spa feeling like a wet noodle who just so happened to have luminous skin. Amazing.

Would I go back and get another? Oh, definitely. I don't know if most facials incorporate that level of relaxation into the session, but I loved feeling so pampered and taken care of. In the end, that aspect was almost more important to me than the products applied to my face.

Have you been holding out on trying a facial? Or are you one of those types who goes on the regular?