The Treatment That Officially Changed My Mind About Facials

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While my line of work allows me to consider myself a pretty well-versed spa-goer, I (surprisingly) usually stray away from the facial offerings—no matter how extravagant the spa or divine the location—and gravitate toward a massage or body-centric service, instead. The reasoning stems from a not-so-stellar facial I received years back: The treatment was rough and painful and I left the spa the furthest thing from calm with my face looking bright red for more than two days (plus a few chemical burns peppered on my complexion). Needless to say, it didn’t take much to leave me swearing of facials for good.

Fast forward about four years to when I was given the chance to visit the lavish spa at The Palms Resort in the beautiful Turks and Caicos and I told myself it was time to step out of my comfort zone. Hesitant at best, I decided to try my luck at a facial for the first time since, opting to receive the spa’s Deluxe Organic Seaweed Facial ($225). While the incredible property made the entire decision a no brainer, the spa staff was super welcoming and more than qualified to answer all of my questions (because there were a lot). After speaking to Maxime Cormier, the spa manager, I got walked through my treatment with my therapist Earl Blake (if you visit, ask for him specifically—he is the lead therapist at the spa and is referred to as the guardian of the standards and quality of all treatments), and I felt totally comfortable with my decision.

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As Blake was showing me to my personal cabana (every treatment is performed in one and is equal parts private, calm and serene, with the back of each completely open to hear natural water flow and palm trees rustle) he explained the benefits seaweed brings to the skin—think cell regeneration, deep hydration and serious detoxification—and how its usage dates back for centuries. Cormier later explained that seaweed-based skin care was traditionally known as the “Thalasso Cure” due to the leaf’s detoxifying ability to treat ailments ranging from eczema and sun damage to dehydrated and aging skin.

The treatment started off with a foot cleansing and back exfoliation and massage before my face was even touched. Once it was time for the facial, Blake applied what’s called a “Mermaid’s Purse Mask” (a clay mask featuring mermaid’s purse, which is found on the inside of the seaweed and creates a natural oil containing almost every vitamin you can think of) to my face, neck and chest before placing whole organic, hand-harvested seaweed leaves on top. The leaves were super fresh and moist, ensuring every benefit was present (more than 80 percent of the plant is made up of vitamins, minerals and other bioactive compounds), while the hot—and extremely soothing—hot compress placed on top of each leaf helped all of the vitamins seep deep into my skin. While I laid there (almost falling asleep), Blake explained to me how seaweed’s properties very closely resemble human plasma. “So far, we have recognized 108 elements in common,” he explained, adding that this close resemblance makes it easy for the body to absorb the minerals and allow for speedier skin regeneration (read: instant radiance).

As the minutes slipped away from me and the facial sadly drew to an end, I was excited yet totally anxious to see how my face looked after the extractions I had requested (I’m convinced this is a large part of what led me to my demise the first time around). I looked in the mirror and to my surprise, my skin had zero redness—seriously, none—and the most glowing, radiant skin I’ve ever had, almost as though I had been napping for two days straight. My complexion was so plumped and baby-soft, I found myself touching my face over and over to make sure it was real. As I walked back into the main area of the spa, I got complimented on how great my skin looked and I couldn’t believe it myself; it was a complete 180 from my past experience. As a result, I didn’t wear a drop of makeup for the rest of the trip—and for a beauty editor, that says it all.

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