Body technician Bree Sarver demonstrates the pixie tangerine and pomegranate treatment on Andrea Olsonat the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010 in Ojai, Calif. (AP Photo/Adam Lau)
Body technician Bree Sarver demonstrates the pixie tangerine and pomegranate treatment on Andrea Olsonat the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010 in Ojai, Calif. (AP Photo/Adam Lau)

Spas race to keep customers

By Lindsay Ord Time of article published Oct 24, 2012

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Durban - Just as fashion, shopping, décor and food trends move with the times, so do trends in skincare – and spa and salon owners cannot afford to stand still in an ever-evolving industry.

This was the message to therapists and salon owners at a Prosper In Beauty conference recently.

“We are drawn to the novel and the new,” said Ayesha Rajah, managing director of A&I, who imports Priori, Phytomer and Skin Doctors products, “and spas and salons need to be innovative and keep abreast of new trends”.

She outlined the top trends this year:

1 Keeping it natural

Clients want natural products – but they also want results. Salt therapy, dating back to the 18th century, is popular and being used to treat eczema and dry skin, with some spas, like the Radisson Blu Hotel in Joburg, even introducing salt rooms for the therapies. Natureceuticals, natural therapeutic skin products, are coming into their own – like the new Coffeeberry anti-ageing product from Priori. It is made from the coffee cherry fruit of the coffee tree and was introduced to South Africa this month.

2 Hot and the cold

Spas have traditionally offered heat treatments in saunas, sweat rooms and hot stone massages and yoga devotees extol the benefits of Bikram yoga done in a heated room. Now ice therapy has come into the mix and when used in combination with hot treatments, it delivers maximum benefits, also stimulating endorphins, the feel-good hormones. Contrast pedicures, involving heat and cold, are another hot trend.

3 Caviar manicures

No, you don’t have to dip your hands in the luxury delicacy. It is so called because the end result looks as though you have. In fact, you have tiny, glitzy micro-beads decorating your nails – it is all part of the nail art trend that is huge at the moment.

E! Entertainment News even had a “mani cam” at the Emmy Awards filming stars’ manicures on a mini red carpet. Rajah predicts the caviar manicure will hit our shores in the next few months.

4 Science behind beauty

Clients want fast, sustainable results and demand to know the science behind treatments and products. In 2011, SpaFinder named “The Science of Spa” a top trend, forecasting a new era where more questions about the proven, medical effectiveness of spa therapies would be asked, leading to new visibility of clinical evidence for treatments like massage, meditation or acupuncture.

5 The Wow Factor

For two decades, spas have been havens of serenity, decorated in soft pinks and beiges. Now they are upping the ante with bold colours, LED-lit beds and funky murals. Spa owners are individualising their businesses with attention-grabbers. How about a wire tree festooned with Lindt chocolates to create a sweet experience for clients? suggests Rajah.

6 The Glam Factor

Red carpet glamour being beamed into our living rooms almost daily has fuelled the desire for fabulous nails, glowing tans and eyelash extensions. Whereas a visit to a spa was a treat for special occasions, professionally-done make-up, waxing, tanning, nails and brows are now regular grooming for many women and men.

7 Beauty Express

With everyone time-pressured, clients are demanding quick treatments that make them feel as though they have been on a mini break. A client comes in her lunch hour for eyelash extensions, a manicure and pedicure and brow shaping – additional therapists need to be called in but spas know it is good for business.

8 Coaching

Delivering one-off wellness treatments is not enough and many in the spa industry believe follow-up calls and consultations are needed to encourage clients to make healthy lifestyle changes. Skype calls, smses, e-mailed newsletters and workshops provide contact between spas and clients, motivating them to continue the work started at the salon.

9 Discounts

The trend of group discounting has hit the industry here too. As people have less disposable income, they look for deals such as those found in Groupon, My Deal and Vuvuplaza. The challenge, for spa owners, is to retain those clients.

10 Combating stress

International research shows that the number one reason that clients visit a spa is to combat stress. The spa should be a quiet environment where the client can fully relax and release the pressure.

What clients want

With spas proliferating around the province, we asked six to name a new or signature treatment that is a hit with clients

* The Oyster Box Spa in uMhlanga houses what is believed to be South Africa’s only hammam, or Turkish bath, and clients can indulge in an array of hammam experiences offering deep cleansing, relaxing and restoring benefits. These traditionally work with the hammam to raise the body temperature to allow for a deep release, while the heated marble slab induces cleansing warmth.


* Jennifer Eales spas and clinics have just introduced LED light therapy that targets specific skin concerns using different colours of LED light, with each supporting a different function of the skin – for example red helps produce collagen and elastin for a firmer youthful result, while blue reduces bacteria that cause acne. It is also used to treat blemishes and mild pigmentation..

Other innovations are BT Nano and BT Micro machines. The Nano stimulates cell metabolism and re-educates muscle tone, firming and refining the texture of the skin. The Micro uses ultrasound that penetrates serums deeper into the epidermis to hydrate and firm the skin.


* Brigit Filmer Spa and Skin in Kloof has introduced Myscara, a substitute for mascara that is applied to each lash individually. The eye-friendly product is waterproof and smudge proof and is cleaned off and applied every three weeks. No mascara is needed.


* Suncoast Towers spa has some signature sea treatments. The Sea Whisperer Massage comprises a fusion of massage techniques that generate a feeling of floating on the sea. The Sea Water Pearl Facial is a series of face massages using manual techniques and marine boluses. During manual massage, tiny sea water pearls pop out and burst on to the skin releasing the serum.

See and click on Suncoast Towers.

* Camelot at Aqua Spa at the Square Boutique Hotel, uMhlanga Ridge, offers corporate wellness memberships to encourage stress reduction in corporate types. The package includes wellness treatments, exercise, body analysis and nutritional education.


* Harmony Skin Clinic and Spa, Queensburgh has introduced Mama Mio, a range of skincare products suitable for pregnant and breast-feeding women. Products help prevent stretch marks, moisturise skin as it stretches in pregnancy, soothe nipples, relieve heavy legs and feet, moisturise post-pregnancy and more. - Daily News


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