Spring, is that you? Everybody’s wondering, hoping, peeking out cautiously from the office-apartment caves where we’ve burrowed in for most of the past five months. And, yes, the season of flowers and sundresses is finally here. It’s time for a whole new look, feel and attitude! To help us transform from frozen to fabulous, we asked the experts to share their wisest tips for sloughing off the winter blahs.
|Expert: Molly Wabel, Treatment Director at Eau Spa, Manalapan, Fla.|
Detox First Get the lymphatic system going, force your body to sweat and expel toxins first and foremost. Eau Spa’s recommended method is a “detox wrap” in jasmine rhassoul clay, but you can get a similar effect by exfoliating and then going in a sauna. Use a dry scrub, sugar scrub or salt scrub. Removing all that dead skin is almost like removing a shell. And it’s important to go in a dry sauna rather than a steam room because in a dry sauna your body is working to sweat, whereas in a steam room you’re coated immediately in moisture.
Blooming Beauty Floral, grassy, mossy, supple: These are the scents and textures that guests of Eau Spa gravitate to in spring. If you’re looking for products with these qualities, the Red Flower line has some great choices: Red Flower Ohana Gingergrass is one of Eau Spa’s biggest sellers. It smells like the forest coming alive. Plum Blossom Silk Cream from the same line has a supple feel and an aromatic blossomy smell, like plum trees blooming before they start to produce fruit.
Also recommended: the Cherry Blossom & Lotus range from Sothys.
|Expert: Elisabeth Halfpapp, Co-Creator Core Fusion|
Get on the Ball As Core Fusion Barre is a ballet-inspired, core-centric class, it focuses on isolating core fitness exercises, alignment, flexibility and posture, and mindful muscle movements. You work on the ball of the foot to help get more range of movement in the leg and gluteal muscles. This position actually comes from ballet classes where dancers work in "releve" to get more length to the legs. It also works the calf muscle along with balance. When you work on the ball of the foot of your standing leg, you also help increase bone density, because it is a weight-bearing leg.
Core + Cardio = Full-Body Transformation Exhale's newest class, Core Fusion Barre+Cardio, combines the cardio benefits of interval training with the toning benefits of the Core Fusion barre technique. Each two-part class consists of 30 minutes of plank-run sprints with short recovery periods, followed by muscle-defining barre-based sequences of movements that target the thighs, butt and abs. Note: Core Fusion’s definition of “recovery” is typically a down-dog stretch, a plank, or slowly practicing an exercise form before speeding up to double-time for the intense sequence. There’s no such thing as a total resting period, until the last few minutes of the cool-down. This class incorporates high-energy sequences with “bigger” range of motion than the subtle repetitions that define other Core Fusion classes.
|Expert: Elena Hight for Epsom Salt Council|
Epsom Salt Does a Body Good As the new Epsom Salt Council spokeswoman, Olympic snowboarder Elena Hight is popularizing a simple home remedy that physical therapists, yoga instructors and masseuses have recommended all along. Three cups of Epsom salt in a bath are “such an easy go-to when you have sore muscles or after a hard fall,” she advises. For a great DIY body scrub – effective as an exfoliant but also to hydrate wind-chapped skin -- Hight recommends Epsom salt mixed with coconut oil.
|Expert: Leslie Wolski, Spa Director at Villagio, Yountville, Calif.|
Exfoliate Thyself One of the first things I like to promote for spring are body scrubs. People don’t realize how bad the winter is for their skin. They put lotion over lotion over shea butter, to try to keep hydrated. But if you’re not getting the dead skin off, the lotion is doing nothing. And if you’re not exfoliating before spray tanning, that’s when you get the streaks. The tanner is going to adhere more to the dry areas, and giving it that uneven look.
What I’d recommend for spring is a full-body exfoliation followed by a great self-tanning treatment. We have one here called the Fruity Peel, which is fruit enzymes. Sugar scrubs are really great. That’s going to be your most gentle scrub, even more than the enzymes.
Spring in Your Step Another thing people start to think of in spring is their feet, because they’re going to be putting on sandals. The area where the wear and dehydration really shows first is in the heels. One professional pedicure’s not going to do it. To get your heels nice and sandal ready, you have to have a home care routine.
I keep one of the foot files from Sweden hanging in the shower: It’s called the FOT. Do it every time you shower. Then once a week, slather your feet in a really thick body butter or crème, slip on some socks, and go to bed. In the morning your feet will look so nice. And they will stay gorgeous all summer long.
Professional warning: Never razor skin off. There’s too much risk of infection.