The beauty of the tropics
by Cheryl Fenton
| March 23, 2012
No man is an island. But every man (and woman) would love to escape to one now and then. Sadly, work and wallet don’t always allow for an impromptu getaway to a land of tropical breezes, sun-warmed sand, and lapping waves. But there are still ways to enjoy the R&R-related beauty benefits of a Caribbean vacation right here at home. Here are a few DIY tips and spa-treatment suggestions that serve up island-inspired luxury without the air travel.
If you can’t swing a spa trip, head to the supermarket. Pineapple has long been used as a medicinal agent in tropical traditions, and the golden fruit’s skin-smoothing properties can give you a golden glow.
“Pineapple contains natural fruit enzymes and acids that brighten skin,” says Jennifer Menzer, health and lifestyle counselor at Boston’s Saldare Body Therapy & Wellness Studio. At home, try massaging mashed pineapple onto your face; let the sticky pulp dry for 10 minutes and then rinse. The non-irritating but hard-working enzymes will loosen dead skin cells for a soft complexion. “Additionally, they [pineapples] contain vitamins B complex and C, which are great skin rejuvenators,” says Menzer.
Of course, we’d be nuts to ignore the white meat of another produce-aisle favorite. Whether it’s milked or pressed into oil, coconut is ripe with beauty benefits. “Coconuts are a natural source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids,” says Amelia Finau, co-owner of Adara Spa in Boston. “They assist healing, help correct dry and sunburned skin, and prolong skin cell life.”
Try sipping coconut waters like Vita Coco for skin-saving benefits. “It contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and enzymes that aid in vibrant, youthful skin,” Finau continues. “Vitamin C stimulates collagen production, and B-complex vitamins boost circulation to give skin a healthy glow. Zinc also controls the production of oil in the skin, which may help to control acne.”
But you can also try a topical tropical approach: mix coconut water into hydrating facial masks, or use it as a toner, lightly spritzing your face to keep skin dewy-soft. “Coconut water contains cytokinins, plant hormones shown to have an anti-aging effect on human cells and tissues,” Menzer adds.
Need some help with your escape plans? Check out these tropical treats from local spas.
Adara Spa (115 Lewis Wharf, Boston, 617.227.5499) offers a divine Coconut Manicure ($30) and Pedicure ($60). Treatments begin with an über-hydrating coconut-milk soak. Then hands and feet are softened with a sugarcane scrub infused with exotic dilo, sekeci, macadamia, and coconut oils. For full-body TLC, try the Coconut Body Butter Wrap ($70). It’s a hydrating treatment that repairs damage with a coconut-crème scrub, coconut massage oil, frangipani body butter, and a warmed coconut-oil scalp treatment.
Pyara Spa and Salon (104 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, 617.497.9300) brings the Caribbean to Cambridge with its multi-part Caribbean Therapy Body Treatment ($180). It starts with a foot scrub of passion fruit, coconut and avocado oils, cane sugar, sea salt, and ginger. After a dry exfoliation, you’re enveloped in a detoxifying warm seaweed mask and body wrap. An overhead Vichy rinse mimics the sensation of lounging on the beach during a sun shower. And the massage that follows is more relaxing than a mai tai.
G2O Spa & Salon (278 Newbury Street, Boston, 617.262.2220) offers a glimpse of paradise in its Experience Room, which features herbal-infused steam, a refreshing ice fog, and a tropical shower. The ceiling even receives a night-sky sparkle courtesy of Swarovski crystals. It’s a truly transporting setting for the Bali Paradise Experience, a body treatment that combines a custom blend of oils with a rich mineral cream packed with fruit extracts. The price is $75 for a solo trip and $65 per person for groups of two to eight. After all, a vacation is better when you bring someone along — even if you’re just taking a trip to Newbury Street.