Skin Soothers

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Laurel Curated Skin Rituals mask product and ingredients_courtesy of Laurel SkinLaurel Curated Skin Rituals mask product and ingredients_courtesy of Laurel Skin
A Laurel Skin mask, filled with natural ingredients, is used in the Organic Apothecary Facial at The Spa at Pelican Hill. | Photo by Laurel Skin

A nourishing facial or body wrap pampers you inside and out—and gets you glowing for the holiday party season.

By Ashley Breeding


With winter in full force—or as strong as it gets in Orange County—your first defense against dry, irritated skin is a nutritious diet (think healthy fats and leafy greens) and exercise that makes you sweat.

“Lack of moisture and humidity outside and forced-air heat indoors are the biggest culprits for winter itch,” says Dr. Jeffrey Lauber, a board-certified dermatologist at Advanced Skin Treatment of Orange County, based in Newport Beach. “These pull moisture right out of [the] skin’s upper layer. … We also sweat less in the winter, so we don’t have natural oils from sweat that help moisturize [these outer layers].”

Luckily, there are a few easy ways to combat the issue. “Many of my surfer patients use balneotherapy (bathing in Epsom or mineral-rich salts),” he explains. “Salt molecules attract water molecules, so it’s a great—and cheap—way to hydrate skin.” Another trick: Applying a moisturizer while skin is still damp will keep water from evaporating. A native of the South, Lauber says Crisco butter is good in a pinch, unless you’re prone to acne. And regularly using a humidifier, which releases water vapor to increase humidity in your home or car, is also helpful.

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Cryo Globes (right) from Facial Lounge can be placed in the freezer and used at home to reduce puffiness, minimize pores and increase blood circulation. | Photo by Jody Hou

One word of caution: “If you have scaly skin that’s persistent no matter how much you moisturize, see a board-certified dermatologist,” Lauber says. “I’ve had many patients who thought they just had dry skin—and it was skin cancer.”

A daily regimen that gently cleanses and protects skin’s barrier is paramount, but a monthly facial or body treatment can help exfoliate, deeply hydrate and keep you looking and feeling your best—especially during the social holiday season, when you’re ready to bare those shoulders for the first time since summer. In Newport Beach, bespoke treatments are on trend, but, before receiving any of the following, expect a thorough assessment from an experienced aesthetician.


Au Naturel

Clean-beauty enthusiast Amber Rose Johnson, founder and owner of Facial Lounge, which has a location in Corona del Mar, notes that healthy skin starts in the kitchen. “Your gut is your health,” she asserts. “The condition of your skin is [an] insight to what’s happening inside your body. … Raw fruits and veggies are what your skin needs to look good. And whatever you do, stop drinking collagen—that’s like drinking blood because you need iron—and just eat blueberries instead.”

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A treatment room at Lido House hotel’s Boost Spa | Photo by Lido House

Johnson recommends getting a facial every 28 to 30 days. “For women, the best time is during or immediately after their menstrual cycle, when skin is exfoliating naturally,” Johnson explains. She notes that treatments are customized for hormones, weather and specific skin care needs. This insight, combined with Johnson’s focus on nontoxic, vegan skin care comes together in Johnson’s multistep Custom Organic Vegan Facial gently steams, which deep cleans, exfoliates, soothes
and moisturizes.

“We use ozone steaming, which not only opens pores, but releases impurities and improves blood circulation,” she explains. The facial is ideal for all skin types since every step is personalized. For instance, a client with rosacea requires a lighter steam clean and one of two red light therapies in place of a mask to kill bacteria. Masks and serums are also tailor-made, and massage offers relaxation while helping skin fully absorb treatments.

“We can also add dermaplaning or microdermabrasion,” Johnson says. An optional Cryo Globe cold treatment can be included at the end to close pores. Love her products? Purchase and use them as part of your morning and nightly routine.

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A HydraFacial at Boost Spa | Photo by Lido House

A couple miles down the road, The Spa at Pelican Hill offers two facials that are exclusive to Orange County. And, through the holidays and maybe longer, the Love Local special grants access to the resort’s fitness center and classes as well as the Coliseum Pool for same-day appointments valued at $350. When it comes to treatments, the Laurel Curated Skin Rituals menu includes a Men’s Organic Facial and an Organic Apothecary Facial, each 60 minutes. The latter employs small-batch herbalist formulas to remedy imbalances and create a healthy glow; among the options is a formula that’s especially healing for sun-damaged skin. Ingredients like hawthorn root, reishi mushroom and sea buckthorn hydrate and nourish while creating what Kruer describes as a pleasant “earthy aroma.”

“The addition of the Laurel Skin … line and treatments offers our guests the option of an experience that is based on beautiful plant-based, organic products,” says Sarah Kruer, the director of branded experiences at The Resort at Pelican Hill. “Every ingredient is carefully sourced and processed in order to maintain the highest level of efficacy. The experience of a Laurel facial is not only lovely, but it delivers results.”

The hourlong Knesko Gemstone-Infused Facial is another option. Or add an extra 30 minutes to include treatment of the neck and decollete as well as the application of gua sha, a facial massage technique long used in Eastern healing traditions to help release facial and muscular tension and stimulate lymphatic drainage to tone the face, explains says Spa Director Lynne Hite.

The Spa at Pelican Hill_no credit needed
The Spa at Pelican Hill

“We use the beautiful gua sha stones from Knesko during our 90-minute Gemstone-Infused Facial, not only for the therapeutic effects, but to achieve a higher level of product penetration during the masking phase of the facial,” Hite says.

Luxurious yet effective, the treatment applies a “brightening and tightening” gemstone serum (made with amethyst, rose quartz and gold) over gently cleansed and exfoliated skin. A collagen mask—infused with Reiki energy, Hite notes—is then applied over the serum and massaged deeper into skin with a gemstone roller.

“The Knesko masks all have a base of marine collagen and hyaluronic acid that are effective on all skin types,” Hite says. “The beauty of this treatment is that our aestheticians have five masks to choose from depending on the desired results of our guests. The efficacy of the masks, combined with the specific massage make this a unique and beautiful treatment.”


Diamonds in the Buff

At Lido House’s Boost Spa, spa manager Brooke Gilliam raves about the popular HydraFacial, in 50- and 80-minute options. “This high-performance treatment provides a deep cleanse, exfoliation, gentle extractions and hydration while targeting the repair of individual conditions that are related to our environmental exposure,” Gilliam says. “The highly concentrated vitamin C serum is paired with natural growth-factor proteins … and infused with a firming and lifting spirulina mask. Skin on the face, neck and decollete is instantly brighter, smoother and more hydrated [while] fine lines and wrinkles are softer.” Gilliam notes that her spa uses Skin Authority products; the one utilized in this treatment incorporates an ingredient made exclusively at UC Irvine’s regenerative labs. For optimum results, Gilliam recommends a series of treatments, every 10 to 14 days.

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The Coastal Renewal treatment, which includes a massage and exfoliation at The Spa at Pelican Hill

The 80-minute Diamond Luminous Facial at The Spa at Balboa Bay Resort (open to overnight guests and club members only) promises a dewy complexion through a blend of exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C serum, and a nourishing Diamond White Mask. “Deep exfoliation removes a dead layer of skin and helps the serum and mask penetrate deeper,” says Spa Manager Holly Monson. “Results are instantaneous, but we see the [most notable difference] two or three days after treatment. … Product absorption is better in your daily skin care routine and makeup will go on smoother.” Monson suggests a facial every three to four weeks, with a weekly home exfoliation in between. For at-home care, if you have acne, opt for chemical exfoliants over anything granular that can aggravate skin, she says. “[And] whether it’s January or July, always apply an SPF of at least 30,” she adds. “Drink plenty of water and go easy on caffeine, which can contribute to dehydrating the skin.”


Bare All

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Relax in the women’s locker room at The Spa at Balboa Bay Resort. | Photo by Balboa Bay Resort

For a full-body relaxation, Monson points to the CBD Remedy Massage at Balboa Bay Resort Spa. Choose from a CBD oil or cream (or a mix of both), which, when combined with firm pressure, “helps with muscle aches and inflammation and is calming to the nervous system,” she explains.

Need more buffing? Pelican Hill’s 90-minute Coastal Renewal treatment begins with a rosemary-olive oil massage and then exfoliates with a fine powder of pacific grains, coastal herbs, and sea algae to release nutrients and eliminate toxins, Kruer explains. As you rest in a cocoon of herbal-infused linens, a scalp massage and mini facial offer complete pampering. A nourishing application of rosemary shea butter makes skin supple and ready to show off.

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The Spa at Balboa Bay Resort offers facials and massages, including one with CBD oil or cream to melt stress away. | Photo by Balboa Bay Resort

You can also treat yourself to both at Spa Gregorie’s, where the 90-minute Fassage pampers head to toe: First, a full-body massage relieves sore muscles while helping improve circulation and overall wellness. Next, the express facial revives tired skin with a luxe cleanse, purification and intense rehydration, so you feel refreshed to take on the winter season.

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