Follow these suggestions to ‘de-stress, detox and get into the holiday spirit’

Although one of the busiest months of the year, December is actually an ideal time to schedule a spa treatment. A cold snap and dry indoor heat can make skin look drab and flaky, which is a problem if your December weekends are booked with holiday parties. Meanwhile, the stress of juggling shopping, decorating, and celebrating can take a toll on even the merriest disposition. Here are several ways you can de-stress, detox and get into the holiday spirit.


To plump up skin for a youthful look, head to the sumptuous Spa at Montchanin Village, situated on the same picturesque grounds as the Inn at Montchanin Village.
The spa recently began offering the HydraFacial, featuring products by Darphin, a French line that dates back to 1958. The proprietary facial includes cleansing, exfoliation, extractions, and hydration. You can build onto the facial by adding an anti-aging treatment and lymphatic drainage (treatments that promote removal of waste from the body’s tissues).

“There’s no redness and no downtime,” says Rebecca Enrico, spa manager. “You can leave here, go out, and have photos taken.” (The spa also has a large space for couples’ treatments and spa parties, so bring your friends.)

At Via Medical Day Spa near Trolley Square, owner Terri Dominick Graves recently added paraffin facials to the spa menu. Warm paraffin wax heats up the blood vessels to boost circulation, she says, adding, “This helps tighten your skin.” It also opens pores to help naturally loosen dirt. “Whiteheads and blackheads are effectively removed,” she says. The treatment also includes a moisturizing step. The result, according to Graves: “Your skin looks softer and smother after an intensive paraffin facial session.”

Buff and brighten

Unless you have rosacea, which causes redness and small bumps, you can also go from the spa to a celebration after experiencing a micro-phototherapy at Videll’s Day Spa in Trolley Square. The treatment softens lines and helps fade age spots. It also improves the skin’s texture. “It’s not like Botox,” says Videll W. Long. “There’s no invasion of the skin. You’re not putting anything into your system. Males and females have this service done.”

Sherif Zaki Salon & Oasis Day Spa in Greenville this season is offering the Holiday Luminating Facial. “It visibly improves luminosity, skin tone, and texture,” says Manager Emon Zaki. Ingredients are designed to minimize redness, reduce the appearance of age spots, and combat pigmentation (color variations in the skin). “It leaves the skin immediately brighter, softer and illuminated,” Zaki says.

Linda Yenshaw of Faces First Day Spa in Wilmington offers the Ayurvedic “modern miracle” facial. During the treatment, she massages pressure points on the head and face to promote drainage and help create a more “uplifting appearance,” she says. “It’s extremely relaxing and perfect on the morning of a special occasion event, because the results make you look as though you just had a facelift. The afterglow will last for days.”

Fabrizio esthetician Tina Mauro Golt pampers a customer with a diamond microdermabrasion treatment in the second-floor urban retreat spa. (Photo by Joe del Tufo)

Take time for yourself

With shopping, baking and carting kids to events, time can be at a minimum. (Of course, that’s not uncommon at any time of the year.) For the time-strapped, Salon 828 in Wilmington features mini-skin treatments that are $35 for 30 minutes. “It’s all business with big results,” says owner Holly Grist. “Each treatment is targeted to your own specific needs. Acne, aging, dryness—whatever it is that your skin needs, we’ve got you covered.”

Pagave Salon & Spa in North Wilmington features mini versions of some of its most popular body treatments, including the Phyto Scalp Treatment and massages for the back, neck, shoulders, arms, hands and feet. The spa also does neuromuscular proprioceptive taping, also known as Kinesio or “rock taping.” Using latex-free tape, the spa professional will wrap areas that have joint or chronic pain to improve blood circulation and encourage good posture. The mini-treatment version involves one area.

Express facials and half-hour Swedish massage are available at the spa at Michael Christopher in Wilmington. Those on a tight schedule in Middletown can slip into Ecco Centric Salon & Spa, which offers mini pedicures and a polish-only service for hands or feet.

In addition to offering an array of massage options ranging from deep-tissue to hot stone, Sanctuary in Newark provides non-traditional services such as acupuncture, Reiki and yoga. Along with these body treatments, this self-described healing center also focuses on the mind and spirit in its holistic approach.

Fabrizio offers everything from makeup application to false eyelashes. (Photo by Joe del Tufo)

Fabrizio offers everything from makeup application to false eyelashes. (Photo by Joe del Tufo)

Warm up

Heat is a common element of many treatments—and it’s a welcome one at this time of year. At Videll’s Day Spa, clients lie on a massage table—face up or face down—with a canopy covering their bodies. The heat stays trapped underneath the canopy to open the pores, theoretically ridding the body of toxins, and helps break down the fat in cellulite, which the body then naturally removes, Long says.

The treatment can soothe the pain from chronic injuries. “It’s also great for people who get cold in the winter months and can’t thaw out,’” Long says.

Go glam

From the office party to New Year’s Eve, it’s the season to pull out all the stops. At Fabrizio Salon & Spa in Trolley Square, you can get everything from makeup applications to false eyelashes that stay on for up to two weeks.

Eyelash extensions are one of the hottest services on the market, says Graves of Via Medical Day Spa. Holly Grist of Salon 828 agrees. “Lash extensions are a glamorous new way to extend the length and thickness of natural eyelashes,” Grist says. “They are a practical, convenient and a beautiful alternative to the daily use of mascara.” (There are synthetic, silk and mink extensions.)

Because the artificial lash is carefully bonded to a single natural lash, the lashes last until your real eyelashes naturally grow and fall out. Get them early in the month to last through the party season.

The application process takes time, so plan accordingly. But fans say it’s worth it. “The final result is difficult to detect even close up,” Grist says.

Prepping for parties also involves a good manicure and pedicure, which makes Robin Glanden a big fan of Trilogy Salon & Day Spa in Newark. “Absolute perfection every time,” Glanden says. The staff is adept at handling manicure emergencies, such as a broken nail, she adds.

Treat your teen

Since it’s a season of giving, take your teen to Salon 828 for treatments designed for all the standard complexion woes, from oily skin to acne. The facial includes a deep cleanse, exfoliation, and masque. At $40 each, it doesn’t break the bank, Grist notes.

Currie Hair Skin Nails, with locations on the Wilmington Riverfront as well as in nearby Glen Mills and Kennett Square, offers treatments that target the chest and back—frequent problem areas for teens (and many adults as well). Services also include a pre-teen makeup instruction, with brow shaping.

Wash away 2015

Along with making resolutions, take time to regroup by adding the LotusWei Flower Alchemy Ritual to any massage at Sanctuary Spa in North Wilmington. A blend of scents from flowers, the treatment promises to rid you of “negative, internal thoughts and inspire your own inner calm.”

If one of your resolutions is to save money, you can start before the clock hits midnight on Dec. 31. New Beginnings Spa at Dawn Career Institute, located in Wilmington, offers services at a reduced fee if you schedule a service with a student. (The staff oversees the services.) Call to see how you can experience beauty on a budget.

Pam George
Pam George has been writing about the Delaware dining scene for more than 15 years. She also writes on travel, health, business and history. In addition to Delaware newspapers and magazines, she’s been published in Men’s Health, Fortune, USA Today and US Airways Magazine. She’s the author of “Shipwrecks of the Delaware Coast: Tales of Pirates, Squalls and Treasure,” “Landmarks & Legacies: Exploring Historic Delaware,” and “First State Plates: Iconic Delaware Restaurants and Recipes.” She lives in Wilmington and Lewes.