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Precious metal adds ‘wow’ factor to skin care
As if going to the spa weren’t lush enough, our luxury-obsessed society has just raised the bar – the bar of gold, that is.
Gold has long been a symbol of wealth, luxury and class, and now this precious metal is infiltrating luxurious spas around the world.
Historians say Cleopatra maintained her youth and beauty by wearing a mask of pure gold to bed every night. In ancient Rome, gold salves were used to treat a variety of skin issues.
Now, the use of gold to channel the fountain of youth is making a comeback. Variations of the Pure Gold Facial, originating in Japan, are in spas from Newport Beach, Calif., to Manhattan to London, ranging in cost from about $300 to $400.
Gold-infused treatments are one of the top 10 spa trends for 2008.
“There’s a lot of competition, and everyone is trying to come up with something different . . . something with a wow factor attached to it,” she said.
The CopperWynd Resort and Club in Fountain Hills is the first and so far the only resort to offer this type of treatment in Arizona. This natural mineral treatment, dubbed the Cleopatra Gold Facial, was added about three months ago as part of the spa’s transition away from chemical-based facials.
The 75-minute treatment, which costs $275, begins with applying a 24-karat gold-leaf mask to the face. Frankincense and myrrh essential oils are then massaged into the gold, with a dusting of gold-infused powder to finish.
The treatment is said to accelerate the regeneration of new cells, remove wrinkles and blemishes and lift and firm the skin.
“I have had quite few facials, and this one is very unique,” said Marcia Taylor, director of sales at the CopperWynd Resort and Spa. “The effects are much more long-lasting, and you can really see a difference.”
The golden fountain of youth has spilled over into over-the-counter beauty products as well. Last year, $8.9 billion was spent on beauty products, and $2.5 billion of that was specifically spent on skin care, according to the NPD Group, a market and research company that provides news and information on consumer trends and sales for companies.
Sales of basic skin-care products – for face, body, sun and hair – were down 1 percent from the previous year. But sales of anti-aging products increased by 5 percent, to $1.2 billion for 2007.
Gold products can be pricey: Chantecaille Nano Gold Energizing Cream, used to stimulate collagen reproduction, sells for $420 at Neiman Marcus.
On the low end, you can find Guerlain L’OR Radiance Concentrate with Pure Gold at sephora.com for $68. This 24-karat infused cooling gel claims to smooth fine lines and tighten facial features while creating a smooth base for makeup.
Jane Iredale offers a 24-karat gold-dust shimmer. The product does not claim to take away wrinkles but contends that “feng shui practitioners confirm that gold is both ‘uplifting’ and ‘energy-producing.’ “
“When you think gold,” Knowles said, “you think wealth and sophistication. Just the thought of gold gives you the feeling of ultimate indulgence.”