I had a wonderful opportunity to check out the new Healing Waters Spa location located in Columbia, South Carolina where I live. They also have locations in Wichita, Kansas and Durham, North Carolina right now. This particular location was opened earlier this year at a brand state-of-the-art medical facility that was built. I was more than interested to take a look around, see how it was decorated and set up, as well as try out a service for myself. I received The Power Facial, which is a 90 minute in depth, customized facial that addresses skin concerns from your face to your lips, down to your neck and chest area. Though you may not live in the same area as me, you may find my walkthrough very helpful, especially if you’ve never had a facial before and want to know what exactly goes on. Getting a spa treatment can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never gone before, and many people shy away from ever making an appointment because they are afraid it will be awkward, uncomfortable, or just plain “weird” as I’ve heard some people describe.
This post is very picture heavy, and I am going to walk you through my entire experience, from arriving at the building to leaving my appointment as a satisfied client.
ENTERING THE BUILDING AND TAKING IN THE SCENERY:
The Healing Waters Spa Columbia location is inside of the new Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge building. I have previously been to this building before since my OB-GYN is actually inside of this building and this is actually where I will be giving birth once I am pregnant. This building is completely state-of-the-art in terms of architecture and function. It looks beautiful and welcoming on the outside with palm trees and fountains, and is full of natural light and huge cascading floor to ceiling windows inside. Medical buildings and hospitals tend to make people skittish, so the very open, airy, calming environment assists in making it look less clinical and more cozy.
As soon as you enter the large medical building, the spa is directly on the first floor to your right. The moment you walk through the doors, you are transported into an alternate universe of peace and tranquility. It’s almost as if the second the doors at Healing Waters close behind you, the rest of the world is shut out and there is nothing but serenity and harmony around you. The lobby is modern and chic, but set in soothing shades of cream and blue. Spa water with fresh lemon and orange in it is available to you while you sit in one of their large, plush chairs.
Healing Waters Spa Columbia offers all new mothers a complimentary massage. I was instantly drawn to this pamphlet and had to snap a photo because I think it’s a fantastic service. Having a baby is already an expensive and intensive process, so having a spa offer a complimentary service while you are there makes the experience that much more welcoming.
Right now, Healing Waters Spa Columbia is in their “Balance Quarter.” This lasts from April through June and has to do with their signature scent and product used. The “Balance” scent is Lavender Mint, which was used during my facial as an aromatherapy technique.
Stocked on the shelves inside the lobby of Healing Waters Spa Columbia are the products that they use during their treatments. Since it happened to be the “Balance Quarter,” I snapped a photograph of the lavender-mint infused products (though all of the quarter scents are available for purchase too). They smell absolutely divine and are so calming to the mind and body.
One of the first things you will do when getting a facial at the spa is fill out light paperwork. This is necessary so that your esthetician can get to know you better. Medical conditions, specific problems/concerns, and medications you are taking are the main focus here. Your esthetician will use your paperwork as a starting point to get to know you and your needs. The paperwork at Healing Waters Spa Columbia was one sheet, front and back, and I easily filled it out in just a few minutes.
After I filled out my paperwork and handed it to the receptionist, I was taken back almost immediately. Again, as soon as I walked through the new set of doors I was transported into an almost ethereal world of peace and tranquility. The interior decoration was stunning, with a focus on mind, body, and soul.
I was escorted to the women’s locker room, which is more like a small house in itself in terms of size and amenities. I was shown my locker, which had a white robe, rubber spa slippers, and a fresh rose with other fresh assorted rose petals.
The locker room at Healing Waters Spa Columbia is large and wondrous. It has everything you need for before and after your treatment(s). There were 2 large, full-size showers with all toiletries provided. There was a massive steam room that is activated by pressing a button on a panel to the side. I had to go inside the steam room and give it a try since I was on assignment. I pressed the button for moderate steam and stepped inside. It looks very much like a sauna inside, with places to sit and lie down, or stand up if you please. It was quite large, so it can hold multiple people at once. The steam was intense enough that you could not see your hand if you placed it out in front of you at arms length. This is obviously a great way to open up your pores and detoxify and refresh your body.
For me, the little details are so important in a spa experience. If you recall my Bliss Spa Chicago experience, you’ll know that I was extremely unhappy and underwhelmed when visiting them. The attention to detail, from the moment you walk into a spa to the moment you walk out is what keeps clients coming back. Small acts like adding a fresh flower to your robe and locker is what makes a client feel special and pampered. Going to the spa should not be like every other day…it should be unique. Healing Waters Spa Columbia nailed this technique unlike any other spa I’ve ever been to before.
I changed into my robe, which was one of the softest, plushest robes I’ve been in before. I had to take a photograph of myself in the locker room vanity area because it was absolutely huge and wonderfully accommodating. They had full-size vanity mirrors and seats, as well as a large vanity top for your convenience. They provided everything: shaving cream, combs, cotton rounds, makeup remover, hairspray, deodorant, mouthwash, soap, you name it. I could have easily come to Healing Waters Spa Columbia with a full face of makeup on, gotten my facial, and then completely gotten dolled back up to go back to work or an event afterward in this locker room. This is great for professionals or busy women and men who need to “rearrange” themselves to look presentable again after their spa treatment.
After coming out of the locker room, I was escorted to the “relaxation area” which was a dimly lit, quiet area with sectioned off beds, couches, and chairs. Again, their signature lemon and orange spa water was available to you and there were also other assorted sweet goodies for you to munch on. I was really in love with their “birdcage” chairs, which were mounted to and swung from the ceiling with a large rope. I always see these on Pinterest and I’ve never sat in one, so of course I had to try it out…
This may have been one of my favorite moments in the whole spa experience, but then again, I am a simple woman to please and I love whimsical features like these birdcage chairs. My esthetician, Lorie, took this picture of me enjoying some spa water while trying out their birdcage chairs.
THE ACTUAL FACIAL EXPERIENCE:
My personal esthetician was Lorieat Healing Waters Spa Columbia. If you go to this spa, be sure to request her and tell her Beauty Gala sent you! She brought me into the actual facial room and asked me to change into a towel wrap and slip myself underneath the covers. Since it was so hot outside (around 103 degrees), she told me I could stay above the covers if I wanted, but it was nice and temperate inside the spa, so I slipped under the covers for the full effect. The bed had fresh flower petals on it and it was absolutely stunning. Again, details. The details are what make a spa experience so special and different from everyday life. Healing Waters Spa Columbia nailed this in every form.
Pure MD products were used on my skin for my facial. I have never used these before, but I’m always trying new products as a blogger anyway, so I had plenty of faith in the products and my esthetician. Lorie, my esthetician, came back into the room after I was dressed and snug as a bug in the bed. Since my camera was stowed away inside of my robe at this point, I will give you a general breakdown of what the 90 minute Power Facial consisted of and what I thought of each step:
- Looking at my skin. Lorie took a good look at my skin underneath the lighted magnification lamp. During this time, her and I went back and forth about my skincare habits, what products I use, what I feel are my skin concerns, what I would like to improve, what I am eating and my lifestyle habits, and more. We got to know each other on a much more personal level so that she could really personalize my facial. I explained that this year I have lost over 40lbs and completely changed my exercise and nutrition. I also explained that I have had breakouts, mainly on the chin and jawline area as a result, and that it was frustrating to me because it’s been a new thing since I have gotten healthy and lost weight. She was very comforting, telling me that it is very likely that my skin is purging still and to give it a full year for my skin to adapt to my new lifestyle and weight changes. She said I had overall good skin tone and texture and that my main area of focus was where I break out (and pick!) along my chin and jawline.
- Plan of action. Our plan of action was to completely customize this facial against the normal grain of what the Power Facial consists of. I loved that she was willing to do what was best for my skin personally and not just give me treatments because that is “protocol.” I would much rather have someone give me their honest opinion and treatment plan. We decided not to use microdermabrasion on my face because she didn’t feel that I really needed it and because the chin and jaw area of my face was already irritated from having breakouts. We decided to use microdermabrasion on my chest and hands instead as a result. From there, we started with the actual product usage.
- Cleansing my skin well. I had come in with makeup on, which I typically do not do if I am going for a facial or massage, but did for the sake of knowing I would be taking pictures of myself beforehand. She gently placed eye makeup remover on my eyelids and cleansed my skin extremely well (using Seriously Clean and Timeless Clean from Pure MD) while putting a steamer over my face. We actually cleansed my skin more than once and she used what sounded like a Clarisonic on my face. I can’t be positive it was a Clarisonic since I had my eyes closed, but since I own a couple of these myself, I am fairly certain it was one or a device like one. It was really fascinating to me that she used a Clarisonic because she is a professional, so obviously I should be using my Clarisonic more at home myself. Note to self: dig up Clarisonic and start using it regularly, woman!
- Extractions. This is probably the least comfortable part of a facial, but it’s usually over and done with before you know it. Lorie uses her hands and fingers to extract, not a tool, which I really liked. I found her extractions to be far less painful and irritating than any other facial I’ve ever had. She did some squeezing of my blemishes, as well as the blackheads on my nose. The steamer we had on during the entire cleansing face really helped open up my pores, so the extractions were quite easy for her, according to her. For me, extractions are one of those “hurt so good” phases of a facial because while they can be a bit uncomfortable, I love knowing that my blemishes and blackheads are being eradicated.
- Microdermabrasion on my hands and chest. This was my first time getting microdermabrasion on my hands and chest. It was quick and painless, and my hands and chest area looked immediately smoother and nicer after the facial. I appreciated this customization because I’ve been a little self-conscious lately about my chest area getting sun spots and looking “older.”
- Masks, Serums, Moisturizers. This part was a little blurry for me, mostly because we started in on the relaxation phase of the facial. Lorie was excellent in choosing products for me because she mixed and matched for specific spots on my face. We put one exfoliating mask on my chin and nose area (Purge Your Problems Mask from Pure MD) and then a moisturizing antioxidant one on the rest of my face which felt so soothing and like heaven (it was Antioxidant Delight Mask from Pure MD). I also know via my personal card that I left with that she used Brighten & Tighten Mask from Pure MD, as well as Pomegranate Smart Scrub as an exfoliant, and Clean Sweep as a toner. Naked Hydration and Rich & Loving It were my moisturizers, and they are also Pure MD products. As I said, this part of the treatment was a little bit of a blur for me because Lorie mixed and matched products like a mad scientist. Also, it was extremely relaxing because she really massaged my skin well.
- Massage, massage, massage. This is what almost put me out. During the application of the facial products, it was quiet time. I received the Lavender Mint aromatherapy oil and took a few deep breaths. She applied the products and did her magical massages on my face, neck, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, feet, and legs up to my knees. She also massaged my scalp, hair, and around my ears, which was just heavenly. I definitely think I nodded out a few times from how much stress and tension was being purged. I have had a really stressful month and this just helped all my tension to melt away. Another amazing part about this particular facial was that she actually put products around my eye area. This was the first facial I’ve had where they put any emphasis on the eye area. She lightly massaged some High Eye-Q and RevitalEyez from Pure MD on my eye area which felt really soothing.
- The ringing of the bells. I was almost out from all the massaging and she gently rang what sounded like wind chimes to wake me up. She let me know that she would be getting me water and to slowly get up and get dressed. The facial was over and the only complaint I had at all was that it felt like the quickest 90 minutes of my life! Pure bliss.
I made sure to drink my spa water afterward, since anytime you get a facial or a massage, they are essentially helping to drain your lymph nodes and get rid of toxins. You’ll often be thirsty after a facial or a massage for this very reason. I had my entire glass of water and went back to the locker room where I was able to see just how nice my skin looked. I was glowing. I was so impressed with Lorie’s work. My skin looked dewy, fresh, and healthy. It didn’t feel irritated or red at all. The blackheads on my nose that were once quite visible and rough to the touch were gone.
I genuinely felt like a million bucks after my facial. My skin hasn’t looked this good in a long time and it was looking super healthy. What you see above is my skin without a drop of makeup on whatsoever. I was still a little dazed from being so relaxed, but I was very pleased with how my skin looked. I also noticed that the microdermabrasion on my chest and hands had an immediate effect on the way they looked. My hands and chest were much smoother, softer, and more youthful looking.
On my way out, Lorie put together the most beautiful little goodie bag for me to take home. She included some of the product she used on my skin, a small scrubbing brush for when I travel, an Anti-Redness Serum from Pure MD, as well as some bath and body samples. She also gave me a sheet that was checked off fully with every product she used on me, from start to finish. I found this part of the facial to be of utmost importance because then you can get an idea of what was specifically used and try those products yourself at home if you liked any of them. I personally really enjoyed the Antioxidant Delight Mask from Pure MD and will probably be purchasing it to add it to my skincare routine. She wrote a short recommendation for me at the bottom, which was “Use your Clarisonic, and spot treat with ‘Purge Your Problems’ on chin and nose.”
We parted ways by her recommending the Jessner Chemical Peel for me sometime in September or October, once the summer sun and heat has lifted. I absolutely adored the recommendation since I am looking to incorporate chemical peels into my skincare routine. With the outstanding service and attention to detail I had, I will most definitely be back in for a chemical peel this fall.
I left feeling like a million bucks.
Healing Waters Spa Columbia exceeded and surpassed all expectations I had. Their staff was not just courteous, they were genuinely happy to be there and always smiled at you. From the moment you walk into the spa to the moment you leave, you are treated like royalty. The specialized, individual treatment is state-of-the-art and will have you feeling refreshed, glowing, and pampered. The attention to detail when it came to making you feel special was superb. You will feel like you are a Queen (or King) while you are there, and not just in the treatment room. The spa is aesthetically extraordinary to the eye and pristinely clean. If you live in South Carolina or will be in this area and are looking for a spa recommendation, Healing Waters Spa Columbia is your place.
[Side Note: The day I received this treatment was also my dad’s 61st birthday, so I decided to treat him to a 90 minute massage for his birthday and Father’s Day. I paid for this service for him with my own money, and he said it was “hands down the best massage he has ever gotten.” My father is handicapped (scooter/wheelchair bound) and has Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis with chronic back pain and sciatica, so it was of utmost honor for him to have said that about Healing Waters Spa Columbia. This spa is handicapped accessible and the staff was beyond helpful to him, assisting him in moving from his scooter to the massage table and back again. Thank you Healing Waters Spa Columbia staff from the bottom of my heart for making his birthday special.]
[ALL PHOTOGRAPHY ON THIS SITE IS TAKEN BY REBECCA KAZIMIR. NO PHOTOGRAPHS ARE TO BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.]