Dos and don'ts of the fluffy brigade

RECENTLY I met a lady who received a very nice voucher for a spa but she did not avail of the voucher because she didn't know what to bring to the spa and what she was entitled to facility-wise.

I'm writing this column in a bid to address the dos and don'ts and what to expect at a spa for the first time. On one of my visits to a spa, I was waiting to speak to the spa manager and an elderly couple were doing a consultation with the receptionist.

A part of this consultation is to ask questions, not to be nosy, but they need to know if there is a medical condition or allergy that could make a treatment unsuitable for you.

It became apparent to all that the elderly man was deaf. The soft-spoken receptionist was having to raise her voice. Meanwhile, the man's wife had now joined in with roaring the questions to the poor man who looked like he was only there to please the wife. In the corner was a woman waiting for her treatment and every time she heard the raised voices she sighed loudly and threw her eyes up to heaven. As frequent visitors know there can be a lot of questions.

By the time the questionnaire was finished the woman looked like thunder, now I know ciuinas is a spa etiquette but in fairness a bit of give-and-take goes a long way.

Rule one is noise must be kept to a minimum, unless you're a lovely old man trying to please his wife. Generally speaking people under-18 are not allowed in the spa.

Spas, and all their areas, are a mobile-free zone to ensure total peace, relaxation and tranquility. Schools need a contact number and some spas insist mobiles are locked in your locker, total meltdown for me. When you are booking your appointment, find out what facilitates you can avail of and for how long. Robes and slippers are provided as are disposable underwear but bring your own swimwear for thermal and pool areas, slippers are disposable and leave the dressing gowns in baskets provided on leaving unless you are a guest of the hotel and in which case you may leave in your robe.

Arrive at least 20 minutes prior to your treatment as, if you arrive late, you might not get the full time and full payment will be taken.

Most spas require a credit card for booking and expect 48 hours notice for a cancellation. On arrival a consultation will be required and you will then be escorted quietly to the changing area and then you enter the world of the fluffy white dressing gowns brigade and usually what follows is sheer bliss.

Falling asleep is permitted , if you snore that is your own business but it happens all the time.

After your treatment there is use of facilities, so allow for this, time-wise. Then you will head into the relaxation room, where light refreshments are served. The etiquette here is eat and close your eyes and chill. Some people chat a bit but mainly silence is golden here. If you are having a couple's spa treatment you can request a treatment room together, but if you think it could end in fits of giggles ask for separate rooms.

The number one rule is: enjoy !

A WHILE back I was talking about Dr. Joanne Reilly, from Galway, who is the owner of Kinvara Skincare and at the time we could not get the products locally, well from this week they are avaible in CH Chemist, Tralee, and my favourite is the absolute cleansing oil, as cleansing oil restores balance to the production of skin oils and this is good for oily , sensitive and dry skins, that's about all of us.Try these products out as they are getting a huge cult following here.

There are some things the French do well and skincare is one. I have being using the Nirvanesque range from Nuxe and, in my opinion, it is their best range so far. They say it delights all skin types and it certainly delighted mine.

When the skin is animated the neuro-transmitters send muscle contraction, inflammation and stress messages that weaken skin tissue. So Nuxe have developed a botox-like effect to fight against wrinkles, so smile and let Nuxe worry about the laughter lines.

If acne or oily skin is a problem try Neostrata refine clarafing facial cleanser. It dissolves impurities and helps reduce the problem causing bacteria and can be used on the most sensitive skin, without irritation. Use in conjunction with Neostrata's targed spot treatment gel for a very effective treatment.

IF you are in the market for a tan I came across two very good ones, first one is by Yon-Ka and is a gradual tan called lait auto brozant. The colour will appear after 3-4 hours after application, and lasts 3-4 days. The colour is fab and very easy to apply.

The second is a instant bronzing mousse from Karora. Apply with a mitt and shower after one hour or leave for two for a deeper tan and the results are amazing. This Irish company is going global at the moment.

Thank you for all the lovely emails and photos in the search for Mr. Munster, such lovely letters about sons, husbands and partners and there is still time to enter your man and he could be smelling pure handsome. Thanks to boss.

SO much up for testing this week, we will start with amazonia preciosa facial clay wax for skin which hydrates, firms and revitalises leaving your skin feeling silky smooth.

I have three up for testing. Sunrya brasil, which is a semi -permanet hair colour containing 15 plant extracts from Brazil and India, and is a henna colouring cream, just let me know your hair colour.

Three ultra moisturising facecreams are up for grabs from Neostrata. If you have oily skin I have 3 FACEB4 daily cleansing foams, so get emailing me at and go to maryodonnellbeauty Facebook page to see the products.


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