How Can You Be Sure That Your Next Spa Treatment is Natural?

Is there anything more disappointing then splurging on a massage or facial, only to find out when you're in your robe, settling into relaxation mode, that your masseuse or esthetician will be using products with parabens, synthetic fragrances and other toxic ingredients?

I know I'm not the only one who would rather abstain from spa-going completely than let my esthetician massage my skin with a half dozen products that I wouldn't use everyday. That just does not constitute luxury for me.

So what's my perfect spa experience?

I look for a spa treatment that combines natural products with a safe, effective therapy that I can't get at home standing over my bathroom sink. I'm talking about a natural, non-invasive anti-aging treatment (like LED or microcurrent), manual lymph drainage. or just a downright fabulous massage, which always makes my skin glow and my body relax.

Finding these types of treatments takes some online sleuthing, and possibly even a phone call for additional research. But it's worth it. Here's what to do:

Check a spa's website for information on the product lines they use (some natural lines frequently used in spas are Dr. Hauschka, Eminence, Soothing Touch and Amala) and a clearly posted philosophy that states that they use only natural and organic products in their treatments. If no such info is available, place a call and ask about the products used in the service that you're considering. If you're not familiar with the brand of products they use, check it out on the Cosmetics Safety Database and look for ingredients lists online. It may seem like a lot of legwork, but you'll really be able to relish in your natural treatment when you know that you your body is being treated with safe ingredients.

One of the spas that scores highest in my ideal spa standard is Joanna Vargas Salon in Manhattan. The treatments at Joanna Vargas are pricey ($250 for a 60-minute Triple Crown Facial), but they are the epitome of luxury. If you can squeeze in a facial there, even just once a year, it's worth the crazy expense. I'd skip a half dozen mediocre facials for one of these. Vargas treats dozens of actresses, models and editors, who keep coming back for her mix of high-tech anti-aging treatments (everything from oxygen to full body LED treatments, which encourage the natural healing processes of the skin) and luxurious natural products. She takes a holistic approach to skin health and makes her natural spa experience anything but crunchy. You'll leave the intimate,  antique-decorated salon feeling like an A-list VIP. And the best part is that you'll look like one as well!

Where is your favorite natural spa? And which treatment do you splurge on most often?

If you find a spa product line that looks natural, but you want to run it by me first, feel free to email me.