Avoid These Common Spa Mistakes Before You Go In For A Service

Ah, the weekend. Finally, after a long week of completing deliverables and commuting to work, it's time to take a break and recharge. And what better way to get a hard yet relaxing reset than with a spa day? A regular spa day consists of massages, facials, waxing, and even some time in the sauna, all of which will leave you refreshed, glowing, and ready for the next week.


But simply booking a session is not enough for the full therapeutic experience — you must also prepare beforehand. Spa sessions can be pricey and take a lot of time, usually almost the whole day if you want the complete treat. With so much time invested, you want to ensure you're getting your money's worth. To do that, there are a few mistakes you'll need to avoid making before getting to your session, like exfoliating, arriving late, or consuming certain foods.

Exfoliating beforehand

Your de-stressing spa day isn't complete without a massage. After all, during a massage, your masseuse is going in on your muscles through your skin and trying to undo any knots that may have formed due to stress from work or other issues. Of course, this depends on the kind of massage you opt for, but one thing is sure: your skin will take the brunt of the treatment. With such pressure on your skin, however enjoyable it may be, the last thing you want to do before your spa day is exfoliate.


Now, exfoliating is excellent as it clears away dead skin cells and reveals a fresh new layer of skin. However, massaging freshly exfoliated skin could be a bit irritating and less than relaxing. Therefore, it may be best to skip exfoliating for at least 24 hours before your session. And yes, this includes your hard loofahs and your favorite sugar scrub.


Like exfoliating, you also want to avoid shaving beforehand, even if you have visible growth. After all, your spa session could include a wax, and waxes require your hair to be a certain length for the treatment to be effective. Usually, this length is about a quarter to half an inch, or the length of a grain of rice.


General manager of Thibiant Beverly Hills spa Courtney Palmer told Refinery29, "Don't shave! Depending on the treatment, it may make the skin sensitive or irritated. Try not to feel embarrassed of a little stubble; body therapists are used to it." If you just can't stand the idea of showing up with stubble, avoid shaving at least four hours before your arrival time. Depending on products placed on your skin during your spa service, your skin could end up irritated if you shave beforehand.

For example, two things could happen if your hair is way shorter than it should be because you shaved pre-spa. For one, your wax session would be much more painful, as the stubble would be harder to pull out from the follicle. Or two, you could end up with a patchy wax job, as the wax can only pick up some of the hair. A patchy or uneven wax job could mean your wax does not last as long and does not give you the desired finish. Overall, the key is to avoid doing anything rough to your body hair, and skin, before your appointment.


Eating heavy meals

Have you ever had a plateful of dense carbs and proteins right before a major exam or a road trip? When preparing for a mentally or physically intense activity, the last thing you want to feel is heavy and bloated, and it's the same with spa sessions. Spa days should have you feeling relaxed, but after a heavy meal, you might feel bloated and dissatisfied with the experience.


Therefore, it's best to avoid heavy portions a few hours before your spa session, as you want to feel energized but relaxed enough to enjoy your treatment. Skip foods that are spicy or overly greasy. That's not to say you should not eat at all when you're hungry. Instead, opt for light meals an hour before or during your service. This can include anything from crackers and bananas to fruit slices and yogurt. Fortunately, there are several energy-rich foods to have without feeling gassy.

It's also important to stay hydrated, even after your session, to avoid feeling lightheaded or tired, as per NHS.

Consuming alcohol or caffeine

For many, the weekend is synonymous with music, parties, and alcohol. But if you're booking a spa day, you might want to stay off the booze for a while. Alcohol in your system does many things, like dilating your blood vessels and making you feel lightheaded (per Michigan Medicine). If your session contains waxing, alcohol can increase your likelihood of bleeding due to the dilated blood vessels.


Also, alcohol dulls your senses, which can be bad if you book a massage. During a massage, you need to be able to let the therapist know when their touch and techniques are a little too heavy-handed or just right. It will be more difficult to do that if you're drunk or hungover.

But alcohol's not the only substance you must be wary of before a session. Your beloved cup of extra black might keep you awake and help you start your day better, but caffeine is a stimulant. And as Spatopia explains, you do not want to be hyperactive or too anxious to enjoy your massage. So, skip alcohol and too much caffeine beforehand to have your best spa experience yet.

Booking on a busy day

Sometimes, work can take so much of your time that even your weekends get filled up with stuff to do. And while we recommend setting boundaries to prevent this, we know it's not always easy. However, it's crucial to avoid booking your session on such busy, activity-filled days. Spa sessions take a while and are meant to be as relaxing as possible, even after it's over.


Booking on a busy day can ruin the vibe and stress you out even further. Instead, reschedule or clear out your schedule for the rest of the day if you can. That way, your spa service becomes much more relaxing and less something you just need to cross off your to-do list. When you're done at the spa, go home, light your favorite scented candle, and indulge in a relaxing hobby or podcast to finish off the day.

Arriving late to your appointment

Arriving late to your session is an absolute no-no. Most spas operate via appointments, and like all other appointments, you need to arrive on time as there's usually someone else slotted after you. Getting to the spa late can leave you unsettled and may shorten your session, especially if someone else is waiting their turn. Instead of you enjoying a relaxing time, you may feel rushed if you can't get all the services you'd planned for. We recommend being there 10 minutes before your session, but arriving earlier works fine too.


It would help if you also did some research on the spa. Aside from finding out (and keeping to) what time you're expected to be there, you need to research some other details as well. What extra charges do you need to account for? Are there any discounts you can take advantage of? If it's a franchise, what branch offers you the most tailored experience? And above all, what do the reviews say? When you have all of these in check, you're ready to have your best spa day yet.