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Bringing Out the Best With Body Wraps

By: Desiree Mattox
Posted: October 27, 2010, from the November 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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There are two generally accepted methods of body wrapping. The first is to soak cotton body wrap sheets in a treatment solution and start wrapping the body beginning at the feet. This method is best used when the cosmetic ingredients have been dissolved in a water base because sheets absorb the solution and keep it close to the skin. Often, the client is also wrapped in plastic sheets to lock in the moisture and the warm temperature. Because the skin is able to absorb both liquid water and water vapor, maintaining the warm temperature of the wrap is ideal for optimal moisture absorption.5 Lactic acid, a component of sour milk or yogurt, can improve the texture and firmness of skin relative to the concentration used in the treatment.6 Yogurt powder is a great ingredient to use in a water-based body wrap because it is easily dissolved. Herbal ingredients, such as carrot root powder—which is rich in the powerful antioxidant beta carotene—also make good additions to water-based wraps.

During the second method of body wrapping, a heavy cream, lotion or mask is applied using a body brush, and then the client is wrapped, beginning with the ankles, in plastic body wrap sheets. The plastic wrap is used to lock in the moisture and other beneficial ingredients. For this type of wrap, butters, clays and oils are ideal ingredients. Coffee bean butter from the Coffea arabica plant exhibits superior antioxidant activity in comparison to green tea and even vitamin E.7, 8 This butter has a smooth texture and blends well with various oils. Argan (Argania spinosa) nut oil is an exotic oil that has gained popularity in recent years. Because of its high content of oleic and linoleic acids and tocopherols, argan oil can potentially act as a penetration-enhancer, helping retain moisture in the skin and exhibit antioxidant activity.9 These properties make argan oil an excellent ingredient for anti-aging treatments. With both body wrap methods, the client should remain wrapped for at least 20 minutes to allow the skin time to absorb the ingredients.


If full body treatments are completely new to your spa, introduce them to regular clients who seem to have an interest in caring for their bodies, such as massage clients. Allow them the option to add the body wrap treatment on to their massage at an introductory rate. Be sure to explain the benefits of the treatment so that the client knows what results to expect. Also, be sure to market the body wrap as you would a facial, because regular treatments throughout time will impart better results; healthier, younger-looking skin is a gradual process and should be marketed as such.  

Another way to introduce the concept of body wraps would be to match the treatment with the seasons. For example, the summer months bring with them excessive sun exposure. A body wrap that is antioxidant-rich and soothing for sunburn relief would be ideal for clients who spend a lot of time outdoors or who are returning from vacation. Similarly, winter months bring dry skin woes and eczema flares. Moisturizing and emollient-rich body wraps should do well in regions that experience cold winters and for spas that have clients who suffer from these skin conditions.

Improving profits and self-esteem

Whenever a new treatment is being implemented, it is important to consult with an ingredient supplier or a cosmetic scientist to help with development. Bear in mind, even natural ingredients have their safety limits and these experts will also be able to help determine which ingredients will meet the goals of a new treatment. Encouraging clients to treat their whole bodies will not only increase spa revenue, but will also improve client self-esteem.