We love day spas, largely because not every facility has the luxury of a massive space with all the bells and whistles and it’s important that everyone can get access to body work as often as possible, which I believe is an essential in our lives.
I recently discovered the International Orange Spa on San Francisco’s Fillmore Street, which albeit small, has a diverse range of services and pampering offerings, together with a lovely garden area where you can relax before or after your treatment.
Ready to stretch your mind and explore the magic they have to offer with us?
A Welcoming Energy
The staff is very welcoming and warm and since we believe that a spa experience starts the moment you walk in the door, it’s important that the ambiance and most importantly, the people are dedicated to your relaxation and well-being, from the employees who tend the desk and the phones to your practitioners.
Just beyond the reception area, there is a lovely lounge where you can read and unwind while waiting for your masseuse or esthetician and like most spas, they offer hot tea, cucumber infused water, dried apricots and dark chocolate.
And, if the weather is warm, I’d strongly recommend venturing outside. Nature is such a great healer.
Although the spa’s facility is small, the decor and style is well thought through –aka great feng shui — and the lounge areas are simple but relaxing.
We love the fact that only organic products are used in every facial and no generic products are ever considered. Their IO estheticians customize each treatment to address your specific and changing needs, which was certainly the case with my facial. She was not only incredibly warm but funny (excellent to lighten any mood you’re in) and encouraged me to continuously take deep breathes, focus on my intention for the day (it was clarity) and embrace love.
Curative IO Facials draw from select products made of fresh herbal and plant extracts, essential oils, naturally active enzymes, alpha-hydroxy acids (am a huge fan) and antioxidant vitamins. Some of the products they use include Arcona, Dr. Alkaitis, In Fiore, iS CLINICAL, and Luzern.
Like all spas, they offer a signature facial, however I opted for the IO In Fiore Facial, largely because it focused on anti-aging. In this 75 minute facial, there were extractions as you’d expect from a luxe facial, however the process was more comprehensive than any spa treatment I’ve had — ever. Yes, really. It’s not always a fun part of your facial, but de-clogging those pores are an important part of “getting to” healthy skin.
“No Pore Left Unturned in this Spa Facial”
She used a mild exfoliating peel and a specialty treatment mask which was heavy on the sculpting, toning, and luminosity.
They also have an organic detox facial which uses 100% organic, plant-powered products from Laurel WPO and Josh Rosebrook, one I’d love to try on a future visit. Extensive lymphatic stimulation also plays a main role, helping to release stagnation, drain cellular waste, and reduce fluid build up. In addition, the skin is fed a hefty dose of antioxidants and is then revitalized with a flower and herb nourishing mask.
In their Oxygen Facial, they use medical-grade oxygen to infuse targeted Luzern Biosuisse vitamins and nutrients, reducing inflammation and visibly plumping and hydrating stressed skin. It includes a Chardonnay Grape AHA peel exfoliate to stimulate cell renewal, as well as serums and a reparative mask. Bravo!
I should also mention their Enzyme Boost, because I’m a fan of enzyme additions to any facial. This one uses a combination of pineapple, papaya and pumpkin enzymes which help to digest dead skin cells and help the skin better glow, all natural which we applaud.
I’ve done a number of microdermabrasian facials over the years and remain a fan. They offer one here too, using crystal-free, diamond tip microdermabrasion to help with skin resurfacing while stimulating circulation and increasing lymph flow. This one is a really great facial if you have hyperpigmentation, lines, wrinkles and acne scars, which sadly I still do. Speaking of acne, they offer an acne-focused facial as well.
You can also do add-ons to any facial, including peels which contain Lactic, Salicylic, Glycolic (my favorite) and/or Retinol, all of which help to address sun damage, congestion, fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.
More good news! In their massage treatments, they only use organic and natural creams and oils and one of their newer masseuses Dario, has experience with acupressure, Shiatsu, reflexology and cupping. If you have neck or back pain, he’s your guy.
On the menu, you can go for a Swedish-based massage integrated with techniques such as Acupressure, Thai and Shiatsu, or a Deep Tissue massage (a favorite of many), an In Fiore massage (you get to select your own body balm — Bois de Rose opulent blend, Dayala euphoric blend of Jasmine and Lemongrass, a Jasmine Superieur or a Shevanti balancing blend, Vetivert earthy blend, or Tangiers) — I went for Lavender essential oil instead). They also offer one of my favorites when your muscles are really tight — the Hot Stone Massage. If you haven’t had a massage using hot stones, it’s a must do!
In my In Fiore Massage, it was somewhat customized, so ask about this when you book. My practitioner used some cupping techniques and a hot stone for a very short portion of the massage. Combine hot stones with light (hot oil) and you’ll be so relaxed, you won’t want to get off the massage table.
They also offer Traditional Thai Massage, which if you haven’t tried one, it is performed on a soft floor mat, and you remain dressed in loose, comfortable clothing (BYO). This massage targets pressure points along the body’s energy lines and various yoga stretches are assisted by your practitioner.
This treatment is great to help increase range of motion, body alignment and overall physical and mental energy levels.
You can do add-ons to your massage treatment as well, such as a balancing head and foot treatment using hot towels (YAY!) and warm essential oils and body balms as noted above, blended in a hydrating base of grapeseed oil.
Acupunture, Yoga & Waxing
They also offer waxing, including Brazilian, Bikini and Extended Bikini (always good to know when you’re traveling). Additionally, there’s acupuncture treatments as well.
IO Product Offerings On-Site
When International Orange first opened its doors in 2002, it was one of few that had a curated, natural beauty and lifestyle boutique in the city.
IO’s early retail concept was designed with the intention to introduce clients to “undiscovered surprises and up-and-coming niche brands.”
I learned that IO’s roots are grounded in yoga with the notion that “mind, body and spirit cannot be separated and that each component needs to be addressed.” Hear hear — we couldn’t agree more.
As noted above, their core brands include In Fiore (we used mostly their skincare products during my treatment), Arcona , May Lindstrom Skin, Josh Rosebrook Skin and Hair, Mauli Rituals, Vintner’s Daughter, and others.
“To offer truly efficacious skincare, we look past the surface and explore the client’s lifestyle, diet, allergies and even emotional state.” ~Jennifer Gallegos
Two thumbs up – we would definitely return!
International Orange Spa