Editors, influencers, industry figures and publicists who work in beauty are privy to an ever-expanding array of spa and aesthetic treatments, which can go wildly beyond the typical European facial or Swedish massage. It may be an experimental cryotherapy technique with an A-list celebrity devotee or a futuristic laser that isn’t yet well-known to the general public. Yes, getting to experience these emergent and trending treatments is an amazing (and sometimes weird) perk of the job. It also means that if you’re interested in exploring the latest batch of in-office or in-spa offerings, these are the people to ask. Most importantly, because these experiences can get pricey, they’ll know what’s actually worth it and what you can skip.
And because Los Angeles is home to many of the world’s buzziest new wellness and beauty trends, we turned to 12 L.A.-based writers, editors, content creators and other beauty industry peeps to tell us about their favorite spa and aesthetic treatments in the City of Angels (including the ones they’d get on the regular if they had unlimited funds, and the exact practitioner they’d schedule time with).
From buccal facial massages and hyperpigmentation-slaying lasers to body contouring machines and oh so many variations on the lymphatic drainage massage, these treatments are officially co-signed by L.A.’s beauty connoisseurs.
A sculpting, transformative facial massage
“I have only gone to Joomee Song one time, but I dream about our time together often and will tell anyone who will listen about her incredible facial massage. I have had the privilege of having many different kinds of facials and facial massages over the years thanks to this job, but I still always go back in my mind to my 60 minutes with Joomee.
Joomee Song is a celebrity esthetician (who has gone on tour with Lady Gaga as her personal facialist) whose technique is based in Japanese beauty rituals. Using her hands and a special Japanese microcurrent (the treatment is called Kaika), Joomee is able to sculpt and transform your face in an hour. You will not realize how tense your jaw and forehead were until she’s done with you, and your face will be glowing and rejuvenated as though you have just woken up from the most restful 10-hour sleep. If money were no object, I would be seeing Joomee weekly.” — Sara Tan, Refinery29 beauty director and co-host of the Gloss Angeles podcast
A bespoke melasma-busting cream, a French facial, a TMJ-relieving buccal massage, celeb-approved dental care and more
“If I had unlimited funds, I’d head to Facile Dermatology to see Dr. Nancy Samolitis and let her do whatever she needs to do: injectables, CoolPeel, getting her famous ‘Vegas Cream’ that she compounds that helps with my melasma and stocking up on the Facile Destress Serum, which is a necessity in my skin-care routine. Then I’d walk next door to Biologique Recherche’s Los Angeles Ambassade (or potentially before the derm visit) to get a facial. This is the first Ambassade stateside for the brand, meaning the techniques utilized in their France location are only available here. I got the most heavenly facial that includes a mix of massage and lymphatic drainage and I teleported into the universe. Ask for Alicia, whose hands are heaven-sent.
You thought I was done? Since we’re already on Melrose Place, I’d walk down to Maria Tash for jewelry styling and maybe get another piercing. It’s not technically a spa, but given how luxe the new space is, it should be. (New business idea: ear facials! Earcials?)
Then I’d drive to Beverly Hills to see Dr. Jason Diamond, Dr. Sarmela Sunder or Dr. Amir Karam (albeit the latter is based in San Diego) to get a neck treatment, like lipo or a lift. That’s currently the treatment I’m saving my pennies for and those three are incredible plastic surgeons. Finally, I’d walk down to Dr. Michael Apa‘s dentistry spa for a cleaning and bleaching with his dental hygienist, Sharlene — she’s awesome and his practice offers a variety of amenities to take the edge off while in the chair. And then I’d have Dr. Apa do whatever is needed to give my teeth a proper smile makeover. (You did say if I had unlimited funds and access…)
And I can’t forget Sonia Vargas, who gives the most incredible buccal facial massage. If you have TMJ or grind your teeth, go see her: She delivers the most luxurious neck and in-mouth (yes, fingers-in-the-mouth) massage that dissipates any tension instantly.” — Kirbie Johnson, beauty reporter and co-host of the Gloss Angeles podcast
A lymphatic drainage facial massage
“I’ve tried so many fun, experimental spa treatments, but I always go back to the basics — and that’s a really good facial massage. A good facial massage beats any high-tech device or aesthetic procedure for me. It’s the relaxation, but also the sculpting and drainage of it all! My favorite place right now to get this is at Milk + Honey in Culver City. Their ultimate facial includes about 20 minutes of a lymphatic drainage massage, and you definitely leave feeling hydrated looking sculpted.” — Ann Krisha Buenaobra, model and content strategist
High-tech body sculpting
“My favorite aesthetic treatment is definitely Emsculpt because it feels like a (non-invasive) cheat code for looking more fit. I’ve tried it a few times to improve abdominal muscle tone. The sessions are only 30-45 minutes long, and you get visible results fairly quickly — which helps when you haven’t had the time to do 10,000 crunches but still want to look like you did (plus, I think it does strengthen the muscles, too).” — Jarry Lee, influencer and model
A Brazilian lymphatic body massage
“Lymphatic massages have become a holy grail treatment for me. I love a spa treatment that’s both relaxing and good for my health. A popular Brazilian treatment, these massages stimulate the lymphatic system to help release toxins from my body and glands. In doing so, this massage helps reduce water retention and bloating, detoxifies and improves the immune system, improves metabolism and bowel functions, increases circulation, and so much more. I see amazing results with each treatment! And it feels damn good!” —Tennille Murphy, influencer and content creator
A facial that’s like ‘pilates for the face’
“For an instant face lift and glazed donut skin, I love Dermaesthetics Beverly Hills’ K-Fit Facial with a Green Apple Peel. Think a Pilates workout for the face, topped off with a luminous glow from within. The K-Fit improves facial symmetry with traditional Korean beauty practices and strengthens the core muscles, while providing lymphatic drainage and increasing blood circulation to the face and neck.
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The Green Apple Peel instantly sloughs off all dead skin and refines pores for an even complexion. These two treatments combined are a killer duo, and I love to pamper myself before a big event or trip.” —Kiok Kang, founder and CEO of Glowing PR Agency
A sushi-like body wrap, infrared sauna and de-bloating massage
“I just discovered IMD’s $300 lymphatic drainage detox treatment a few months ago and it’s like nothing I’ve ever tried before. It starts with you stripping down to nada, then the therapist tightly bundles you up like a piece of sushi in this soy-based thermal wrap.
Afterwards, they stick you in an infrared heated sauna for 15 minutes where you majorly sweat your ass off. Then they pull you out, unwrap you, oil you down and do an hour-long lymphatic drainage massage. I felt noticeably less bloated immediately after; it’s no wonder models do it ahead of big shoots on the regular. If money were no object, I’d be in there weekly.” — Taylor Jean Stephan, beauty writer
A brightening laser for all skin tones
I love any reason to head to the gorgeous Facile space in West Hollywood, but lately my go-to has been their new Brighten Laser. I typically stay away from lasers because I have hyperpigmentation and tend to scar easily, but the Brighten Laser is super gentle and safe for all skin tones. It helps with my stubborn hyperpigmentation and always leaves my skin looking glowy and firm. — Melissa Magsaysay, writer and co-host of The Beauty Vanguard podcast
A lactic acid peel
“With all the at-home treatments I do, I would have to say my favorite spa is my house. I used to be an esthetician years ago and I got used to treating my own skin with peels. I have sensitive skin so I prefer lactic acid because it’s slightly less irritating than glycolic and keeps my hyperpigmentation at bay.
I am militant about using my NuFace Microcurrent Device in the morning and light stem red light at night. When I feel like treating myself, I love an oxygen facial — if I had unlimited funds I would get one weekly for the glow alone.” — Elyse Reneau, Too Faced executive director global beauty
A(nother) lymphatic massage
“My favorite aesthetic treatment has to be the lymphatic drainage massage. There are a few places you can get one in Los Angeles, but you can also get one in the comfort of your own home. You can also do it yourself if you learn the technique. A lymphatic drainage massage is a gentle routine that targets areas of your body to help get rid of toxins and waste through your lymphatic system. On top of working out and eating healthy, a lymphatic drainage massage adds to feeling great in my own skin.” — Arika Sato, content creator and yoga teacher
A CBD massage, skin-saving laser and resurfacing treatment
“By far my favorite massage to get is a CBD Massage from Ole Henriksen Spa because I’m always sore from my workouts and stressed out from my busy schedule. The moment I smell their unique blend of CBD oil, I feel myself being relaxed immediately. I feel that the CBD oil adds more relief to my sore muscles. The relaxation doesn’t stop with just the massage because they give you a bentonite salt detoxifying foot soak and a glass of champagne after in their meditation room. I feel like a new person when I leave. It helps me get back to my workouts so much faster the next day.
The results of Clear + Brilliant [laser] by Nurse Karla at Dr. Raj Kanodia Medspa has been amazing for my acne scars, texture, sun spots and enlarged pores. I don’t take as long to get ready anymore because I don’t have to wear as much makeup. I feel more confident going out makeup free as well. Nurse Karla is so knowledgeable and takes good care of her clients by giving professional advice without being too salesy.
I’m obsessed with iBlush by Carrie Gessler NP-C from Blush Beverly Hills. It’s like the holy grail for me because not only does it drastically improve my complexion overall because it resurfaces the skin, it also tightens my skin and plumps wrinkles. It just gives off that youthful, healthy glow (like I’ve slept my full eight hours, ate all my leafy greens and drank enough water like a good girl). It’s like a no-brainer, all-in-one beauty treatment if you don’t have time to do multiple treatments. I love anything that truly works and is efficient.”— Joyce Platon, makeup artist and host of Hello Beauty podcast
A holistic face massage and a glow-giving facial
“One of the most life-changing facials I’ve ever had was the Holistic facial massage from Heal Thy Goddess. It’s not just a facial, but a relaxing ritual consisting of a deep cleanse, gentle exfoliation and facial sculpting. The facial focuses on lymphatic drainage, deep tissue, craniosacral and intraoral buccal massage, which really helps to de-puff the skin and contour the face. Not only did I leave with soft, glowing skin, but my face and neck immediately de-puffed and the results stayed with me for weeks. I have been recommending this facial to everyone.
I also love everything Sonya Dakar. I most recently experienced the flash facial at their skin-care clinic, and it gave my skin an instant glow. The best part? The results are immediate, it works on all different skin types, and you can do an at home version when you’re in a hurry (or traveling) and still get similar results. This has become a staple in my skin-care routine and I use it whenever my skin needs a pick me up.” —Rachel Richardson, creative director and brand strategist
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