A Fruitful Endeavor
As one of the oldest fruits, figs are steeped in history. From the Bible’s first mention of Adam and Eve clothing themselves in fig leaves to the fruit’s myriad appearances in Greek mythology, figs have played a major role throughout the years. Now, they are taking center stage in the skincare arena. In addition to their calming and relaxing scent, figs are one of the desert’s most nutrient-dense foods, and their sweet flesh is softening and conditioning for the skin, according to Teri Kramer, spa director at The Spa at Talking Stick (Scottsdale, AZ). “They are among the fruits most rich in antioxidants,” she says. “The fruit’s phenols and flavonoids provide outstanding anti-aging effects.”
Guests at The Spa at Talking Stick can choose from a variety of treatments that use organic Body Bliss private label products featuring the Mission fig, also known as Black Mission or Franciscana, a common variety of the edible fig. In addition to the popular Mission Fig Body Therapy ($140, 60 minutes), which combines a blend of dried fig, sugar, and honey to slough away lackluster skin before a custom moisturizing massage. The spa also uses figs in treatments for the hands and feet. Both the Mission Fig Manicure ($45, 45 minutes) and Pedicure ($60, 50 minutes) incorporate a lush shea butter wrap as well as the same dried fig and sugar scrub to brighten the skin before polish is applied.
Inspired by fig trees found on the property, LakeHouse Spa at Lake Austin Spa Resort (TX) features figs in its Fruits of the Shore ($325, 1 hour 40 minutes; $380, 2 hours 10 minutes) treatment. After an exfoliating fig scrub, guests enjoy a fig bath followed by a full-body fig lotion massage. A fan of the ingredient, spa director Robin Jones notes the fruit is rich in minerals, such as calcium, iron, and potassium. “Fig is also high in alpha hydroxy acids, which help reduce the signs of aging, and free sugars, which help hydrate and tighten the skin,” she says. The spa also offers an intensive Pear & Fig Body Polish ($220, 80 minutes) to exfoliate the skin. Natural enzymes from the two fruits help renew dry and sun-damaged skin.
According to Robin Dunivin, spa director at The Spa at Pelican Hill (Newport, CA), fall is a great time to introduce fig treatments to your clientele. “Each autumn, we offer the Seasonal Fig Body Gelato (starting at $140, 60 minutes), which combines fresh figs and pure botanicals for a scrub and moisturizing wrap, completed with a fig-gelato treat,” says Dunivin. “Figs offer a variety of antioxidants, including vitamin A to keep skin glowing and vitamin C to fight free radicals that break down skin cells. The inside of the fig contains enzymes that help to digest dead skin cells and exfoliate both the face and body. Fig extract is also an effective hydrator. With its high antioxidant content, mashed fig can be used as a 15- or 20-minute mask to treat acneic skin.”
Because hydration is a concern in the fall and winter months, it makes sense to consider incorporating this tempting fruit into your menu. “The natural gel obtained from the fig is high in pectin, a natural humectant that helps restore hydration to skin,” says Barbara Close, founder and CEO of Naturopathica, whose Pear Fig Polishing Enzyme Peel is used in the Moisture Drench Facial ($120, 50 minutes) at The Spa at Woodloch (Hawley, PA). This customized treatment replenishes moisture at the cellular level with bio-active botanical ingredients.
This past October, Waldorf Astoria Spa at The Boulders, A Waldorf Astoria Resort (Carefree, AZ) introduced a new treatment inspired by the fall harvest from the spa’s Organic Garden. The Spiced Fig & Honey Skin Libation ($150, 50 minutes; $200, 80 minutes) is a delicious treatment that is offered through the winter. The service begins with an organic fig and sugar body polish interspersed with a gentle misting of pure honey hydrosol to refresh skin and stimulate circulation. Next, spiced honey oil is ritually poured over the body, followed by a massage designed to release tension. The treatment ends with a gentle facial acupressure massage and a final honey hydrosol misting around the face. “The drier seasons often cause irritation and can threaten to speed up the aging processes that damage our skin,” says spa director Ann Patton. “Figs are rich in flavonoids and polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that prevent the damage caused by free radicals. Figs are also rich in polysaccharides, which offer conditioning and humectant qualities, helping the skin attract and retain moisture.”
Elemental Herbology also offers several products that feature fig for clients with dry or maturing skin. “Fig is such a wonderful ingredient,” says founder Kristy Cimesa. “Our fig is sourced from the Mediterranean, and it helps fight against the damaging effects of the sun and environmental extremes. Fig is rich in vitamins A, B, and C and sugars with softening and moisturizing properties. It helps comfort stressed skin and reduces water loss from the skin to firm the tissues and intensively boosts hydration levels by preserving the cutaneous water balance.”
According to Body Bliss botanist Nick James, figs are popular in formulations because there are so many subtle connotations that go well with them. “They seem to evoke abundance, luxury, sensuality, and robust health,” he says. And there are a host of ingredients that complement them. “I think figs pair well with other sweet skin-conditioning ingredients, such as sugar and honey,” says James. “They also work beautifully with sweet citrus oils like orange, clementine, and, to some degree, lemon, as well as vanilla and ylang-ylang, which match their sweet, sensuous qualities.”
Thanks to their versatility, figs can easily be incorporated into numerous treatments throughout the year to help your clients add moisture, refresh the skin, and achieve an overall glow. The benefits of this delectable fruit are definitely not a fig-ment of the imagination