Body of Work

While the skincare industry has progressed tremendously in the past decade, many spa-goers still focus only on the face. For years, my philosophy has been to treat the body as a whole and not just the face. Common sense dictates that if the face requires special care, then the rest of the body should be lavished with the same kind of attention. The skin is one complete organ, and it is the largest organ of the body. Without proper care from head to toe, it can become discolored, lined, and aged before its time.


Though it does protect us from the elements, skin is vulnerable and is the first thing affected by the environment and lifestyle. Dry weather, sun, wind, pollution, and lifestyle choices, such as smoking and an unhealthy diet, can cause changes in the skin, which can lead to redness, irritation, dryness, signs of aging, and more. It is important to address and treat these conditions. The problems that people experience on their faces are often the same ones they have on their bodies, and every part of the body can give away a client's age. Taking care of the entire body and making it part of your clients' daily skincare regimens is key.

Mistakes to Avoid

The top three errors I see spa professionals make are not properly educating clients about bodycare, not carrying the right products, and not offering enough options when it comes to bodycare. As an industry, we need to make sure we offer a variety of treatment options for the body, such as peels, fanny facials, and thorough exfoliations. We also need to ensure that the body treatments we offer provide the same skin-saving benefits as those offered for the face.

When new clients come to see me, the first thing I do is give a consultation. I not only speak to them about their faces, but I'll also give an analysis of their necks and chests and really look at their problem spots. I educate them about health, lifestyle, diet, and using the right ingredients and products on their skin. I then follow up with a recommended regimen for at-home maintenance and stress the importance of applying sunscreen to all exposed skin, including the neck and chest.

Ingredients to Consider

Spa-goers need to pay attention to the ingredients in their bodycare products—just as they do with their food and facial products. Clients depend on your staff for guidance, so be sure to give your bodycare line the consideration it deserves and educate your team on its benefits. Therapists should be using the same grade of ingredients on their clients' bodies as estheticians use on the face. For instance, herbs and flowers blended with vitamins, oatmeal, and oils (like almond, grapeseed, flaxseed, or omega, which are often used in facial products), add great healing properties to body products, as well.

The best three ingredients to look for in body products are omega oils, shea butter, and lactic acid. A natural antibiotic and potent source of antioxidants, omega oils are also great for treating inflammation, and they can even be used to treat rosacea and psoriasis. Just remember, oil is supposed to penetrate the skin, not coat it. And be sure to choose omega from flaxseed oil rather than fish oil, because you don't want your clients smelling fishy.

Shea butter is a superb natural moisturizer with exceptional healing properties for sunburns and allergies. Lactic acid is a terrific ingredient that safely exfoliates and brightens the skin without burning or irritation. It doesn't cause harsh skin reactions like other acids can.

Ingredients to Avoid

When choosing a bodycare line, it's important to avoid products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, as this is essentially a detergent that is too harsh for the skin. Also, try to avoid products with alcohol, artificial color, fragrance, lanolin, paba, and paraffin. Products containing these chemicals can cause breakouts. Instead, try to judge the bodycare products you choose in much the same way you would facial products.

Body Beautiful
Body Beautiful

People today are generally more educated about health, fitness, and beauty. It is refreshing to see spa-goers paying more attention to the quality of products they are using. What they put on their bodies is just as important as what they put in their bodies. As industry professionals, we are in a position to build on that desire for total body wellness by helping our clients care for every inch of their skin.

Sonya Dakar began her career as an esthetician more than 35 years ago. Known for her Beauty Boot Camp and Fitness Facials, she is known as Hollywood's fairy skin mother. Her namesake product line and treatments have been the secret weapon of numerous celebrities, including Drew Barrymore, Jessica Biel, Gwyneth Paltrow, and more. She currently works out of the 12,500-square-foot Sonya Dakar Skin Clinic in Beverly Hills, CA.