Caffeine strikes A delicate balance between soothing and invigorating. Whether it’s a hot cup of coffee on a cold winter morning, a warming tea with friends, or a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, caffeine is probably best known for its stimulating benefits. It is found in the leaves, seeds, and fruits of more than 60 plants, including tea leaves, kola nuts, and coffee and cocoa beans. To some, it’s a rich, decadent treat—think dark chocolate truffles—while to others, it’s a morning necessity.
Regardless, as sure as there seem to be 10 Starbucks stores in a 10-block radius, you can bet most of your spa guests are on a first-name basis with this substance. Take advantage of caffeine’s universal familiarity, and incorporate it into spa treatments to perk up winter skin and sales. “Spa-goers love coffees and teas and also associate caffeine with energy and vitality. What better way to get your energy and antioxidant boost than through your skin,” says Victoria Tabak, president of Nature Pure Labs. “It is quite interesting that when caffeine is taken orally, it isn’t necessarily super healthy because of its dehydrating effect, but when applied topically, it equates only benefits to the skin and the entire body system.”
Caffeine is rich in antioxidants, which makes it an excellent hydrating, anti-aging ingredient when applied to dry skin. Plus, it’s stimulating and works as a booster, Tabak says, and as a secondary action, it has a calming effect and anti-inflammatory abilities.
Dyanna Body & Nail Spa (New York City) offers the Nature Pure Labs Green Tea Super Antioxidant Rejuvenation Facial ($85, 60 minutes) to banish dull skin. Green tea is abundant in epicatechins, a powerful antioxidant that acts as a free-radical scavenger, inhibiting chemical carcinogens, protecting against UV radiation, and encouraging younger looking skin. Additionally, anti-inflammatory flavonoids and caffeine stimulate, energize, and improve skin resiliency. It’s like a morning cup o’ joe but for the face.
Aside from its edible and drinkable attributes, perhaps caffeine’s most widely known skincare benefit is its effectiveness at combating cellulite. Caffeine does this, working in combination with other ingredients, by stimulating adipose tissue, explains Tabak. This is why Nature Pure Labs incorporates caffeine in its LipoMelt Anti-Cellulite Treatment ($110, 55 minutes), which is offered at The Grotto Spa at Hilton Garden Inn (Staten Island, NY). This full-body treatment stimulates fat tissue, causing it to release energy, which increases fat cell metabolism and diminishes cellulite. “The best treatments using caffeine are cellulite and slimming treatments because of the lipolitic effect on the cellulite and fat cells,” says Rita Teixeira, international trainer for Sothys. In other words, it helps increase circulation and break up fat, therefore reducing cellulite.
Sothys uses vectorized caffeine 8 percent, a patented mixture of caffeine and natural ingredients including phospholipids and willow bark. This form—used in Sothys’s Slimming and Firming Body Line—has better solubility, enables more effective penetration of the caffeine, and has high bioavailability, explains Teixeira. The Signature Slimming Treatment ($125, 50 minutes; $150, 75 minutes) at Sothys Institute Spa (New York City) focuses on treating each type of cellulite: adipose, aqueous, and fibrous. Additionally, Sothys’s Signature Firming Treatment ($125, 50 minutes; $150, 75 minutes) targets stretch marks with a caffeinated wrap and body serum, firming up trouble areas such as the stomach, thighs, rear, and arms.
“Caffeine is high in antioxidants and a natural stimulant, so we love the ingredient for anti-aging and rejuvenating treatments that are meant to stimulate blood cells and invigorate the skin,” says Stephanie Baresh, director of marketing at Éminence Organic Skin Care. The organic line uses caffeine in its Cinnamon Kiss Lip Plumper to plump lips. And because caffeine is naturally occurring in pure cocoa, Éminence chocolate products, such as the Chocolate Mousse Hydration Masque and Chocolate Truffle Body Wrap, also contain a low level of caffeine. “Cocoa and caffeine are high in antioxidants, so they are fantastic for anti-aging products that fight free-radical damage,” says Baresh.
Plus, caffeine is deeply hydrating, which makes it an ideal ingredient in winter skincare. And while chocolate mousse and truffles may not fit with New Year’s resolutions to hit the gym and lose a few pounds, a calorie-free chocolate dessert—in the form of a good-for-you treatment—is sure to appeal to spa guests.
Tabak suggests promoting treatments containing caffeine by offering complimentary season-specific flavors of coffee, such as pumpkin or peppermint, or other light-caffeine drinks in the spa. Because people naturally drink more warm drinks during the cooler months, why not host a networking event, says Teixeira. Guests can chat over a cup of coffee, and spa professionals can offer mini hand or foot treatments and demonstrations with caffeine products. Just remember, caffeine is a natural stimulant, so it should not be used on pregnant women. Also, clients with rosacea or hypersensitive skin may find it too stimulating. For most spa guests, however, Tabak recommends advising that the treatment is stimulating, so while it may cause some redness in its initial action stage, as it continues to work, it will calm the skin and reduce redness. Then sit back, relax, and drink in the rich, warm rejuvenating properties of caffeine, as it’s sure to have guests buzzing about your skincare treatments well into the new year.
Help clients get their caffeine fix with these products.
Frutique Mandarin Anti-Puff Eye Roller: Featuring caffeine and vitamin C, this eye roller works to diminish and prevent puffy eyes. www.frutiqueskincare.com
Gloprofessional Glominerals Redness Relief Powder: This powder neutralizes surface redness and soothes skin with ingredients, such as caffeine, honeysuckle, licorice, and zinc oxide. www.gloprofessional.com
G.M. Collin Lipo-Fitness Serum: Naturally scented with pure essential oils, this serum is designed to improve skin elasticity, minimize the appearance of cellulite, and prevent its future formation. It contains sacred lotus plant extract, organic green tea and ginger extracts, and caffeine to stimulate drainage and promote anti-inflammation while detoxifying, hydrating, and rejuvenating the skin. www.gmcollin.com
Pevonia Smooth & Tone Body-Svelt Gel: Fight cellulite on targeted areas such as hips and thighs with this gel, which contains caffeine and green coffee to smooth fatty deposits and eliminate accumulated toxins. www.pevoniapro.com
Phytocéane Contouring Solution Refining and Smoothing Cream: Diminish the appearance of cellulite with this non-oily cream designed to refine and firm the skin. It contains Brazilian pink pepper oil to limit the formation of fat cells, brown and red seaweed extracts to detoxify and promote drainage, and caffeine to increase the combustion of fatty acids. www.lespausa.com
Provence Cosmetics Active Slim Gel: This gel features caffeine, which acts as a stimulant and helps increase blood flow and facilitates the fat-burning process. www.provencecosmetics.com
Rhonda Allison Nude Therapies Energizing Peptide Spritz: This formula uses coffee extracts to detoxify and increase micro-circulation to rid the body’s tissues of excess fluids, toxins, and the fatty deposits that cause cellulite. It also re-conditions collagen and elastin fibers while stimulating the mechanisms that encourage new protein formation. www.rhondaallison.com
Ritual Alami Kopi Collection: The range includes a massage butter, a bath soak, a body balm, a body polish, a body mask, and an essential oil, which contain fresh-roasted Bali coffee that has antioxidant, tightening, and firming qualities. www.universalcompanies.com
Shira Esthetics Shir-Organic Pure Green Tea Toner: This toner contains caffeine and green tea to aid in reducing redness and acne swelling and creates circulation within the skin to provide a brighter and even skintone. www.shiraesthetics.com
uQ Skin Enhancements Caffeine Antioxidant Collagen Mask: Minimize facial flushing and redness with this mask, which also acts as an anti-inflammatory to reduce puffiness. It contains caffeine, iron, potassium, and vitamin B2 to stimulate circulation. www.spaelegance.com