Mint Condition

Mint is a talented little herb that walks the line between practical (it gets rid of coffee breath) and decadent (think mint chocolate mousse). It serves as an ideal ingredient in many recipes because its aroma activates the salivary glands in the mouth, as well as the glands that secrete digestive enzymes. Naturopathic doctors praise its ability to soothe stomachs and sore throats, provide headache relief, and open up congested noses and lungs. And most of us need look no further than our medicine cabinet to confirm mint’s oral care benefits. It’s a germicidal and breath freshener that works by preventing bacteria growth in the mouth while also cleaning the tongue and teeth without smelling or tasting medicinal. “Mint is such a familiar aroma, and people love familiarity,” says Marc Zollicoffer, global educator of massage and spa for Aveda. “It makes them feel comforted, refreshed, and awakened. It also imparts a cool, refreshing sensation and is very effective at soothing sore muscles. Mint calms mild sunburn and redness and offers relief from heat, while energizing the mind.” These benefits make mint an ideal ingredient for soothing body wraps and massages, and its cooling nature can be particularly appealing during the spring and summer.

Still, Zollicoffer suggests featuring mint services year-round, as it can be marketed as a relaxing antidote to everyday stress and muscle tension—something guests desire whatever the season. “Mint is an especially wonderful service for moms, busy professionals, and athletes,” he says. An excellent antidote for these clients is Aveda’s Rosemary Mint Awakening Body Wrap ($75, 60 minutes; $110, 90 minutes), which is available at Aveda Concept Spas (multiple locations) and awakens the skin with a wrap, accompanied by a balancing scalp and foot massage. The herb mixes well with rosemary, which also has an invigorating effect on both the body and mind, says Zollicoffer.

Guests at Mind & Body Spa (Whitestone and Rego Park, NY) can opt for the Green Tea Algae Mint Body Treatment ($95, 60 minutes), which is designed to stimulate circulation. During the treatment, Dead Sea salts and mint exfoliate the skin, preparing it for an algae mask, which also includes mint. The combination of potent herbs and deep-sea therapy help the body detoxify and heal.

Increasingly, spas are recognizing the myriad benefits of this healing herb. “As part of a spa treatment, the benefits of mint are two-fold,” says Stephanie Baresh, director of marketing for Éminence Organic Skin Care. “Clients enjoy its aromatic, refreshing scent, and it’s often used in teas for its soothing and cooling properties. For treatments, mint gently disinfects the skin, stimulates the epidermis, facilitates restoration, and can even help cure infections. It is a natural cleansing agent and astringent that is great for helping to treat inflammation. Plus, it contains vitamin A to strengthen the skin and reduce excess oil and a high content of salicylic acid to treat acne, tone the skin, and tighten pores.”

Éminence’s latest collection of personal care products, the USDA Organic Collection, uses mint as a natural antiseptic. This includes Éminence’s USDA Organic Tea Tree & Mint Hand Cleanser and USDA Organic Tea Tree & Mint Hand Cleanser. Additionally, its Aloe Mint Hydrating Cream Gel cools and soothes sun-kissed faces, helping reduce skin irritation and inflammation without clogging pores, while the similar Aloe Mint Hydrating Cream Gel is ideal for beach bodies that have been overexposed to the elements.

According to Teresa Stenzel, Bioelements education materials and communication manager, various types and forms of mint produce different health benefits. “Spearmint oil, which is used in Bioelements Stress Solution product, not only has a cooling effect but it’s also prized for its decongesting and therapeutic properties,” she says. “Its aromatic and soothing ability make it a perfect ingredient for a product that is designed to comfort stressed skin.” Meanwhile, peppermint oil is an ideal moisturizer for oily skin, making it a key ingredient in Bioelements Beyond Hydration moisturizer and Acne Clearing System. Peppermint leaf water plays a role in Bioelements CryoThermic Body Gel, which is used in the CryoThermic Body Treatment ($80, 60 minutes) offered at Jordan Thomas Salon & Spa (Bel Air, MD). This body wrap targets puffiness and swelling due to water retention, tissue firmness, toxins, and sluggish micro-circulation from lack of exercise. The result, according to Stenzel, is a more toned, revitalized body. “Our signature CryoThermic Blend produces high intensity cold and hot sensations on the body,” she explains. “Peppermint leaf water is a component that causes the ‘cooling’ effect. In a body treatment, fluctuating between cold and hot sensations helps encourage the body’s own slimming process and aids anyone that is on a health or weight loss program.”

Another selling point for this soothing, cooling herb is that it stimulates the skin to absorb other ingredients better, which makes it ideally suited for hydrating, anti-aging facials. “Mint increases the ability of active ingredients to revitalize the skin, combat lines and wrinkles, deeply nourish the skin, and act as a powerhouse for fighting free radicals that ultimately dull and damage all skin types,” says Ebony Pomerleau, national and international corporate educator for Pevonia Botanica. “It’s for this reason that Pevonia uses mint in its Anti-Free Radical Mask ($100, 60 to 75 minutes), which is offered at Daydream Day Spa (Brandon, FL). The mask fights signs of aging, which is always in-season among spa-goers.

At spas featuring Pino Natural Spa Therapy products, including BJ Grand Salon and Spa (Champaign and Springfield, IL), clients can indulge in total mint wellness, experiencing relief from acne, dermatitis, headaches, and muscle pain while improving concentration and memory. The full experience begins with a stimulating soak ($95, 30 minutes) with Pino coconut bath oil, followed by an Aroma Massage ($120, 60 minutes; $279, 90 minutes) with lemon mint or coconut mint massage oil, and a scrub or wrap ($95, 30 minutes; $140, 60 minutes; $270, 90 minutes) that uses products containing mint. During the services, clients are inhaling the soothing scents from the company’s lemon mint or coconut mint massage oil, which adds to the calming environment. “The circulatory system is the body’s main system of transport,” says Alma Bocanegra, Pino’s national technical manager. “Essential oils are generally absorbed into the circulatory system through the skin or mucous membranes. Once the oil molecules have entered the bloodstream, they travel throughout the body and affect it according to their properties.”

When it comes to marketing mint treatments, don’t forget the hands, feet, and even hair. The Chocolate Mint & Berries Manicure ($30, 45 minutes) and Pedicure ($45, 60 minutes) at Lavish Salon & Day Spa (Riverside, CA), which uses Éminence mint products, soothes tired hands and feet, while the mint aroma helps with allergy and asthma relief. The antifungal and odor-killing properties are also a plus. “We try to target it as a facial for your hands and feet, and we make it scrumptious,” says owner Samantha Murguia, adding that clients receive peppermint tea upon arrival and are sent home with a mint chocolate. The bottom line is, by incorporating this delicious green ingredient into your spa menu through a variety of services, clients are sure to respond favorably with another type of green.

Looking for some refreshing resources to offer your clients? Check out this sampling of products containing mint.

Bioelements Beyond Hydration: Combining such ingredients as panthenol and peppermint, this moisturizer hydrates and nourishes the skin without clogging the pores. (800) 433-6650;

CBI Laboratories Aroma Sense: This blend is infused with menthol and peppermint oils that stimulate the senses when applied to the temples, earlobes, and neck. (800) 822-7546;

Deserving Thyme Purifying Body Scrub: Mixed with essential oils of grapefruit and mint, as well as oceanic clay and shea butter, this body scrub leaves skin soft, supple, and rejuvenated. (888) 468-4963;

Elemis Devils Mint Body Scrub: Made with devil’s apron seaweed and peppermint essential oil, this body scrub gently removes dead cells to reveal smooth and radiant skin. (800) 423-5293;

Éminence Organic Skin Care Pink Grapefruit-C Gel: This gel utilizes aloe, grapefruit, and peppermint to heal and soothe acne and helps to prevent future breakouts. (888) 747-6342;

ilike Organic Skin Care Rosehip Gel Mask: This gel mask combines calming peppermint and cleansing rose to soothe irritated skin while balancing the levels of oil production and moisture. (888) 290-6238;

iS Clinical Hydra-Cool Serum: Perfect for calming irritated skin, this hydrating serum blends antioxidants, bionutrients, and essential botanicals, including mint, to protect the skin. (888) 807-4447;

Kanshi Deep Cleansing Cucumber Facial Masque with Peppermint: This mask utilizes cucumber oil and peppermint to soak up excess oils and remove impurities while moisturizing for a healthy complexion. (800) 248-SKIN;

Kneipp Herbal Body Wash Mint & Eucalyptus: This body wash clears the senses with the combination of eucalyptus oils and mint extract while hydrating the skin. (800) 937-4372;

Pevonia Botanica Ligne Phytopedic Spa Foot Line Peel: Containing beta-carotene, cornstarch, peppermint oil, pumice, and salicylic acid, this peel eliminates dry skin and calluses. (800) PEVONIA;

Pravana BIOJEN 9 Hair and Scalp Rejuvenator: This treatment combines alpha-hydroxy acids, peppermint oil, and progamine-t complex to stimulate hair growth, while keratin amino acids increase hair’s elasticity and strength. (866) 883-7094;

Prima Fleur Botanicals ECOCERT Rhatany Heel-All Foot Crème: Ingredients such as aloe vera, peppermint, spearmint, and Ugandan shea butter help this cream to soften and heal dry and cracked areas. (415) 455-0957;

Repêchage Sea Spa Foot Cream: Designed to prevent dryness and callouses, this cream contains ingredients including lemongrass, peppermint oil, and seaweed to soothe and relax tired, achy feet. (800) 248-SKIN;

Sothys Paris Homme Soothing After Shave Balm: Designed to be used on freshly shaven skin, this gel features peppermint oil to provide immediate cooling relief and birch juice to clear pores and prevent irritation. (800) 325-0503;

Yon-Ka Paris Nettoyant Creme Aroma Mint Cleansing Cream: Ideal for sensitive and irritated skin, this cream, which contains peppermint, removes impurities and leaves skin renewed. (800) 533-6276;
—Lisa Bruckenstein