If you don’t have allergies or an ultrasensitive nose, the citrus and floral notes set a relaxing mood, just what you want in a spa. Aveda Bethesda is a brightly lit storefront with shelves of products packaged in Aveda’s trademark earth tones and an open second-floor “loft” housing the hair salon.
Tucked in the rear of the main level is the spa: a postage-stamp-size manicure-pedicure area plus three treatment rooms.
I was there for a Tourmaline facial—80 minutes of ultra exfoliation for $110. So it was a real lift to start with a foot soak. As my feet luxuriated in water spiked with bath salts and glass stones, the therapist waved vials of scented oil under my nose for a yea or nay. Turned out I was in a frankincense mood that day (it was the Christmas season), and my sensitive skin and psyche were crying out for a woodsy scent.
Lights low, New Agey rock playing, I lay on the well-padded table and the facial began. Margie had a lovely touch, slathering cream on my hands and slipping them into terry mitts (a heavenly hand and arm massage would come later), applying unguents and a cool fruit-acid mask with the scents I’d chosen, and giving me an honest-to-goodness head, neck, and shoulder rub. There were no extractions, no pain, just soothing sensations.
I was meeting my husband for dinner afterward, so Margie and I had agreed: no oil in the hair. Years back, I’d emerged from another Aveda spa looking like a greased watermelon. This time, when I left, I felt as ready for the runway as I’ll ever be, cheeks rosy, eyes bright, skin flawless and as soft as my baby daughter’s.