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SKIN DEEP: Tips for your best spa experience

Make your next spa appointment the best it can be.
Make your next spa appointment the best it can be. - 123RF Stock Photo

Going to the spa or salon should be a relaxing practise in self-care. To make the most of this experience, it’s great to know a few things beforehand in order to make the appointment go smoothly, especially if you’re new to spas in general or you have a new-to-you service booked.

Some spas and salons have a spa etiquette section on their website, so you can always check it out before going to your appointment.

Every place has differences in how they run their spa, but there are a few tips that are helpful no matter where you go.

Show up on time and prepared

Many spas are booked up, especially on weekends, so if you show up late, it could cut into your service time. Show up a few minutes early or 15 minutes early, if you have never been to that establishment before. They often have consultation forms for new clients to fill out.

Think beforehand about what you may need to bring with you to the appointment or call ahead to find out. If you are getting a pedicure, bringing a pair of flip flops is a great idea so you don’t ruin the polish in closed-toe shoes.

If you are going in for lash extensions or a lash tint or lift, remove your eye makeup beforehand so you can have your technician focus all of their time on your service.

For hair removal services, be sure the hair is at least as long as an eyelash for waxing (or one quarter of an inch).

For laser hair removal, be sure to shave one to two days before your service.

How’s your health?

It’s always a great idea to share any health concerns with your technician or skin therapist. Spas usually have a section on their consultation form for health-related information, but be sure to verbally address anything that could directly affect your service.

For example, if you have a chronic skin condition, such as rosacea or psoriasis, if you are on medication for acne or if you are diabetic, this information can help the technician make slight changes to your service to ensure it’s right for you and address any concerns you have.

It’s not being high maintenance; it’s being proactive.

Calls and texts

When cellphones first started becoming a regular purse item, many spas encouraged clients to shut their phones off completely. Things are a little more relaxed now, but to be mindful of other clients in the spa and any work being done, it’s best to keep it in your bag on vibrate.

If you must be available for calls or texts, let your technician know ahead of time, keep your phone on vibrate for the duration of the appointment and try to find a private place if you need to talk.


Tipping is commonplace in most spas and salons and 15 to 20 per cent is the standard offering. However, it’s not expected and it is up to you if you want to leave a gratuity.

Cash is always appreciated, but leaving something extra on your debit or credit card is also totally acceptable.

Do you have any other spa etiquette questions? Let me know by emailing

Denise Surette is a journalist, master esthetician and part-time instructor at the Hair Design Centre’s school of esthetics. She lives in Lawrencetown with her family and two cats.

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