7 Top Spa-Wellness Trends 

    spa beauty pampering

    The overarching theme at the September 2019 ISPA (International Spa Association) Conference, held in Las Vegas, was “evolution.” This is the most appropriate description for what the spa industry is experiencing. As the founder of the leading wellness PR firm, I’ve been attending ISPA since it was established. At that time, spas were wrestling with various identities…yoga retreats, fat farms and places to heal. Today, spa has evolved into an accessible place of wellness. My personal philosophy and the mission of my firm is to make wellness applicable to every room of the home or office, every member of the family and every time of day. It was satisfying to see that reflected at ISPA this year, as well as at the ISPA media event prior to the show, where spas showcased the products, services and equipment they feature. A look at five trends that took center stage at the show: 



    Part of that evolution is spa’s role in the much anticipated, here-to-stay CBD industry. According to the newest 2019 ISPA U.S. Spa Industry Study, the use of cannabidiol (CBD) was the biggest trend in the industry. This study reveals that almost one in five spas has a CBD offering. “What is more interesting is that the study shows that 56% of spas stated they would be adding CBD to their spas in the next two years,” said ISPA President Lynne McNees. “If these numbers ring true, almost 75% of all spas in the U.S. will offer CBD treatments by the end of 2020. It’s incredible how quickly this trend has taken hold in just a few short years. We expect to see many of the traditional brands launch CBD lines to complement their current products.”  

    While CBD is still in its infancy at the spa, the spa industry is going to become a place of education for it, as it has been for salt and cryotherapy. “The spa experience is so important to health and well-being, and it truly helps people stay centered, whether they are stay-at-home moms, business executives, athletes, students or travelers,” said Julie Duncan, President and Co-Owner of SPAFLASH.    

    Spa-lovers looking to save time and money on locating salon/spa, and wellness experiences have a new resource at their fingertips, with SPAFLASH, a new consumer shopping website. SPAFLASH a site that is free to join, provides consumers with access to appointment availability, events, value-added experiences, and packages on salon/spa and wellness services throughout greater Dallas/Fort Worth.  It will be now be launching in more states and cities throughout the U.S.



    The biggest spa trend prior to CBD was salt, which has been popping up in new spa spaces in different ways such as salt beds, rooms, lamps and treatments.  “This is a trend [that is here] to stay as salt has so many benefits to offer through detoxification, calming and glowing skin,” said Duncan. 


    Integrative/functional medicine

    Spas are a showroom for wellness. “Carillon Miami Wellness Resort is attracting like-minded partners who want to be a part of the wellness evolution,” said VP of Spa Operations and Co-General Manager, Tammy Pahel. This year, Dr. Vladimir Turovskiy joined Carillion Miami to lead the resort’s new Oriental Medicine division so guests can enhance their well-being with integrative/functional medicine evaluations and oriental medicine diagnoses. Highlights on this spa menu now include popular treatments such as Infrared Sauna with Himalayan Salt, Salt Float Bath Therapy, and Cryoskin slimming and toning. The spa also partnered with Italian wellness brand LEMI, which outfitted the spa with the latest cutting-edge tech including color therapy and a Crystal Quartz Massage Bed. They also have what is now a muscle recovery circuit, which is used mostly by athletes and great for anyone who seeks recovery and relief.


    Wellness jewelry

    Another emerging category spotted by Duncan is jewelry. “Jewelry that is meaningful and makes your heart smile is representing up to 30% of fashion merchants product mix.”  

    HiChi Energy Jewelry, designed to protect, elevate and rejuvenate the wearer, had great success at the show, as did River and Sky, two great California brands.


    Slow fashion

    Spas are becoming a more popular purveyor of fashion in general, and athleisure is right there to slip into. “Spiritual Gangster and Terez is like a uniform for me,” said Duncan.  “People are looking for fashionable, comfortable clothing that has meaning, including a story to tell.”

    River & Sky is a good example of spa fashion done well, leading the movement from fast fashion back to slow fashion.  Founder Michael Keefer said, “It’s getting easier for companies to source sustainable fabrics and that’s great because landfills with polyester aren’t going away. Retail customers feel good about it.”  



    Spa goers also expect to experience slow food.  At the Woodstock Inn & Resort in Vermont where Michelle Adams Sommerville is spa director, most of what guests experience is homegrown. “We’re connecting to animals, nature and land, that is where wellness is going,” explained Sommerville. At The Woodstock Inn, farmers collaborate with the chef; the menu comes before the growing. What doesn’t come from the local historic Billings farm and heirloom garden is grown at the FarmHouse Fresh ranch in Texas.  

    Farm-to-Table has been a huge trend in the food industry for years, but in recent times, there has been a need for it in the spa scene as well. Farm-to-Treatment is a trend that FarmHouse Fresh has pioneered and one that’s not going anywhere. People care so much about what they put into their bodies that it only makes sense to put freshly harvested ingredients on our skin (our largest organ) which absorbs 60% of products into your bloodstream.  Fresh extracts transform skin, and when they are grown on local U.S. farms—cucumbers, kale, amaranth, tomatoes—they can be harvested, washed and extracted in hours to ensure vitamins are at their peak.  


    Male-driven goods

    ISPA’s Consumer Snapshot Study revealed that men now make up almost half of the customers going to spas. We’ve been predicting more men will be going to the spa for a decade, and now there is evidence it’s finally happening. “The same study also found that 48% of men go to spas intending to purchase retail products. This reveals a huge opportunity for current and new product companies to launch male-driven goods that will attract this growing clientele of spa customers,” said McNeese.  


    Spotted on the show floor…

    We put together a list of some of the other spa trends we spotted for every member of the household. 

    A new shower ritual: European Spa Source is disrupting the spa industry by creating a totally brand-new category with its ShowerSpa Mist that transforms an ordinary shower into a luxurious, relaxing, aromatherapy experience, allowing you to bring the spa home with you wherever and whenever you take a shower. They’ve just added a new aromatherapy shower spray to their iconic collection and have even introduced a brand-new pillow spray. Trusted and used in spas internationally, it utilizes 100% pure, pharmaceutical-grade eucalyptus—a plant known to open airways, kill mold & bacteria, and help people absorb more oxygen, faster. The spray is then steam distilled for the ultimate steam-room experience that is filtered and chemically analyzed for consistency and quality. It’s hailed by pop star and media mogul Nicole Scherzinger as a product that’s “changed her life.” 

    Thermal wellness: Spa Revolutions’ Thermal Bliss Collection is the first-to-market instant-thermal wellness massage, skincare, and nail tools. With benefits like a better night’s sleep, improved blood circulation, a full deep cleanse of the body, and a stimulated immune system, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon in any temperature. Treatments include Lava Shells massage which brings Hawaiian heat to you sans the volcano, stimulates tissue and allows ultimate relaxation to seep through. It’s also easy on the spa with no wait time or sanitation issues and better pressure points and leverage through the shell’s edge.The company also introduced the ThermaFusion Facial Mask, a one-of-a-kind moist heat-infusing mask that gives skin the hydration it craves by bringing the heat and opening up the pores without steam.   

    Mostly widely known for PerfectSense Paraffin, the new standard in paraffin-based treatments with its mobile, electricity-free heating, aromatherapy, and exclusive nourishment blend formula, the company just introduced Paraffin Anywhere to nourish skin in just three-minutes flat.

    Beeswax: For dry, cracked winter skin, we suggest people try BeeSpa. Developed from a secret recipe from a beekeeper’s grandmother, all-natural BeeSpa works quickly to provide relief to cracked and dry skin on your hands, feet, and everywhere in-between. Beeswax carries antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties that are essential to healing and preventing dry, chapped, or cracked skin. 

    Probiotic skin wellness: People should be using probiotic skincare year-round. There are millions of microorganisms (a vast variety of bacteria, viruses, and fungi) currently living on your skin. Research shows that some of these microorganisms actually promote skin health, and reinforce your skin’s natural barrier against harmful bacteria, balance your skin’s pH levels, and may even protect against skin cancer. But the use of harsh facial cleansers and antibacterial products strip your skin of its “good” bacteria and other microorganisms, damaging the skin’s natural ecosystem known as your “microbiome.” As a legacy brand and leading innovator since 1871, Columbia Skincare uses prebiotics, probiotics, botanicals, and peptides in a science-backed formula that helps people heal their skin by supporting microbiome health while stimulating the natural production of collagen and hyaluronic acid to activate the skin’s natural healing process. Columbia Skincare Probiotic products are proven to speed up skin renewal, improve the cohesiveness of skin cells, reinforce the barrier, and amplify skin’s production of antibiotic-like chemicals. The strains, protein, and stem cells in Columbia Skincare products were selected based on years of research that determined these ingredients together potentiate and become a new complex, unique formulation—blending science and nature for supreme wellness and skin health. Columbia Skincare’s proprietary technology assures the efficacy as well as the safety of their products when used as recommended. Renowned dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe claims Columbia Skincare products are the best for “Sensitive, Irritated, and Rosacea-Prone Skin” and recommends it for use after chemical peels, laser treatments, and micro-needling, or to offset the uncomfortable effects of retinoids and exfoliants.

    Fun, functional and better-for-you sun protection: Wallaroo Hat Company, the innovative Australian inspired headwear brand that combines fashion and long-lasting sun protection, featured its newest collection of hats. Carkella by Wallaroo is a private-label brand for the spa, golf, travel, and resort industries. Carkella features UPF 30+ and 50+ rated hats with interchangeable magnetic badges that are ideal for individualized branding. The Carkella line affords a new opportunity to increase brand identity with customizable hats perfect for destinations, tournaments, industry events and private parties. An embossed metal badge attaches to a hidden magnet inside the trim of each hat. The badges can be customized using any artwork, logo, or one of Carkella’s signature designs.

    A lot of times people forget that you must protect the scalp from sun as well. In fact, 10% of skin cancer develops on the scalp. Scalpforce provides a reliable solution to stay safe in the outdoors with a scalp and hair spray-on tonic free of toxic ingredients. 

    Long hailed as the “it” eco-luxe brand, Soleil Toujours continues to revolutionize sun protection and daily skin care. Their new “no makeup” cosmetics line combines the trendy minimalist makeup look with their no-frills, all-organic sun protection formula for a face you can wear with confidence.  

    No more invasions: “What started out as an attempt to reduce cellulite became a go-to for recovery. CellFit is so non-invasive it is actually enjoyable,” said co-founder Polina Levant. The technology doesn’t pull or stretch the skin in treatment, it uses compression and vibration instead. It is multipurpose and painless and can be done the same day of an event, game, runway show or red carpet. It’s full spectrum, which means it treats the entire body, including feet! The company says it helps with skin toning, lymphatic drainage, oxygenation, increase in microcirculation, reduction of cellulite and flushes out lactic acid. 

    Safety first: Now more than ever, business owners are taking preemptive action to prevent their companies from coming under fire for inappropriate action. Spas and massage parlors are no exception. That’s why Stay Saife developed MARIA. Their newest AI technology places MARIA, a virtual assistant, in the room to watch behavior and actions in real time through infrared light detection without recording or invading privacy issues.

    An epigenetic approach to peptides: Peptides are quickly emerging as the leading ingredient in anti-aging skin regimens. HyrdoPeptide takes its age-defying formula one step further with the science of Epigenetics. According to the company, the skincare line is packed with powerful gene-signaling that tell genes to shape up and get glowing. 

    Affirmations from your feet: The concept of Stickybesocks seems pretty obvious: socks with no-slip grippers on the bottoms of each pair that make yoga, Pilates, and other forms of exercise and movement that much easier. But there’s more to it! Each pair of socks from this female-founded company comes with a daily affirmation printed on the bottom of the foot alongside the no-slip grips. So whether you want to “Be Unique,” “Be Brave,” or simply “Be You,” this brand makes sure you start your day out on the right foot. 

    Personal pain relief: This is an unforgettable product and another must-have spa innovation. Following a motorcycle accident, the creator of Theragun decided to build a tool that could help accelerate muscle repair and recovery. Constructed from a lifetime of chiropractic practice, the Theragun is the go-to tool for percussive therapy, which relieves tension in the body’s soft tissue to provide effective pain relief. 


    More from ISPA

    With all the great products and services available, the biggest issue affecting the spa industry is the shortage of qualified employees. The industry currently has over 30,000 unfilled positions with properties actively looking to increase their staffing levels to meet demand. ISPA is committed to tackling this issue by both recruiting new employees to this rewarding career path and educating spa managers on how to retain their existing employees.  

    This Spring, ISPA will host the ISPA Talent Symposium on April 15, 2020. This event will be the first of its kind for the industry and will highlight energetic and innovative approaches to solving workforce challenges while equipping attendees with tools to retain employees in today’s competitive marketplace. Seth Mattison, known internationally as an expert on workforce trends, generational dynamics and business strategy, will be a featured keynote at this event. “We are excited to share these new approaches to workforce development with our attendees,” shared McNees.  

    The next ISPA Conference and Expo will be held at the Gaylord National, National Harbor, MD, Oct. 14-16, 2020. For more information about ISPA, its membership, initiatives and events visit experienceispa.com

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    Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health advocate, a globe-trotting trend watcher and the founder and president of Trent & Company, a New York-based marketing communications firm with an office in Los Angeles. Trent & Company, which launched many fitness brands, grew out of Nancy’s personal commitment to helping people live longer and healthier lives. A former journalist for New York magazine, Nancy has written seven books on healthy lifestyles, serves on the editorial boards of several magazines and travels around the world speaking at conferences and trade shows on trends in the marketplace. She is a recognized expert in PR with more than 30 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns. Nancy can be reached at (212) 966-0024 or through e-mail at nancy@trentandcompany.com. You may also visit www.trentandcompany.com.