Friday, August 1, 2008

$35 Massages & Facials – Honoulu & Irvine

Today Selina introduced me to an affordable place to get massages and facials: The International School of Beauty Esthetique (ISBE).

1 hour Swedish or Lomi Lomi massages are priced at a mere $35, and 1 hour European Facials run only $35! To top it off, after every 4th facial you get a free massage! (Just ask for the free “Frequent Membership Card” and have them stamp it after each payment). As another added bonus—go online to get “2 for 1” coupons. How much easier can it be to pamper yourself?!

Selina ordered a 1 hour “Spa II Package” ($38) which included a 30 minute facial and 30 minute back facial. A great combo that she said she enjoyed. I purchased a 1 hour facial and 1 hour massage (detailed below) and plan to order the 1 hour “Back Facial” ($38) for my next appointment. This comes with cleansing and exfoliation, followed by a back massage, and completed with a masque.

Review: I can’t say enough about my massage with Kayoko Ogino. Kayoko is reputed as the best student massage therapist at ISBE—I highly recommend booking with her. She was recommended to me by her lead instructor who herself makes appointments with Kayoko. Kayoko did a great job taking out the knots from my shoulders, performing a painful (but hopefully helpful) exercise on my carpal tunnel wrists, and gave me the best scalp massage which eventually put me to sleep (!). (Kayoko works M-F in the mornings and will be practicing in Hawaii for only 6 more months before opening her own salon in Japan.)

Alex was the student who did my facial. I don’t recommend her as she seems new and inexperienced. Her facial strokes were too light, short, and abrupt and she was tugging at my skin a lot since she didn’t apply enough moisturizer, mud mask, and exfoliating cream. She also didn’t use the steam machine to open my pores (forgot perhaps?). She did excel, however, in giving soothing upper body and hand massages which I thoroughly enjoyed. Overall, I felt rejuvenated and relaxed and felt that the service was worth it. The only thing that would have made the facial even better would have been a 5 minute foot massage! (ISBE uses Murad facial products.)

Note: Just keep in mind that you will be treated by students in training. You’ll need to give a little bit of grace here and there. Our 9:30 appts began at 9:55 for example, the private massage/facial rooms are ceiling-less so you’ll hear the buzzing of the air conditioning other people talking in the background, and the students are not yet used to providing clear directions of where to change and where/how to lie on the table. But overall, these little things can be easily overlooked with quality spa services. If they give you the option to be treated in an upstairs classroom, I highly recommend taking the offer. These rooms are much quieter and peacefully over look trees and the canal below.

Where to Go
ISBE in the Landmark Building
1888 Kalakaua Avenue, Suite 110
Honolulu, HI 96815
Reservations: 808.942.0088

Call for Irvine location

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