It’s official I have a 1, 2 and 3 year old. This past year has been exhausting and I’ve learned a lot. But after reading an enlightening post about Self Care 101 I’ve been making better strides to take care of myself as a whole. My very first self-care event consisted of me dropping my kids off at daycare (on Zaniel’s birthday- I ain’t shame) and heading to the spa with Brown Sugar. If you’re ever on the Island of Oahu please, please treat yourself and head to the Herbal Spa and Sauna in Honolulu. For a small fee of $100, your life will be changed forever.
First things first, you need to know you have to be birthday butt naked. Yes I said it; it all has to come off. Now when I initially found this out I was slightly petrified but I soon got over it.
My first time at this authentic Korean bathhouse I was pregnant with Zan so I couldn’t get in the saunas or lay flat for my massage but this time I made sure to do everything at least twice! As I mentioned earlier $100 will have you feeling like a brand new person. That small fee includes, a cucumber facial, a body scrub that will leave your skin feeling like butter, a massage that won’t leave you feeling like you’ve been in a car accident (ugh I almost swore off massages altogether before coming here) and a scalp massage and hair wash, also you’ll have unlimited use of the Himalayan Salt cave, sauna, steam room, hot tub and cold tub.
When you first enter Herbal Spa & Sauna you walk straight into a small dining area/restaurant, you might think you’re in the wrong place but you’re not keep walking- you may even be a little put off but don’t let that deter you. At the far left hand corner I found a tiny Korean lady who was very nice but also very direct about her money. Also the last time I visited was on a Saturday evening around 7pm, it was just myself and one other lady being serviced and I really appreciated the solitude, this time I went on a Monday morning and the place was packed. So evenings and weekends might be a better time to visit. After paying for our spa packages, Brown Sugar went next door to the men’s spa and the party got started. Upon entry I received a small basket that held a robe, 2 towels and a locker key. After undressing and stowing my things in the locker I wrapped myself in the robe and headed through the door to the spa. The first thing you must do is hit the showers, like a complete fool I showered with shampoo and didn’t realize it until later, but the shampoo smelled sooo good (don’t judge me). After the shower I got into the hot tub for a few and then very briefly got in the cold tub, I read somewhere that its really good for your pores to do them in that order. I did the hot tub-cold tub dance maybe five times. After that I was really thirsty to get in the Himalayan Salt Cave-couldn’t do it when I was pregnant with Zan and I was really excited to try it. The Himalayan Salt Cave is not only therapeutic but it has been known to regulate blood pressure, balance blood sugar, reduce stress, and promote healthy patterns in intimacy and sleep as well as purify the skin, so i was all for that. After the Himalayan Salt Cave, I sat in the steam room for a few short seconds. Steam rooms creep me out, I feel like someone’s gonna lock the doors and my death will mirror something straight out of a D-List movie. Anyway, after that I stayed in the sauna longer than I expected because I’m usually sweating like a pig 2 minutes in but this time it was pretty nice to unwind and relax. After hitting all the rooms, they still weren’t ready for me. So I just danced around in the salt room and sauna for another 20 minutes, which was slightly annoying because I really expected to be serviced as promptly as I was before, but hey what can you do?
What I will say is the wait was absolutely worth it. When the tiny Korean lady called me over I nearly ran to the table. Upon getting on the table-don’t forget you’re completely naked- you are immediately slathered in warm soap and water, after that comes the best part, the scrubbing. I think the reason I appreciate the scrubbing so much is because never in my life had I realized how much dead skin was layered on me and with her scrubbing vigorously I was happy to see it gone. I kept thinking “All of this dead skin has been living on me for 20ish years!”. Slightly melodramatic- but its true. Mind you they scrub EVERY square inch of your body so be prepared for that. After the layers of dead skin are scrubbed off, you are splashed with perfectly warm water and slathered in oil for the body massage. I was pulled, stretched and rubbed in every direction, I promise you I was hemmed up like a chicken wing at least twice. She even stepped on my back as she held onto the ceiling and that even felt nice. After the tugging and pulling I was splashed with warm water again and then it was time for the facial. The shredded cucumbers smelled delicious. After that, they give your face a good pinching and pulling but nothing that hurts its all very relaxing. Next they sit you up and wash your face with warm milk. And then its time to get your hair washed and scalp massaged. My first time here I skipped that part because I had a fresh sewin and I still ended up getting my hair wet so this time I wore my natural hair and went with the whole shebang, and it was totally worth it. The hair wash and scalp massage was gentle and soothing. After getting dried off and cleaned up I was happy to tip my masseuse and head on my way.
Herbal Spa and Sauna in Honolulu is truly something you must do if you are ever on Oahu. Also the price of only $100 is a steal, just be sure to tip your masseuse. I have heard stories of people being chased down in the parking lot for not leaving a tip, the struggle is real. Have you ever been to a Korean bathhouse, if so what was your experience?