American Spa Magazine - June - by Jessica Lyons
The pleasurable and medicinal properties of orange essential oil is why it was chosen as an ingredient in the signature aromatic blend of shhh. shampoo - shower - shave.
As a fruit, an orange is a refreshing summer treat. As a color, it’s warm, bright, and invigorating. When used as an ingredient in spa treatments (or products), it’s a veritable miracle worker—a relaxing trip to a sunny spot, a refreshing dip in the fountain of youth, and a tasty treat all rolled into one. “Orange extracts can be perfect ingredients for spa treatments, not only due to their wonderfully refreshing scent but also due to their numerous benefits,” says International educator Melissa Morris. “Orange contains essential vitamin C necessary for collagen formation. Moreover, it is also an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and works at addressing lines, wrinkles, and photodamage. It is also anti-inflammatory and restores balance in the skin.”
Sweet orange oil, meanwhile, reduces stress and acts as a skin tonic because of its gentle astringent properties, says Vivianne Garcia-Tunon, ESPA’s vice president of operations in the U.S. “The essential oil captures the freshness of newly peeled oranges,” she says.
“Orange oil can help calm and comfort,” says Garcia-Tunon. “It’s effective in relaxing the mind and body and improving concentration. It is also anti-inflammatory and antiseptic on the skin, as well as a digestive aid.”
Another anti-inflammatory ingredient is neroli, a bitter orange flower that is also hydrating, healing, and calming to the skin. When used in aromatherapy treatments, it balances the mind and improves concentration. “It requires more than one ton of petals to produce just one kilogram of essential oil,” says Garcia-Tunon. “Subsequently, it is one of the most expensive and precious essential oils.” In aromatherapy, neroli is used for soothing, uplifting, and relaxing. It also helps to stimulate the growth of healthy new cells, and therefore has rejuvenating effects on the skin. It is particularly useful for dry or sensitive skin.
Orange’s mood-boosting qualities give the fruit a starring role in the Spring Renewal Massage at Three Springs Spa at Barton Creek Resort & Spa (Austin, TX). “The orange is invigorating, and the smell of citrus promotes a positive mood,” says Shana Ominsky, spa and wellness director. “It’s an uplifting scent, and clients leave with both body and mind invigorated and rejuvenated.”
In addition to its de-stressing and restorative benefits, orange’s collagen-building, packed-with-vitamin-C properties make it perfectly suited to facials. Its anti-aging properties work well to correct uneven skin tone, sunspots, and post-blemish marks. For these reasons, Jurlique uses citrus unshiu peel extract, also known as satsuma mandarin peel extract. “This is a wonderful natural alternative to skin lightening, as it inhibits the production of melanin,” says Lisa Polley, Jurlique’s director of education and business development. “Vitamin C is a tyrosinase inhibitor,” says Polley. “Tyrosinase is an enzyme found in the cells that releases melanin pigment and causes the darkening effect when stimulated by UV light. Regular use of vitamin C topically reduces melanin production while also promoting collagen synthesis.”
When a treatment in which orange is a featured ingredient, Morris serves a healthy orange-infused beverage, like Spalasium’s Renew Vital-I-Tea, which contains orange peel.
Resorts in citrus-heavy states, like Arizona, Florida, and southern California, have an added advantage when it comes to offering treatments containing orange, as many spa-goers enjoy services featuring indigenous ingredients. Alvadora Spa at Royal Palms, which features orange in six of its treatments, still maintains part of the property’s original orange grove. Guests can smell the sweet scent from the grove and then bask in its benefits inside the spa. “We offer our signature neroli services year round as part of our menu, and the front desk staff suggests these treatments for clients looking for something unique to the area,” says spa coordinator Meghan Zazzarino.
Similarly, Florida’s Ritz-Carlton Spa Orlando revels in its state’s signature fruit. The spa butler serves old-fashioned freshly squeezed orange juice, and there is even a full-time citrus consultant who offers spa guests advice and homecare remedies. As for services, guests can luxuriate in the Citrus Indulgence Manicure and Pedicure, which use mandarin and tangerine. The Citrus C Facial, gives skin a vitamin-rich burst of citrus with mandarin to promote hydration and vitamin C to promote collagen stimulation. “Orange is one of the favorite fruits in the world,” says spa director Suzanne Holbrook. “The very smell of it reminds you of happy moments and brings happy thoughts to mind. That is why it is used in our spa menu. It gives a relaxed feeling and works as a mood lifter.” The bottom line is, orange-inspired services will be a fruitful endeavor.