We love tropical island life and the warm weather that comes with it, but Bali can be a b*tch if you’ve got sensitive, oily, breakout-prone skin like we do.
After previously consulting a dermatologist, we’ve kept our skincare routine pretty simple with the three sacred steps of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing, as well as supplementing that with weekly exfoliation and treatment masks. But even that is not usually enough to keep the breakouts at bay with all the perspiration (hey, we’re heavy sweaters), air pollution, and general grit and grime that our pores are exposed to on the daily from driving a motorbike.
As young, beach-loving professionals on a budget, we don’t often avail ourselves of the spa and salon experiences in town, and usually keep our skincare regimen fairly low-key, using dermatologist-recommended brands/non-luxury labels with non-comedogenic products like Cetaphil, Mario Badescu, La Roche-Posay, and Dermalogica (just to name a few). Disposable income usually goes into surfing trips, new swimwear (can you ever really have enough?), or on nice food and drink.
Not that you need to know how we manage our personal finances — what we’re pointing out is our lack of experience with spa and skincare specialists. We’ll admit that we’re noobs in this regard, and walked into Spring Spa — which, full disclosure, invited Coconuts Bali for a session — not knowing what to really expect out of it.
We did walk into Spring Spa with some curiosity about it — we had heard that it’s the sister brand of New Zealand’s “first luxury spa,” East Day Spa. Like its older sibling, Spring Spa got its start in New Zealand, before three locations opened up in Bali.
Since launching its first Bali location over at Seminyak Village in 2015, Spring Spa has become a fixture in the “Bali Blogger Community” — the spa’s long white-walled garden and wading pool a staple photo in many an Insta Baddie’s feed. As with anything insta-famous, we’re always wondering — is it as good as the influencers claim?
Right off, we can start by saying that the aesthetics are on point in real life, at least at the Batu Bolong location (which opened in July 2017), where we decided to do our spa treatment. White walls everywhere, wooden paneled floors, hanging vines, and that long, picture-perfect wading pool. They also had a DJ at the reception just to keep things more engaging than a Spotify playlist running in the background.
Treatment rooms have their own sink and little garden with a soothing water fountain running, which you can see and hear through a glass door. The room we were in had two massage beds. We noticed that the massage bed next to ours didn’t look totally cleaned off (there were some hairs on it and some dark spots — we couldn’t tell whether they were stains or a newer thing), but at least the bed we were on was clean and the linens seemed fresh.
Side note: Pretty much directly after we visited Spring Spa, they announced that their Raw Facial took the 2018 title in Harper’s Bazaar Singapore’s Beauty Award in the “natural” category, so perhaps we would have chosen that treatment had the timeline been a little different. And, for reference — the most popularly booked treatments at Spring Spa are the 90-minute Spring Signature Massage (IDR395k/US$28), Codage Hydration Facial (IDR495k/US$35), and the Hair Rescue (also a Harper’s Bazaar winner for “Most Relaxing Hair Ritual”; IDR450k/US$32).
Other than the raw facial (IDR350k/US$25) which uses raw vegetables and fruit enzymes and a pure papaya pulp mask, they’ve also got a charcoal facial, which uses Takesumi activated bamboo charcoal to deep cleanse and promote healing (IDR350k/US$25). There are also four facial treatments that use luxurious (aka expensive) Codage Paris products: the Codage Hydration Facial (IDR495k/US$35) to calm redness, improve pigmentation and resurface and balance skin; the Codage Purifying Facial (IDR495k/US$35) to eliminate impurities, absorb excess oil and unclog pores; the Codage Anti-Aging Facial (IDR495k/US$35) to reduce fine lines, dark spots and blemishes, and the Codage Bright Eyes (IDR150k/US$11) to fade dark circles and puffiness. Each of these facials are 60-minute sessions, except for the bright eyes one, which is just 15 minutes.
We went with the Codage Purifying Facial (IDR495k/US$35) with the hopes of getting our sebum to chill the f*ck out and clear out some recurrent breakout portions of the face.
The experience of the facial itself was the most calming thing in the world, and we’d almost even go back just for the deep relaxation we experienced as our spa therapist gently got to work giving our face the massage we never knew it needed. She started by cleansing our face with micellar water, then took us through a series of Codage serums, an exfoliant, day cream, and also a Codage purifying mask, applied with a brush.
Directly after, we were quite shiny with all the products on the face, but we noticed we had a visible glow and radiance — and we’re not the only ones who noticed. Random people throughout the day who didn’t know we had a facial commented on our “glow.”
And what about more long-term results? It’s now been a few weeks since our facial treatment, and we do have a few stray pimples here and there — but impressively, the troublesome spot with the recurrent breakouts hasn’t been producing new volcanoes. We’re not sure if this is a direct impact from deep cleaning all the build-up in that spot, or us just being more dedicated to cleansing it and a more vigilant application of tea-tree oil, but we’re happy with the results.
The facial definitely wasn’t a magic bullet for acne, but it felt deeply indulgent and relaxing, and now we’re entertaining the idea of doing it monthly to help with some recurrent breakout spots. You could say that this experience may have just converted us into facial regulars.
As a side bonus, we also tried some additional treatments from the “add-ons” section of the spa menu.
We had originally wanted to try an eyebrow tinting that day (IDR120k/US$9 for a 15-minute session), but when we made the booking, the spa strongly advised against doing that on the same day as a facial, since the moisture from the facial would make it near impossible for the tint to stay on).
We definitely appreciate that they had the foresight to say something about that — LRR, we doubt all spa places in Bali would say something rather than just automatically accepting a booking.
We felt that the facial would have to take priority for that first visit, and our eyebrow makeover would just have to wait for another time — and so, instead, we decided to address our sun and ocean-battered hair with Spring Spa’s “coconut hair repair.” We actually thought the coconut drizzle treatment would be done in the salon section of the spa, but our therapist pretty much went directly into it right after the facial, which made it all the more relaxing (not having to sit up, get dressed, get our shit together, and move rooms).
It’s just a 15-minute treatment in which the aesthetician massages warm coconut oil into your hair to nourish it and soften it up. It’s an easy DIY at home, of course, but the head massage was pure bliss — we’d pay the IDR75k (US$5) for that alone. However, we didn’t really see any lasting results from the hair repair treatment, just a little bit of shine later on. In fact, up until we could later shower and shampoo, our hair looked like we’d dunked our heads in an oil vat immediately after — but we’re telling you, that head, neck, and shoulder massage made the experience. It really was the coconut-flavored cherry on top.
We didn’t forget about that eyebrow tint, either. We went back last week to the Batu Bolong location, for an eyebrow tint on our own dime, and we’re happy to report that our brows were looking snatched for several days after the treatment (we’ve got patchy Asian granny brows).
Unfortunately, the tint wore off pretty darn fast — it lasted about a week. Our spa therapist recommended washing our face carefully around the brows to prevent the tint from going away too quickly, but like we’ve said, we sweat, A LOT. And we’ve got sensitive skin, so we got to get that grime and oil build-up off. So, if you have sensitive, oily skin and are in a hot climate, a tint may not make for much of a long-term brow makeover for you. All that said, because it was cheap and quick to do, we’d do the tint again if we had a special event (or photoshoot) up the pike.