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Fabulous Finds from the 2022 International Spa Association Conference

Well Defined’s co-founder hits the ISPA show floor and shares her top picks for brands that will be making headlines in the world of wellness.
Photo: Shutterstock

Every year, the International Spa Association (ISPA) Conference is arguably one of the spa industry’s largest annual conventions. Due to COVID, it had been canceled for the past two years, so it was with great excitement the spa industry recently convened in Las Vegas to connect, learn, and discover exciting new offerings in the world of wellness. I was thrilled to hit the show floor and find out what will be making waves in wellness.

The first thing I realized is that my trade show skills are rusty. In my 20 years in the spa biz, I have learned to attack industry events with extreme focus and a very targeted list of companies with which to connect to optimize my time. This time around, however, I found myself flitting across the floor, connecting with friends I had not seen in a long time, and bouncing from one booth to another in no particular order to check out offerings that caught my eye. It was an unconventional approach for me—and I most certainly didn’t get a chance to explore as many companies as I would have liked. But perhaps it was a side effect of post-pandemic life, one that is not as rigid and one that is more in tune with following my intuition rather than my apparently former Type-A tendencies.

While I was not able to spend time at every single booth (I could have used a couple more days), here are some fabulous finds that stood out:

Nucalm
NuCalm

Touchless Therapy Is Thriving

Although spas are almost back to pre-COVID levels, touchless therapy, something that exploded during the pandemic when spa lovers wanted to be pampered but weren’t able to (or interested in) getting back into the treatment room, is not going anywhere any time soon. It’s not surprising when you consider the current staffing shortage. Services that do not require an esthetician or massage therapist continue to be popular for spa operators who are trying to navigate this issue. Among the ISPA standouts:

  • Ballancer Pro – Loved by celebs and media alike, this lymphatic drainage system feels amazing and provides tangible, immediate results
  • CryoBuilt’s Everest Peak is a state-of-the-art chamber that gets down to -175° F windchill with fully electric breathable air and personal music and color.
  • Halotherapy (salt therapy) is becoming wildly popular for its myriad benefits for health and wellness, particularly in the post-COVID world where clients are craving immunity- boosting experiences. From salt beds, caves, pods, rooms, products, and more, Halotherapy Solutions, Himalayan Source, and Salt Chamber all offer a variety of innovative offerings.
  • Straight from the popular New York City infrared therapy spas, Higher Dose is offering a variety of products that are ideal for retail and spas.
  • LightStim’s LED Bed uses LED light therapy for a non-invasive, soothing, and gentle treatment that sets in motion the body’s inherent pain-relieving process
  • NuCalm is a high-tech neuroscience-based solution that tackles stress in 20 minutes with a patented system that involves three steps that work together to guide brain waves into alpha and theta (just above deep sleep) to create cellular restoration and parasympathetic nervous system dominance.
Living Earth Crafts
Mind-Sync Harmonic Sleep Lounger from Living Earth Crafts

Zero-Gravity Gets High Tech

Several companies offered cool zero-gravity loungers, including:

  • The Mind-Sync Harmonic Sleep Lounger from Living Earth Crafts combines clinically tested, vibro-acoustic sound therapy with zero-gravity positioning for accelerated guest restoration.
  • Another standout was the Curva Lounger from Oakworks, a USA-made, zero-gravity, curved-top lounger with super-soft padding.
  • Therabody’s TheraSound Technology is incorporated in the new Therabody Lounger, a zero-gravity lounger that shifts your mind and body into a deep state of relaxation, focus, or sleep. 
spa dream lemi
Spa Dream from Lemi

Attention-Grabbing Treatment Tables

The equipment companies brought their A-game to the event with a variety of exciting, innovative, and interesting offerings. A few standouts included:

  • The Ocean Dream Massage, created exclusively for Lemi by Jean-Guy de Gabriac, is a truly unique experience conducted on the Spa Dream massage table.
  • Gharieni’s Augmented Massage table features live-generated movements and sound guided by the movements of the massage therapist during a service.
SJ Lipstick PPG 03 Credo
Luxury lip cream from Saint Jane

CBD Continues to Flourish

I’ve been a huge proponent of CBD and hemp for wellness for years (I even launched a CBD summit in 2018 to support its growth in the wellness world), so I’m not surprised the industry continues to thrive. A couple brands I saw on the show floor and loved included Saint Jane Beauty, which offers gorgeous packaging and unique CBD products including lipcare; Well CBD, led by the always-innovative Hannah Murray Duncan, who makes it easy for spas to make CBD part of their offerings; Cause+Medic, which just unveiled lovely new packaging; Acrely Farms, another brand with gorgeous packaging and a targeted approach to hemp-based products; and Botanika Life, which has a Pain Relief Roller with CBD, Lidocaine & Menthol that has been a game-changer for me.

biologique recherche products
Biologique Recherche

Storied European Skincare Brands Still Have It

There are several brands with European origins that I have long loved for their efficacy and elegance, and I was pleased to see that they are still providing beautiful products, impactful ingredients, effective protocols, and lovely packaging. Some that I’ve always loved that continue to innovate include Babor, Biologique Recherche, Pevonia, Phytomer, Sothy’s Paris, and Yonka Paris. Their longtime hero products and protocols are still effective and provide the backbone of the lines, but each of the brands feature a variety of updates that include things like new packaging, updated ingredients, new releases, and more. I have always found that European skincare is popular and long-respected for a reason—they know what they are doing when it comes to beauty, and this show continued to prove me right.

Peel Mobile Exterior Rendering 1
The Peel Mobile from Dr. Dennis Gross

Standout Skincare

Over the years, I’ve experienced results-oriented clinical products and skincare services from Circadia, Dr. Dennis Gross, HydraFacial, and Sorella Apothecary. These brands were on the show floor and offering services and new products. A true standout was The Peel Mobile from Dr. Dennis Gross, a luxe bus that parked at the back of the floor and offered a variety of effective peels. Speaking of peels, I also got a chance to test out the Reset & Renew Facial by Reveel in the Universal Companies Experience Center and loved my post-treatment glow. Another favorite was the show floor facial from Sorella, creator of the uber-popular and ultra-effective Mermaid Facial.

FHF
FarmHouse Fresh

Longtime Clean Spa Brands Keep Killing It

No matter how many tradeshows I have attended over the years, there are several clean, natural brands that always have a presence with a compelling booth, new products, exciting additional lines, targeted marketing to consumers and spas, and an ongoing devotion to protecting the planet. Once again, the following brands brought their A game and kept it interesting by highlighting popular products and new offerings: Body Bliss, Eminence Organic Skin Care, Epicuren, FarmHouse Fresh, Ilike Organic Skin Care, Kerstin Florian, Naturopathica, Nelly De Vuyst, Pure Fiji, and Tara Spa Therapy,

Noel Eco Signature
Noel Asmar’s Eco-Signature Fabric

Tantalizing Textiles

The show floor offered a variety of elegant textiles. A few of my favorites included the cozy Women’s Zip Jackets from Kashwere, the lovely blankets and throws from The Madison Collection, and the Spa Plush Robes from Mansfield International. The ever-innovating Noel Asmar highlighted her Eco Signature fabrics, which are made from biodegradable polyester and spandex.

Tucker Powersports 3
Electric bikes from Tucker Powersports

Unique & Interesting Standouts

There were a few discoveries that don’t quite fall into specific boxes that I thought were unique and will be making an impact on wellness in interesting ways.

  • Tucker Powersports – A surprise on the show floor, this motorsports company was there to introduce destination spas and other wellness destinations to their electric bikes and other offerings. Though I’m not used to seeing dirt bikes on a spa show floor, it made a lot of sense considering the potential popularity for destination spas, and their booth was constantly busy.
  • Veronique Gabai’s Aroma Collection offered a unique take on aromatherapy and healing with her clean, vegan, biodegradable collection designed to address your healing needs, depending on what your body and soul need at the time. I was particularly attracted to the Heart fragrance, which inspires confidence, joy, and creativity.
  • Spa Ritual’s Shel Pink has launched a new initiative called Out of the Blue, where proceeds from the sales of six curated shades in the Out of the Blue collection will be donated to DRK Beauty Healing, a mental health and wellness nonprofit.
  • Lipcare gets luxe with Abature, a stunning lipcare line that features plastic-free packaging, natural plant-based ingredients, and powerful protocols. The flavors are heavenly, the packaging is gorgeous, and it’s a great option for spas looking to boost their retail offerings and enhance treatments.
  • Haia, a gender-neutral line, stood out for its inclusive mission of promoting physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, social, and professional wellbeing. It’s also effective and interesting in its thoughtful, clean formulation.
  • I was immediately attracted to the texture, packaging, and story of Love, Indus, a brand that combines customs from India and inspirations from New York City, particularly the Amrutini Luminosity Dewdrops. But I’ve never seen copper-crusted silk cocoons, a very cool exfoliating tool that they highlighted on the show floor.
About The Author
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Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures, ForbesTraveler.com, E! Online, Gayot.com, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.