Smart Spa Spending

Change out of those fancy pants, everyone: It’s time for a roundup of my favorite low-key spa services around the county.

While I already feel slightly guilty indulging in various beauty and spa treatments—facials, massages, waxing, manicures, et al.—when it comes this cheap, it might just come in handy for those stress-filled weeks when all you want to do is eat Girl Scout cookies and cry. Not that any of us has ever done that or anything.

I admit I only partake in maybe four manicures per year, usually when things get really out of hand (sorry), but I’m starting to change my mind after finally paying Beauty Quest in Costa Mesa a visit. With most places, you’ll start chipping in a matter of days, but the husband-and-wife wonder duo behind this place treats guests to the longest-lasting manicures ($16) and pedicures ($28) I’ve ever experienced—I’m talking weeks, the only time nail growth trumps what seems to be an indestructible manicure. The super-friendly Mai will chat with you about the health of your nails, the best (and the least toxic) products to use andtreat you to the best massages ever. 440 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 548-8743;


So there’s no cucumber water, fluffy robe or candlelight, but there is a 60-minute massage for $30. Best yet, it’s low-key, no fuss: Majestic Spa consists of one large, darkened room of overstuffed chairs. Majestic are mostly known for their reflexology services, a type of massage that focuses on specific points on hands and feet that supposedly link to certain energies and organs in the body. None of that matters, though, ’cause it feels damn good. You start off with a hot foot soak while a technician works on your arms and shoulders, and if you’d like, there’s even a facial massage. Next comes the best foot and leg rub of your life. 2700 Alton Pkwy., Ste. 235, Irvine, (949) 724-9999;


Okay, so the stuff they sell here isn’t cheap—but there’s a tiny, somewhat-secretive secret involved. With a minimum $50 purchase, the esthetician on hand at this particular Fresh location offers complimentary mini-facials. And with items such as Brown Sugar Body Polish, mangosteen soap, Soy Face Cleanser and Sugar Lychee Eau de Parfum available, it’s also not too difficult to meet that minimum. South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 549-7086;


This column appeared in print as “Little Indulgences, Big Values.”

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