Spa owner Janet Hollinger proves that high-tech and all-natural can go hand-in-hand
Photo by Devin Hollinger
If you told Janet Hollinger 10 years ago that she would be running one of the more high tech, all-natural spas in the country out of Virginia Beach, Virginia—she wouldn’t have believed you.
The Beauty Tree Spa is thriving not only because of its unique services and super-qualified technicians but also because of the technology and care put into the construction of the treatment rooms. The clincher? It’s completely green. If you’re currently reflecting on every spa experience you’ve had and are wondering what was so non-green about them, know that Janet has put in the time and research that has made The Beauty Tree Spa unique—from the lava shells used in lieu of traditional hot stones to the gemstone-lined massage tables that found their home in the spa due to their purifying, effective properties.
Janet's interest in clean beauty began years ago when her son was born with severe eczema. “I laughingly say that we took our son to every doctor and witch doctor on the East Coast,” Janet says. “And we learned a whole lot about food as medicine and environmental products as toxins. Everything my son’s skin was exposed to was so harmful to him if it wasn’t pure and natural and non-nut-based. We learned a whole lot about how much simple energy our bodies put into fighting off the daily toxins, as opposed to anti-aging and keeping us young and well. And we learned that by trial and error.”
To her interest in clean beauty, Janet added an interest in healthy, clean products when she and her husband Scott opened up a green coffee house. Knowing nutrition is important, she wanted to know more—specifically about the body’s first line of defense: our skin. “I went to micropigmentation school and aesthetic school during that time frame,” she says. “I learned how much energy our bodies have to put into protecting the skin when we don’t take care of it. I just got really enamored with the fact that as the world began to change and recognize food as medicine, nobody was talking about all the toxins we were rubbing into our bodies.”
When Janet was introduced to clean, organic beauty, most of the products available were from European lines that were just plain expensive. “We wanted to offer affordable, safe, organic products for people who didn’t inherit a gazillion dollars,” she laughs. And that’s just what they’ve done at The Beauty Tree Spa.
Janet exudes passion as she explains that her spa uses lava shells from the Philippines instead of hot stones, which absorb bacteria due to their porous nature. “We put this mineral pouch in it, and we ignite that mineral pouch with saltwater,” she says. “The surface and shape of the shell allows the massage therapist to do joint and fascia work that you typically can’t do with regular hot stones. What we use is not only beautiful and natural, it’s safe because it’s staying warm from the pouch inside.”
And if you opt for a massage, your unique experience will go far beyond the treatment itself. “When you’re in our treatment room on our massage table, you’re lying on about 30 pounds of crushed amethyst, tourmaline, and jade,” says Janet with excitement. “Those gemstones have copper coils running through them, and as they warm up, they create against your body an infrared heat, which activates differently than a hot pad.” Top all that off with the fact that Janet made sure all of the paints used in construction were low-VOC (low in volatile compounds), and that the massage room floors were constructed out of cork.
If massages aren’t your thing, don’t worry. The Beauty Tree Spa brings its green, tech-embracing mentality into facial and nail treatments as well. “Our botanical infusion facial is our most popular. We actually use an infusion process that includes a triple exfoliation treatment to completely clear away dead skin cells,” explains Janet. “Then we use this silence tip technology that has 41 little pyramids on its tip that are one-third the diameter of the average human hair. When that’s run over the skin with a very nutritious, organic serum, you’re able to create little meso-pathways at the cellular level so that the serum can infuse and nourish the skin cells directly.”
Oh, and the manicures? You’d better believe they’re all-natural as well. Janet sought out polishes that are free of carcinogens, as well as heat lamps with primarily LED lights, keeping UV radiation to a minimum.
“I started researching high technologies that provided ways for our practitioners to enhance what we were already doing—providing the body with nutrition through the skin,” says Janet. “There are technologies out there that you can harness to make natural green products work better, and we embrace all of those.”