With their ability to condition, detoxify, tone and tighten skin, and even take inches off your frame almost instantly (if only temporarily), it’s hardly any wonder body wrap treatments are a steadfast spa favourite. In this guide, we take a look at this multi-beneficial and indulgent spa treatment.
If you’ve yet to enjoy a spa day or spa break, or you’ve simply yet to experience a beautifying body wrap, you might be unsure what to expect. This guide defines the treatment, explains what generally happens during a body wrap, outlines its health and beauty benefits and lists the different types available. You’ll also find some FAQs for this treatment answered at the end of this page.
What is a body wrap?
A body wrap - also known as a ‘body cocoon’ or ‘body mask’ - is a spa treatment created to enhance the health and appearance of the skin, and/or reduce body measurements on a temporary basis.
It involves the application of a nourishing oil or mineral-rich formula to the limbs and torso before they are wrapped in cotton, mylar bandages or a plastic film.
While most wraps are performed on the entire body (minus the face and genital area), some - such as cellulite and bust wraps - are applied to certain areas alone.
What health and beauty benefits does a body wrap treatment provide?
The pampering experience of a body wrap can provide multiple benefits, depending on the type chosen:
Detoxification: Body wraps featuring detoxifying algae, seaweed, mud or clay can help rid the body of toxins through metabolic skin cell stimulation. As skin is your largest organ, detoxification of the epidermis can have a significant effect on your health and overall wellbeing.
Temporary inch and/or weight loss: Wraps with detoxifying ingredients teamed with firmly wound bandages will see you sweat out any excess water and toxins, and also tighten your skin. This can temporarily improve the contours of your body and see you lose a dress size or two.
Dead skin removal: Wrap treatments comprising an exfoliation stage will see dead skin cells lifted, providing you a smoother complexion top-to-toe and a flattering glow. You can choose to enjoy a body polish before your wrap if exfoliation is not included as part of your treatment.
Intensive moisturisation: The vast majority of wraps comprise moisturising ingredients to hydrate, nourish and smooth your skin for improved condition.
Relaxation: Once you’re fully wrapped by your aesthetician, you’ll be left to relax for up to 30 minutes. This will provide you with some valuable - and rare - mental and physical downtime.
Things to watch out for with a body wrap
A body wrap is often combined with other spa treatments, such as a body scrub and/or massage, to offer a comprehensive pampering session for the body. While some people expect a massage to form part of the body wrap treatment, this usually isn’t the case, unless it is explicitly listed as part of the package. Check with us when you book or contact the spa ahead of time if you’re unsure. Other things to bear in mind is that if claustrophobia or being left alone in the treatment room are issues, this may not be the right treatment for you.
Types of body wrap spa treatments
There are countless body wrap treatments available at the 500+ venues we represent nationwide. These are just some of the most popular variants:
Algae body wrap: Similar to - and sometimes confused with - seaweed body wraps, this treatment sees a nourishing, warmed algae applied to your skin to jumpstart cell metabolism and aid detoxification.
Bust wrap: This treatment sees a tightening and firming serum applied to the bust region before wrapping, to tone and moisturise sagging or loose skin resulting from the ageing process, or rapid weight loss.
Cellulite treatment wrap: These wraps aim to boost circulation to help flush toxins away from your skin and underlying fat cells, for a smoother, bump-free appearance. Generally, these wraps target the bottom, hip and thigh area alone.
Chocolate body wrap: The ultimate treat for chocoholics, this heavenly-scented body wrap sees cocoa-rich formulas applied to your skin. Chocolate is known for its anti-ageing, toning and softening qualities.
Detoxing and mineralising body wrap: The aim of these stimulating wraps is to remove toxins, draw out impurities and replace important minerals. This treatment uses such natural ingredients as algae, seaweed, mud and clay. These are great as a kickstart to a healthy living regime.
Frigi thalgo body wrap: Those with excess fluid retention in their hip and/or thigh region will benefit from a chilly ‘frigi thalgo’ (meaning ‘cold richness of the sea’) marine algae body wrap, which also targets cellulite and gives tired legs a new lease on life.
Herbal body wrap: This dead skin cell-eliminating treatment sees a selection of herbs - chosen for their nourishing properties - blended with essential oils and steeped in very hot water. Cloth sheets are then soaked in the solution before they are applied around the body.
Hydrating body wrap: As you can guess, the idea behind these wraps is to drench your body in much-needed hydration. They utilise top-of-the-range creams and gels, which are left to sink into the skin, rather than being washed off. A body scrub is recommended before this wrap, so you get the maximum benefit. Enjoy this wrap during the winter months when central heating and the inclement weather are taking their toll on your skin.
Inch-loss / slimming body wrap: Specifically designed to better contour your body through cleansing, toning and tightening of the skin, inch-loss wraps are often enjoyed by women before an important event at which they’d like to look their best. Up to 10 inches can be lost across the body, though results from one-off treatments are usually temporary. You will be wrapped up tight while concentrated minerals work their magic!
Mud / clay wrap: Say goodbye to excess water, impurities and dull pores - a layer of therapeutic mud or clay is lightly massaged into your skin before wrapping begins, to cleanse, detoxify and firm you head-to-toe. Therapeutic muds and clays have anti-stress properties and the wide availability of these wraps means they’re a popular choice for spa guests.
Oil body wrap: These body wraps are formulated to moisturise dry and/or dehydrated skin. A single - or mix of - aromatic essential oil is warmed and sandwiched between your skin and the mylar bandage wrap.
Paraffin body wrap: Bandages are seldom used as part of this unique, skin-softening body wrap - warm paraffin wax is simply brushed directly over your body, creating its own seal once dry. The heat from the wax can help to reduce muscle pain and soothe arthritic symptoms.
Parafango wrap: A mixture of cold therapeutic mud (‘fango’ in Italian) and warm paraffin wax are combined to create a body sauna and stimulate your lymphatic flow, helping your skin rid itself of toxins and excess water more efficiently.
Thalasso (seaweed) body wrap: Like mud wraps, thalasso (meaning ‘sea therapy’), body wraps are available at the vast majority of spas. A combination of seawater, seaweed and/or algae is used to refresh, hydrate and firm your body.
What to expect during your treatment
Although you should always visit the website of your selected spa to determine the exact details of your chosen body wrap, these are the steps typically followed:
STEP #1 - CLOTHING REMOVAL: Before your body wrap can begin, you will need to strip down to your underwear or a bikini. You can wear a comfortable top if only your lower half is undergoing a wrap, or some shorts if you’re undergoing a bust wrap alone.
STEP #2 - EXFOLIATION: NOTE: This step is not included with all body wrap treatments. Those who have selected a wrap comprising exfoliation will first have their therapist promote dead skin cell removal through dry brushing, or by using a gently abrasive scrub.
STEP #3 - RINSE: NOTE: This step is not necessary for those who do not undergo STEP #2. Those who undergo scrub exfoliation will need to rinse off at this stage. You may be asked to do this in a separate room if a special Vichy shower is not present above your treatment table.
STEP #4 - FORMULA APPLICATION AND WRAPPING: Your aesthetician will then begin applying a mineral and/or oil-rich formula to your body and limbs, wrapping each area in cloth or plastic film before moving to the next. When fully wrapped, some heated towels may also be laid upon you to further promote sweating and the opening of pores.
STEP #5 - RELAX: You’ll then be left alone to relax for up to half an hour to allow the treatment to work its magic. Alternatively, the therapist may stay and give you an invigorating head massage (additional fees may apply).
STEP #6 - UNWRAP AND RINSE: Your spa therapist will unwrap you and either rinse you off using the Vichy shower or point you to a separate shower so you can do this yourself.
TIP: Do not use a shower gel or any other cleansing product when rinsing (unless instructed), since this could strip your skin of the oils and minerals applied during your wrap.
STEP #7 - MOISTURISATION: At the end of your treatment, your aesthetician will apply a final moisturiser or body oil to all areas of your skin to protect and soften.
Body wrap FAQS
How do body wraps spa treatments work?
Applying the oil and mineral-based formula to the skin before wrapping the body promotes the extraction of dirt, toxins and excess water from the skin.
How long will the results of my body wrap last?
Whether you are undergoing a body wrap to (temporarily) lose inches, reduce cellulite, aid a skin ailment, or simply as a pampering treat, you can expect the results to last a few days to a week.
Are body wraps effective?
It really depends on what you hope to achieve. Body wraps can be a wonderfully indulgent treat and can offer temporary improvements. However, they are not a permanent solution.
Your body will slowly re-toxify itself over time, a process that is much faster for those who smoke, drink alcohol and/or have a poor diet. This will see your skin and body return to its previous appearance and form.
However, undergoing your chosen wrap treatment regularly and adopting a healthier lifestyle can help train your skin and body over time, providing you much longer-lasting results.
Are body wraps good for weight loss?
You may lose a few pounds in water weight after undergoing a body wrap treatment. So, they can be a great way to look and feel your best before a holiday or special occasion. However, again, they are not a permanent weight loss solution.
Do body wrap treatments work to tighten skin?
Body wraps offer a temporary skin tightening effect that can also reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Is full nudity required to enjoy a spa body wrap?
To allow your spa therapist to carry out your body wrap, you will need to be clothing-free except for your underwear, or a bikini (note: some spas issue disposable knickers to prevent damage to guests’ clothing).
If you are at all concerned about having your body on display, be sure to speak to the staff at your selected spa ahead of your visit. You won’t be the first guest to express such concerns and - while more difficult than with other spa treatments - the industry practice of ‘draping’ can be used to ensure your modesty and emotional comfort throughout your appointment.
To learn more about draping, please refer to the section, ‘Will I need to get naked during my spa visit?’ on our What to Wear and Take to a Spa page.