Monday, 21 August 2017

Why you NEED to visit the Voya Seaweed Baths & Spa in Standhill!

A while ago, maybe a year or so, I got invited to a Voya press day at their Seaweed Baths & Spa in Strandhill, Sligo. As it was on a random Wednesday evening and I don't drive, there was no way to the other coast of Ireland and back in a day. I had to miss it, which seriously bummed me out. Strandhill is where the brand was born, as a seaweed bath, long before it was a line of cosmetics, and, as a fan of the brand, I've always wanted to visit.

Seaweed Baths were once a common fixture of Irish seaside towns and, in the early 20th century, there were 9 in the small town of Strandhill in County Sligo alone. However, during the 50s and 60s, these fell out of vogue and, eventually, closed down. Then, in 1996, the Voya (then Celtic) Seaweed Baths was opened under the Walton family, reviving local tradition and combining it with a love for organic treatments. Since then, Voya expanded into production as well as treatments and has grown as a brand with a cult following. Its line of skincare products are stocked in stores and spas all around the globe and the baths are now a popular tourist attraction and spa that attracts 40,000 people to the area each year.

Fresh seaweed is harvested every day to be used at the spa for traditional seaweed baths and this remains one of their most popular treatments. While you can get all sorts of massages and facials and treatments, I really wanted to see what all the fuss about these baths was. I'm a massive fan of the Voya line of products and have always seen a visible difference in my skin when using them. I was curious to see what effect a treatment using pure seaweed would have, given that all of their products use it as a base. Seaweed baths are said to remove toxins from the body and accelerate the healing process and as I'm a clumsy individual with dry skin prone to hormonal breakouts (and I was in the midst of a bad one), that sounded good to me.

My college bestie and I decided to make the trip over to Strandhill but couldn't find a place to stay in the village (between the surf schools and spa, it's a popular spot), so we stayed in nearby Sligo Town. On the Saturday, we cycled the 10km to Strandhill, grabbed brunch on the seafront and then went for our seaweed baths. Let me just tell you, if you're looking to relax, cycling around Sligo, fresh sea air and good food and company is the perfect recipe.

We were already happy and full going into the treatment but when we got to our double room and got into the process of climbing gingerly into our tubs, we got giddy. The seaweed is even slimier than you are imagining, as it is in a small, controlled body of water and getting the temperature right for your own tastes involves a lot of squealing, laughing and dipping toes in and out. However, once we'd gotten into the water and used to the texture (and pretended to be swamp monsters by putting seaweed on our heads), the giddiness eventually dissipated and all that was left was being toasty and cosy.

I will say, however, that if you're like me and cannot stand having a warm head, the process can be a little uncomfortable at times and I wasn't able to completely relax. But, if you're one of those people who can sleep fully underneath covers, you'll be in heaven.

After we got out and got dressed (forgoing showers to let those good seaweed juices to soak into our hair and skin), we both felt soft and happy but it wasn't until days later that I really saw the effects of the bath. I've been having excellent hair days for over a week (despite several days where I couldn't brush it properly due to having given myself a minor head injury) and my skin is glowing. Those breakouts I was bitching about? They are well on the way to being completely healed. And my overall skintone is more even and happy. This may also have something to do with the fact that I bought a Voya moisturiser while I was at the spa and have been using it every day since but, either way, the proof is in the pudding (or smooth skin): seaweed is freaking magical. Seriously. I think I'm sticking with my Voya moisturiser this time because I had missed it - the occupational hazard of being a beauty blogger and testing new shit all the time is limited loyalty to products, I guess, but there is a reason I still think of this guy and mentally cheat on other moisturisers...

Anyhoo...if you find yourself out West and are looking to relax and try out a traditional beauty experience, I can't recommend this highly enough! It's only a pity that spas that offer seaweed baths in Dublin absolutely rip you off (whereas we paid 27 quid each), or I'd do it on the reg.

P.S. Sligo is more gorgeous every time I'm there...





Note: This post is not sponsored in any way, shape or form and all opinions are my own.


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