Seeking the good life

The Baltimore Sun

She climbed onto a spa table, where she received a facial. When the treatment was completed, she walked out into a lounge to wait for her massage.

"Getting a facial is a different experience. It was very relaxing," said Katie Rasmussen of the facial. "It made me feel tingly and clean."

Katie was enjoying the spa treatments, a gift for her 14th birthday, with friend Katie Delaney, 13, at Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City. One of only a few spas statewide that offer packages for teenagers, Turf Valley is catering to a growing number of kids who are migrating to spas for beauty treatments.

Regina Ford, the director of public relations at Turf Valley, attributes the growing demand for teen services to self-awareness and reality television.

"We started offering spa treatments for teenagers because they have a lot of expendable income," said Ford. "What else do they have to spend their money on, other than themselves? The beauty treatments give them a chance to spend their money on looking good and feeling good."

Turf Valley offers a day spa package called the Teen Special designed for people ages 12 through 18. Costing $120, it includes a 45-minute deep cleansing facial and 45-minute Swedish massage geared to teenagers.

The facial, called the Bye Bye Blemishes Teen Facial and Consultation, includes a facial and advice on caring for skin at home. After her facial, Katie Rasmussen said she would recommend it to her peers.

"My face looks a lot better than when I went in," she said. "I feel more relaxed, and it makes me feel pretty."

Katie Delaney was in a room across the hall receiving her first massage. She was elated with the experience.

"When the lady gave me my massage, she used some type of warm oil," said Katie Delaney, who was being treated to the services by the Rasmussens. "It was really relaxing. It made me sleepy. It's a chance to get away from everything you have to do at home. But it's not something you do every day. I can't wait to do it again."

Some treatments are also a hit with the boys, said Ford.

"Teenage boys and girls come here on a date for a couples massage," said Ford. "And more and more teenage boys are coming in for massages and men's facials."

Ford attributes the desire of male and female teens to look better to reality television shows.

"There are makeover shows and style television shows that create a need in young children to look good," said Ford.

For Katie Rasmussen, her massage and facial were the culmination of several years of other pampering experiences, including manicures, pedicures and even a spa party at the age of 10, said her mother, Laurie Rasmussen.

"Katie has always enjoyed pampering," said Laurie, 39. "At the party we put their hair in plastic shower caps and we did manicures. The girls loved it."

Like millions of other girls ,Katie was hooked. She began with professional manicures and pedicures and worked her way up to the day spa.

"I go to a lot of parties where we give each other manicures and pedicures," she said. "I wanted to go a step up and do more than that. Now that I have had a facial and a massage, I want to do it again."

It's been a bonding experience, said Laurie.

"Katie sees her day at the spa as something that Mom does, so it's a real treat for her," said Laurie. "It's a chance for us to spend mother-daughter time together and for Katie to feel special. I think it's a compliment that she wants to do what I do."

It's also a way to educate her daughter, said Laurie, who home-schools Katie.

"Katie has more needs than just academic ones," said Laurie.

Other spas in the county sell packages for teens: Lynn's Day Spa offers two packages, including the Starting Young package that is designed for teens battling acne. It costs $110 and includes a one-hour massage and a one-hour facial.

The Teen Time Sampler includes a half hour massage, facial and spa manicure, for $90.

Oasis Day Spa offers the Teen Choice package that includes a half hour massage, a 45-minute mini facial, and a spa manicure. It costs $100.

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