A facial for your, um, “other cheeks”

These treatments for ’delicate areas’ are big in South Beach, surprisingly also in Saskatoon
Rebecca Eckler

The body area we talk about the most (“Is it getting bigger?”), worry about the most (“It’s getting bigger”) and also use the most (at work, at home, while moaning “I need to get off my . . .”) is also the area we neglect the most. I was made aware of this on a recent visit to the Ritz-Carlton in South Beach, where, apparently, the thong bikini never goes out of style, and they offer a spa treatment called the “Divine Derriere,” which, the spa notes, “will leave your derriere to be envied by all at the pool and beach.”

So what does one do when she learns of a facial for her, um, “other cheeks”? Well, of course, she immediately inquires about it and books an appointment, while trying to keep a straight face.

“You’re here for a massage and the Divine Derriere treatment?” a spa employee asks, when I check in. Uh-huh. That’s right. Please don’t announce this out loud, I think.
Though I shouldn’t be embarrassed. In warmer climates throughout North America, facials for your bum—also sometimes called fanny facials—are just another spa treatment. According to Liliana Dominguez-Grajales, the spa director at the Ritz-Carlton, pampering your bum has become the new Brazilian bikini wax. “Out here, just like everyone does the Brazilian, it’s more shocking if you don’t do it! When the snowbirds come down, we get so many requests for the Divine Derriere. In South Beach, all inhibitions go out the door. People want to expose everything,” she explains.

Not that there aren’t questions. “Like you,” says Dominguez-Grajales, “most people who haven’t heard about the treatment ask, ‘Is this what I think it is?’ ” The Ritz-Carlton has featured the Divine Derriere for nearly two years. “At first, everyone was like, ‘Oh, let’s see who gets that!’ And, now, we don’t think twice about it. Think about how many people go to other countries to get surgeries to get nice lifted butts. This is a non-invasive treatment.” Though clients, she agrees, can’t help but giggle. “At first everyone is ‘tee hee’ because they have to say it. But our therapists are professional.”

Dominguez-Grajales came up with the name the Divine Derriere. “It’s very South Beach. It’s fun and elegant. We couldn’t use the term ‘fanny’ because in England, that refers to a woman’s private parts.” The US$75 treatment, for what Dominguez-Grajales describes as “a very delicate area,” lasts 30 minutes, quick enough to be effective and penetrate the skin, but not long enough to start to feel uncomfortable.

It begins with an exfoliation scrub, followed by a cleansing, and then a cool mask is applied. If needed, they’ll do extractions. It’s similar to a regular facial. “If you work out, or go running and are wearing spandex, you’re going to break out in that area. A lot of the time, you don’t realize that you have whiteheads, especially in the crease between the butt and the leg. The sweat glands on your derrière get clogged up too, just like your face,” says Dominguez-Grajales.

One of the ingredients in the mask is caffeine, which Dominguez-Grajales says is an antioxidant and absorbs into the skin. “The results are immediate. Your skin looks fresh and pinkish. And it helps hide cellulite—you can definitely see a difference if you only have one cheek done,” she says.

Amazingly, even in Canada, some people pamper their “delicate areas” regularly. “We have bums here too!” says Carolyn Schwab, the owner of Changes Salon & Spa in Saskatoon, where they offer the “bum facial.” Her motto is, “Your backside doesn’t always have to be left behind.” Not only does her treatment include a cleanse, mask and exfoliation, customers can add on microdermabrasion to their treatment.

“I first read about them in a spa magazine. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to offer them here. At first everyone asked me, ‘Who is going to get that?’ And I was like, ‘Everyone!’ ” And “I was right,” says Schwab, who has been in the business for three decades. “We always get a positive response. It smooths and tones the skin. And it is totally relaxing. No one likes to talk about it, but everyone is doing it.” And she means everyone.

As at the Ritz-Carlton, the treatment is not exclusively for women. Both spas receive requests from men. At the Ritz, almost 50 per cent of requests, in fact, come from male clients. “Men,” laughs Dominguez-Grajales, “I think are even more self-conscious of their derrière than women.”