Gift of pampering is sure to please — and soothe - Albuquerque Journal

Gift of pampering is sure to please — and soothe

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For friends and family members who are constantly on the go and never seem to take time to pamper themselves, soothing body products and massages can be the perfect holiday gifts.

Chris Norton, owner and founder of Sandia Soap Co., spends most of his waking hours mixing and pouring blocks of soap that are cut into 6-ounce bars. He makes 20,000 pounds of soap a year, which is sold through his website ( and at stores throughout the state including La Montanita Co-op and Jackalope. The soaps contain saponified palm, palm kernel, olive and soybean oils as well as essential oils and fragrances.

“I use 25 essential oils and fragrances,” he explains. “A properly made bar of soap is gentle on the skin. Some soaps contain detergents that strip the skin of oils and provide no moisturizing. It took me nine months of testing to find just the right combination of ingredients for my soaps.”

Sandia Soap Co. offers 20 different kinds of soap that sell for $6 per bar. Among the choices are Acoma Papaya, Desert Sage, Juniper, Pecos Peppermint, Piñon, Placitas Plum, Rio Grande Sandalwood and Pueblo Lavender. Norton is also proud of his new lip balms ($3 each), which come in two flavors, honey and piñon.

“I chose piñon because it’s such a New Mexico fragrance,” he says. “My lip balms have a beeswax base and last a long time.”

Popular products

There are plenty of products that pamper the body at Clear Light-the Cedar Company in Placitas. They are available through the website or at the company’s retail store Laughing Bear Gallery (686 State Highway 165 in Placitas). One of the company’s most popular products is Cedar Mountain Satin Hand Cream ($12 for a 4-ounce tube), which owner Penny Peine put in the product line a few years ago.

“If you use the cream a couple of times one day, your hands will feel terrific the next day,” she says. “It’s such a softening cream and such a rich moisturizer. It’s great not only on the hands but on the elbows and knees as well.”

Another popular product is Cedar Mountain Shimmer Enriched Cedar-Scented Body Cream ($18 for an 8-ounce tube). This moisturizing body cream with a cedar scent has a little bit of mica in it.

“The touch of mica is subtle, providing a little glow to the skin,” Peine says. “It’s great around the holidays. Put it on your neck and arms to give the skin a tiny glow.”

Clear Light’s best selling lotion is their Cedar Mountain Moisture Lotion ($15 for an 8-ounce bottle). It’s the first lotion that Peine’s brother created when he started the business in 1970. Peine refers to this lotion as a good, overall light body lotion.

Other Clear Light products include Cedar Bubbly Bath & Shower Gel ($14 for an 8-ounce bottle), Cedar Mountain Shampoo and Conditioner ($14 for 8 ounces for each product) and Massage, Bath & Body Oil ($18 for 8 ounces), which can be used after a massage or a bath.

One of Clear Light’s spa selections is the Cedar Body Scrub ($19 for 11 ounces), which deep-cleans and moisturizes the skin.

Day at the spa

Spas throughout Albuquerque offer products and services designed to pamper special people in your life. Betty’s Bath and Day Spa (; 1835 Candelaria NW) sells a variety of spa, body and hair products with Betty’s name on them.

Betty’s Foot Cream ($17 for an 8-ounce bottle) combines peppermint and tea tree essential oils. Deep Steep Body Wash ($10 for an 8-ounce container) is offered in scents including lavender/chamomile, honeydew/spearmint and rosemary/mint. Nurture the Goddess Body Balm ($28 for an 8-ounce jar), which contains lavender, rose geranium and sage, can be applied to many areas of the body.

Gift certificates of any amount can be purchased for Betty’s spa services including a Thai massage ($125 for 90 minutes), Hot Stone Massage ($160 for 90 minutes) and Sinus Relief Massage ($55 for 30 minutes).

Patty’s Salon & Spa (; 5410 Lomas NE) also sells gift certificates for services including a custom facial for men ($60 for 60 minutes), a Sugar/Salt Scrub ($60 for 60 minutes) and Herbal Body Wrap ($60 for 60 minutes).

Gift certificate from $25 to $1,000 can be purchased at La Bella Spa Salon (; 10126 Coors NW). Among their services are a Fountain of Youth Facial ($120 for 60 minutes), a seawater bath called Aromavedic Soak in the Sea ($50 for 50 minutes), Warm Seafoam Mud Wrap ($140 for 60 minutes) and Mother-To-Be Facial ($90 for 60 minutes).

The Back Porch Day Spa (; 8525 Indian School NE) sells gift certificate between $30 and $300 that can be redeemed for services including a Sea Garden Wrap ($80 for 60 minutes), Spa Pedicure with paraffin ($45 for 60 minutes), Head, Neck & Shoulder massage ($45 for 30 minutes) and Vanilla Body Buff ($70 for 60 minutes).

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