Sometimes a girl comes across a deal so good, she doesn’t want to share it. But I’m not that kind of girl, so read on...
When I signed up for my facial at the Makana Academy and Spa, I had braced myself for “the student experience”. Memories of botched hair colorings, blotchy skin and all the dreamt nightmares of having someone inexperienced work their magic on those looking to save a dime are impossible to neglect. Yet upon entering the Esthetician Training Center a block away from Ala Moana Shopping Center, I was surprised to find a second story spa waiting room that could have been found at any high-end temple of relaxation. The atmosphere, lighting and decor suggested nothing other than pricey boutique spa. Actually, if "Academy" wasn’t in the name, I would’ve expected a far heftier bill.
I opted for the yummy-sounding pumpkin enzyme facial—not so much for the flavors—but I had read an article about the benefits of enzymes recently found in the flesh of pumpkin squash. I was situated in a treatment room that was nothing short of plush and completely state of the art.
My therapist was smooth with her product and hot towel applications, massage and skin care knowledge. Again, a pleasant surprise, which made me reconsider paying full price for hotel spa facials again. My friend who accompanied me to the spa received a microdermabrasion treatment and an antibacterial light therapy session (which is supposed to combat those mean, nasty microbes that cause skin break-outs). We both couldn't stop noting afterwards how pleasant the student estheticians were; clearly they had been taught not only the in-depth knowledge about the products they used, but quite a bit about etiquette and manners. They were wonderful!
With post-treatment spa fresh faces a-glow, we endured a lovely conversation with Makana Academy founder and owner Malia Sanchez. This Kauai-born beauty shared with us how the school is making use of the highest level of beauty equipment and high-end product lines you’ll find at a fancy spa. It makes perfect sense, actually, as Sanchez explained: Why bother teaching girls on outdated equipment using lesser products, which would only leave them under-trained and not nearly ready to work in the vastly competitive spa market? While we didn't confirm, our guess was that my last $200 treatment with a hotel spa rsthetician was more than likely trained here; score one for us! (Nothing beats a glowing face and a few saved pennies on a rainy Saturday.)
The Makana Academy offers chemical peels, body treatments, light therapy, Micro Dermabrasion, and full body waxing. Additionally, one of their newer body treatments includes the use of medical-grade technology that helps to improve circulation and cellulite. Best of all, you pay student prices with top-notch supervised professionals.
Located at 1168 Waimanu Street, 2nd Floor, Honolulu. Ph 808.591.6090
"Why bother teaching girls on outdated equipment using lesser products, which would only leave them under-trained?" — Sanchez