Beauty

Noora Raj Brown

A Socially Distant Spa Day for
Glow, Energy, and Exercise

At a friend’s house for a long summer weekend in Sagaponack, New York, Noora Raj Brown, goop’s SVP of communications, concocts the spa day she’s been missing in lockdown: a killer workout, a glow-inducing peel, grilled avocados, and an IV drip.

I used to be a workout class junkie, but obviously since the start of the COVID pandemic, the idea of sweating anywhere near a stranger has sent me into a Fauci-induced spiral. But when I heard Tracy Anderson was opening her Water Mill studio for alfresco classes, I decided to give it a cautious go—and make a day of it as best I could.

The day began the night before, when I swiped on a GOOPGLOW peel and fell into bed. There is no easier, glowier skin treatment on earth: Go to sleep and wake up with a week’s worth of glow.

I woke up, washed my face, and smoothed in my GOOPGENES cream (my skin always needs a little moisturizer after I wash off the peel, and this one is a firming, plumping, super hydrating miracle). Knowing I was going to be working out outside, I waited a minute, then smoothed on SPF. I’ve been obsessed with this sunscreen ever since I first picked it up in our Sag Harbor store a few weeks ago. It goes on light with just the right amount of coverage and blends in perfectly.

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Tracy’s workouts are famously grueling, and my COVID workout routine has been a little less so. I poured one of these handy packets into my crystal water bottle and chugged it on the way to class to get myself into the right mental state. Even though the outdoor studio has screens to block the sun, it was a sweltering day, and I love that this superpowder fights the free radical effects of sun damage from the inside out.

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As promised, each station was set up at least six feet apart, but the best part was the full-wall mirror and signature TA floors that they’d installed outside. If it weren’t for the blistering heat, I could have easily forgotten I was outside. I did the signature FundamenTAl class plus thirty minutes of dance cardio, all made possible by the music that blasted from the individual wireless headphones they gave us at the beginning of class (we got to take them home afterward).

Of course it practically killed me. But I did make it through, and I actually felt fantastic afterward, sipping the rest of my GOOPGLOW as I waited for the rivers of sweat to slow.

Noora Raj Brown on a bike

My next stop was Shou Sugi Ban House, a zen-like oasis in the middle of Water Mill that’s as close to transporting yourself to a Japanese spa as any of us not in Japan will likely get this summer. But even a few hours ensconced in the soaring wood buildings and the property’s tall, swaying grasses is transformative. Lunch at the restaurant run by Mads Refslund (yes, that Mads Refslund, of Noma fame) was hands-down the best meal I’ve ever had out east: avocado grilled to the perfect consistency with seaweed and ponzu, chilled tomato soup made from meticulously grated fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes, and a salmon kimchi rice bowl that I still haven’t stopped thinking about.

The even deeper magic of Shou Sugi Ban House happens in the treatment rooms, where you’re scrubbed and soothed by the best (everyone is masked, of course, and every precaution is taken). Spa capacity is limited to 50 percent, with only one person allowed in the locker rooms at a time and two types of temperature checks at the door. While the straight-up massages are absolutely incredible, the spa is also known for its intuitive wellness treatments. I got the Fire Within: a full-body exfoliation with a homemade scrub of yuzu, honey, sea salt, and kukui-nut oil; a scalp massage with Japanese camelia oil; and a healing massage with warm oils. The goal is to ease your tension and awaken your inner spirit, and the excellent practitioner Nicole did just that. I left with a sense of calm (and ridiculously soft skin) that I hadn’t had in months.

If you never want to leave, you’re in luck: Shou Sugi Ban House is also a jaw-dropping hotel, all individual cabins with their own outdoor entrances and private patios for socially distanced dining.

I didn’t want to leave, but I had to (next time, I am staying for a full week). Relaxed, satiated, and worked out within an inch of my life, I went for a refueling at the Clean Market. Newly opened in Water Mill, this outpost of the New York City detox favorite is a jewel box of curated beauty and wellness products (more GOOPGLOW!) where you can also choose from a menu of IV drip therapy treatments. I couldn’t decide among the signature options (I desperately need to recover, glow, and up my immunity), so they customized a drip to address all my concerns. I was set up on a comfy lounge chair outside, with a perfect view of one of SoulCycle’s new outdoor spin classes and excellent Wi-Fi (a rarity in the Hamptons). After two hours, I felt reinvigorated—my energy seemed to return to pre-COVID levels, and even my skin even felt clearer. Note: If you’re in the Hamptons and can’t make it to Water Mill, the Clean Market also offers a mobile service anywhere from Hampton Bays to Montauk.

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