Wellness

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Our Favorite Infrared Sauna and
More Ways to Hit Refresh

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If you’ve been following along, you know that one of our favorite pastimes is sweating it out in infrared saunas. Some of us do it for the sweat, others turn it into a welcome Instagram-free digital detox, and a few even have it double as an SO-bonding session. (Ahem.) For all of us, though, it’s hard not to come out of that sauna—drenched in sweat—feeling like you’ve hit a reset button. Here’s how one staffer works it into her routine, plus how two others who achieve a similar clean-slate bliss through their own tried-and-true daily habits.

nandita khanna | editorial projects director

A lot of catchphrases, cult workouts, and self-care obsessions get thrown around at goop HQ. Infrared was one. So when I heard about HotBox Infrared Sauna Studio, which opened in downtown LA last year, I was intrigued. I was also a little concerned. I’m not good at staying put in a confined space for too long, which makes me a terrible road trip companion.

I got the scoop on the Sunlighten saunas HotBox uses and was pretty much sold: Sunlighten has developed tech that combines near-, mid-, and far-infrared wavelengths, which you can manipulate within the sauna to achieve different results. They have seven preset programs you can choose from to target everything from your skin to muscle relaxation. Of course, unlike Finnish saunas, which heat the body from the outside in, IR saunas heat the body from the inside out, so even though you’ll still sweat, it’s much more comfortable—the temperature doesn’t have to be nearly as high to really feel it. I’m looking into having a Sunlighten sauna installed at home.

Now I’ll do an IR sauna visit once a week, typically on the weekend so I’m not pressed for time and I can really relax. I do a 9:30 a.m. workout class first—usually ModelFit or Playlist Yoga—get really sweaty, and then hop in the car for the twenty-minute drive downtown. HotBox’s sessions are forty-five minutes. The entire space is light and bright, and your sauna and shower are in their own room, so the whole experience is ultraprivate.


From there, I have a bit of a beauty regimen: I always bring a face mask—I alternate between Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask and Tammy Fender’s Epi-Peel. I also load up my water bottle with goopglow—HotBox happens to sell it, too.”

Then I’ll get into the sauna and start with a ten-minute meditation, usually the one with Kelsey Patel, the woman who turned me on to Reiki. What’s great is there’s an iPad in the Sunlighten sauna, so you can do just about anything, like watch a Netflix show, explore all of Headspace’s offerings, or just tune into your Spotify account. My last visit, I spent most of the time zoning out to the new Arcade Fire album. A light flashes at the end of the session, which is your cue to get out and rinse off underneath HotBox’s vitamin C rain shower. The showers have shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, which is really convenient, and I also bring my own body scrub for a little extra pampering.

True story: I’m so devoted to this Sunlighten sauna routine that I even visited a few weekends ago when it was ninety-eight degrees out. And I still felt great after.


diana ryu | managing editor

I started oil pulling back in 2010. My cousin, who has always been into traditional wellness and medicine, decided to start doing it and said it was amazing. She was using sesame oil—I’ll get to that in a second. The basic Ayurvedic idea is: Swish sesame oil or coconut oil in your mouth for five to twenty minutes first thing in the morning for some next-level mouth cleaning.

At the time, I wasn’t trying to fix anything in particular; I just wanted to try it. Now I don’t feel ready to start the day without oil pulling, and I literally haven’t missed a day in eight years. I even bring individual packets of coconut oil that they sell at Trader Joe’s along with me when I travel. My dentist is ambivalent about it, but he’s always said: “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it, because your gum health and teeth are great.

Here’s my oil pulling routine: As soon as I wake up, I spit into the sink, and then I put a big heaping spoonful of coconut oil in my mouth. I tried sesame oil and I hated it—I like cold-pressed virgin coconut oil mostly for the taste. The first time I did it, though, I

gagged, which I hear is really common. Now I’m able to swish the oil around—and actually enjoy it—for twenty minutes or more while I’m getting ready in the morning. It doesn’t slow me down at all, because I’m always doing something else at the same time, like putting on makeup or getting dressed…or getting back in bed and scrolling through my Instagram feed. Then I spit it out in the trash can—avoid the sink, because it can cause your pipes some trouble. I follow with an Ayurvedic tongue scraper, and then I brush my teeth. It’s not for everyone, but I’m obsessive about it because it feels like the deepest clean.

At the time, I wasn’t trying to fix anything in particular; I just wanted to try it. Now I don’t feel ready to start the day without oil pulling, and I literally haven’t missed a day in eight years. I even bring individual packets of coconut oil that they sell at Trader Joe’s along with me when I travel. My dentist is ambivalent about it, but he’s always said: Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it, because your gum health and teeth are great.  
Here’s my oil pulling routine: As soon as I wake up, I spit into the sink, and then I put a big heaping spoonful of coconut oil in my mouth. I tried sesame oil and I hated it—I like cold-pressed virgin coconut oil mostly for the taste. The first time I did it, though, I gagged, which I hear is really common. Now I’m able to swish the oil around—and actually enjoy it—for twenty minutes or more while I’m getting ready in the morning. It doesn’t slow me down at all, because I’m always doing something else at the same time, like putting on makeup or getting dressed…or getting back in bed and scrolling through my Instagram feed. Then I spit it out in the trash can—avoid the sink, because it can cause your pipes some trouble. I follow with an Ayurvedic tongue scraper, and then I brush my teeth. It’s not for everyone, but I’m obsessive about it because it feels like the deepest clean.


erin cotter | senior vice president, beauty

I don’t actually think of myself as a runner—I’m not training for a marathon or working on my PRs. I’m pretty much just in it for the sweat and the emotional detox. When I moved from New York to LA, I started running more regularly. I live near the ocean now, so I can run in the most amazing setting. It really is like therapy for me.


Unlike the gym, which is sort of an ordeal that can add an hour to my routine, I love that I literally just get dressed and walk out the door and have a solo meditation. All I really need is some old-school hip-hop, usually Run DMC and Public Enemy.”

Because I’m a beauty girl, the post-run shower is a real ritual for me. It’s like my spa time. People who know me well know that if I say, ‘I’m just going to take a quick shower’—it doesn’t mean much. I take it as an opportunity to do all the self-care. Not with the water running the whole time, promise. If there’s a body part, I exfoliate it. I don’t wash my hair every day—this blonde did not come naturally—so I need to avoid products that are

too stripping and wash less frequently. The Himalayan Salt Scrub shampoo is perfect for that, and it feels like a scalp detox. I’m into different sensorial textures, so I love the clay body wash, which is this super creamy, unexpected feel for a clay product. Then I exfoliate some more, get out of the shower, and use our instant facial. It’s transformed the texture of my skin, and I’m addicted to that super smooth feeling.

Unlike the gym, which is sort of an ordeal that can add an hour to my routine, I love that I literally just get dressed and walk out the door and have a solo meditation. All I really need is some old-school hip-hop, usually Run DMC and Public Enemy.

Because I’m a beauty girl, the post-run shower is a real ritual for me. It’s like my spa time. People who know me well know that if I say, ‘I’m just going to take a quick shower’—it doesn’t mean much. I take it as an opportunity to do all the self-care. Not with the water running the whole time, promise. If there’s a body part, I exfoliate it. I don’t wash my hair every day—this blonde did not come naturally—so I need to avoid products that are too stripping and wash less frequently. The Himalayan Salt Scrub shampoo is perfect for that, and it feels like a scalp detox. I’m into different sensorial textures, so I love the clay body wash, which is this super creamy, unexpected feel for a clay product. Then I exfoliate some more, get out of the shower, and use our instant facial. It’s transformed the texture of my skin, and I’m addicted to that super smooth feeling.

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