A Moment with Spa Radiance

A Moment with Spa Radiance

After a long winter, Angelina Umansky wants to help you get your glow back.

The veteran esthetician has skincare in her DNA, compliments of her grandmother, who was a healer and herbalist in Moscow even during scant times. Inspired by that legacy, Umansky’s mother, Galina Rovner, first launched her own San Francisco clinic, Spa Radiance, over 40 years ago. Now, the mother-daughter team helms an updated incarnation of that spa in SF’s Cow Hollow neighborhood, integrating non-invasive tech like NASA-developed LED lights with their heritage techniques—from acupressure extractions to sweating the pores (as opposed to steaming).

Here, Umansky offers us a D.I.Y. hydration mask recipe (to combat that oh so dull winter skin) and also a reminder of the importance of respecting history:

Live The Process: How does your background and heritage impact your approach to skincare?

Angelina Umansky: Skincare, in my family, has always been both a religion and a way of life. Growing up, my mother would tell me stories about my grandmother in Russia during rations, hunting for herbs to make hydrosols and masks for the local women. My grandmother, Rose, was an herbalist and a healer, and my mother is a very talented, intuitive esthetician. I was literally born into skincare. I don’t give trends much attention because both my mother and I have seen so many come and go since I can remember. 

LTP: How and when did you come to open Spa Radiance? What do you offer there? What makes your technique unique?

UA: My mom, Galina Rovner, opened the original spa in 1976, and I joined the business in 1984. We have always been known for having the best deep-pore cleansing facials. Even 40 years ago, people would come from all over for my mother’s double steam and acupressure extractions (almost completely painless—seriously). She still teaches every new esthetician at Spa Radiance her amazing techniques.

Once I got more involved in the business, I started bringing in technology like microcurrents and LED light therapy—years before they became popular. We found that we could create magic—I’m talking pure skin sorcery—when we combined that tech with our techniques and results-driven brands like Biologique Recherche and Luzerne. My mother and I really believe in training our team non-stop. We put a lot of our time and money into hiring seasoned people and ensuring that they are always learning.

LTP: After this very long winter, so many of us are struggling with keeping our skin healthy and bright. What are some of the biggest issues and mistakes you see clients make with winter-worn skin?

AU: You don't wear the same clothes in the winter as in the summer, so doesn’t it make sense that your skincare regimen would need an overhaul too? The winter air is harsh and drying; it’s no friend to your skin. Trade in your stripping foam cleanser for a milky cream cleanser. And pack your skin with hydration. More. More. More. More masques, more hyaluronic-based serums. I mask every night in the winter with Biologique Recherche Vernix.

LTP: Can you offer a recipe for your DIY hydration mask for winter skin?

AU: Yes! Couldn’t be easier: Mix two tablespoons of honey with two tablespoons of organic Greek yogurt, blend, apply and leave on for 20 minutes.

LTP: What does happiness look like to you?

AU: Happiness is being with my family and friends. To be with people I love, who love me back.  

LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?

AU: What it means to “Live The Process” was shown to me in the Amazon. I kept hearing a voice saying that the power is within me, but that, in order to succeed, I couldn’t get diverted by things that are not my business, that take me out of my lane. I left the Amazon a changed woman. The power is within us all.

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