Having grown up in Los Angeles, I’m no stranger to fleeting wellness trends that claim to tighten, lift, tone, smooth, and reduce size without working out. And, honestly, I frequently take the bait: I’ve tried cookie diets, keto and paleo meal plans, worn an Abtronic® (muscle stimulating) band, and even rocked a slimming corset for a week. It’s not that I don’t love my body or don’t enjoy working out. In fact, I work out five days a week — mixing reformer pilates with hot yoga — and eat pretty clean. However, as I’ve gotten older, there are some areas that just don’t seem to tighten up, no matter how many French twists or mermaids I do in pilates.
So, when I started seeing this intriguing “human burrito body wrap” treatment popping up on Instagram®, which claims to burn up to 1,000 calories and shed a dress size or two in just two hours, I knew I had to try it out and see if the hype was real. I went straight to the source: celebrity esthetician Cynthia Marie Franco.
The Head to Toe Glow℠ body slimming treatment ($550) is touted as the ultimate red carpet prep. It centers around cleansing your body with a deep lymphatic massage, followed by 50 minutes in a far-infrared detox sauna wrap — all while your face is treated to Franco’s signature non-invasive, anti-aging Facelift Facial™. It’s fancy, no doubt. But I’ll go ahead and say this now — I have never seen better results from any body treatment I have ever tried.
Franco started off with full body dry brushing, something I recently started incorporating several times a week into my own routine. However, Franco stressed the importance of doing it every day. “Dry brushing is so important to do daily to kickstart your lymphatic system first thing in the morning,” she explained. “It opens up the cuticle of your skin so your body can breathe a little bit better.”
When dry brushing, she began at the feet and made her way up my entire body with long sweeping motions towards the heart. Franco then drenched my skin in the most delicious, detoxifying, and moisturizing oil blend that she concocts herself: castor oil, almond extract, raw shea butter, green tea extract, seaweed extract, and essential oils. Next, she moved onto silicone cupping with a deep lymphatic massage to open and drain the lymphs before I got wrapped up in heat.
Then, it was human burrito time! Using an Instagrammable, silver mylar blanket — also known as a space blanket, which I’ll admit instantly reminded me of my days at Space Camp® — Cynthia wrapped up my body to retain the heat and sweat. On top of that, she placed a heavy infrared blanket (which felt like a weighted sleeping bag). It enveloped my body, leaving just enough room for the top of my shoulders and head to stick out.
This body wrap technique is known as a SudaTonic™ treatment, a concept that originally started in France. The warmth of the infrared is said to help detoxify the body and deliver myriad other benefits. “Far-infrared heat goes really deep into the body,” explained Franco. “It’s really good for joint and arthritic pain.”
It’s at this point in the treatment when the calorie-burning kicked into overdrive. Infrared stimulates sweat glands to cleanse the body of accumulated toxins and waste — and man, I must have had a lot of toxins because I released the most sweat that Franco has ever seen!
For 50 minutes, I basked under these blazing blankets, which were surprisingly tolerable until the final five minutes or so. Perhaps I was distracted up until that point by one of the best facials ever — a deep-cleansing treatment using papaya enzymes and microcurrents to lift and sculpt the cheeks and jawline. That said, I’ll admit that I was relieved when it was time to unwrap and quickly rinse off. I noticed that when I got up from the table, I felt much lighter than I had before the treatment (probably thanks to the pool of sweat I left behind).
The treatment finished off with more facial pampering: extractions, an AQ Skin Solutions® Epidermal Growth Factor sheet mask, red, green, and yellow light therapy, and oxygen infusion with fern extract. Franco then completed the body ritual with an application of a cellulite-reducing cream and massage to flush any lingering toxins out of the body. Of course, the Head to Toe Glow works wonders as a one-off treatment prior to a big event, like a wedding or a red carpet, but can also be done weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly for enhanced slimming results. However, if you are booking it for a milestone event, Franco strongly suggests scheduling your appointment the day before (instead of the day of) to see the best results.
I definitely agree with this. While I instantly felt lighter and cleansed post-treatment, the real benefits blessed me the following day. Per Franco’s instructions, I ate healthily following the treatment and woke up to the sweetest surprise: a clearly defined waistline. The jeans I had worn the day prior were noticeably looser. Areas like my lower tummy, love handles, and inner thighs were also drastically tighter — and I actually went down about a size and a half all over.
I have kept to clean, healthy foods, low carbs, and minimal alcohol — and as of five days after the treatment, I still looked and felt lighter. And, because this was a full body treatment, I found that my skin from head to toe literally has a glow. I honestly don’t think I have ever looked better. I’m happy to report that of all the buzzy wellness rituals I’ve tested in Los Angeles, this is one I plan on actually incorporating into my routine — especially before life moments where I want to look my best.
Complimentary service was provided to the author for the purpose of writing this article.