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07-12-15 | Posted by

Christina Stratton fell in love with the spa concept when she was touring the world with the pop group i5.  During this time, she had the chance to visit some of the most beautiful and luxurious retreats in the world, and she also met some of the great aestheticians in her travels – one, in particular, who helped her finally achieve healthy glowing skin.  She was hooked, and soon teamed up with Ilana Alberico, a spa industry vet, to create a spa consulting business called Innovative Spa Management and the all-natural Privai skincare line.

The rest, as they say, is history. Both women chatted with Beauty in The Bag about what they do, how they do it and why they love it. Here’s what we learned:



1. Tell us a bit about Privai. What makes it stand out from the fray?

Privai is a luxurious skincare line inspired by real beauty. Based in Asheville, NC, the line incorporates results-driven ingredients, integrity and a self-care through q skincare philosophy that is at the heart of the brand. Privai’s mission is to offer busy moms, business professionals, caregivers, wives, partners – and many more a way to take a little more time for themselves and find moments to be inspired. The product line is derived from consciously sourced and botanically-based natural ingredients that speak to the essence of mindful living and provide a high-quality, “spa in a bottle” product that women can experience at home.

2. Christina: how did a singer/songwriter turn skincare guru? 

Christina Stratton: I had been going to a local spa in Los Angeles by Ole Henriksen, an amazing esthetician and person, who helped change my skin. His wonderful skincare products and treatments helped improve the adult cystic acne that I had developed right after being on tour. I began healing my skin with the right oils and active natural ingredients during this time and became obsessed with learning about products and their benefits. Then I began formulating skin and body care products in 2003. I had visited beautiful spas while on tour with i5 – the pop group I was a part of – and I fell in love with how spas were so serene and captured a stillness and healing that I had never experienced before. It was the combination of those two influences that started my love of spa and all things skincare. When I moved from Los Angeles to Asheville, NC, I met Ilana and we started our journey of creating spa and wellness facilities that nurtured our guests’ needs and we incorporated our products.

3. Ilana: how important is it for skincare to be organic?

Ilana Alberico: It depends on what a customer is looking for in a product and what kind of results they are hoping for. Generally speaking, organic and natural skincare ingredients are not only eco-friendly, but tend to be gentler. Most often, chemicals and fillers in products can potentially cause skin irritations, redness and breakouts.  Our skincare line incorporates the very best natural ingredients, such as kojic acid, pomegranate oil, green tea and licorice root for various skin types. We consciously source natural ingredients that are of high quality. None of our products contain parabens or are tested on animals. Our products tread lightly on the earth as well.

4. Tell us a little about the Privai spa experience. What can someone expect or look forward to?

Ilana: The Privai Wellness + Spa experience blends the benefits of a traditional spa with enhanced service and environmental touch points.  For example, at the Privai Wellness + Spa location in South Beach, we use triple-filtered water, infuse salt into the air and deliver world-class services.  Each face and body treatment begins with a thorough intake so the therapist can customize the experience. We offer scent profile options and then use a layering technique of the pH balanced products so that the guest leaves with skin that is completely renewed and glowing. Our uniqueness is in our attention to detail and personalization.

5. What do you two do to your skin or hair every day to keep it looking healthy?

Christina: We are absolute advocates for using oils! Oil is wonderful for the skin when it is the right oil. We use carrot seed, jojoba, rosehip, green tea and pomegranate oils in our skincare line, which are amazing for the skin. I personally have been using our Privai products for the past eight years. I use items like our Gentle Foaming Cleanser, Skin Brightening Serum and Anti-Aging Beauty Oil. As my skin matures (I am 41 now!), I have watched my skin change over time from dealing with cystic acne and crows feet to just gravity taking its toll. With the products we continue to develop over the years, I have seen pore reduction, tightening and toning, and I’ve watched age spots – a result of sun damage 20 years ago – actually disappear. It feels great to have people say, “WOW your skin looks great, what do you use?” My answer is always Privai.

Ilana: In the morning I wash my face with Privai Gentle Foaming Cleanser and apply our Advanced Hyaluronic Creme.  In the evening, I apply Antioxidant Repair all over my face to loosen my make up and then I use the Gentle Foaming Cleanser again.  I also use a rotary brush to deeply clean my skin.  Then I apply Privai Anti-Aging or Nourishing Beauty oil and spend several moments massaging it into my skin.  On Sundays, I take a longer shower and exfoliate my face with our Velvet Verbena and Rice Flower Polish, and then my body with one of our scrubs. When I’m in a huge rush or my one-year-old hasn’t slept all night, I simply cleanse and apply a beauty oil.  Honestly, even those two products keep my skin glowing! And I drink a ton of water – water is great for the skin.

6. What’s next for Privai?

CS: We are so excited about what the future holds for Privai! This past spring, we launched our e-commerce site,, giving women across the country the opportunity to experience our products. We opted to go national via e-commerce allowing women across the country to enjoy a rich, unique spa experience in the comfort of their homes. As we continue to grow and develop the line with innovative technologies and active botanical blends, we also are thrilled to bring Privai Wellness + Spa branded facilities to hotel partners here in the U.S. and internationally. We most launched Privai Wellness + Spa in the states with our first flagship property at the Royal Palms Hotel.

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