Secrets of Angelina Umansky

Best Facialist in San FranciscoAngelina Umansky has the face, body, and bouncing-off-the-walls energy of someone far too young to be celebrating 40 years of anything. And yet, last year, Umansky and her mother, fellow Spa Radiance co-founder, Galina Rovner, marked four decades of beautifying San Francisco’s most recognizable faces. “I’m a fourth generation aesthetician,” Umansky says. “I was born into it; it’s in my DNA and I feel so privileged to have worked with so many women and men.”

Chances are you’re familiar with a few of these faces: Sharon Stone and Michelle Pfeiffer have both trusted their iconic visages to Umansky, and city stunners like Tatiana Sorokko and Vanessa Getty consider her a skin magician. Umansky isn’t kidding when she says aesthetic wizardry is in her genes; her grandmother (Rovner’s mother) Rose was an herbalist and healer in the family’s native Russia and the art of beauty was passed down the generational chain.

What began as a Union Square spa in 1976 has evolved into a full-service Cow Hollow skin care institution, offering an integrative approach that combines old-world wisdom with cutting-edge technology. Umansky and her team incorporate everything from traditional acupressure extractions to NASA-developed LED light therapy to deliver serious results. Umansky doesn’t believe in a quick fix, and as we head into 2018, she has some invaluable insights to enter the new year as a whole new (radiant) you.

Skin Sins. Umansky’s seen it all, so what’s the number one mistake she sees clients make? “Overstripping the skin,” she says. “People use foamy cleansers because they want to feel super clean — everyone’s obsessed with ‘clean.’ This dries the skin and basically puts you 10 steps behind so you’re always trying to catch up. Right away, I try to wean them off of the foamy, stripping cleansers and get them to use a milk cleanser at least half the time; these don’t strip the skin because they leave the natural oils — it’s all about balance.”

Euro Chic. Umansky’s a major advocate for European products and treatments, and she frequently travels abroad, learning about the latest advancements in order to train her staff. “If you see organic products from Europe, know that it’s ten times harder to get that certification there because the laws are very strict,” she says. “Each product you see usually comes with a booklet that not only lists each ingredient, but how they got that ingredient and what they used to get it. And in Europe, it’s all about establishing a routine and staying on it, and there’s a patience that people here don’t have with their skin care routine.”

Neck and Neck. While the face is front and center in American aesthetics, Umansky says Europeans know that proper care extends well below the chin. “In Europe, it’s very much accepted that when you treat the face, that means treating from the decolletage to the forehead,” she says. “That chest area is always treated, and in America it’s often not even thought about.”

Keep It Simple. “People often think that they need crazy or complicated routines and treatments to change their skin, but it’s the reverse: honor the skin and give it love and start using good products every day,” Umansky advises. “It’s a myth that it always has to be something like a deep laser treatment that takes two weeks to heal; there’s space for that, but you don’t always need to do it.”

Buyer Beware. “Products you see in the department stores are sold there for a reason,” Umansky says. “They can appeal to the masses and are unlikely to cause reactions. They are also simple enough that they don’t require a skincare professional to assess if a customer is a good candidate for a product, or, have the knowledge to understand the ingredient deck. Don’t waste your money. A lot of the pricey creams – you’re really just buying diluted formulas that are wrapped up in pretty packaging. If you’re going to make an investment, spend your money on products recommended by a professional. Pay for results.”

Botox Nation. Based on Bravo shows alone, one might think a mobile forehead is outlawed on U.S. soil. But does Umansky think Botox is a must for all? “No!” she declares. “I think if Botox is what makes you happy and if you think doing it will make you look so much better, then go for it. But do I think it looks good on everyone? Absolutely not. Skin that looks dewy, fresh, and bright will make you look younger than skin that doesn’t move.”

Face the Future. When it comes to treatments Umansky’s excited to offer, technology takes centerstage. “Microcurrents help lift the facial muscles and stimulate collagen production,” she says. “Just like you do Pilates and yoga for the muscles in your body, there are muscles in your face too, and it’s the most natural way to take care of the skin for anti-aging purposes. Microcurrents are the secret to why celebrities look so young and natural.” Umansky says that LED lights are also a must for anyone (i.e. everyone) seeking an added oomph. “LED lights are so underused,” she says. “I can’t think of one person who couldn’t benefit from it. They’re even used by NASA!”

Proper Protection. If you think shielding your face from harmful rays is as simple as slathering on a drugstore product once a day, think again. “Your sunscreen has to have zinc or titanium dioxide in it, and all sunscreens have to be reapplied after a couple of hours,” Umansky says. “The main thing is to go to a spa or dermatologist who can do the research for you and find the right one for your skin. And one big myth is about the number — people will say, ‘I use SPF 80,’ but if they never reapply, they’re not covered. That SPF means that if it takes 10 minutes for your skin to burn, that product will give you 80 times 10 minutes (800 minutes or 13+ hours). But that doesn’t even matter because the product will have to be reapplied after two hours anyway. I use SPF 30; any number higher than that doesn’t make much of a difference and is more likely to cause reactions.”


Angelina’s Personal Routine
● Patyka 3-Step Radiant Cleansing Ritual
● Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum
● COOLA Sunscreen

● Milk Cleanser
● Biologique Recherche P50W Lotion
● Valmont Hydra3 Regenetic Serum and Cream
● Marie Veronique Gentle Retinol Night Serum (every other night)
● NEOCUTIS LUMIÈRE Bio-restorative Eye Cream

● Valmont Prime Renewing Pack
Biologique Recherche Masque VIP O2 or Crème Masque Vernix

Go-To Secret Weapon:
Valmont Regenerating Mask. “It’s my ‘going-to-a-party’ or ‘need-to-impress-someone” mask,” Umansky says. “It’s pure collagen from Switzerland and it makes the skin look like it’s been airbrushed — it fills in the fine and not-so-fine lines.”

orginally published in Nob Hill Gazette, January 2018, by Michelle Konstantinovsky

Beauty Under One Roof…

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Angelina and I am the owner of Spa Radiance. It has always been my dream to create an extraordinary space for people to relax, heal, and feel beautiful inside and out.

In 1975, my mother and I started Spa Radiance with this dream in mind. More than thirty years later we have a thriving business that has proven to be one of the top spa destinations in the Bay Area.

Five years ago we helped launch Spa Radiance Medical to offer the latest advancements in medical skin care.

Today Spa Radiance Medical has seven expert nurses offering laser hair removal, photofacials, Botox, derma-fillers, spider vein treatments, advanced acne treatments, and skin tightening.

Our nurses work in partnership with our esthetics team to build unparalleled programs for our clients that produce lasting results.

And now to complete our offerings we have just partnered with Dr. Rick Burroughs to offer dermatology at Spa Radiance.

I am so humbled that my dream has been realized and I can now offer you the latest skin care treatments and dermatology under the same roof. I hope you enjoy our new offerings!
With warm regards, Angelina

The Day Spa

History & Origins

The Day Spa: History & OriginsAlthough there is some mystery surrounding the origins of The Day Spa, it is believed that the word ‘spa’ actually comes from an acronym of the Latin words “salus per aquae,” meaning “health through water.”

Throughout history, people have associated the use of water for spa cleansing with purity of mind, body, and soul. In many cases, bathing in a specific location – such as a spring, well, or river – was believed to wash out malicious thoughts and the guilt of previous wrongdoings.

From an anthropological standpoint, it is interesting to acknowledge that groups of people have assigned religious and cultural value to what essentially translates to an ancient form of The Day Spa.

Native Americans, Persians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all had a water purification ceremony which treated negativity within the soul, and in some cases, stress within the body as well. In fact, ancient water purification rituals can still be seen today in the religious ceremonies conducted within Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

The Day Spa’s Roots in Greek & Roman History

Ancient Version of The Day Spa

For the most part, the day spa that we think of today finds its roots in the bath houses of Ancient Greece and Rome.

The first known ancient equivalent of the day spa would likely be in the Knossos Palace in Crete. These facilities would not be unrecognizable to modern spa-goers who might even find these ancient accommodations fitting for a contemporary spa location. Baths and showers were built for relaxation and personal hygiene. Steam rooms using hot coals and water allowed patrons to unwind, while seeking improved health.

Interestingly, Greek bath houses were often built around sacred rivers and pools. Greek mythology suggested that some bodies of water were blessed by the gods to cure disease. As a result, the Ancient Greeks building the day spas would situate them near these pools in the hope that the water would heal the ailments for the spas’ patrons.

During the Roman Empire, the day spa become more advanced – and more risqué. Through advancements in the aqueduct, Romans would pump warm or cold water through the walls of the day spa controlling the temperature more carefully.

Many believe that Roman bathhouses eventually became places of debauchery, where men would indulge in a variety of questionable activities.

The Day Spa’s Decline During the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, what we think of as the modern spa vanished from Western Society. Bathing in general became known as an activity for the lower class or even vagrants of society. Bathhouses lost all semblances of cleansing and purification, but instead took on a dirtier and less than respectable image.

As opposed to getting rid of impurities within body and soul, these medieval bathhouses were looked down upon for spreading sin and disease. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church once even banned public bathing for its impurity.

The Modern Day Spa

Thankfully, the Middle Ages came and went, and the day spa experience that we know and love today reflects a technologically advanced version of the spas of the Ancient Greeks and Romans.

In fact, we now have a wide variety of spas, including day spas, destination spas, resort & hotel spas, medical spas, mineral springs spas, and even airport spas.

Angelina’s Skin Resolutions for 2018

After a holiday season full of too much of everything – late nights, rich foods, and cocktails – your skin is more than ready to say goodbye to 2017. Start your year off right by cleaning up your skincare routine and following Spa Radiance co-founder and owner Angelina Umansky’s skin resolutions below:

angelina headshot

I will never go to sleep without washing my face.I’m always shocked by how many of our clients spend good money on treatments and products, yet they don’t make washing their faces at night a priority. Even if you don’t wear makeup, studies have shown that city pollution can be just as damaging as UV rays. Get that grime off your face with a gentle yet effective cleanser like Rhonda Allison’s Milk Plus Cleanser. Need an extra deep cleaning? Book our bestselling Super Duper Facial to cleanse, exfoliate and hydrate your winter-ravaged skin.


I will never go to sleep without applying a retinol or retinoid.

Washing your face at night is just the first step. While you are sleeping your skin cells are busy little bees healing and regenerating quicker than in waking hours. Apply active serums and creams at night that contain retinol, one of the only proven anti-agers. Retinol can make a huge difference in wrinkles, fine lines, oily skin, and breakouts. Also, don’t use your sensitive skin as an excuse for skipping retinol. We carry an amazing gentle retinol from True Nature Botanicals Pacific line that works on the most reactive of skin. Tip: add a capsule of True Nature Botanicals’ Topical Vitamin C to your retinol to give it an extra anti-aging and brightening boost.


I will always wear sunscreen.

I love to think this is a given because wearing sunscreen is SO important to preventing future damage, but unfortunately many of our clients still make excuses for why they don’t wear sunscreen every day. Let me be clear…you must wear sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days. Try a multi-tasking sunscreen like Revision Skincare Intellishade that combines potent ingredients like anti-aging peptides and soothing aloe with a tinted mineral sunscreen that adapts to your skin tone.


I will not let the dry heat blaring from the vents dry out my face this winter.

As a fourth generation Russian esthetician, you can imagine I know a thing or two about treating winter skin. In the colder months, your skin needs a big boost of hydration so make sure you replace your usual moisturizer with a nourishing oil like Vintner’s Daughter. You should also incorporate a potent eye and lip serum into your winter regimen like Rhonda Allison Eye & Lip Renew, which has anti-aging powerhouse ingredients like retinol and vitamin c. Also, treat your skin to a revitalizing and hydrating mask 1-2 times weekly like the Biologique Crème Masque Vernix. This repairing mask uses a mix of fatty emollients that simulates the protective waxy coating on a newborn baby. Does it feel like no matter what you do, your skin is always parched? Book our Swiss Oxygen 52 Vitamin Facial for plumped, hydrated, dewy skin.


I will stop complaining about my sagging skin and do something about it.

Nobody likes looking in the mirror and seeing sagging jowls and disappearing cheekbones. Luckily there are wondrous inventions like micro currents that can help give our faces a much-needed lift. Think of micro currents as Pilates for your face – the only way to get results is to do it religiously. Step 1: Book a series of Spa Radiance Non-Surgical French Face-Lift Facials. Step 2: In between appointments, use the NuFace Facial Toning Device 5-7 times a week for lasting results.


We know how hard it is to embrace change (even in your skincare!) so please call or visit Spa Radiance soon to discuss your skincare regimen with one of our experienced estheticians or product consultants.


Happy New Year!


Best Wishes,


Meet our October Esthetician of the Month, Christina!

Spa Radiance Esthetician of the MonthChristina is an esthetician who has been with us for EIGHT years, earning the title of senior skincare expert with varied experience including medical skincare treatments like Dermapen, Ultherapy and deep peels. She tends to prefer natural products and enjoys educating clients on how to improve the health of skin from a wellness perspective.

Christina says fall is a the perfect time to shed that unhealthy, pigmented dead skin with a medium to deep peel at Spa Radiance. With the intense summer sun behind us we can focus on peeling without the worry of heavy sun exposure. Make an appointment at the spa and unveil your most beautiful skin yet with a peel!

Want an at home solution? According to Christina, this is a ideal time of year to bump up your home care exfoliation with retinols, a gentle version of Retin-A. Herpersonal picks are the My Body’s A-Team and True Nature’s Night Time Serum with Retinol for a very user-friendly, gentle version. For normal to resilient skin with a more aggressive approach Skin Medica’s 1.0 is a great choice.

Spa Radiance Special

Check out Spa Radiance’s New Special: Free $270 TNS Essential Serum with a Botox treatment of 40 units or more!

SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum contains the renowned growth factor formula TNS Recovery Complex in one chamber and APS Corrective Complex, a powerful mixture of antioxidants, peptides and other pioneering anti-aging ingredients, in the other chamber. Together, these products work in combination to alter and rejuvenate your skin for a youthful appearance.

Fights against environmental damage.
Helps improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and the overall tone and texture of the skin.
Smooths and tightens skin.
Strengthens the skin’s natural ability to regenerate itself.
Brightens and lightens age spots.
Price: $270-Free with purchase of a Botox Treatment of 40 units or more from November 8th-December 10th!

Ask about it next time you come in for a facial!

When A Fancy Spa Treatment is Totally Worth it (From Yahoo! Beauty)

I guess you could say I’ve visited a lot of spas—for a guy. I’m really into massages: I sit most of the day, my posture isn’t great, I exercise often. And, let’s be honest, I love treating myself.

At first I was only interested in high-end spas: immaculate changing rooms, saunas, steam rooms, plush robes, orchids on every surface—the whole thing. As I got older (and “needed” massages more and more often), I was turned onto the classic Chinese massage parlor, the kind of nondescript, slightly dingy places you see dotted around New York City. Painful and no frills—I loved it. I like getting beat up, it feels like it’s working, and the price is always right (somewhere around $50). A lot of my favorite spots even offer cupping and acupuncture, two things that really work for relaxation or managing pain, for just a few extra bucks.

Now that I’m used to a bare-bones, drop-in setting, it takes a lot to justify spending three digits on one­—even more to recommend you do the same. But if ever there were a spa that was worth it, really, really worth it, it’s Shibui Spa at the Greenwich Hotel, which I recently went to for the first time. I had heard about the Shibui—friends and acquaintances had raved about it to me since it first opened to the public in 2012. I’d heard stories of the 250-year-old deconstructed Japanese farmhouse, imported in pieces and reconstructed by hand in the basement of Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Hotel; it sounded like something worth checking out. My wife was out of town for my birthday, so she gifted me the 60-minute Healing Birch massage.

The waiting room is actually a small pool area, lit by dim lanterns, and the farmhouse belongs in a museum. It was rebuilt without nails, just wooden pegs and an ancient knot-tying technique known to only three people in Japan (they’re considered national living treasures). It was empty, still, and peaceful—hard to believe I was still in Manhattan, and actually kind of spectacular. I didn’t want to leave, but the treatment room (one of only four) was candlelit, with a soaking tub in the corner as a nod to the Japanese Onsen bathing ritual. The massage itself was both effective and pleasant; the masseuse used a homemade balm of shea butter, jojoba, helichrysum, and birch oil to reduce inflammation. (As if that’s not enough, you can retreat to the hotel’s tranquil garden post-treatment and order from their amazing restaurant.) I I floated home feeling very good.

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