I saw a meme recently pointing out that 10 years ago, we were all told never to get in strangers' cars or meet people from the internet; but in 2016, we literally summon strangers from the internet to get in their cars. It's certainly a bizarre, technological society we've become, but I have to admit, I don't hate it. If a product or service can be ordered on the web, I am thrilled to do so: rides to the airport, television shows, açai bowls. And I love that the beauty community has jumped on board, offering everything from at-home makeup services to blowouts.
Maybe this is naive, but I trust the beauty strangers of the internet. Especially when their existence means I never have to leave my house.
So you can imagine how tickled I was when news of an on-demand massage app slid into my inbox. If there's anything I love as much as ordering things online, it's massages. I treat myself to one every month or so and delight in trying new spas and services. (Read all about when happened when I tried the most expensive massage in L.A.)
The Soothe app combines my love of luxury with my quest for convenience. Here's how it works: You download the app for free, and choose which type of massage you want: Swedish, deep tissue, sports, or prenatal, any of which you can book as a couples' massage. Then you select the time and location (Soothe is available in 45 different cities around the U.S.). You can book a massage well in advance or have someone show up in as little as an hour. Then, just like Uber, the app matches you with one of Soothe's 7000 certified massage therapists, and they turn up wherever you are: your home, hotel room, office, anywhere.
To some, this service may sound a little suspect. How smart can summoning an unfamiliar masseuse to your house really be? As it turns out, very. Keep scrolling to read my honest review of the Soothe massage app!
My mother is as big a fan of convenient luxury, as I am (perhaps it's genetic?), so I thought I'd treat us both to a Soothe massage the day after Christmas while I was staying at my parents' house in Santa Barbara, California. The app's straightforward interface made it simple to book a couple's massage for that same day at 2 p.m. I selected two 60-minute massages (one Swedish, one deep tissue, one with a female therapist, one without preference). The total came out to a shockingly reasonable $99 each. As in, less than $100 to have a massage therapist show up at your front door and give you an hour-long massage in your living room, like something out of Beyoncé's life.
My parents' house it at the end of a windy mountain road, which is tricky to navigate, so our therapists called to let us know they'd be five minutes late. The two arrived looking very polished in black Soothe uniforms, equipped with all the necessary supplies: massage tables, fresh linens, lotion, lavender eye masks, and a playlist of relaxing spa music.
Our therapists set up their tables in my parents' sun room, then excused themselves to the bathroom so we could disrobe and hop on our tables. By the time we were all set, it was about 20 minutes past 2 p.m., but our therapists made sure the hour started when the massage started (not when they arrived), which I appreciated, as I've had delayed masseuses cut our time short before.
The next hour felt surprisingly natural, as if my mother and I had received Monday afternoon massages at her house many times before. Before she started, my therapist asked what areas I wanted to focus on and what type of pressure I preferred, and she attentively checked in with me throughout the massage. I requested a relaxing, medium-pressure massage with emphasis on my upper back and shoulders, and that is precisely what I got. Meanwhile, my yoga-loving mom was looking for deeper pressure focused on her legs, and she told me she was very happy with her experience as well.
At the end of the hour, our therapists excused themselves again so we could get dressed; then, they carefully packed up, thanked us, and went on their way. They took their time and were extremely polite. And just like Uber, there was no awkwardness or confusion surrounding whether or not to leave a tip or how much (tips aren't part of the Soothe equation).
The Soothe experience was astoundingly easy; and ultimately, it just felt incredibly decadent to receive a quality massage without having to drive anywhere. For the price especially, I can see myself using the app much more in the future. I would also consider giving it as a last-minute gift—Soothe gift cards are easy to purchase on the app's website.
In the end, Soothe not only provided a great massage, it also bolstered my faith in the glorious world of online beauty services. Decades ago, the idea may not have seemed wise. But it's almost 2017, and I have to say, if you haven't ordered a masseuse to your house via the internet, you simply haven't lived.
What's your favorite beauty service app? Tell us in the comments below!