The bag
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The ultimate spa bag

$360 by special order at Beverly Hills Luggage and (Kirk McKoy, Los Angeles Times)
The makeup

It’s a hassle to pack a full beauty kit, so I need multi-tasking makeup. Per-fékt Skin Perfection Gel is a foundation that glides on easily, evens skin tones, hides imperfections, moisturizes and protects with vitamins E and A and best of all, dries to a powdery finish that helps absorb shine. The Hollywood-based company sells five shades of the gel.

$57.50 for a 1-ounce pump bottle at, Sephora and Fred Segal (Kirk McKoy, Los Angeles Times)
The sandals

Even if you’re OK wearing sandals that 87 other spa goers have shuffled around in, they’re often stiff, ill-fitting and unattractive. Sensi sandals have an egg-crate sole that gives you a soft step and neatly allows water, soap and sand to drain out of side ports. The flexible but sturdy PVC material doesn’t harbor bacteria and is machine washable. Heel and toe cups allow feet to keep their grip, even with a coating of massage oil.

Tortoise Monte Carlo thong, $27 at www.sensi.comand spa boutiques (Kirk McKoy, Los Angeles Times)
The scrubber

There I was, fresh from the ritual mud bath, but wouldn’t you know, I still had black mud streaks behind my knees. Spas are generous with towels, stingy with washcloths, so I carry a compact scrubber, Supracor’s SpaCells Facial Sponge. The antibacterial, antifungal and allergen-free Stimulite honeycomb material can remove makeup (and mud) and exfoliate and massage skin.

$28 for a pack of three at, Fred Segal Beauty and spa boutiques (Kirk McKoy, Los Angeles Times)
The headband

But sometimes, hair product isn’t enough. The ActiveHold Head Wraps from i/m active have thin elastic grippers running through the elastic bands. They look a little like lingerie straps but stick like glue, even in steam and under water.

$7.99 to $14.99 at www.studioim.comand Intuition, Los Angeles (Kirk McKoy, Los Angeles Times)
The frizz fighter

Five minutes in the steam room, and my hair expands into a halo of Brillo. I found a lightweight, non-greasy, frizz-busting formula in Kiehl’s Silk Groom Serum. The lockable pump dispenses a conditioning blend of soy, sesame and sunflower oils that can smooth hair into a shiny ponytail or condition a light wave.

$16.50 for a 2.5-ounce bottle at www.kiehls.comand Kiehl’s boutiques (Kirk McKoy, Los Angeles Times)
The watch

Spas often don’t have well-placed clocks -- and who wants to miss 10 minutes of a massage? Timex makes the women’s Expedition, a water-resistant sports watch with timer, Indiglo night light and a fabric band that breathes. And it’s inexpensive, so I can tie it onto the belt of my robe without a worry.

$42 at and select REI and Sports Authority stores. (Kirk McKoy, Los Angeles Times)