What are body wraps & do they help with weight loss & detox?

Are you looking for a relaxing treatment that will hydrate the skin and maybe even leave you a few inches smaller? If so, it’s time to check out the body wrap trend.

This unique treatment is available at spas and as a kit you can purchase for DIY treatment. Keep reading to learn more about the types of wraps and their benefits.


There are three main types of body wraps, and it’s important that you understand the differences between them before you decide to try one. The three types are: hydrating, slimming, and detox.

The best body wraps begin with an exfoliation treatment – look for the type that offer a full body scrub (rather than a dry brushing). The exfoliation enables the ingredients used in the wrap to penetrate deeply into the skin for maximum effect.


Detoxing/remineralizing wraps use a variety of ingredients including:

  • Seaweed
  • Algae
  • Clay
  • Mud
  • Gel

body-wrap1These products are applied directly to the body in what we call a “body mask.” Next, you will be wrapped in plastic or mylar and covered with a warm blanket.

As you lie in the wrap (sometimes called a “cocoon”), the ingredients on your body will draw out impurities and stimulate your circulation. They will also imbue your body with minerals you might be missing.

An esthetician will remove the wrap and wash off the mask 20-30 minutes later.

When to get it: This treatment tends to be expensive, so save it for when you are ready to make serious changes in your diet (thereby reducing toxins).

Tip: Don’t go out drinking after a detox wrap – you’ll feel worse than before, not to mention you will have wasted your money.


body-wrap3A hydrating/moisturizing wrap is a soothing experience that involves gels and creams. You probably won’t need to wash it off afterwards.

A hydration wrap serves two purposes: hydration and relaxation. Again, make sure to find a spa that includes a body scrub before the wrap.

When to get it: When you need some serious hydration (like the middle of winter). You can also get an aloe vera hydration wrap to recover from too much sun exposure (this treatment is popular in the Caribbean).


The slimming wrap is a quick fix if you’re looking to shed a little weight before an event. This wrap is a bit more labor intensive than other wraps.

During a slimming wrap, the specialist will wrap your limbs and trunk with bandages that have been soaked in a mineral solution. Like the detox wrap, the process helps remove toxins and replace lost minerals.

Warning: you might look like a mummy during the process!

Instead of lying on a table, you can walk around, spend time in a spa, or even exercise while wearing the slimming wrap. You are typically measured before and after the wrap to see how many inches you have lost. Keep in mind that the weight lost isn’t fat – it’s water weight – and the effects are temporary.

Spas will claim that a slimming body wrap can decrease the appearance of cellulite – and indeed your skin will look smoother after the treatment – but the process does not actually remove fat, and any improvements in appearance are temporary (like a spray tan).

When to get it: Your body will look tighter after a slimming wrap, but the effects will last only a day or two. The best time to get it is directly before a wedding or a beach day.

Remember, a body wrap never takes the place of exercise.

Tips & Advice

static1-squarespaceBody wraps have become incredibly popular in today’s calorie-centered world, but unfortunately there is little evidence that they actually work. Doctors argue that there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that a body wrap can pull toxins from the body, let alone remove cellulite.

Scientists and doctors agree that body wraps will not help you lose weight, shed fat, or get rid of that pesky cellulite.

As I said before, the “weight loss” effects are temporary. The only real effects are hydration and relaxation.

That being said, here are a few more things to consider before visiting the spa:

  • Those with sensitive skin should avoid treatments that use lots of fragrant oils.
  • Ask about the ingredients of a wrap beforehand and check with a doctor if you are taking any prescription meds.
  • This may not be an appropriate treatment if you are claustrophobic.
  • Finally, make sure to stay hydrated. You will sweat a lot during the treatment and it’s important to replenish your body’s water supply.

At Home/ DIY Body Wraps VS Professional Treatment

Each spa is different, but expect to pay between $100 and $300 for a professional wrap. This steep price makes wraps unaffordable if you’re planning to enjoy them often. You can purchase a DIY wrap from a supplier or online for less than $50 and do the treatment at home.

The biggest downside to a professional wrap (other than price) is that it can be weird to have a stranger apply lotion, wrap you up, and wash you off.

The biggest downside to a home wrap is that you don’t get that pampered feeling you will enjoy at a spa. There is also more room for error when you are wrapping your own body.

DIY for less than $30

You can actually make your own wrap mixtures at home using simple ingredients. Here are our two favorite DIY recipes (remember to thoroughly exfoliate before you begin):

Recipe #1: For Cellulite

  • 1 cup seaweed powder
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups warm water or coffee
  • 2 drops of juniper, rosemary, or fennel oil

Recipe #2: For Tight Skin

  • 1 cup bentonite powder (clay)
  • 2 cups water or green tea
  • 2 drops of juniper, rosemary, or fennel oil

Warning: Do not use metal when mixing

body-wrap2Apply a thin layer of the mixture to any areas you want to firm up. Wrap each section as you go in elastic bandages or plastic wrap.

Cover yourself with a bathrobe, warm blanket, or heating pad. Relax (and sweat!) for about an hour, then remove the wrap and hop in the shower.

End with your favorite lotion or moisturizer.


The body wrap may be just another cosmetic fad, but the treatment can be enjoyable, relaxing, and lots of fun if you do at home with friends.

Body wraps do benefit the skin and can make you look great for a few days – and who doesn’t enjoy being pampered at the spa? The most important thing is to have realistic expectations. If you’re trying to slim down for a wedding, for example, enjoy body wraps in addition to diet and exercise.

Click here to learn more about microneedling, a fairly new cosmetic procedure offered by dermatologists.

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