Ask the Expert | Anna Zahn

The health spa owner offers at-home tips for revitalizing the skin and body. 

As Anna Zahn, the cellular stimulation treatment expert and founder of the bicoastal spa Ricari Studios, sees it, living and thriving are two different things—and the latter starts with feeling your absolute best.

Her “sci-fi massage,” a cellular stimulation treatment paired with sheer skin suits, is a favorite with the fashion set for its ability to boost blood flow, relax the nervous system, and improve a wide variety of conditions from saggy skin to muscle pain. But, as she explains, there are ways to achieve similar benefits at home.

How did you get into beauty?
To me, beauty has always been an essential facet of self-care, and is inextricably linked to our overall physical, mental and emotional health. I support people becoming more open to the idea of beauty as wellbeing, where our relationship to beauty can be more about innovation, self-care, pleasure, and expression.

How did you come to specialize in Cellular Stimulation?
I had my first lymphatic massage in New York in the early 2000s. I didn’t have any expectations going in and was admittedly skeptical. She explained that the lymphatic system was like a network of rivers beneath the skin responsible for detoxification of the cells, and that due to its superficial placement it didn’t require intense stimulation for invigoration. I left feeling more relaxed. I could breathe better, my face looked brighter, and my legs felt lighter. About 10 years later, I fell into an apprenticeship with a specialist in the field, and that’s when I really honed my knowledge of the lymphatic system and all its vital counterparts—blood circulation, nervous system relaxation, collagen production, and myofascial release. I realized that though the lymphatic system was a central figure, it was not the only player, so I created Cellular Stimulation treatments, which felt more encompassing.

Tell me about these famous treatments.
Our aim is to re-energize and revitalize tissue and skin cells to tone, refine, relax and cleanse your body and face through gentle, yet efficient, skin stimulation. Rollers deliver inward, outward, forward and backward rotations providing fractionated skin stimulation customized to our clients needs. It gently, yet intensively, conditions skin tissue to reduce cellular deposits, enhance blood and lymphatic flow and reactivate lipolysis. It also stimulates collagen and elastin production to rapidly smooth and firm the skin.


How important is massage to overall health?
People often think of massages and other items on the self-care menu as indulgences at best and frivolous expenditures at worst. I want to stress two points. First, I feel this thinking is flawed and ultimately creates challenges in the long term as we continue to burn out left and right. With an increasingly stress-induced landscape, self-care is truly essential as we ride the tumultuous waves of grief and uncertainty. Second, doing right by your body can feel pleasurable and in fact should feel pleasurable. 

Is it possible to achieve some of these health benefits at home?
I like to keep it easy: hydrate, rest, stimulate. Try to drink at least half your body weight in fluid ounces each day, add in stimulation when you can, and be sure to give your body and nervous system proper time to rejuvenate through rest and relaxation. I like to dry brush before I get in the shower, and if I forget I spend some time massaging my face and body when I apply oils or creams. I also love to take naps and always need a good nights sleep. 

What other wellness tips can you offer?
I believe you should truly enjoy what you’re doing to be “well.” If any part of your wellness routine doesn’t give you some degree of pleasure or joy, axe it. Marie Kondo your routines. Life is too short. Also, don’t overcomplicate things or fall for every trend. Discover what works for you, whatever that means. Allow yourself space and flexibility to live well. 

What is your morning ritual? Evening ritual?
Honestly, my ritual is no ritual. That’s probably poor form for someone in my position, but it’s the truth. As much as I love immersing myself in products, treatments, and beauty, in reality I respond to the kind of day I’m having or I want to have. So I suppose listening is my ritual. I’m not going to do a 12-step skincare routine if I feel like staying up and binge watching the entirety of Normal People until 4am, and I refuse to feel guilty about it. I’m much more concerned with living my life than ritualizing it. 

How did you discover Costa Brazil?
I was immediately drawn to the creative direction and branding when Costa launched, and was even more enchanted when I experienced the product. It has since become a central feature in my ‘body altar’ of products in my bathroom. I also now recommend it to clients to rub on their skin before treatments for a deeper infusion of the oils and botanicals. 
Costa Brazil vanity
How do you like to use it?
I love it best after a bath or shower when my skin is a little damp and pores are open. If I have time I’ll thoroughly massage it into my skin for deeper immersion of the oils and botanicals. Sometimes I’ll also use it like perfume by covering my neck and chest.