TREAT YOUR SKIN TO AN ORGANIC FACIAL EXPERIENCE
Story by Odessa Paloma Parker
After the ravages of Winter, your skin can end up dry, uneven and in dire need of some TLC. My questionable diet, late nights spent working and a paramount level of stress have also contributed to my skin’s currently woeful appearance, and I decided it was time to take action.
Walking past Lush & Lavish countless times, their bright red sign and Ossington Avenue address always caught my attention. A neighbourhood not necessarily known for its beauty treatments (but rather its bars), the juxtaposition of a healthy nightlife and calming spa atmosphere was intriguing.
As I booked an Exfoliating and Stimulating Facial, the promise of a 60-minute long respite from emails was enough to incite a deliriously happy feeling within. Any benefits to my skin was almost a bonus.
A friendly staff greeted me upon arrival, and I met Nikki, a Nova Scotia native and Lush & Lavish’s Senior Esthetician. She led me through the salon area to a lower level, where the treatment rooms are. The first thing that struck me when entering the room was what I heard. ‘Is that “Stairway to Heaven”?’ That’s right, no sea sounds, delicate piano tunes or atmospheric ambient noise accompanied my facial; instead, I was treated to Nikki’s iPod and a playlist that still managed to put me at ease courtesy of the more mellow tracks by Led Zeppelin, Nurses and Michael Jackson. (If you don’t like having someone rub delicious smelling creams on your face while listening to your favourite music, there’s something seriously wrong with you.)
What struck me about this choice to play music rather than the usual spa soundtrack was that it really made it feel like I was going for a treatment, like any other procedure; I could chill out for an hour and rest, but then it would end and normal life would resume. Which, quite frankly, I loved. While enjoying treatments at other spas, my mind would always try to relent to the crashing waves I was hearing, but something about being artificially prompted to relax (when really, going for a facial or massage is almost a burden given my schedule) was a counter-relaxational experience. After a few minutes I realize that I’m still thinking about the same things I normally do, and ultimately become frustrated in my inability to let them all wash away. The lack of artifice at Lush & Lavish was a welcome change.
After a skin assessment, during which Nikki asked if I was under any stress at work (ha), she determined that for my first treatment, she would sooth and try to combat the breakouts I was experiencing with products by the Hungarian skincare company, Éminence. Their lush, handmade organic line ranges from cleansers to cosmetics, and during my facial Nikki used the Lemon Cleanser (a bottle of which I ended up purchasing after my treatment); Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant (a powdered exfoliant which can be added to their cleaners); and Eight Greens Youth Serum and Moisture Whip Moisturizer (two products that have hormone balancing properties – ideal for my spastic skin).
While each of these products settled into my skin, I was also treated to the most comprehensive arm, neck and face massages I’ve ever had. No limp-wristed wriggling for all of thirty seconds; this was a much appreciated, proper rub down. As if that wasn’t relaxing enough, there were no painful extractions (the removal of blemishes and blackheads by hand) done during the process, and thus my skin wasn’t splotchy, bumpy or red when the treatment was done – just smooth and sweet smelling.
When my restful hour was up, Nikki and I headed back upstairs, where she explained the benefits of each product she applied (she also supplied me with a product list of everything I experienced during my facial). Before leaving, she applied No.1 Honey Apple Sun Defense SPF 30, a light, slightly tinted mineral powder by Éminence. Rather than leaving with a scrubbed and defenseless visage, I felt ready to approach the world with a fresh but protected face.
It’s been a week since my facial at Lush & Lavish, and thanks to some upkeep through a few Éminence product samples (plus my Lemon Cleanser purchase), I’m noticing my skin has settled down quite a bit. This result, as well as the excellent treatment I received, is enough to convince me that a little bit of attention goes a long way. Or, at least all the way to Ossington.
Lush & Lavish Salon and Spa, 200 Ossington Avenue, Toronto.