Experience the ultimate in luxury with a La Prairie facial at Holt Renfrew Vancouver

I LOVE facials and I also love La Prairie, so when I had the opportunity to try out a La Prairie facial at the new Holt Renfrew Beauty Hall, I was absolutely elated. The La Prairie counter at Holt Renfrew Vancouver is now an expanded space with its own consultation table, sitting area, and luxury facial room that allows you to hat the ultimate in luxury experience.

The space is gorgeous, super spacious, and very modern, featuring their most popular skincare products front and centre, so that anyone who passes by can take a quick peek at what La Prairie has to offer. On the side, there is also space for its makeup products. La Prairie, while widely known for their amazing skincare products, actually also makes some incredible makeup. Their Skin Caviar Foundation (my review) is one of my favourite foundations of all time and a product I highly rely on for special occasions to give me that flawless complexion.

The day that I was invited in for my facial, La Prairie was also offering Dermograph Skin Health Analyses for anyone who was interested in getting a more in-depth analysis of their skin. I filled in my information about my age, as well as my own concerns for my skin. The La Prairie ambassador removed any foundation on my skin, and used a specialized camera to take a picture of my skin’s top layer. The camera was able to see and analyze the deeper layers of my skin, to give me an overview of my skin’s health.

According to my dermograph, I have moderate to low hydration, which is what I was expecting. My skin texture was above average (I had been masking almost every day since I got back from Mexico, so I was happy to hear that it was working), and that my skin was low on the oil. I was happy to hear this because oftentimes I go to a skincare counter, and almost every salesperson I’ve spoken to looks at my skin and says I must have combination to oily skin. I have some surface oil, but the La Prairie ambassador correctly described that my skin was oily on the surface because it lacks oil and moisture on the deeper layers. I also have below average luminosity (too much work and computer time will do that to you), average pigmentation (just got back from Mexico and my face had formed new freckles), and above average elasticity (damn, I need more firm!).

Based on this, the dermograph also recommended a few La Prairie products for me, with the help of the La Prairie ambassador. I was recommended to use the Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal collection, combined with the White Caviar line to promote brightness. This information was communicated to my facialist to create a custom facial for my skin’s needs.

The facial that I received was super comprehensive. I won’t list out all of the products, but it was seriously one of the best facials I’ve ever had. It really focused a lot on massage and applying light layers so that products absorbed. My skin was cleansed very well, and it also incorporated a deep cleansing massage that drew all of the impurities. It also really focused on the importance of toner, as my skin was toned no less than four times during the experience – after the initial cleansing using the Purifying Cream Cleanser, after the deep cleansing massage, after the Cellular 3-Minute Peel, and then after the Cellular Hydralift Firming Mask. The two toners that were used were the Cellular Softening And Balancing Lotion, to help with balancing the skin, and then the Cellular Refining Lotion, which calms redness and hydrates.

The facialist also lightly patted on that Skin Caviar Essence-in-Lotion, which is a product that I am obsessing over right now. It’s such a light fluid but offers so much hydration and skin firming that goes a long way to improve the health of your skin. One of the products that was highly recommended to me was the Anti-Aging Rapid Response Booster, a pre-serum booster that helps to improve the absorption of everything else. It also targets signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles, enlarged pores, skin texture, and overall improving the look of the skin.

On the eyes, the facialist first lightly applied the White Caviar Illuminating Eye Serum, followed by a light layer of the White Caviar Illuminating Eye Cream. I have dark circles under my eyes so this helped to boost the radiance of my eye area. My facial ended with a light application of the Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Cream, which was patted on to help absorption.

Even though there were a lot of products layered on my skin, it didn’t feel heavy or greasy at all. Since I got my facial at the end of the day on a Friday, I went home after and let the products slowly absorb into my skin. My boyfriend had commented on how glowy and radiant my skin looked. Honestly my skin hadn’t looked better in a long time, it was truly the perfect start to the weekend.

The best part is that the facial is actually complimentary with a product purchase of $1,000 at Holt Renfrew Vancouver! If you go to New York or L.A., La Prairie facials can cost upwards of US$250-1,200+ just for the facial alone and with no product, so this way you can get both the product as well as the facial experience. In terms of products, I highly recommend picking up the Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Cream (if you have dry skin), the Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Dry Oil (perfect for blending in with any moisturizer, I’m currently using this with a gel moisturizer and it really boosts the hydration and firming properties), and the Skin Caviar Essence-in-Lotion.

If you want to book, just call Holt Renfrew at (604) 681-3121 and ask to speak to the La Prairie counter.

Service received was complimentary of La Prairie and Holt Renfrew for review purposes; all opinions are my own. The La Prairie counter photograph is courtesy of Holt Renfrew.

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Experience: Max+ Light Customized Facial at Skinceuticals by Project Skin

Skinceuticals by Project Skin MD opening review

A few months ago, I wrote about how I attended the opening of the Skinceuticals by Project Skin, the first freestanding Skinceuticals boutique in Canada, as well as a Project Skin MD treatment centre, located at Richmond Centre in the Greater Vancouver Area in B.C., Canada. After finishing my work busy season, I finally had a chance to check out a treatment at this location, and I was definitely impressed.

The treatment I received was the Max+ Light Customized Facial (C$255 for , which combines “the Customized Glow Facial with the skin balancing rewards of MAX+ LED therapeutic light. This unique treatment helps rebalance, calm, brighten and care for any skin types. Our custom light protocols boost our facial effects for acneic, rosacea-prone, aging, dehydrated, pigmented or dull skin.” The person who provided my treatment was Michelle, who has the sweetest, most calming voice, and the most incredibly beautiful skin.

My treatment started with a customized facial using Skinceuticals products. Michelle started by double cleansing with a bi-phase oil remove, then a milky cleanser. After toning, she inspected my skin, and designed a treatment based on this. Then she used a physical exfoliant, followed by a 20% glycolic acid + 10% lactic acid peel. The peel was very strong, and made my skin itch and tingle, but she blew a fan on my skin to help relieve this itch. Afterwards, she applied the Clarifying Clay Mask (reviewed here) to draw out the impurities, which was followed by extractions. The extractions that she did on me were the most pain-free extractions I’ve ever had – normally extractions make me tear up but the use of the Clarifying Clay Mask really helped the blackheads surface, which made it easier for her to squeeze out.

Michelle selected three serums for me. The first was the legendary C E Ferulic, which combines 15% L-Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C), 1% Alpha Tocopherol (vitamin E), and 0.5% Ferulic Acid. This is an anti-oxidant serum that Michelle recommends to use every morning right after toning and before sunscreen. Michelle says that sunscreen only blocks out 50% of the sun’s damage to the skin, and the other 50% is free radicals that are blocked by an anti-oxidant like C E Ferulic. The next serum was the Phyto Corrective Gel, which is a green gel that helps to neutralize the redness and sensitivity on my cheeks. I’ve used the Phyto Corrective Mask previously (reviewed here) and it was a fantastic hydrating mask. In place of moisturizer, Michelle used the Hydrating B5 Gel (previously reviewed here), which is a hyaluronic acid serum. She said that moisturizers don’t necessarily work the best to help your skin in the long run, whereas a hyaluronic acid serum will help to plump your skin up and maintain hydration in the long run.

After the three serums were layered, Michelle started me on the Max+ Light therapy. This is a combination of blue, red, green, and yellow lights to help balance and brighten the skin. The total light therapy time was 15 minutes, and I didn’t feel any sensitivity on my skin. It was pretty soothing actually. After 15 minutes, Michelle let me look at my skin in a mirror and it was glowing! The serums definitely helped to neutralize and balance my skin, and the light therapy also helped the products penetrate into the deeper levels of my skin. Since it was during the day, Michelle finished off by applying a healthy amount of SPF 50, which will help protect my skin against the sun. I left the treatment with my skin feeling super glowy and healthy.

It was my first time trying Skinceuticals products and I was pretty impressed at how simple but effective the products were. In addition, I left feeling taken care of, but not pressured to purchase anything. Michelle did recommend that I pick up the C E Ferulic, as well as the Hydrating B5 Gel. For night-time, Michelle recommended the Retexturing Activator, a serum chemical exfoliator, because my skin is a bit uneven and bumpy at the moment (I blame the heat). I felt like I was provided with good recommendations that would be beneficial for my skin, and not pushed to buy things for the sake of it.

The one downside to being inside a busy mall was that you can actually hear most of the things that are happening outside your treatment room, as the sound-proofing wasn’t great. The relaxing music in the room helped to downplay the noise outside, so that was good. Plus Michelle’s voice, when she was explaining the products to me, was pretty soothing as well.

The treatments here are pretty pricey. I think if I were to go again, I would probably just opt for the regular Customized Glow Facial without the Max+ Light treatment. Skinceuticals by Project Skin also offers 30 minute express treatments for $85, which is a nice treat if you are looking for a quick pick-me-up.

You can find Skinceuticals by Project Skin at Richmond Centre, which now also has new hours so they are open until 9PM every day, and 7PM on Sundays and holidays:
6551 No 3 Rd
Richmond, BC
V6Y 2B6
Phone: 604.285.8115
E-mail: richmond@projectskinmd.com

Complimentary service received as part of the media opening celebration; all opinions are my own.

Experience: super affordable facial and massage at NIC Spa in Vancouver

Last week, I was invited to experience the ultra affordable NIC Spa in Vancouver. NIC Spa is a spa that was opened by New Image College, a training institution located in Downtown Vancouver for those aspiring makeup artists, aestheticians, and more. The people who work at the NIC Spa are fully accredited grads from New Image College, with the purpose of providing them additional experience and opportunities to grow in their careers. The NIC Spa is located on the premises of New Image College, conveniently located on Granville between Smithe and Nelson, just a few minutes from several skytrain stops.

The menu at NIC Spa is super simple. It offers facials, massages, and manicure and pedicures. The price point? $20 for each type of service. Yes you read that right, TWENTY friggin DOLLARS! I was invited to try out a facial and massage. My entire service lasted just under 2 hours, and it would have cost me around $200-300 at another spa, but at NIC Spa it would only be $40 (plus tax and tip, of course).

The treatment rooms are essentially the treatment rooms used for classroom teaching, and there are a number of beds in one room, with curtains dividing each bed. When I was there, there was no one else but me in the entire room, so it was quiet and private. The multi-bed rooms actually make it perfect for when you and your friends want to indulge in a spa party. While at most other spas, this wouldn’t be possible because there’s at most 2 beds in a room, you can seriously have a great time, perhaps for your friend’s bachelorette party?

My aesthetician was Doris. She started me face down for my massage first. I opted for an aromatherapy Swedish massage. Doris’s pressure was firm, and I could feel the stress relieved through my body. She definitely used copious amounts of oil to make sure that the strokes were smooth and easy on my body.

After she cleansed my skin and removed my makeup, she did a skin analysis to help identify the state of my skin and the type of treatment I needed. She and I both concluded that I have dry skin (surprise, surprise), and that I needed some extra hydration. In addition to an exfoliating mask, she also used a moisturizing mask, plus plenty of facial, neck, head, and shoulder massage. While I felt like she was a tiny bit rough compared to other facial experiences I had, I was still pretty happy with it just because of the affordability, and also my skin felt pretty damn nice after I left. The most important part of a facial is how effective it is, isn’t that right?

While I wouldn’t say it was the most luxurious or relaxing spa experience, it was seriously a fantastic value for just $20 for each service. I can opt to have an entire spa day, pampering my body, face, fingers, and toes, for under $100, and that’s amazing in a city where it’s becoming harder and  harder to afford anything but the necessities. I’ve recommended this spa to a number of my friends, and I can see myself gathering friends to come here for spa parties as well.

I highly recommend checking out NIC Spa, located at:
987 Granville St
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1L3
Canada
(604) 685 8842

Book online here: http://www.nicspa.ca/book-online-2/

Services received complimentary of NIC Spa for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

First time getting lash extensions from Prép Beauty Parlour!

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I’ve always wanted to try out lash extensions, but I never made the jump because I wasn’t sure what it would entail. Luckily, a few weeks ago, I was contacted by Prép Beauty Parlour to try out their full set of extensions. At the time, I was preparing for a work trip to Toronto, so I thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to try.

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Prép Beauty Parlour is the cutest beauty salon nestled on Hornby in Downtown Vancouver. It’s a two-storey salon, with the nail services done downstairs, and the lash services upstairs. The salon is beautifully decorated with mirrors and other pretty trinkets, allowing it to look bright and cheery. My lash appointment was upstairs, where there were four beds side by side each other so they can have four lash appointments at the same time. The environment was very clean.

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My appointment was with Christin, Eyelash Extension Master. She explained to me how the process worked – the extensions would be wrapped around my existing lashes to lift them up – and she also asked me for the type of look I wanted to achieve. She was very patient in answering all of my questions, explaining each step of the procedure as she performed them, also ensured that my eyes were very comfortable the entire time.

I prefer a more doe-eyed look, so I asked for longer lashes around the centre of the eye. I also want something that’s extra curled, since my lashes were very stick straight, and I didn’t want something too long, since I wear glasses and I don’t want the lashes to touch my glasses when I blink.

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After an hour, my lashes were done! I was super impressed with the way I looked when I left, and due to the thickness, it also felt like I had liner on all the time, which accentuated the look of my eyes. I did have some reservations though. I felt like my right eye wasn’t as voluminous as my left eye, and the lashes on my right eye also started to fall off pretty quickly after the application. That same night, I had 3 lashes fall off my right eye, and none from my left. Due to the number of extensions in total, even though a few fell off, my eyes still looked very wide, with that doe-eyed effect.

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About three weeks after getting the extensions, about half of them had fallen off. The result was a wispy, wide eyed look that still looked good. My boyfriend complimented on them often! My biggest complaint at the 2-3 week mark was that because the glue was starting to get loose on a lot of them, even if I brushed them out regularly, they would still get a bit tangled, and then some of them would stab me in the eye. It was pretty uncomfortable.

The other thing was, and this is a personal preference, I generally wash my face with oil-based cleansers, whether it is my oil cleanser to remove makeup, or my Bella Aura or Tata Harper cleansers that contain natural oils in them. You’re not supposed to wash your face with oil products if you have lash extensions, because the oil will dissolve the glue, so I felt like this is a bit of an inconvenience. The other thing is, I generally like to wash my face in the shower with a full blast of water, but again with lash extensions, you can’t do that because the pressure will make the extensions fall off. After all that, I would generally say that I am not the best candidate for lash extensions.

That being said, though, lash extensions are pretty awesome for when you’re going on vacation and you don’t want to put the extra effort in every day to doll yourself up. My lash extensions definitely make my eyes look bigger, wider, and it generally looks nicer on photos. Lash extensions generally last around 4 weeks with proper care (they recommend fillers at the 2-3 week mark for maintenance, when there is around 50% of the lashes still intact), so they would be perfect right before your vacation.

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Would I recommend lash extensions? I would say no, just because most people I know wouldn’t be able to handle the upkeep. If you do want to get them, Prép Beauty Parlour is an excellent choice for salon!

Prép Beauty Parlour

1054 Hornby Street, Vancouver, BC

Hours:
Monday – Tuesday: 10 – 7:30
Wednesday – Friday: 9 – 8
Saturday: 9:30 – 6
Sunday: 11 – 6
E: info@prepbeautyparlour.com

Tel: 604.764.6452

I received the lash extensions complimentary from Prép Beauty Parlour; all opinions are my own.

Experience: Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie, at the Shangri-La Toronto

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If you’ve been following along with me on Instagram, you’d notice that I was in Toronto a few weeks ago. I took the opportunity to visit the famed Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie, located at the beautiful Shangri-La Toronto. I received the 30 minute Hammam and Gommage treatment, which claims:

This steam & body exfoliation is part of the authentic traditions of the Middle East. De-stress between a private high intensity & low mist steam chamber, the Hammam will cleanse your body while stimulating your senses and imagination. Lay relaxed on Jerusalem gold marble as you experience an invigorating full body Gommage (exfoliation) using eucalyptus infused black Moroccan soap. This experience is considered to be the ultimate detoxification treatment. Our Spa Concierge will be happy to assist you with your personalized groups of 2 or more people. Please refer to our Voyages & Retreats.

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It was my first time getting the Hammam and Gommage treatment. The treatment itself was fantastic, the 10-15 minute steam room treatment (the Hammam) was the most relaxing part of the experience, as I got to lie back, breathe, and relax after a very hectic week of travelling and working. The steam room was very hot, humid, but not at all stuffy, which I find is the case with most other steam rooms. I was left alone in the room, and I could have completely stripped down, but I had a sarong covering me which was more comfortable. I would have loved to stay in the steam room for longer, to detox my body of the stress and pollution during my trip to Toronto, but since I was having such a good time in the steam room, it just felt really short.

The Gommage part of the treatment was also nice, but not as relaxing. I lay down pretty much completely naked (I had a disponsable thong on) on top of my sarong, while the esthetician exfoliated every inch of my body with the black Moroccan soap. My body was thoroughly exfoliated, the esthetician focused on parts of my body that I often forget to exfoliate, such as my tummy area, back of my arms, my hands, and the tops of my feet. The black Moroccan soap contained natural oils which left my body feeling smooth and hydrated.

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After being rinsed off and allowed to dry, I was led to the relaxation room where I was given some grapes, a pastry, and unlimited refills of chai tea. The relaxation room was very nice, dimly lit, and quiet. I would have liked to stay longer but there was a couple in the room who arrived later and who were talking in the room, and it ended up being less serene.

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My biggest dislike, and why this experience wasn’t as relaxing as it could have been, was that I felt like this experience was very rushed. I was rushed into the change room, rushed out, rushed into the steam room, and even the exfoliation process felt rushed. It was my first time getting this treatment, but I felt like the front staff didn’t explain what the treatment would entail. This would give me a head’s up about the different steps, and what I can expect. I feel like the Hammam and Gommage treatment would have been a great add-on to another treatment, such as a massage or facial, so it doesn’t feel like you spend so little time in the spa itself.

That being said, the Miraj Hammam Spa is extremely clean, and well stocked with all the Caudalie products you can use. I had completely removed my makeup and skincare before going into the steam room, so my skin was feeling a bit naked. I topped up my skin with Caudalie products for the face, and also smothered my body in the body lotion.

For the price, I don’t know if I would go back. It was a good treatment, I wasn’t blown away by my experience. If you know me, you know that I have no problem splurging for good experiences, but this one was just okay and didn’t show me enough value in terms of the level of service for me to return.

Hammam & Gommage – 30MINS
MondayFriday (excluding holidays)
$135
Saturday, Sunday and Holidays
$145

Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie
188 University Ave, Toronto, ON M5H 0A3
Phone: (647) 253-5770

The treatment provided was complimentary of Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie; all opinions are my own.

Experience: Tata Harper Brightening Facial at Collective Skin Care

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Tata Harper is one of my favourite natural skincare brands – their cleansers are just out-of-this-world amazing. Tata’s journey started when her father was diagnosed with cancer. The doctor stated that the chemicals present in every day life played a big part in this, thus Tata set out to research and create skincare products that were natural and non-toxic. Tata Harper products are created in a vertically integrated manufacturing and distribution plant located in Vermont, which also houses a farm where much of the ingredients are grown. Her products are certified organic, all natural, and most of the products are vegan, with the exception of certain products that contain beeswax and honey, and also cruelty-free.

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As my biggest skin concerns are hyperpigmentation and dehydration. I received the brightening facial at Collective Skin Care. My facial started with the incredibly luxurious Nourishing Oil Cleanser, this is one of the richest oil cleansers I’ve ever used, and it’s also extremely hydrating and nourishing. It contains Beta Carotene, Vitamins A, C, E, Lycopene and Omega 3 to soften and improve skin texture. It removed all of my makeup, and prepped my skin for the Purifying Cleanser, a cleanser containing enzymes, designed to gently loosen dead skin cells, deep cleanse the pores, and release toxins and pollutants from the skin. Next came exfoliation using Tata Harper’s award winning Regenerating Cleanser, which also happens to be my favourite Tata Harper product. I’ve reviewed the Regenerating Cleanser extensively here, so check it out. One interesting thing to note was that all three cleansers were applied to dry skin, which allowed maximum product penetration and efficacy since the skin is not shielded by water. I felt that using the Regenerating Cleanser dry felt a bit rough on the skin, but I didn’t notice any long term sensitivity.

After triple cleansing and exfoliating, I got to try out the new Purifying Mask. This clay-based mask was designed to deep cleanse the skin and extract any toxins that were buried deep within the pores. It is also filled with natural pressed oils to help hydrate and nourish the skin. Clay is generally a very drying skincare ingredient, but when mixed with plant extracts and oils, it will replenish any dryness with moisture. After removing the mask, it was followed by a face, neck, and decollete massage with their Beautifying Facial Oil.

The oil was removed with the Refreshing Cleanser, which contains pomegranate enzymes, grapefruit and bergamot, french pink clay, and willow bark, which come together to gently cleanse the skin. The Resurfacing Mask, one of Tata Harper’s most popular products, was layered directly on top of the cleanser to create a concentrated enzyme mask, with double the brightening and exfoliating powers. I have the Resurfacing Mask and I’m kind of on the fence about it, which is why I haven’t done a review of it yet. I just felt like it hasn’t done much to my skin on its own, but together with the Refreshing Cleanser, there is mild stinging which feels like the enzymes are doing their jobs.

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The key to this brightening facial was the incorporation of the Concentrated Brightening Essence, applied to the face blended with the Concentrated Brightening Serum. It is rare for a natural skincare line to have brightening products because most products on the market contain chemicals to reduce hyperpigmentation and even out the skintone. However, Tata Harper’s brightening products include ingredients such as sea kelp, milk thistle, enzymes, and willow bark extract to gently yet effectively exfoliate the skin, reduce the look of spots, and also prevent new spots from producing.

My facial finished off with a generous dose of the Repairative Moisturizer. This moisturizer, designed for dry or mature skin types, contains mango seed butter, jojoba seed oil, and raw honey sourced from a neighbouring farm in Vermont. I actually love this moisturizer so much that I went and bought a full sized version – I’m completely in love with honey in my skincare right now, so just the mention of that made me jump on it.

After my facial, I’ve noticed that my skin texture has improved significantly – it is definitely brighter, more refined, smoother, and much softer than it was before. My pores have been deep cleansed, and much of my blackheads have disappeared.

The only downside I can think of is that Tata Harper doesn’t have any products that contain sunscreen, so when I left the facial, I was walking outside on a sunny day with no sunscreen on.

Collective Skin Care in Yaletown offers Tata Harper facials, and while the prices are a bit higher than what I’ve been used to for facials, you will arrive and leave with confidence that the products being used are the very best of the best. I highly recommend the Brightening Facial, especially if your skin is going through a change of season, or if you are preparing for a special event that requires you to look your best. This is a great way to give yourself a skin “reset,” even if you are already using Tata Harper products in your regular routine.

Now here’s a photo with me post-facial with no makeup on. What do you think?

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Experience: Dermalogica IonActive Power Treatment Facial

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A few weeks ago, I was invited to experience the new Dermalogica IonActive Power Treatment Facial at the International Dermal Institute in Vancouver. My treatment was handled by Cory, Senior Dermalogica Trainer, who is extremely knowledgeable about skin treatment, as well as Dermalogica products.

The new IonActive Power Treatment is a 45 minute professional treatment that is designed to treat skin conditions such as acne, dehydration, hyper pigmentation, sensitivity, and aging. The key parts to the IonActive Power Treatment are the IonActive serums and the Gelloid masks. There are four IonActive serums specifically designed for treating particular skin concerns, and they are used in conjunction with a tool that delivers microcurrents into the skin, which allows for deeper penetration of the serum ingredients.

  • Retinol 1% IonActive – for treating aging skin
  • Hyaluronic Acid IonActive – for treating dehydration and sensitivity
  • Oligopeptide IonActive – for treating hyperpigmentation
  • Niacinamide IonActive – for treating adult acne

There are also two types of Gelloid masks. These masks are used both as a massage cream, as well as a face mask. The facial massage was specifically designed to help push the IonActive serums further into the skin for better penetration and efficacy of the serum ingredients.

  • ExoThermal Gelloid – a self-heating massage mask that is ideal for stressed, dehydrated, or aging skin
  • EndoThermal Gelloid – a cooling massage mask that is perfect for soothing sensitivity, reducing inflammation and suppressing acne.

Based on your Face Mapping analysis, as well as your own description of your top skin concerns, you were prescribed a treatment. My main skin concerns are hyper pigmentation and dehydration, and Cory agreed based on an analysis of my skin. As such, he recommended the Oligopeptide IonActive in conjunction with the ExoThermal Gelloid.

He started the treatment with a deep cleanse of my skin using the Pre-Cleanse, an oil cleanser and one of my favourite products from Dermalogica. He then double cleansed with the Ultra Calming Cleanser, a gel-based cleanser that’s very soothing, gentle, yet effective. The cleanser was immediately followed a deep yet gentle exfoliation using the Daily Microfoliant. After what was pretty much a triple cleanse, Cory walked me through the different types of IonActive serums, and we both agreed that the Oligopeptide serum was the best for me as I wanted to focus on reducing my hyperpigmentation. The Oligopeptide IonActive serum was applied generously over my face with a spatula. The serum was left to set for a minute, and then the Gelloid mask was applied. I have stressed and dehydrated skin so the ExoThermal Gelloid was used for the facial massage. The facial massage was extremely relaxing, and probably my favourite portion of the facial.

After 10 minutes, the mask was removed using a warm towel, and the facial ended with a quick spritz of the Multi-Active Toner, and a generous application of the Pure Light Day Cream, which contains SPF 50, to get me ready for the rest of my day.

My skin, upon leaving the IonActive Power Facial was extremely supple, hydrated, and brightened. Of course it was just one treatment so I didn’t see any huge improvements (it’s just a facial, not magic). For maximum benefits, Dermalogica recommends a series of three to six treatments initially (every two to four weeks), and then followed by maintenance treatments twice a year.

The Dermalogica IonActive Power Treatment Facial is available now at select skincare centres and spas across Canada for a suggested price of $120 per session (varied by skincare centre).

Experience: Babor Facial Treatment at Beauty Court

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I was invited by local Vancouver beauty boutique Beauty Court to experience a Babor express beauty treatment during their recent Babor beauty event. I have a long history with Beauty Court, first shopping with them at the young age of just 15. I purchased my first ever Anna Sui products from them, which also ignited my love for the brand. Thus when they wanted to collaborate with me, I was simply over the moon!

Beauty Court specializes in specialty luxury skincare, importing high end skin care brands such as Valmont, Guinot, Cellcosmet, Babor (one of their more recent additions to the brand roster), and are the exclusive B.C. seller of Swiss skincare brand, Swiss Line. Beauty Court also carries luxury beauty brands such as Guerlain, Cle de Peau, Shiseido, Dermalogica, Clarins, Anna Sui and Paul & Joe. They are family-owned and operated, and are equally passionate about beauty products are they are their customers.

Beauty Court has a spa section for doing facials, massages, and other treatments on their customers. This spa side is simply gorgeous – probably one of the cleanest and most serene spa spaces I’ve ever been in. My treatment room was a good size, not claustrophobic like other treatment rooms I’ve been in, and there is a spacious bathroom (with shower) connected to the treatment room so I can use it at my leisure without walking around and seeing other customers – the perfect design to create the ultimate relaxation experience. They use the luxury skincare products available on their retail side for their spa services.

I had previously written about Babor, but just as a refresher, Babor is a Germany innovative skincare brand with a strong focus on research and development. Founded exactly 60 years ago in 1956, they were the inventor of the ampoule, a concentrate skin treatment serum encased in individual-use glass vials for the freshest, most hygenic product.

My esthetician first removed my makeup, then deep cleansed with a mixture of the HY-OL with the Phytoactive Combination. The HY-OL is a cleansing oil that contains soybean, sesame and peanut oils, as well as quillaja extract, and the Phytoactive Combination is an herbal cleansing extract for use with the HY-OL, which contains the detoxifying extract of Agrimonia eupatoria, which has an astringent effect, as well as the essences of sage, witch hazel and azulene to refine and balance the skin. The cleansing portion was so relaxing and I felt like my skin was deep cleansed, refreshed, but still hydrated at the same time. My esthetician then designed a routine with other Babor products that suited my skin, which included a serum, a 5 minute facial massage, a 10 minute face mask (with neck and shoulder massage), eye cream, face cream, and ultimately sun screen, which a lot of facial places forget to apply.

I’m not new to facials as I’ve reviewed a number of them on the blog, but this was the first time I’ve ever gotten an Asian-style facial. What’s the difference, you ask? Asian-style facials focus a lot more on massaging the different pressure points on your skin to help revitalize your skin through increased blood flow, and also lift up the skin. My facial was an express 45 minute one, whereas the normal facials are 1.5-2 hours long, which means there is a lot of massage time in there. Not only did my esthetician massage my face, but also focused on my neck, shoulder and upper arms. I left feeling super recharged and relaxed, which was exactly what I needed after a long week of work.

Last thing I want to mention is that I left Beauty Court with exactly the right amount of product, i.e., moisturized and sunscreen, on my skin, which has almost never happened to me before after a facial. There were times where I left facials with too much cream or sunscreen on my face that it was sticky, heavy, and just felt bad. There were other times where not enough cream was applied so I left the facial feeling drier than before I had gotten the facial. By contrast, my skin felt very hydrated, plumped, brightened, and comfortable after my session with Beauty Court. Because of this, as well as the quality of the service and amenities, I have to say this is one of the best facials I’ve ever gotten in my life.

I received a few Babor products to try at home, so I’ll be reporting back on those in a few weeks. I do have to say that I woke up the day after my facial with incredibly soft, supple and bouncy skin, so I look forward to seeing what long term use of Babor products will do to help with my skin!

Make sure to check out Beauty Court if you’re in the area, they also offer online shopping at beauty-court.com.

Beauty Court Premier
Unit 2610-2630, Aberdeen Centre 4151 Hazelbridge Way V6X 4J7 Richmond, BC Canada
Phone: (604) 232-1010
Email: info@beauty-court.com

 

Fantastic brow threading and tinting experience at Indian Brow & Henna Boutique!

I was recently invited by Hema, co-owner of Indian Brow & Henna Boutique on Broadway in Vancouver to experience a brow service at her boutique. I had previously done brow threading at other places and I wasn’t very happy with it because I felt like I didn’t get much input in terms of how I wanted my brows to look, and I walked away with too-thin brows. However after reading so many positive reviews of Indian Brow & Henna Boutique, I was very happy to try out threading again.

Booking my appointment was very fast and easy, and Hema was very flexible in accommodating my hectic schedule. The location of the boutique is very conveniently located on Broadway and Spruce (one block west of Oak), and the storefront was very bright and easy to find. My initial impressions of this boutique were all extremely positive.

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When I arrived at Indian Brow & Henna Boutique, I was immediately greeted by Hema who offered to take my coat and also offered tea or water. I was also given an info sheet to fill out with my  information. The boutique is very spacious on the inside, with plenty of room and light, with big mirrors on the wall. There’s also a divider between the front reception area and the back service area, so clients can have some privacy when getting their services done.

Very quickly after I arrived, I was brought to my chair for my service. Hema looked at my brows and assessed that they were a bit sparse towards the front and end, and they could also be darker, so I received a quick brow tint as well. I’ve never had my brow tinted and I never thought that it was necessary because my hair was already so dark, but Hema assured me that the tint would bring out the colour of my brows even more and that my brows would look bolder, if that’s the look I prefer (and yes it was).

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(Before / during brow tinting)

After brow tinting, Hema worked with me step by step to determine how I wanted my brows shaped. I like my brows to be relatively thick with a small arch, so Hema made sure just to clean up any stray hairs without removing too much of the thickness. I also asked for a bit more shape so she gave me a slightly archier look. Overall I’m extremely happy with the shape.

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(During shaping / after threading)

Of course, no Indian threading session is complete without a brow and head massage, so Hema gave me a very relaxing and skin-soothing massage using Indian rose gel (which smells AMAZING!!!). She also used their boutique’s house-brand brow makeup on me to create a finished look. I’m super happy with everything from start to finish, and after reading so many positive reviews on Yelp, I know that my experience will be replicated with every client.

In terms of prices, a brow tint is $21 and brow threading is $22. These prices are extremely reasonable, and because Hema did such a good job shaping them, I’m very confident that I’ll be promoting this service to everyone I know! You can book your appointment online here.

Indian Brow and Henna Boutique
1104 West Broadway
Vancouver B.C.
V6H 1G5
Ph: 604 733 4242
E: info@indianbrowandhenna.com
Hours:
Mon-Sat: 10-7
Sunday: 12-5

Experience: peroxide-free teeth whitening at ST Medi Spa

st medi spa vancouver review

Recently, I was invited to ST Medi Spa in Vancouver to experience their “organic teeth whitening service,” with no peroxide. I’ve never had my teeth professionally (or at-home) whitened before because my gums are sensitive, but because they claim that this process is a lot gentler than other teeth whitening processes that use peroxide, I was intrigued. I drink a lot of coffee and tea every day and my teeth definitely reflect that.

st medi spa vancouver review
st medi spa vancouver review

The entire process was extremely painless and took less than an hour. The attendant coated my teeth with a special whitening gel, and shined a blue laser light on it. After 20 minutes, she applied another coat of the whitening gel, and repeated this process for another 20 minutes, for a total of 40 minutes. Afterwards, my teeth looked significantly whiter and brighter. I also felt no gum discomfort during the entire treatment, which is something rare for me because my gums historically have been quite sensitive to these types of treatments.

I had to lay off coffee and tea for a week though, which was extremely difficult. I think my teeth ended up darkening a tad after the first day, but it was still brighter than what I had originally going into the treatment. I’m super happy with this treatment

Before and after photos – my teeth had lightened six shades!

st medi spa vancouver review
st medi spa vancouver review

My one main caveat is that they market this is “organic” teeth whitening but I asked for a list of ingredients in the whitening gel and not all of them are organic in the sense that we’d interpret it to be on a day-to-day basis. There are chemicals in this, and it’s not all natural, plant-based ingredients. I’m happy to see that there are plant-based extracts in the list though, which is probably what makes it gentler on the teeth and gums. The top ingredient is glycerin, which is a humectant, and the second incredient is baking soda. There is also potassium sorbate in the list, which is an acid which performs similar functions as peroxide. The company claims that this treatment is 95% organic though, which is enough to get it certified organic in Canada. Since I’m not a scientist, I will take their word (with a grain of salt) for it. If you are more particular about the ingredients/chemicals used in your products, then it’d be a good idea to do your own homework.

Ingredients of the whitening gel: Glycerin-1, Sodium Bicarbonate-2, Carbomer-4, Polysorbate 20-4, Triethanolamine-4, Potassium Sorbate-4, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice-6, Punica Granatum  (Pomegranate) Seed Extract-6, Chamomila Recutita(Chamomile) Flower Extract-6, Flavour-4.

Overall I think if you are looking for a gentler, but still effective teeth whitening service then this peroxide-free teeth whitening offered by ST Medi Spa is a great alternative to whatever is being offered at your dentist’s office. If you are truly looking for an all-natural, chemical-free teeth whitening service then I’m not sure this is the one for you. I’m not too picky about my all-natural product so I’m just happy this was effective on my teeth and gentle on my gums. I would definitely go back for seconds and thirds!

ST Medi Spa

920 Seymour Street Vancouver BC, V6B 3L9 Canada
Phone: +1.604.336.6769
fax: +1.604.336.3837
Email: info@stmedispa.com

Business hours:
Monday – Saturday | 10AM – 6:30PM
Sunday | By Appointment Only

st medi spa vancouver review

st medi spa vancouver review