When you feel like splurging, you can enjoy these treatments at a spa, but you can also reproduce the experience at home
By Lola Augustine Brown
From coast to coast, Canadian spas offer decadent and indulgent treatments. Most budgets dictate, however, that these delights are luxuries rather than a regular part of our self-care regimen. But many can be recreated in whole or in part at home so that we can experience some of the benefits at a fraction of the cost. We quizzed aestheticians and spa owners for take-aways from their spas’ signature treatments.
Oxygen Serum Infusion Facial, Balnea, Bromont, QC
The treatment: After spending time in the glorious outdoor thermal spas at Balnea, you move to a treatment room for a facial. Natural products are used to cleanse and tone, then the face is massaged with jade stones, followed by an oxygen-infused serum. The treatment is finished with a white clay and edelweiss mask.
The effect: “You see the results in your skin immediately. This treatment gives an instant pick-me-up and you’ll glow for days,” says Stéphanie Émond, founder and co-owner of Balnea. “Spending a few hours in nature is hugely beneficial, too, for our whole body and mind.”
The take-away: The oxygen serum is the only part of this treatment that you couldn’t do at home, Émond says, as all the other products used are available for purchase at the spa or from various sources online. (Balnea uses products by SUNDARI Ayurvedic Skincare, Luzern, and Phytomer.) If you upgrade your daily basics to these luxurious natural ones, that’s one quick way to treat yourself. However, Émond says that there are two major elements of the Balnea experience that you can easily replicate: “Get outside in nature, as we all spend too much time indoors; and go for a sauna at your local gym or rec centre, because sweating is the best thing for your skin.”
Majestic Blue Signature Treatment, Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Banff Springs, AB
The treatment: Starting with a full-body lavender and eucalyptus mineral-salt exfoliation, you’re then rinsed off right on the massage table and then massaged with hot stones and organic essences. The treatment ends with you being wrapped in warm blankets as your neck, head, and shoulders are massaged.
The effect: “People can’t even think straight after that treatment; it’s incredibly relaxing,” says Kayla McGee, body technician manager at Willow Stream Spa.
The take-away: You can purchase the Kerstin Florian products used in this treatment at the spa and at various online outlets. McGee recommends that if you use the Turkish Body Scrub ($48) used in the treatment, have a hot bath afterwards to get the benefit of the aromatherapy oils. “Part of the benefit of the Majestic Blue treatment comes from the fact that you’re relaxing in a darkened room for 90 minutes,” McGee says. “I think we all rush around too much and could benefit from taking a little quiet time to pamper ourselves, whether that’s at the spa or at home.”
Coconut Breeze Exfoliation and Massage, Ste. Anne’s Spa, Grafton, ON
The treatment: After being gently exfoliated all over to remove dead skin cells and improve the circulation in your skin, you are massaged head to toe with lime and coconut body butter.
The effect: “Our guests feel so relaxed and they love that they walk out smelling like they’ve been at the beach,” says spa director Natalie Koshowski.
The take-away: You can easily replicate this entire treatment at home, Koshowski says, and it is the perfect treat for our winter-beaten bodies. “Use exfoliating gloves and put a drop of lime essential oil on each fingertip before you use them to gently exfoliate your skin. Finish by applying extra-virgin coconut oil all over,” she says. “This is a great skin treat that you can do on a weekly basis.”
Crystal Rain, KurSpa at the Sparkling Hill Resort, Vernon, BC
The treatment: Designed to soothe the mind and heal the body, this treatment uses different essential oils on various parts of the body to promote relaxation and tissue cleansing.
The effect: “The essential oils have a positive effect on mood and emotions. Our guests tell us that they are floating when they come out of the treatment,” says Kelly Tarso, manager of KurSpa.
The take-away: While Tarso says that she does not recommend self-massage using these types of essential oils (oregano and basil, for example, can irritate if you don’t know how to use them properly), you can receive a wonderful lift by using two of them—peppermint and wintergreen—in a diffuser at home. “Or you can boil a pot of water, put a few drops of essential oils in, put a towel over your head, and inhale the steam,” she says.
Ayurveda Facial, Spa Chappelle, Halifax
The treatment: Starting with a questionnaire intended to determine which oils and products are used, this facial is 90 minutes of heaven, with plenty of massage to help create a sense of bliss while uncovering brilliant and beautiful skin.
The effect: “This treatment allows you to come back home to yourself, allowing your body to rest and repair,” says spa owner Shannon Chappelle.
The take-away: Spa Chappelle’s treatments use Eminence Organic Skin Care products (available at the spa’s boutique or from numerous sources online), which are plant-based, a fact Chappelle says is important, as we need to be aware of what we put on our bodies as much as what we put into them.
“We strongly believe in ‘slow beauty’—that is, taking the time and space to honour ourselves as the goddesses we are, and meditation and beauty rituals are important for bringing that back to us,” she says.