skin care

now browsing by tag


A Skin Care Convert

Photo by a james on Flickr

Photo by a james on Flickr

By Kelly Townsend

First, a confession: I’m utterly clueless when it comes to skin care and beauty regimes.

If you’d asked me a week ago, I couldn’t have told you the first thing about what exfoliating your skin does, or what skin toner even is. It hadn’t been much of a problem in my youth, but as I got older it felt like my skin was starting to cry out for attention. Finally, it got to the point where I decided to book my very first facial at Amanda Borys Aesthetics in hopes of soothing my weary skin. By the end of it I officially became a skin care convert.

Within the first few minutes, my esthetician, Amanda Borys, easily identified the problem areas with my skin. It was severely dehydrated, which explained why it was tight and irritated as well as embarrassingly oily at times. When I casually mentioned that my face gets flushed easily, she even went into detail about why it occurred and, for the first time in my life, actually told me how I can reduce it.

Part of what held me back from getting treatment before was simply embarrassment over how little I’d done for my skin. I’ve been to manicure appointments where the attendant would chastise me over my lack of nail care, and I wasn’t exactly looking for an hour of skin-shaming. As I went through the history of products and treatments I’d done, I awkwardly explained how little product ever touches my face. Surprisingly, Amanda reassured me that it’s far better to avoid product than to overuse them without educating yourself first. She told me horror stories about women who had severely damaged their skin just by overusing certain products.

Once we got into the facial itself, I slowly but surely felt myself easing into the process. Amanda was courteous enough to explain to me what she was doing as she was doing it, and never balked at my questions. As the session came to a close, I was so relaxed I ended up pulling my sweater on inside out.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was life-changing, but the experience really opened my eyes to what I’ve been missing out on by neglecting my skin. Once the appointment was over I could actually feel the difference in my face, as if it had been rejuvenated. Since then I have followed the suggestions made by Amanda and that irritated sensation that used to plague me hasn’t returned.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from this is that taking care of your skin isn’t as complicated as it seems, and there’s no need to feel embarrassed to ask for help. By taking a couple of hours out of my day I was able to identify problems that I never knew could be fixed and discover a quick and simple process to keep my skin from reverting back to its parched and oily state. What I thought could be another awkward spa experience ended up being one of the most relaxing and educational hours I’ve had in a long while.


Summer Essentials

By: Jodee Cave

Summer is finally here and with the heat, humidity and fun it can be hard to maintain your beauty regimen. Whether you’re travelling, swimming or sunning this season, we found some products that you’ll definitely want to take along for the journey!


rainWith the beautiful rays of sunshine summer brings, we also have to deal with the heat, humidity and impurities that are harsh on the skin. Belmondo has just the products to keep your skin looking refreshed and hydrated with their cleanser/toner set, The Rain and After the Rain. These cool and invigorating products gently refresh the skin with natural ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, lavender, aloe and rose. The Rain set is great for those with acne-prone, blemished or oily skin, as well as those who suffer from eczema. The best thing about these products? They’re great for a low-maintenance girl (or guy) as there is no need to wash off so it can be used any time you need a quick refresh.




The Face Effects Perfecting Polisher by Spa Sonic is a great tool when you’re on the run. It comes in a variety of cute patterns including animal print, if you feel like taking a walk on the wild side! The polisher is compact in a handy travelling case, so it can fit nicely in your suitcase or summer bag. Pick your favourite cleanser and pair them together to keep your summer glow all season!






Mia Beauty Tony Ties are perfecting for keeping your messy bun or sleek pony tail intact! They come in a variety of bright colours and patterns. Accessorize your look and use them as bracelets to ensure you always have a tie on hand. Great for trips to the beach, camping or travelling!


Test Divas: Antipodes’ Top Picks

By: Jodee Cave

The Test Divas were lucky to enough to try out some of Antipodes’ best products, fresh from New Zealand and we HAD to share our top picks!

Antipodes is new to the Canadian market. The line is infused with certified organic ingredients from fully sustainable sources and can be used by people of all ages and various skin types. We’ll tell you about the products that really stood out in our opinion and would love to know your thoughts!



Grapeseed Butter Cleanser: This unique cleanser really gives you the best of both worlds! Not only does it clean deep down to remove impurities, but with the addition of nourishing cocoa butter and combination of calming oils, it leaves the face hydrated and fresh and helps to really soothe the skin. The key ingredient that sets the cleanser apart from the rest is the inclusion of Vinanza Grape, a high-level antioxidant found in sauvignon blanc grape seeds of New Zealand. This ingredient aids in repairing free radical damage and instantly revitalizes the skin. It works wonders for dry patches and uneven skin.




Kiwi Seed Oil Eye Cream: This little cream packs a powerful punch! Loaded with super-rich vitamin C harvested from the seed of the New Zealand kiwi, carrot seed, avocado oil and aloe gel. It’s rich, yet lightweight formula works to repair damaged tissue around the eyes and provides a soothing sensation on the treated area. This has definitely become a staple in our beauty regimen and just might be the same for you!




Apostle Skin Brightening Serum: The skin brightening serum is a water-based product which aids in targeting uneven skin tone to help restore the skin. Infused with Waiwera mineral water, this serum rejuvenates the skin and restores moisture. The inclusion of antioxidant-rich Vinanza Performance Plus aids in reducing discolouration in melanin and combats redness. This serum smells incredible and will leave your face smelling delicious all day! It contains light exfoliating agents of kiwi enzyme, oxifend from red grapes to give the skin a polished glow, and Mamaku black fern and Reishi mushroom to promote healthy cell renewal and a fresh, bright complexion. This product is a perfect pairing with the Antipodes Juliet Skin-Brightening Gel Cleanser to really blast those blemishes!


We would love to hear about your diva experience with Antipodes. Try it out and tweet us @SpaIncMag or leave your comments below!


Test Diva: Erbaviva Organic Skin Care Products

By: Lindsay Grummett

Erbaviva began back in 1996 as an organic baby skincare line and then expanded to include items for mothers-to-be and general consumers. While the product lines have grown, the company’s philosophy remains the same: create pure products that are consciously crafted with herbs and botanicals while being free from harsh detergents, chemical fragrances and other additives.

As a lover of organic products, I was excited to try out some of the Erbaviva items and was sent a body lotion and a bug spray. Now, I know the bug spray doesn’t exactly scream spa, but since many of our readers are organic enthusiasts as well as mothers, I thought it was a worthy inclusion. My sister-in-law, Ally, took on the role of Test Diva for the bug spray since she lives in the middle of nowhere and knows a little something about mosquitoes. Before we get to Ally, here’s my review of the body lotion:

Relax Body Lotion

relax_lotionLast year I wrote a story about “Employing Aroma as a Business Strategy” and ever since I’ve been really into aromatherapy. I now have a little collection of essential oils that I use for an energy boost or to help reduce stress.

That being said, I was really excited to try Erbaviva’s Relax Body Lotion because it’s infused with the essential oils of lavender, rose and neroli (which comes from orange blossoms). The product has an amazingly organic scent with noticeable hints of the lavender. The smell isn’t too strong and I find it to be truly relaxing. Not only that, but the lotion performs well, too. It made my skin feel moisturized and incredibly soft. I was really impressed with the product and would definitely purchase it in the future.




Organic Buzz Spray

buzz_sprayI recently received a bottle of Erbaviva Organic Buzz Spray from my sister-in-law. I was skeptical at first as I have tried other organic sprays in the past and I found they weren’t very effective. I live in the country surrounded by thick forest and the bugs can get very bad! I am not comfortable using products that are loaded with chemicals on my 3-year-old (or myself) and with the warm weather arriving, I was on the hunt for a good natural product so I could play outside with my daughter.

I am happy to say that I have found my “go to” product in Erbaviva! To put this spray to the test, I took my daughter to the drive-in theatre with my friend and her two small children. We sprayed everyone with the product and even sprayed some in her SUV. We opened the back and enjoyed two full movies without a single bug bite! We could see the bugs outside but not a single one came into her car! The best part about this product is that there was no chemical smell. My friend’s son has sensitive skin and this product didn’t cause any reaction. In my opinion, Erbaviva’s Organic Buzz Spray deserves a 10/10!


photoBug-free movie night with the kids!



Spa Visits: Getting Guys through the Doors

By: Lindsay Grummett

A couple weekends ago my boyfriend, Mason, and I packed up our bags (and our kitty) and headed north to my parent’s cottage. It’s a relaxing place that my brother and I have loved going to since we were kids.

That Friday, while we were sitting around having some beers, my mom looked down at my brother’s feet and said, “Someone needs to do something about those things. I’m making you an appointment for a pedicure.”

“Ummm, okay,” he said unsurely and with a subtle hint of resistance.

“You’re going too,” she said to Mason.

And it was settled. She booked the appointments and the next day my brother, the tradesman, and my boyfriend, the construction worker, headed to the spa. And you know what? They LOVED it! But then again, why wouldn’t they? Not only are pedicures really relaxing, they also prevent ingrown toe nails, take care of calluses and improve overall foot health.

So why does it seem so hard to convince guys that a spa day should be a priority? For some, the spa just isn’t on their mind, and for others it’s the idea that facials, manis and body treatments are experiences that should be reserved for women. My brother and boyfriend fall into both categories, but they’re living proof that these types of guys can still have an enjoyable experience at the spa. So how can you get more guys into your spa location? Take a look at my three tips:

1)     Talk to your female clients

Every one of your female clients has a man in her life: a brother, a best friend, a husband, a son.  And if your clients are anything like my mom, they wear the metaphorical pants. It’s your job to give them a reason to book him an appointment. Explain the physical benefits of a pedicure and tell them about any upcoming deals or packages your spa may have that are exclusive to men.

2)     Deals and Packages

Speaking of deals and packages, you can’t tell your guests about men’s only deals if you don’t have any. Start with some basic offerings that will get guys through your door like reduced rates for first timers and couples packages. At Avalon SalonSpa in Fredericton, New Brunswick they have a package called “Man Oh Man” that includes a hot stone massage and a foot detailing. I love the term foot detailing it has such manly undertones.

3)      Men’s Only Area  

Men don’t want to be surrounded by flowers and Cosmo magazine. They want deer antlers on the wall and the faint smell of cigars in the air. Okay, maybe you don’t have to go that far, but if you have the room to create a separate space for men then use it! eforea: spa at Hilton in Markham, Ontario has a room called the “Man Cave” where guys can go to get their treatments. Spa operations manager, Kim Assar, says that the space has been really popular because guys feel relaxed and at ease here.

My guys didn’t have a separate space, but they had each other and sometimes that’s enough.

photo (2)
My brother, Michael (left), and my boyfriend, Mason (right).
I’m probably going to die for posting this picture. 

If you have any strategies you’d like to share, comment below!

Test Divas: Sibu Beauty’s Sea Buckthorn Products

What’s better than a skincare line that leaves your skin feeling fresh and renewed? One that is vegan, cruelty free and practices fair trade! You may have heard about the wonders of sea buckthorn, but if not here’s a little background:

Sea buckthorn berries pack a powerful punch, containing over 190 bio-active components. They are rich in omega fatty acids 3, 6 and the rare 7. When applied to the skin these fatty acids assist in keeping skin hydrated, youthful and help to decontaminate and detoxify. Omega-7 is said to help you attain healthy skin, hair and nails while also helping to promote collagen production, rejuvenate skin cell membranes, protect against sun damage and more. Sea buckthorn berries also contain an impressive amount of vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K. These vitamins work together to aid in repairing the effects of free radicals, which can reduce skin issues such as under-eye circles, dry skin, fine lines and wrinkles and help to brighten and hydrate the skin. That’s a lot of big talk for a little berry!

Now that you’ve had your sea buckthorn lesson for the day, check out Jodee and Lindsay’s Sibu Beauty product review.

Fotor0227130726(Click for close-up)

Products: Facial Cleanser, Clarifying Toner, Nourishing Facial Cream and the Replenishing Night Cream

I’ve been using the above Sibu products for the past month and a half and I am amazed at the overall improvement of my skin. I really like the product’s citrus scent and it definitely made my skin feel fresh and renewed. The products were light yet effective, and gave me a clean, smooth canvas for makeup application.

The Clarifying Toner does an excellent job in really cleaning deep down to remove any leftover dirt and impurities that the Cleanser may have left behind. I really liked the idea of the spray bottle applicator and found it came in handy when I wanted to give my face a quick spritz to refresh. It’s a great morning pick-me-up.

The Nourishing Day Cream is my favorite product in the Sibu line. It really is a miracle cream – there are so many benefits pack in one tiny bottle! With each use the tone of my skin improved, and I also noticed it became more firm and hydrated. The disappearance of blemish marks was one of the biggest changes I saw in my skin. When I began using Sibu’s product, I had a few annoying scars that just wouldn’t fade, but now they seem less visible with each passing week. Overall I am amazed at the improvement in my skin and I love using products you can feel good about.


(Click for close-up)

Products: Seed Oil, Cleansing Face and Body Bar, Cellular Support with Omega 7 and Liquid Supplement for Skin, Hair and Nails

When we received our Sibu shipment, I wanted to try some of the alternative beauty products they had available. I’ve been using the four products for about a month and a half, and I’ve had some really great results.

My morning skincare routine starts with the Cleansing Face and Body Bar. This product has the lovely citrus smell Jodee talked about above, and it gave my face that “squeaky clean” feeling. I followed it up with the Seed Oil, which is made from 100% therapeutic-grade sea buckthorn seed oil. Now, one thing you should know about the seed oil is that it smells like the inside of a trash can. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but it’s definitely a smell I had to get used to. The oil has a thick, rich texture, but it doesn’t feel heavy on the skin. I used it both morning and night and it makes my skin feel healthy, protected and has prevented drying (which is a constant problem in the winter). I even used it on a finger I burnt, and – I swear to you – the thing healed like I performed some Harry Potter magic on it. So would I recommend the cleansing bar and seed oil? Yes, yes, and more yes!

The Cellular Support and Liquid Supplement have given my nails new hope. They feel stronger and are growing much more quickly than before. I know, I wouldn’t believe me if I was reading this either, but it’s true. I’m sure they’re helping my skin tone and texture in combination with the Seed Oil and Cleansing Bar. The drink also gives me a boost of energy in the morning, which is a great way to start my day.

I can’t speak highly enough about these products, and frankly, if I wasn’t testing out beauty products for the Spa Inc. blog, I would make this my standard skincare routine. I would love to hear what you think of the products. Comment below and let us know!

Test Divas: Jan Marini Holiday Exfoliator

During the Christmas break, I was lucky enough to test out Jan Marini’s limited edition Pumpkin Spice Holiday Exfoliator.  I loved the smell, although it gave me cravings for a big slice of pumpkin pie after each use.

When I applied the product to my skin, I immediately noticed how soft and smooth my skin felt and was truly glowing (even after the first use)!

I am a big believer in the inclusion of a great exfoliator in my skin care regimen. I’ve tried many brands and formulas, but more often than not, they’re too harsh or drying on my skin which causes flakes and peeling. This exfoliator sets itself apart from others with its unique spherical microbeads, which dissolve in water. It exfoliates and polishes the skin without the harsh abrasives that are common to many similar items in the market today.

I have dark marks and acne scars which make me a bit self-conscious about going makeup free. I love the inclusion of the glycolic acid and proteolytic enzymes, which help to reduce these issues and brighten my complexion. Since including this exfoliator in my routine, I have found that my skin is clearer and I have an overall brighter complexion, I’ve even dared to venture out make-up free and it feels great!

I spent my holiday break in Jamaica (let the jealousy sink in for a moment) and while I was away, I spent a lot of time in the sun, sand, and salty waters. The holiday exfoliator was an excellent tool for cleansing and polishing the damaging days off my skin.

This product was a great travel companion and shouldn’t be reserved for just the winter weather. If you are looking for an exfoliant that is gentle yet effective on your skin, I would wholeheartedly recommend this product.

Marini Holiday Exfoliat#255

Test Divas: SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Masque

By: Lindsay Grummett

I’m totally obsessed with sleep masks this season.  They’re the perfect lazy-lady product – you put it on before bed and wake up with hydrated skin. How easy is that?!

About a month ago, I got my hands on SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Masque (for the sake of continuity I’m going to spell it ‘masque’ for the rest of the post). The packaging says it helps restore the skin’s optimal moisture balance and replenishes dehydrated skin. Sounds good to me! My skin needs an extra boost of moisture in these dry winter months.


Application is easy. After washing my face, I apply a generous layer of the gel-like masque. The product dries after about 15 minutes and the label says you’re supposed to then “massage any excess product into the skin.” When I massage the excess product into my face, it becomes tacky and starts to rub off which makes a bit of a mess. I find blotting to be much more effective. Five hours later (or 8 if you’re lucky) and my skin is soft, hydrated and dewy. Beauty companies suggest adding your favourite serum underneath sleep masques for added benefits. I recently started using HydroStem+6 Anti-Wrinkle Stem Cell Regeneration Serum with this sleep masque, although I haven’t noticed any real difference in my skin’s appearance when using the serum under the masque.

Verdict: For an extra dose of moisture this winter, I recommend SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Masque. The product has kept my skin moist and healthy in this incredibly dry season although it can be a bit messy until you get the hang of it.

Beauty Pro Tip: Don’t go to bed without allowing the product to dry sufficiently. You’ll probably wake up with your face stuck to the pillow.

Test Dude: Pangea Organics Facial Cleanser & Body Wash


By Nick Heffernan

Okay, I’m stepping into some unchartered waters here. I’ll be completely honest: I’ve never set foot in a spa, know next to nothing about the beauty industry and the only products I use are a skin cream for dry skin (which 9 times out of 10 I steal from my girlfriend and when I do buy it, it’s the cheapest I can find) and a face wash (but even if I run out it’s usually back to bar soap for a while until I remember to buy some at Shoppers).

When Lindsay asked me if I wanted to test out some products from Pangea Organics, I was willing to try, but not nearly as excited as the “Test Divas” when they get a new item to review. So, with that back-story, here’s what I thought:

                                 Australian Wild Plum and Willow Facial Cleanser  

31QKHNooKmVUf5htw_iUyWNHshkqo5VxIAs7b-Fs3ooLet’s start with the facial cleanser. I thought it was great. Firstly it smells really good. None of those fake scents that some cleansers have; it smelled very citrusy and fresh. It says you have to apply three squirts, maybe I have a huge face but I needed about five to six. But that is the only issue I had with the cleanser. I have sensitive skin and some other cleansers can leave my face burning a bit or really dried out. With Pangea’s cleanser my face felt great. Would definitely use this again.




Canadian Pine with White Sage Body Wash 

BODY_WASH_CANADIAN_PINE_PRINTA little disclaimer before I get into the body wash. I’m not a huge fan of body washes, in general, and I regularly use bar soap – primarily because I despise almost every guy that uses Axe, but also because I think bar soap is easier, smells better and doesn’t irritate my skin. But I did quite like this body wash. It didn’t smell like the change room at my gym. Instead it smelled like a Christmas tree, which is probably one of my top five favourite scents. Some of my showers stretched an extra five minutes with me leaning against the wall just inhaling. As for the product itself, again, I felt like I was using a lot. But that being said my skin felt good after every use, which is all I’m really looking for. After all, when your junk smells like a forest there ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Spa Inc.’s November Beauty Blitz Contest

You’ve probably seen us tweeting about our November Beauty Blitz contest for the last few weeks and we’re happy to say it starts TOMORROW!

How do you win? Good question!

Every Friday, we’ll be asking our #BeautyBlitz question of the day on Twitter. Follow us, reply to the question and your name will be entered into a random draw to win one of our amazing prize packs with products from HydroPeptide, ilike organic skin care, Sahara Tea, Trind, EmerginC as well as a copy of our fall issue.

Optimized-IMG_5704 (2)

We’ll be giving away one bag in week one, two in week two, etc. So don’t worry if you miss the first Friday, you still have lots of time to win!

We’re also having a giveaway on our Facebook page that’s exclusive to spa industry professionals.  If you own or work at a spa, you can enter for a chance to win one of four fabulous spa prizes:

  • (1) Margaret Dabbs gift basket (retail value: $240.00)
  • (2) Trind spa retail start-up packages ($900 retail value)
  • (1) James Read Stunning Sunless Tanning kit (retail value: $225.00)


Don’t miss your opportunity to take home some awesome spa swag, find us on Facebook and Twitter today!