Defining Beauty

Celebrate the individual forms of gorgeous

This year, People magazine named Gwyneth Paltrow the World’s Most Beautiful Woman. Last year it was Beyonce and in 2011 JLo took the top spot. All three women come from diverse ethnic backgrounds and are remarkably different— one with full, thick lips, another with a smaller mouth and a dimpled smile, yet something about these women resonates as the ideal for true beauty.

Our perception of beauty is subjective and our understanding of it develops through the people and things around us: our family, society, our friends, and the media. Beauty isn’t one-size-fits-all, it comes in every shape, size, and colour imaginable, and the spa industry is catering to every need and want of the consumer, from medi-spas to health spas and everything in between.

Inner beauty

“I see so much now how beauty really does, as cliche as it sounds, emanate from within,” Paltrow told People. This idea that beauty doesn’t begin on the surface is one that is echoed throughout the Canadian spa industry.

“A vibrant energy, a radiant smile and sparkling eyes are evidence that a person is being good and loving towards themselves—and that shows on the outside,” says Nicky Potter, the director of training and education at SkinHealth Canada.

Marianne Trotier, the spokesperson for Nordik Spa-Nature agrees, adding, “It shows when someone is happy. Everything is in the eyes. The glow, the light—I think this is beauty.”

Exceptional spa experience

For those in the beauty industry, health and internal beauty are concepts that can be capitalized.

“We want to make sure [clients] have the experience they want, not the experience we think we should be giving them,” says Rachel Campbell, the district manager of Dove Spa. “We want to give real care to real women. We’re not going to tell them, ‘you need to fix this.’”

While many beauty brands use the media to continue to bombard women with unattainable models, Dove is refreshingly different and promoting the beauty of everyday women through its Campaign for Real Beauty that aims to inspire confidence. Campbell says the Dove Spas reiterate this concept. “We’re trying to enhance a woman’s actual beauty; a true, inner beauty.”

As with any type of beauty service, it’s important to avoid pointing out what you perceive as flaws and, instead, allow guests to articulate areas of concern and the type of treatment they’d like done. Take cues from your client because what makes them feel most beautiful could be anything from a wrinkle-reducing collagen eye mask to a Friday pedicure to start the weekend feeling sexy.

At Nordik Spa-Nature, the largest day spa in North America, guests indulge in nordic baths, kalla treatments (a saltwater float pool), massage therapy and more. Trotier says they leave feeling clean, relaxed, and beautified, thanks to the overall elite experience that is created by staff at the spa.

Since beauty starts with how a person feels, proper service is key to maximizing a client’s beauty potential. “We treat everyone uniquely. We give them all the service, smiles, and attention they deserve,” says Trotier.

Campbell says Dove Spa strives for top-notch service for every client that walks in the doors. With one of the spa’s core values being for you, everything is done with the guest in mind. “We don’t make blanket treatments that are used on everyone. We want to make it personalized for the guest.”

Health and beauty

All the industry insiders and spa friends we spoke with agreed that health and beauty are intertwined. “No matter what someone’s physical characteristics are—the shape of their nose, the size of their lips, their hairstyle—it comes down to health,” says Potter.

As an educator with SkinHealth Canada, Potter provides advanced education on the science of the skin, to skincare professionals across the country.

“Health is radiant and glowing,” she says. “It gives you an energy that is vital and attractive.”

Being healthly and beautiful starts on the inside, but whether or not we like to admit it, it’s our imperfections that define our beauty. The scar on your eyebrow that’s been there since you were a kid or the nose you think is just too big—these are the definitive characteristics that make our faces unique, lovely and beautiful.

“Beauty is more than just perfection,” says Trotier. “You can have a beautiful woman with a lot of wrinkles in her face. The wrinkles tell her story.”

Celebrate beauty!

We started with our editor-in-chief and then asked readers for their thoughts on beauty—how they define it and what makes them feel beautiful. Here is a selection of their answers.

“I see beauty as the synergy between various elements— colour, shape, texture, sound, or scent—that results in a positive emotional experience.”
Pavla Dlab, art director University Medical Pharmaceuticals Corp. (makers of the Wrinkly MD Eye System)

“I feel most beautiful when I’m getting ready to go out with my girls. After doing my makeup and getting dressed up, I feel powerful and strong—like I’m ready to take on the world!”
Kelly Lehane, aesthetician Romeo Salon and Spa Cambridge, Ontario

“Beauty is a fine balance of self-acceptance, confidence, compassion for others, a joyful spirit, and a positive outlook on life. True beauty starts from within and shines through to the outside.”
Heather J. Kreider, owner, Makes Scents Natural Spa Line

“The two key ingredients to make me feel beautiful are health and happiness. If I’m taking care of myself: exercising, eating well, sleeping soundly, and I’m focusing on the positive and loving life with my friends and family, I feel fabulous. Beauty, for me, is a holistic concept—though an incredible pair of shoes doesn’t hurt!”
Heather Ednie, editor-in-chief, Spa Inc.



by Lindsay Grummett | Summer 2013