As far as facials go, the focus is usually all about your skin (as it should be), but what about the thing underneath your skin? Ya, know… you! Wouldn’t be nice to have a facial that cleanses your mind and body too — not just your pores and blackheads?
Well, the Ayurveda Facial ($148) at Laya Spa on Queen West does just that! It’s like a detox for you mind and skin, but it doesn’t involve green juice or starvation (#bless). It’s not magic either; just a whole different practice that might be new over here in North America, but is actually based on ancient traditions. When I say ancient, I mean 5,000 to 6,000 years ago by Indian monks. The monks really had their shit together, there’s no argument there, so having a facial built around the same properties of Ayurveda makes total sense. But before I get into my zen-like experience with Laya Spa, it’s probably best that you understand some of the basics.
Ayurveda is based off three principles or “body types,” that they call doshas. Doshas are the energies that make up our being, and while all three types (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) live in everyone, you likely have one that’s more prominent. This dosha is kind of like your loud Aunt Sally and wants all the attention. It will make itself known through specific psychological and personality traits.
So, here’s where the Ayurveda facial comes into the equation… Based on certain traits you present, and a body type assessment, the entire facial will be built around your prominent dosha. It’s also the definition of an “all natural” facial using only fresh ingredients from the earth (monks didn’t have retinol or peels), so the whole experience will be healing, not harsh.
But don’t get it twisted, all natural doesn’t imply poor results; it actually just means that your face won’t accidentally be burned off by an intense peel, but rather nourished according to your dosha and skin type. The facial begins with your facialist allowing you to smell different oils; the ones that don’t turn up your nose will be used as part of the facial, and for massage.
I happened to like ALL the oils because my nose is not picky, so my facialist mixed them together to create my individual oil concoction. Gosh, did it smell good! I mean you could massage my face, head, neck, and body with the scent of brussel sprouts and I would be in absolute heaven, but obviously this was much more ideal.
After a good amount of massage from the most angelic hands (seriously, don’t stop touching me), your facialist will do extractions where needed, and then apply a facial mask with fresh ingredients like cucumbers, yoghurt, avocados, and honey to reveal your best, and brightest skin.
While you bask in the calming feel of your individualized mask, your facialist will begin to complete a whole body massage, using Guna Therapy (gentle body rocking motions and a light abdominal massage). Obviously, this was my favourite part because I could lie on a table and be massaged 24/7 with no complaints.
Furthermore, this is actually what makes the treatment like a whole body cleanse, because along with Guna Therapy, the Ayurveda facial also uses lymphatic and marma point massage techniques. Gentle movements are used to flush toxins away from the lymph nodes, and pressure points are activated for relief of pain and tension.
The whole process was so calm and relaxing that I almost fell asleep… ALMOST! Because I hate when I fall asleep during a massage and basically miss the entire thing; rewind please! Although, drifting off is part of the experience, as it’s almost like a meditation; you might find yourself slipping into your quiet place. Go there whenever it feels right! Your facialist won’t try to strike up a conversation during the treatment as cleansing the mind is an essential component of the Ayurveda facial. Trust me, though, there is no awkward silence; just a calm state of mind.
Your facial will almost be done right about now. The mask will be removed with some hot towels that are honestly, so comforting on your skin. Then a final moisturizer will be used to polish everything off and the urge to take a nap will be real. I took my time getting up and soaked up every last second of peacefulness that I could.
When I was finally ready to leave the room, or what had become a temple of relaxation, my facialist met me at the door to make some final recommendations. She noted what my dosha type was and made some product suggestions. I was so curious about doshas by now that I spent some time that afternoon reading up on them. My dosha was actually bang on with describing me (wow).
I also found the results of the facial vibed unusually well with my reactive skin. I did have some inflammation for about five days from extractions, but since those have healed my face has been looking radiant and clear.
Regardless of whether or not you believe in alternative forms of medicine, the Ayurveda facial is a safe, non-invasive way to rid the body and skin of toxins and I guarantee you will be fresh and beaming afterward.
Interested in booking an Ayurveda facial? Head over to layaspaandyoga.com and treat yourself!