Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Life Lessons and Lovey Skin: A day at the Facial Spa

I enjoyed some time off during the start of the year so decided to indulge with a spa treatment. My first instinct was to get a massage at the local Aveda salon and school but things changed when I stumbled upon a new find while vintage shopping the other day.

As I walked closer to the two large Romanesque statues guarding the entrance of this salon and spa, something told me to take a moment to review the menu of services to see if a spontaneous massage or facial was in my near future.  Much to my surprise, the list of services available included things such as relaxers, two-strand twists, sew-ins, afro blow-outs, etc.  I was puzzled to find a salon that offered such a wide range of services that catered to women of color in that part of town.   At this point I had no choice but to walk in. 

The small space was quaint and inviting.  When I walked in there were several clients receiving services and a few waiting for their turn.  I chatted with the guy who greeted me and told him of my interest in receiving a facial treatment.  He walked over to a young African American male stylist with great skin and friendly disposition and exchanged a few words.  The stylists summoned me to him.  We conversated for a few minutes about what type of service I desired.  I inquired about a facial peel to remove my acne scars.  He immediately asked me about the level of sunscreen I was using.  I replied SPF 30.  He shared that SPF 30 wasn't sufficient enough for me.  I immediately flash backed to an interview I read where Gabrielle Union disclosed that she wore SPF 110 (*mental note, get a higher grade sunscreen*).  I told him that I previously had services done at a Spa in Beverly Hills by the name of Lady Dees. He knew exactly who I was talking about.  This immediately put me at ease.  At one point in the conversation, I put my hand to my face and was immediately reprimanded for doing so.  He took a closer look at my skin and said that I didn't need a peel.  "Is this guy serious?" I thought to myself.   He proceeded to suggest I do a facial instead.  Reluctantly, I heeded to his advice and scheduled time to meet with him.  "What's your name?" I asked him.  "Courtney," he replied...."I'm the owner."  We wrapped up our conversation and, as I left the salon, I replayed the part about Courtney saying that I didn't need a peel.  I had no make up on at the time so I'm sure he didn't miss the dark marks on my face. Why would he miss this opportunity to offer me a more lucrative service?

I returned hours later for my appointment.  Everyone else had gone home since it was technically a holiday.  Courtney stayed behind to service me.  Over the course of the facial, he and I spoke in length about great skin.  Courtney shared his age with me and I nearly fell out of my spa chair.  He is a living testament to the results that great skin care creates.  Like Lady Dee, he also recommends a cold rinse/ice cube after washing.  His philosophy centered around keeping it simple.  He offered to sell me no products.  He provided detailed instructions on how to properly use my Clarisonic. When I inquired about the mask he applied on my face, he replied that it was his personal creation and making money from the sale of the mask wasn't important to him.

 Courtney then noticed something about me. He sensed that the view I had of my skin seemed not based on reality.  I told him about all purchases I made to clear my issues.  He remarked that my skin was not the same as it was "before" and that I still viewed myself as having horrible issues.  The guy actually said that I have "good skin."  I cringed when he said those words.  He noticed my reaction and continued to counsel me on my mental blocks around having good skin.  I listened quietly and let it all sink in.  When the visit was over, wished each other a happy holiday as I voiced my intention to return.

Courtney taught me a valuable lesson that day.  I was reminded of how often we create a certain opinion or view about ourselves then latch on to that perception forever.  In my mind, I was still the girl with bad skin, even if that wasn't a reality.  When my thinking says "bad skin," my actions will be aligned with my thinking. It's a vicious cycle.  Then I started reflecting on the other areas in my life where I hold on to an old label I created for myself, long ago, that no longer holds true.   What if I were to begin to identify myself in a new way.  How would that impact my actions?  Would it cause me to look, think and act in a new way in accordance to my new view of myself?  I'm so grateful for the lesson that Courtney taught me that day.  Not only did he make my skin glow, he opened up my mind to new possibilities.

Thank you Courtney. 

  1. Sounds like an amazing place, and an amazing owner


  2. I have nominated you for a Liebster Award. Details on my blog :)

  3. How did he instruct you to use your clarisonic? Thanks for all your helpful blog posts, you are awesome :)

  4. I just adore this blog...I'm so happy you are posting more often:)

  5. Sounded like a lovely spa experience. You don't get that sort of honest advice everyday

  6. I have been doing some research for higher spfs and find that the ones that have a higher SPF have tons of parabens, mineral oil, and other harmful ingredients that cause Anti aging in the long run. Can you recommend some sunscreens with higher spfs please? I have a Clarsonic but read that it can harm your face if not done properly. I would love to start using it again with proper advice. Lol this article could not have been posted at a better time

  7. Loved, loved, loved this post. Especially loved the beautiful interaction betweeen you and the owner. What a business man!

  8. @Bella-Thanks so much for the nomination!
    @Anon-Let me see if it makes sense to type out the instructions vs. doing or finding a video that demonstrates it. I'll try writing a post but if it doesn't make sense then we'll try plan B.
    @Nix08- Thanks Hun! I'm challenging myself to do things that make me step out of my comfort zone. This is one of those things.
    @Rochelle-I know right! What are the odds?
    @Anon-I'll go on the hunt and let you all know what I find.
    @LouisChick-Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. :)

  9. This was an awesome post and it made me think, with regard to the point made about mental blocks and how it's not limited to one thing.

    For example, I am currently also working on a "bad skin" mental block. I had acne as a child (note, not as a teen, child) and my skin has cleared up beautifully once I hit around 16. However, when I look in the mirror I can't help but see numerous scars, even though no one else ever does.

    Then there's the "I hate how I look in glasses" block. I've been wearing prescription glasses since the age of 9, and back in the day that meant HUGE frames that would remind anyone else of their grandma. Today of course my glasses are chic and fashionable, but I still believe that I look prettier when I'm wearing my contact lenses, and I need to get over that.

    There's the "I don't have nice teeth" mental block. I wore braces for 5 years and being a metal mouth for that long messes with your head, which is why I ONLY use electric toothbrushes and I ONLY buy extra whitening toothpaste. Meanwhile back at the ranch other people love my smile and I need to get on their level.

    And then finally there's the "I don't have good hair" block. Yes, I'm on my journey, and yes, I'm learning to take care of and appreciate my own hair and work with it instead of fighting against it. But still there are some mornings when I simply stand in front the mirror, hands in my hair thinking "What the frick am I supposed to do with y'all today???!!!" And when one has naysayers and haters in your life regarding your journey and the effort you put in, it can become unsettling when your having a bit of an off-hair day. But I realised whilst reading this post that it's a mindset that I myself need to work on, until the positive thoughts and actions become common place in my life.

    I'm sorry, I wrote an essay! But thank you so much for writing this and having me open up my noggin a bit today.

  10. @ Phoenix, Everything you spoke is so true.