So, I just had my first facial, and boy am I a convert!
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Shawn Blake and her faithful friend, Godiva.
Shawn Blake and Godiva
Shawn is the master behind my first facial and the reason I am coming out of blog retirement.
After a particularly harrowing month of Life with Nasty Neighbours (stay tuned for that cliffhanger!), I finally blew caution to the wind and called Shawn.
I say caution because I am loath to subject my face to anything but a pure Castile soap or olive oil. I have baby-butt facial skin; one wrong look, and POOF!, I’m a red, bloated, itchy bobblehead, with swollen eyes to match.
Shawn totally understood my concerns and reassured me that she would use only natural products specifically made for my brand of #Oy!SoSensitiveSkin. After we finalized the appointment, she sent me detailed directions to her home/studio that put me smack dab in front of her home with nary a wrong turn (and I know from wrong turns!).
I was greeted at the door by the deliciously-named Godiva, who is a sweet bundle of soft cuteness. If you ask nicely (or not), she will allow you to pamper her endlessly (butt-scritches especially welcome!).
The second thing you’ll notice (after how cute Godiva is) is just how radiant Shawn’s own face is! At 55, she seriously glows, and I realize there is no way I am ever going to catch up, but I’m hoping I can start minimizing the damage! Finally meeting Shawn in person and seeing what must be the results of a fantastic skin-care regime is a remarkably auspicious beginning to a first-time facial.
Before anything started, we sat down to get to “know” each other. As a whole lot of you will get, we’ve been Facebook friends for ages, but we’d never met in person! I’d say that this was the nicest part of the experience, but… oooohhhh, that facial!
Shawn took a full history of my health and the state of my face. She knew I was nervous (#OySoSensitiveSkin), but Shawn is knowledgeable about her work and her products. She explained in detail what she would be doing and the products she would use. As anyone who knows me knows, I am a scientist groupie (those who can’t, follow?) and a rabid Pseudo-Science Quack Slayer! Shawn knows of what she speaks, and I felt completely confident about putting my face in her hands!
Shawn has a lovely home with a dedicated professional studio. Here, you know you’ve entered a sanitary sanctuary that is nonetheless warm, comfortable, and welcoming. I changed in the spa-like bathroom into a wrap-around towel that actually managed to wrap around my big butt! Yay!
And then the facial. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why I’ve never done this before, although I’m delighted it was Shawn who forged the gap (I know, I know; “popped my cherry” kept trying to creep its way into this review, but I’m sorry, I’ve never liked the phrase and I’m just not going to use it!).
She cleansed, she exfoliated…, she extracted! (I passed this stage with flying colors, thank you very much! Really, I was ridiculously pleased that I had required few extractions—who was I, and what happened to the OH so NOT girlie-girl I used to be?!)
She masked and then masked again, and all the while, my face, shoulders, arms, and hands were rubbed, scrubbed, and massaged.
Shawn Blake with Godiva
The aromatherapy blends she used at the very beginning stayed with me throughout, and I had to restrain myself from asking for additional hits. She used it at the end of the treatment, too, which stayed with me for the rest of the day. Next time (and that will be soon!), I won’t be so shy about asking for more, more, more! (Shawn, if you package it, I will buy it!)
Shawn uses a German cosmeceutical line called Janssen for her clients with sensitive skin (even Rosacea). There are no added dyes, perfumes, or parabens, just lots of natural ingredients and botanicals.
I opted for the 90-minute package (in for a penny, in for a pound!), which included:
- The aforementioned aromatherapy (mmmmmm!) at the beginning and the end of the treatment
- Steam, which seemingly comes from out of nowhere; all of a sudden, you notice the room is getting a bit warmer, and your face feels less tight.
- A double cleanse with a soft electric vibrating Clarisonic brush that Shawn described as similar to the Sonicare toothbrush. It uses the same sonic technology for a deep clean. (FYI: do not try it at home with your own Sonicare toothbrush; I’m pretty confident the brushes are quite different!)
- Extractions (see above, A+ marks, irrational exuberance)
- A peel, which bears absolutely no resemblance to the Silent Lamb image that immediately jumped to mind! This was a “Skin Refining Citrus Enzyme Peel (Janssen), which “helps reduce the appearance of fines lines, enlarged pores and uneven skin texture.”
- Mask: the first mask was a white tea hydrating gel mask
- Mask again: the second mask was an anti-aging cream mask with hyaluronic acid.
- Anti-aging apple Stem Cell ampoule or isoflavonia
- A paraffin hand treatment, which involves a delicious dip into warm lavender paraffin wax and mittens! It felt delicious, and as the current Santa Ana winds have sucked every ounce of moisture out of my body, I crave that wax and those mittens!
- Serums, moisturizers, eye treatments, lip treatments, and sunscreen (with a well-deserved but non-nagging admonishment to USE IT!!).
- Throughout the entire experience, continuous face, neck, shoulder, hand, and scalp massages (oh my!).
Shawn has magic hands and a friendly, gentle nature. By the time she was done, we were friends for life, and I was no longer a cynical facial scaredy-cat. Did the lotions and potions and tinctures and masks make me young and beautiful again? Yeah, no; that ship has definitely sailed. But my skin really did feel remarkably better. Hydrated to the dermis, I tell you! And all of my Life with Nasty Neighbours stress was somewhere back in La Misión, waiting, I knew, but right then, I was a blissful new facial fiend, and stress could wait another day.
(Whatever you do, do NOT turn down the final proffered scalp massage! DO. NOT. TURN. IT. DOWN! You’ll thank me! Well, you’ll thank Shawn, but you’ll think about thanking me, because … oh. my.)