I am not a fancy person.
I don’t wear a lot of jewellery or accessories. I paint my own nails, when I remember to do so. I feel uncomfortable being “served” by those in the service industry; I’ve been known to try to get my own water or utensils at restaurants, so not to disturb the staff.
Yet recently, I found myself in a lovely spa, wrapped in warm blankets and surrounded by soothing music, with various oils and goos being massaged into my face, neck and shoulders. I had won a facial in a draw at the Live the Smart Way Expo, but it wasn’t just any facial. It was an organic vegan facial at ORESTA organic skin care, a spa of which I’d heard, but not deemed myself fancy enough to visit.
I have to be honest, I was actually a bit nervous about claiming my prize. I had no idea what to expect, as I had never before had a facial. I envisaged sitting in a chair, draped in plastic, half hanging into a metal sink as my face was sudsed up and sprayed down. I was worried about my hair getting messed up, water in my eyes, and it probably hurting my neck. I suppose that’s what a DIY facial I would give myself might be like.
As it turns out, I had nothing to fear. Oresta is a pro – she’s been delivering healthier skincare services for nearly two decades – and facials aren’t really what I thought they were. And a quick poll of my friends tells me that I am not the only one who has never had a facial!
ORESTA is actually a person and a spa. Oresta Korbutiak became an esthetician and opened a spa after several years of battling adult acne with every product and solution on the market. She eventually found relief through clean eating, and simple, healthy skin care creations, and became keen to share what she had learned with other women who are struggling with skin issues. There are now three Oresta locations – the Glebe, Beechwood, and Hintonburg.
When you walk into ORESTA (I went to the Glebe location) it isn’t at all imposing, yet still has a very classy and clean feel to it. The space is airy and bright, and the floors are original pine. There’s a carefully curated beauty boutique, offering skin care products and cosmetics that are safer and healthier than many conventional products. The building is powered by renewable energy through Bullfrog Power and solar panelled hot water. It’s very much my kind of place.
I was greeted by a friendly boutique staff member (who has worked in the past for environmental organizations) and offered lemon water. Before long I was taken into the treatment room, where Oresta would work her magic.
I had been a bit fearful that I would be too cold (I usually am) but I was toasty and comfortable wrapped up in the spa bedding.
Oresta began by asking me about my skin, and what concerns I have. I told her that at age 35 I’m increasingly conscious of the effects of aging on my skin, and wanting to keep it healthy. We talked about my current minimalist routine, including the products I am already using (which are of course vegan and “natural”).
I actually have no idea what Oresta did to my face, for the most part. She did tell me that she was doing an oil cleanse, as the key to maintaining nice glowing skin is keeping it well-moisturized. There were various oils, exfoliants, masques and hot clothes involved. Oresta also carefully yet firmly massaged my face, as well as my shoulders, neck, back, feet and calves. I’m not much of a relaxer, but I found myself very much enjoying the process and letting myself unwind.
Apparently my skin is in great condition, no doubt a result of all the fruit and vegetables I cram into my belly, sun avoidance, and zealously guarding my sleepy time. I felt so confident after my experience that I went to an event I was hosting, sans make up!
Oresta is keenly aware that many women are still unconcerned about the potentially harmful chemicals in spa and cosmetic problems, and perhaps unaware of the harm done to animals through the testing of these conventional products. In her understated way, she tries to chip away at that.
ORESTA has an online store that sells a carefully curated selection of beauty products and cosmetics, which are also available in-store. You can even search the products by attributes like vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, and unscented, as well as by product type and brand.
Check out the list of services here.
I am not sure that I will become someone who regularly goes for spa treatments, but my fears have certainly been alleviated, and I think a facial is a great option for someone in need of efficient stress release, or who has skin concerns that could benefit from the expertise of an experienced aesthetician.
ORESTA is especially well positioned to provide products and services to vegans, celiacs, and those who are concerned about the ingredients in their products, and avoiding animal testing.
464 O’Conner St.
1121 Wellington St. W.
137 Beechwood Avenue