by Lesley Ellen Mirza
My absolute favourite treatment to get at a spa is a facial. Facialists know exactly how to make my skin glow like an A-list celebrity, in a way that I just can’t seem to achieve at home. I’ve had many a facial in my time, but I’ve never one that utilizes seaweed—until now.
Vancouver’s Shangri-La Hotel recently introduced a one-of-a-kind facial to CHI, The Spa’s repertoire of treatments.
The Sea Therapy Facial was created in partnership with Diane Barnard, “The Seaweed Lady,” and her luxury skincare company Seaflora Wild Organic Seaweed Skincare, a Vancouver Island business that incorporates wild hand-harvested seaweeds into their organic product line (seaweed is chock-full of vitamins and minerals, and contains anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agents, making them a fantastic ingredient for skincare).
The lovely Aiko was my therapist for my West Coast seaweed facial experience. After enjoying a delightful cup of warm honey and ginger tea in the lounge, she led me to my private treatment suite (each comes with its own fireplace, private bath, shower, relaxation lounge, changing and vanity areas – fancy!) and gave a brief overview of my treatment, which was to begin with a 15-minute steam.
As I relaxed in my steam room for one, I fantasized that my fat was melting off my bones with every bead of perspiration, and I saw myself emerging 10 pounds lighter. A gentle bell rang, snapping me back to reality, and I toweled off, shuffled over to the cozy treatment bed, and climbed in.
For the next 60 minutes, Aiko applied seaweed-based products to my tired-looking, 43-year-old skin, to hydrate, gently detoxify, and reduce the signs of aging. Even strips of actual fresh seaweed were draped across my face (at first it felt strange, but then I enjoyed the cool feeling). As the treatment progressed, any lingering tension melted away with Aiko’s heavenly neck, hand, foot, and head massage.
In conjunction with the facial, hot and cool stone therapy was used to help release toxins and fight inflammation in my face and body, creating head-to-toe body wellness. When, sadly, my Sea Therapy Facial ended, I was thrilled to find that my skin felt soft, smooth, and a bit firmer, in addition to having a wonderful, healthy glow.
Lesley Mirza works as an editor and writer for a variety of publications, covering travel, beauty, spas, food/drink, and culture. When she’s not hopping on a plane or sipping a cocktail, she can be found walking her two pugs on Kits Beach in Vancouver, B.C.