Spa Inc. Fall 2021

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FALL 2021




Collagen Topicals: AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IN THE FIGHT AGAINST AGING SKIN Publications Mail NO. 40026342



Distributed in Canada by DermaSpark Products Inc. | 1-866-237-0849 | Distributed in Canada by DermaSpark Products Inc. | 1-866-237-0849 |


spa news

A women’s shelter success story, luxury treatments and products, fabulous new spas




Collagen topicals: an ounce of prevention in the fight against aging skin

10 Working with nature for timeless beauty at the Langdon Hall Country House & Spa

12 Spa St. James: an oasis of tranquility that gracefully lulls clients into bliss



spa business

Your guide to social media for spas


in the know

Corneotherapy provides a first line of defence against the signs of aging


science of the spa

Aesthetic treatments that nudge cosmetic surgery out of the way


fresh & new

Innovative devices, serums and nail colours to welcome fall


spa star

Dr. Catherine McCuaig, President of the Canadian Dermatology Association


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between us FA L L 2 0 2 1

Forever young,

without the drama


Award Winner ISSN 1710 -1727 Volume 18, Number 3 Publisher Susan A. Browne Contributing Editor Jana Manolakos

Copy Editor Brooke Smith

ike the turning seasons, the aesthetics industry has seen dramatic changes in the last decade with a visible shift to nonsurgical procedures. The quest to remain forever young in softer, gentler ways - without the cutting edge of a scalpel, is increasingly sought after by health-conscious consumers. No doubt the pandemic has escalated this transformation. Some suggest Zoom is the culprit, with laptop cameras shining an unforgiving light on even the tiniest facial flaws. But there’s more to it. Lower costs and visible results, shorter recovery periods, changing demographics and social media influencers are adding to the popularity of minimally invasive treatments, boosted by consumer desires for more natural outcomes delivered in incremental steps, without the drama. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), which includes some Canadian doctors, fillers and injectables like Botox and hyaluronic acid are the most popular options, growing in demand by a whopping 75% and 54% respectively, in the last two years. Prevention plays a big role in sidestepping surgery, according to the aesthetic leaders we recently interviewed for the magazine. They advise that nurturing your skin from an early age with proper nutrition, exercise, regular skincare routines and sun protection, can stave off invasive procedures down the road. We’re seeing a more wholistic approach to nurturing wellness. Some hotel spas, like the Spa St. James in Montreal have more deeply integrated hotel offerings with in-room services that deliver the ultimate in relaxation. At the Langdon Hall Country House & Spa, nature assumes a leading role in a range of luxury treatments and botanical products aimed at preserving youthful vitality. And even the head of the Canadian Dermatology Association sees value in working together, taking a multi-disciplinary approach to keeping clients and patients at their best. While traditional procedures remain popular, nonsurgical options continue to evolve, changing the face of the spa industry by bringing us closer to the fountain of youth - without the pain of recovery. As a final note, we’re carefully sifting through an unmatched number of submissions for the 2021 Canadian Spa & Wellness Awards and will be sharing the exciting results with you in the winter issue of Jana Manolakos Spa Inc. Personally, I can’t wait to showcase the leading CONTRIBUTING EDITOR lights of Canada’s spa industry!

Check us out online @SpaIncMag

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Contributors Katherine Asmono René Serbon Tiffany Tang Senior Account Edith Dhillon Executive 905.707.3525

Director Stephanie Wilson of Marketing

Production Crystal Himes Manager

Designer Wendy Schroder

Published four times a year by: Dovetail Communications Inc. President: Susan A. Browne Tel: 905.886.6640 Fax: 905.886.6615 Email: SUBSCRIPTIONS AND RETURNS 30 East Beaver Creek Rd, Suite 202 Richmond Hill, Ontario L4B 1J2 PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 40026342 Legal Deposit – National Library of Canada. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, in all or in part, without the written permission of the publisher. Dovetail Communications Inc. cannot be held responsible for any losses or other damages incurred by readers in reliance on information appearing in Spa Inc. Spa Inc. and Dovetail Communications Inc. do not assume any responsibility for the contents of any advertisement and any and all representations or warranties made in such advertising. Spa Inc. will review unsolicited submissions (hard copy or digital texts, photos or illustrations) for editorial consideration but does not guarantee their publication. The submitted material may be used without consent or payment. One-year subscription: Canada $25, U.S. $39. Single copies: $6. Please add GST/HST where applicable. PRINTED IN CANADA Funded by the Government of Canada

Printed on paper with 10% post-consumer waste. This magazine is recyclable. Please recycle where facilities exist.

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spa news


opens this fall Nestled in the forested highlands of Horseshoe Valley in Barrie, Ont., surrounded by breathtaking views, Vettä Nordic Spa is on track to open its doors this Fall. “Horseshoe Valley is already a vacation destination for many, and the natural beauty found here fits the Finnish-inspired escape so perfectly,” explained the spa’s president and founder, Eric Harkonen. Vettä’s saunas and range of multi-temperature outdoor pools are built to allow guests to enjoy self-guided hydrotherapy, proven to boost the body’s natural immunity and well-being. The spa offers massages by RMTs, steam rooms, saunas, warm pools, cold plunge pools, salt rubs, a hot stone room, multiple relaxation areas, and outdoor wood-burning fire pits. Imported Finnish wood and

heated floors and pathways throughout add to the experience. An on-site restaurant and patio, bistro, and coffee bar feature forestforaged delicacies, including freshly picked mushrooms and preserved berries, and locally sourced and ecologically produced vegetables, meats, and smoked and fresh fish. Most of the spa functions in the traditional Finnish way of chatting and engaging with others, although there is a designated quiet area. Harkonen explains, “Coming from a Finnish family, it stood out to me that people in Canada, and especially Ontario, are missing out on the sauna experience and the opportunity to unplug for a while, create memories, and spend precious time with friends and family.” S p a I nc .c a


spa news LEMI’S GAMECHANGING TREATMENT TABLE Italian spa equipment manufacturer Lemi offers a range of luxury spa treatment tables, one of which, the Spa Dream, features two unique treatments — water based and quartz based — so spas can add to their service offerings without additional investments. The company worked with leading global massage expert JeanGuy DeGabriac in developing treatments for these tables.

“Lemi tables are a game-changer for therapists who now have an elevated approach to provide flowing massage experiences,” explained DeGabriac. Designed more than a decade ago, Spa Dream remains popular among spas because of its options to deliver massage treatments on a water-cushioned mattress or on natural spherical quartz, with a minimum amount of changeover between the two. The water pack version of Spa Dream includes four heated water cushions made of soft resistant material that balances body weight. The quartz pack includes natural spherical quartz, which cocoons clients in warm sand that shapes to their bodies.

ONTARIO SPA PARTICIPATES IN LOCAL ELECTRICITY MARKET PILOT TruBliss Wellness & Beauty Spa in Woodbridge, Ont., is offering rewards to customers participating in a local green energy pilot. It’s one of a select few businesses working with Alectra, a large Ontario utility company, on a three-month pilot project. The aim of the project is to encourage customers with solar panels, battery storage, and electric vehicles to trade their unused electricity with the utility company for cash and rewards redeemable at local merchants, including TruBliss. 8 S p a Inc. | Fall 2 02 1

From a women’s shelter to a beauty success story Nine years ago, Brandi Leifso found herself living in a Vancouver women’s shelter, a haven from the domestic violence she had suffered. Today, she is the CEO and founder of Evio Beauty Group, a luxury beauty brand with a big heart. “It was at the shelter that I truly became an advocate for change and armed myself with beauty products to build a platform to evoke change in the world. I set out with a vision to redefine luxury beauty to be kind, conscious, and affordable,” she explains. “We now work with over 27 different shelters across Canada to continue to support others in need. There’s so much more than just the transaction now in retail. What really matters is that connection with the consumer.” In August, Evio was named the Excellence in Retailing Awards 2021 Independent Retail Ambassador of the Year by the Retail Council of Canada (RCC). “With Evio Beauty Group, Brandi has been able to cultivate a community that’s fueled by kindness. She’s been able to achieve the perfect balance between offering consumers the highest quality product while also advocating for change,” explained RCC president and CEO Diane Brisebois. “They’re a beauty company, but so much more than that. They’re committed to an incredible mission to break stigma by doing things differently.” The green beauty line has banned more than 2,700 harmful ingredients from its formulas. To ensure it remains community focused, the company established community advisory panels, which provide honest feedback.

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TOPICALS: an ounce of prevention in the fight against aging skin B Y K AT H E R I N E A S M O N O


t’s no secret the body’s aging process not only impacts our overall health and well-being, but also plays havoc on the skin. The skin is the largest organ of the human body and the most visible determinant of age, so it’s no wonder we’re continuously searching for anti-aging solutions. For centuries — across all continents — the quest for beautiful skin has encompassed a multitude of rituals, techniques, products, treatments, and procedures. The last two decades saw a growth in demand for both invasive and non-invasive procedures, such as cosmetic surgery, injectables, collagen induction therapy, photo rejuvenation, skin tightening, skin resurfacing, and anti-aging facial treatments.

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Our skin serves a variety of purposes. But its primary function is to act as a protective barrier because the skin becomes vulnerable to external aggressors that can damage and weaken its structure. When it comes to caring for our skin’s health, it’s important to recognize that, at its core, it’s all about collagen. This powerful protein produced naturally by the body comes in both supplement and topical formats, and studies have shown its effectiveness in healing and maintaining youthful-looking skin. Its proven efficacy, coupled with increased consumer spending power, is driving demand and pushing the global collagen market to new heights. The market is expected to reach $16.7 billion by 2028, according to a new report by Grand View Research.


With age, the collagen fibres, which form the foundation of the dermal layer, become more cross-linked and rigid, weakening the skin’s framework and limiting its ability to retain moisture, so that visible wrinkles form on the skin’s surface layers.

The skin’s layers comprise a variety of components, including water, lipids, and proteins. Within the skin’s dermal foundation, collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid work together to bring balance to the skin’s barrier function. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the entire body and makes up between 70% and 80% of the skin’s composition. Specialized cells synthesize collagen from amino acids and arrange them into long chains which provide tensile strength and structural support for the skin, bones, and connective tissues. Elastin fibres, which have elastic properties, interweave with collagen fibres to influence the elasticity and firmness of the skin. Together with collagen, elastin helps provide the skin with the ability to retain moisture and density. Hyaluronic acid works like a sponge to absorb and retain moisture within the skin’s layers. Its ability to retain up to 1,000 times its weight in moisture makes it a central element in producing healthy and hydrated skin. Hyaluronic acid is acclaimed for its profound ability to promote the appearance of plump, full skin. It’s also one of the gentlest skincare ingredients on the market today. It doesn’t irritate the skin or aggravate conditions like acne, eczema, or rosacea. And, like collagen, it’s also produced in the body, a process that slows down over time. With age, the collagen fibres, which form the foundation of the dermal layer, become more cross-linked and rigid, weakening the skin’s framework and limiting its ability to retain moisture, so that visible wrinkles form on the skin’s surface layers. Collagen production slows down by roughly 1% each year after your mid20s. For women in the first five years of menopause, that number rises dramatically to 30%. Consequently, both the amount and quality of collagen being produced deteriorate, leading to thinning skin, slower healing of wounds, and general decline of skin resilience. Because most of the skin is made of collagen, it naturally becomes the key focus of anti-aging skincare initiatives. From skincare products to treatments and procedures, the goal is to boost and support the skin’s collagen production. While there are a number of ways to

stimulate collagen production — LED devices, chemical exfoliators, retinol, vitamin C, or glycolic acid — research has shown that applying a skincare product containing collagen can also be beneficial, especially if it includes a humectant or moisturizer. Bovine, porcine, poultry, and marine are the four main sources for manufacturing collagen products. Bovine-sourced collagen represents the bulk of the market because it’s readily available at relatively low costs. However, marine-sourced collagen is ideal for skincare products because of its high absorption rate and bioavailability, and it’s sustainably sourced from deep sea or freshwater fish. It’s significantly less cross-linked, making its solubility much higher than other forms of collagen and therefore able to penetrate and be absorbed into the skin more readily. Native collagen in its raw and unprocessed form has been applied to bone and joint reconstruction, wound healing, tissue generation, and topical cosmetic products. When paired with micro molecular weight hyaluronic acid and advanced hydrating factors, marine-sourced collagen products (like those offered by Eltraderm) encourage sustainable nourishment, support healthy skin recovery, and improve skin’s resilience and appearance. With the onset of the pandemic, it seems we have come full circle and are rediscovering that healthy skin is an integral part of self-care and well-being beyond social media posts. In a recent study by the NPD Group, the 2020 Women’s Facial Skincare Consumer Report revealed that more women in the U.S. are using facial skincare products today compared to a year ago. Whether in the U.S. or in Canada, it’s clear that lifestyles changes — including the effects of COVID-19 — have, in many ways, altered skincare routines in a positive way. With more than 25 years devoted to the skincare industry, people development, and business management, Katherine Asmono co-founded and launched the Canadian-based Eltraderm Skin Care company with the vision of revolutionizing the skincare industry and taking the Eltraderm brand beyond industry standards by delivering product performance and optimizing professional treatments to achieve the best results. #eltradermskin #healthyskinisbeautifulskin

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Working with nature to age gracefully

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Among 75 acres of verdant parkland, the Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa lulls its guests into heavenly tranquility within this timeless award-winning estate B Y JA N A M A N O L A KO S


s you enter The Spa at Langdon Hall near Cambridge, Ont., bouquets of fresh flowers handpicked from the gardens that morning extend a warm greeting in glorious seasonal scents and hues, hinting of the spa’s devotion to natural ingredients. The spa is partly the reason the property is recognized by Relais & Châteaux for exemplifying the highest standard of excellence, one of only 14 in Canada. There’s also something else. Behind the scenes, on a wall in the spa’s staff lounge, you’ll find a small photo of an 84-year-old woman suspended in mid-air, inhibitions released as she bungee jumps into the rocky abyss below. Spa director Julie Simcox explains that the lady, a long-time guest of the spa, has won employees’ hearts with her verve and exuberance for life, a poignant reminder of what it means to age gracefully. Helping skin retain its youthful bloom through anti-aging measures factors prominently into the spa’s brand, explains Simcox, a former aesthetics instructor and board member of Leading Spas of Canada (LSOC). She has been with the company for 13 years, and a day doesn’t go by when she’s not invigorated by the beauty around her, inspired each morning as she arrives at the classical manor reminiscent of an English country estate. The Spa at Langdon Hall, a Quality Certified Member of LSOC, has been voted among the top 25 spas in Canada, and is a recipient of the Canadian Spa and Wellness Award. “Achieving Quality Excellence sets you apart,” explains Simcox. “It assures your guests they’re receiving service and treatment from professionals who uphold the highest standard of practice — especially during COVID.” Simcox notes that while stringent protocols were implemented during the pandemic, they did not dramatically change practices at the spa, which had already prided itself on safety and hygiene. S p aI nc .c a



“Consumers are increasingly looking for custom-made solutions that fit their specific needs.

Nearly 75% of consumers wanted personalized products and services in 2019.”

NEW VALMONT PRODUCT LINE MAY TRUMP COSMETIC SURGERY The spectacular natural surroundings set the tone for the spa’s brand. “It’s actually quite a focus,” explains Simcox. “It’s also why we exclusively carry Valmont products. They share our commitment to youthful, nature-inspired skincare.” While the spa offers clients a wide array of Valmont skincare and body-contouring products among its retail offerings, the more popular ones are focused on preventive measures and anti-aging. “We’ve never wanted to change. Valmont fits so well with us. 14 S pa Inc. | Fall 2 02 1

Their technology, innovation, and products are fantastic. They’re a privately owned company, too, built by the Guillon family, known for their anti-aging cosmetics and perfumes. That passion is what we’re all about, too. It’s about the experience and the whole philosophy behind it. It’s just a really good marriage between us and Valmont.” This October, Valmont is introducing what Simcox calls a revolutionary high-end elixir line, La Quintessence des Glaciers, including a kit priced at $4,888. “The kit may very well prevent the need for cosmetic surgery,” explains Simcox. “The products are not inexpensive. But, we have people who are just so loyal to the brand; they know all about it and are waiting for it to launch. Avoiding cosmetic surgery is exactly what they want to prevent, or want to prolong the need for, and this product may help them do just that.” HOMEGROWN TREATMENTS The spa’s treatment menu pays homage to the surrounding countryside, with ingredients that are natural, organic, and grown on the property. From a range of services and treatments on the menu, guests can select manicures, pedicures, and other hand and foot treatments; facial treatments; a variety of specialty massages and alternatives like acupuncture, reiki, and reflexology; as well as body scrubs, wraps, and masks. After a facial, most guests leave their treatment without any redness because spa staff bypass manual extractions, unless

feature requested. “The product we use does it for you. It lets the sebum and anything that’s been oxidized come out naturally,” explains Simcox. “We don’t even do artificial nails or shellac, and no machines or steamers are used in the facials because we want everything to be natural. Everything has to have that hand-to-hand, hand-toface, or personal contact without machines or harmful chemicals. It takes away from the essence of what Langdon Hall is all about,” she explains. “We get a lot of requests for shellac. And, honestly, it would make it easier on my life if we had it, but it just doesn’t fit the feel of the property.” It’s also about personalizing treatments for the guest, something that’s supported by the spa’s price points. “I don’t feel like price should be a determining factor for which facial you’re going to pick. With everything at the same price, our guests can switch from one to another treatment.” There’s even an option for guests to mix and match between product lines to enable treatment for different skin conditions. COVID HAS ELEVATED SPA SERVICES IN THE RESORT INDUSTRY According to the Retail Council of Canada, “Consumers are increasingly looking for custommade solutions that fit their specific needs. Nearly

75% of consumers wanted personalized products and services in 2019.” And, since the start of the pandemic, health concerns have risen even more, along with Canadian consumers’ greater health awareness, which is expected to accelerate as the population ages. It’s something Simcox has seen at the spa. “I think all of us were a little concerned when COVID first hit. But when we came back from the first lockdown, we actually saw the demand for our spa remain quite robust, and it’s not going away. We’re just so busy. We’re booking two months out now.” Simcox is seeing a growing number of guests looking for spa services as a deciding factor when visiting the resort, a change from the days when the property itself was the draw. “Spa services go along with dining and room accommodations, and seem to be part of the full experience they want now,” she says. “In the last three or four years, our guests have been much more regular. Before, people would come once a year or two; now we’re seeing more make it a regular occurrence.” These regular visits have increased since the spa moved into its new space five years ago. “But, I don’t know if that has to do with the new space or if it’s timing and people’s priorities with spas becoming part of their daily lives.” The move meant a bigger spa team that was doubled in size to almost 50 professionals. To ensure a team that large consistently delivered high-quality treatments, the spa hired a trainer. Rigorous training and assessments occur every three months, although Valmont does the initial training on its products. “We do this with the aestheticians because Valmont is very particular in their facial branding, and we wanted to make sure we’re doing everything the Valmont way.” Simcox believes one of the things that sets her spa apart from others is the low staff turnover rate. “I have three RMTs that have been here 20 years, and the majority of my aestheticians have been here around 10 years, some even 15 and 16 years.” What’s the secret to staff retention? “I think it’s mutual respect,” says Simcox. “I think you have to treat everyone fairly and then they will treat you well. I make sure we have open conversations that are sometimes uncomfortable, but I’m not afraid of having those conversations. People generally want to be liked and respected, and to work well with others. If they’re doing something you’re not on board with, have a respectful conversation with them about it, and then you both can move on.” In the main foyer of the spa hangs a large floral painting, taken from a photo of the flowers in the Langdon Hall gardens. It’s an original, one of three, on loan from Bobbie Burgers, a prominent Canadian artist, whose art speaks to the process of transformation and metamorphosis — a fitting message for the spa, where it’s all about working with nature to bring out the best in life. S pa I nc .c a





alking through the crystal clear glass doors at the Spa St. James in the elegant Ritz-Carleton Montreal, you’re enveloped by the warmth and luxury, which inspires a blissful breath and the release of a prolonged “ah.” Perhaps it’s the calming aromas drifting from diffusers built into the walls, the soft splash of the foyer waterfall, or the warm, natural tones complemented by wood and copper accents. Everything about this special place whispers relaxation. “We always make sure to have the warmest welcome with the biggest smiles greeting our guests,” explains Carolyn Turner, the spa’s marketing director who helped open it as the landmark property’s first in-house spa five years ago. Since then, she has seen the spa elevated to a top tourist destination, even in the face of a global pandemic. “Our spa had the honour of winning a 2021 Travelers’ Choice award. We were in the top 10% of attractions, worldwide.” The partners represent two families, founder Carol St. James and her son, Jordan, who opened the original spa 20 years ago, and Carolyn and her mother Maria Turner. “My mother and I travelled the world visiting the most beautiful spas,” says Carolyn. “Our experience and passion for the industry was a goal we shared with them.” Working in the spa’s 5,500 square feet of space are 30 staff members, including aestheticians, RMTs, and hairstylists. The space boasts a serene relaxation lounge with two fireplaces, 12 treatment rooms, a manicure and pedicure suite, and a stateof-the-art salon. Guests can also access the hotel’s stunning rooftop pool overlooking the city, complemented by a sauna and steam room.

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“Our passion lies in keeping up with the latest technologies in non-invasive treatments. Prevention is definitely the key to healthy, youthful skin, so we offer a variety of non-surgical, antiaging treatments. That’s really our big focus,” explains Carolyn. One of the more popular treatments among clients, the majority of whom are locals, is the St. James Signature ‘Facelift,’ which has garnered a long-time following among clients. This non-surgical facelift applies a very gentle microcurrent to retrain muscles by recreating a lifting effect to target sagging skin, leaving it feeling naturally firmer. Microneedling has also gained in popularity in fighting the signs of aging and improving scarring and skin pigmentation. “We offer a series of treatment packages as a cure to ensure the optimal result. It’s beneficial because you’re not going under an invasive procedure. There’s no after care and you don’t have to worry about side effects,” explains Carolyn. Among a range of non-invasive treatments offered at the spa, there’s IPL Photo Regeneration; a seaweed wrap optimized within a state-of-the-art sauna capsule; as well as Carolyn’s personal favourite, the Advanced Oxygen Facial. “It’s meant to boost your skin’s metabolism with an infusion of pure, highquality oxygen. It really does give a radiant, youthful glow, and it can be combined with many facials.” Treatments are performed using products from Aromatherapy Associates, Cellcosmet, Jan Marini, Luzern Laboratories, and Nelly De Vuyst, many of which are sold at the spa. There’s little doubt that the 18 months has been a challenge for Canada’s spas, notes Carolyn, expressing praise for Quebec’s healthcare workers. The pandemic meant the St. James, like


The space boasts a serene relaxation lounge with two fireplaces, 12 treatment rooms, a manicure and pedicure suite, and a state-of-the-art salon. S p a I nc .c a



others, had to adapt to public health measures. “Moving forward, we are paying even closer attention to detail and shaping our protocols to adapt to make sure each of our clients feels secure and at ease.” Among the many measures the spa took, they felt it was important to invest in the installation of air ventilators around the facility to ensure good quality, healthy air. Funding from the federal government helped cover some of that cost, as well as rent and wages. “We’ll be able to transition off the support this autumn as we get back on our feet,” explains Carolyn. Like most spas, the St. James was forced to close its doors until its reopening this past June, but Carolyn underscores that during the shutdown clients and staff remained patient and understanding. Her staff made sure to stay in touch with clients through newsletters and social media. They offered gift cards, created music playlists, and posted tips on home pedicures. “We have an extremely dedicated staff. They’re very loyal and have built close relationships with so many of our clients. The pandemic just brought us all closer and more unified than we already were.” Unlike some situations, where spa staff simply did not return once closures lifted, Spa St. James employees stuck by 18 S pa Inc. | Fall 2 02 1

the organization. “Thankfully, they also received help from the government, so they were able to maintain their lifestyles and were able to wait.” To reignite plummeting tourism in 2020, Tourisme Montréal looked to jump-start its industry with a campaign to encourage residents to spend on experiences in their hometown. The spa was part of the campaign, which included an overnight stay at the Ritz-Carleton, with breakfast, and a 30% discount at the spa. In part, this helped keep a steady flow of guests to the spa, explains Carolyn. “Montreal is a major tourist destination, and the RitzCarleton is famous worldwide for attracting tourists, so having the spa in the hotel is even more of an incentive for visitors, and it’s just the perfect experience.” The pandemic has amplified wellness in consumers’ minds, something that has not gone unnoticed at the Ritz-Carleton as in-room spa treatments have become even more popular. “Guests really enjoy having a treatment in the privacy of their rooms, so we’ve always offered in-room massage therapy,” explains Carolyn. “Our massage therapists will bring the full set-up, including the beds and music, into the room to instill a nice atmosphere.” Hotel spas are coming into their own, believes Carolyn. “Operating a spot in the Ritz-Carleton feels like the perfect fit for us. It really is a strategic alliance between two wellrun organizations that, like a family, share the same vision and standards.” Paying close attention to detail and delivering a luxury experience flows easily between the hotel and the spa — a combined oasis of tranquility where guests are gracefully lulled into bliss.

spa business


Social Media for Spas B Y T I F FA N Y TA N G


ith spas slowly reopening across the country, many spa owners are wondering what’s the best way to rebuild a connection with guests who may still hesitate to come in for treatments or who have lost touch during closures. One of the many lessons to come out of this time is the importance of a digital strategy to support the in-spa experience. Whether it’s building an e-commerce strategy as an additional stream of revenue or as a means of building brand awareness, a strong social media presence is non-negotiable for most industries, including today’s spas. That’s why we’ve invited holistic marketing expert Tiffany Tang for some top tips for optimizing your social strategy.


1 hour and 46 minutes

Invest in Channels Where Your Audience Spends Time

On average, Canadians spend one hour and 46 minutes on social media, and 32% of them actually look to social media first for brand information — so we know it’s important to invest in these channels. However, with limited resources and the ever-changing digital landscape, it can be confusing to figure out which channels we should be prioritizing. Our top tip for this is looking at your guest demographics and pairing that information with their social media channel of choice. For boutique spas with a younger audience, TikTok is a great opportunity, but not the best choice for those with a more mature



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spa business "Unless the content actually adds value to your audience, being overly salesy can backfire and hurt performance."

target audience. Luxury spas can try channels like Instagram and Pinterest to communicate with an older audience that has the spending power for deluxe service. Instead of trying to keep up with trends, let your guest data guide this decision and your efforts will be much more impactful on all fronts.

Pre-schedule Your Grid

Social media is today’s equivalent of a billboard and you get only two seconds to make an impression! Prescheduling your content allows you to build a cohesive grid that showcases your brand so anyone who lands on your account can immediately get a sense of what you stand for. Additionally, pre-scheduling allows you to post at a regular cadence, which is important for the algorithm to showcase your account to potential new followers. At Allegory, we schedule at least a month in advance for the above reasons, but this also allows our team to be flexible throughout the month — in case any relevant topics or last-minute campaigns need additional bandwidth.

Add Value First

E-commerce spending on personal care has increased by over 30% since the start of the pandemic, so it can be tempting to post only about revenue-generating avenues like gift cards, e-commerce, and gifting options. However, unless the content actually adds value to your audience, being overly salesy can backfire and hurt performance. Build in key themes you want to communicate, and always write content with your consumers in mind for an authentic and communityfirst approach.

Video, Video, Video!

If it seems like the algorithm is always changing — that’s because it is! It doesn’t matter which social media platform you’re focused on; all platforms are constantly 22 S p a Inc. | Fall 2 02 1

updating the algorithms and it can feel overwhelming for someone who’s not in the industry. The most recent change? Video has become king. This is great news for spas, since it’s the perfect format to showcase the experience of coming in for services and treatments. Even better news? Content doesn’t have to be shot professionally. In fact, a more authentic video from clients can sometimes do better, so start encouraging your community to tag you and share their experience.

Think Holistically

Lastly, a strong digital presence doesn’t just start and end with social. Making sure you’re showing up strong in other channels like email marketing, content marketing, and paid advertising when it comes time to scale is key to capitalizing on all the amazing brand awareness and community-building efforts social is perfect for. By not thinking in silos, you can build a digital strategy that mimics how your community experiences your marketing efforts as a whole, which makes for a much stronger end-to-end customer journey. For information and more tips, go to or follow them on Instagram at

As the founder and CEO of digital marketing agency Allegory Co., Tiffany Tang currently oversees spa clients of varying sizes across Canada for their social strategy, brand marketing, content, and paid advertising needs. With experience in both the creative and data-driven roles in marketing, Tiffany brings a holistic approach to strategy that’s particularly suited for the fastpaced world of entrepreneurship and small business growth.



lients searching for the fountain of youth are nothing new to the aesthetics industry. Not surprisingly, anti-aging products and services make up a big part of the market. For corneotherapists, the pursuit of instant results and the proliferation of band-aid solutions far too often come at the cost of overlooking skin health. Corneotherapy uses preventative interventions to correct and restore the stratum corneum and barrier defence systems as the first and most important phase of any skincare routine. It’s an approach that leads to homeostasis and improved function of the entire skin, protecting it against harmful substances and microorganisms while keeping the epidermis intact. It’s seen as a primary measure against skin-aging conditions, as well as skin barrier and cornification disorders such as essential fatty acid deficiency, xerosis, ichthyosis, and eczema. As the International Association for Applied Corneotherapy (IAC) notes, “Corneotherapy is an innovative and progressive skin treatment methodology that has proven it is possible to achieve healthy skin with an optimally functioning innate immune system by preventing or reducing structural inflammation.” The term corneotherapy was first defined by the American dermatologist Albert Kligman in the mid-1960s. He and his associates demonstrated that substantial clinical effects could be achieved by treating the disturbed balance of the skin through the repeated application of substances that had humectant

in the know

and emollient properties. With repeated application, these moisturizers showed improvement to common skin barrier and cornification disorders like atopic dermatitis and dermatoses. Understanding the underlying causes of certain skin conditions leads to better and sustainable long-term solutions for clients. And, while establishing healthy skin takes priority over the aesthetic look, being able to balance both is ideal. Accordingly, a first step is a comprehensive skin analysis to understand the client’s genetic history and any influences that may bear on their skin — along with medical, nutritional, and lifestyle information that can shed light on their skin condition. This analysis also gives clues to the treatment pathways best suited for that client. As a starting point in a skincare plan, this analysis helps set the baseline and can help manage client expectations. The approach is also important because it establishes who’s responsible for different components of the plan, and clarifies how long and how many treatments it will take for the client to see results. In corneotherapy, the first phase of any skincare treatment lies in the restoration of the client’s skin barrier function. If the skin barrier is not fully functioning, treatments will not produce optimal results. It has been shown that with every cell membrane of the epidermis functioning well, products and treatments work more effectively and deliver better results. Protecting the epidermis at all times is a core tenet of corneotherapy. According to the IAC, “By using methodologies that are primarily directed to correcting and building skin barrier defenses that have been rendered defective or impaired by disease, or intrinsic and extrinsic factors, corneotherapy is the individualized skincare and clinical treatment methodology of the future, as it can be perfectly adapted to the specific needs of the skin.” The skin’s fibroblasts need vitamins A, C, and E in order to synthesize collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans, but the stability of these ingredients can be problematic, and, with topical

A first step is a comprehensive

skin analysis

to understand the client’s genetic history and any influences that may bear on their skin — along with medical, nutritional, and lifestyle information that can shed light on their skin condition. 24 S p a Inc. | Fall 2 02 1





Subcutaneous layer

applications, clients can experience some negative effects. Advanced skincare products where the ingredients are encapsulated in liposomes or nanoparticles to protect their potency ensure optimal delivery to the target cells. Other ingredients that aid in boosting a healthy barrier in skin and target the aging process include epigallocatechin gallate (a potent antioxidant) and Boswellia serrata (frankincense) extract. For clients who want to avoid long downtimes or painful procedures, interventions like routine facials, collagen induction therapy (dermal needling), microcurrent light-emitting diode therapy, and intense pulsed light (IPL) offer a less invasive first step and help the skin function optimally. Skincare professionals must stay up to date with trends, be able to identify fads from facts, and inform their clients with proven data so they can make informed decisions about the products they use and the treatments they receive. Gone are the days when clients simply took our word for recommendations. The fact is, consumers are knowledgeable about their skin and products’ ingredients these days. Aestheticians must be able to substantiate their recommendations with scientific evidence, not only for the products they recommend but also for the treatments they suggest. While clients want fast results, skincare professionals know there’s no quick fix. Better treatment outcomes start with heathy skin. René Serbon is an international skin expert with education in business, aesthetics, and electrolysis, as well as post-graduate training in Laser, IPL, and the Pastiche Method of Advanced Skin Analysis. She serves on the Education Commission for the Board of the IAC.

science in theofknow the spa

Aesthetic treatments that nudge cosmetic surgery

out of the way


oday’s consumers are not holding back when it comes to fighting the signs of aging. While the demand for cosmetic surgery is trending higher than ever, advancements in aesthetic treatments are also holding their own. We take a look at some non-surgical cosmetic procedures and treatments that boost skin vitality and help hold back time.


Made in Canada, Eltraderm Skin Care products are responsibly sourced, cruelty-free, paraben-free, and sulfate-free. The fundamental science behind Eltraderm Skin Care lies in its soluble marine native collagen, micro molecular weight hyaluronic acid, and advanced hydrating factors, which are integrated into its collagen products to encourage sustainable nourishment, support healthy skin recovery, and improve skin’s resilience and appearance.


To combat aging skin and preserve the radiance of young skin, Alchemie Forever products for face and body combine the natural antioxidants — such as flavonoids, vitamins, iron chelators, and inducers of stress proteins — with potent lab-made molecules such as retinol, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid. These ingredients help correct and prevent the signs of aging, leaving healthier, younger-looking skin.


LASPA’s glycolic acid is created using sugar cane, which is fermented and distilled into a pure form. Once the glycolic acid is combined with the other natural ingredients in LASPA’s intensive anti-aging peel formula, the solution’s pH level is balanced to 3.5 before bottling. As a gentle cosmetic exfoliant, the peel stimulates skin renewal, increases collagen production, and improves skin’s appearance. S p a I nc .c a


science of the spa


The skin experts at First Ave Medical Spa in Vancouver explain that LED therapy works by emitting light in different wavelengths/spectrums, which have different skincare benefits. Yellow light stimulates collagen and elastin. Red light also stimulates collagen production but also promotes circulation and repairs damage. Green light reduces inflammation and redness. And blue light has antibacterial effects.


Injections of botulinum toxin (Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin) or prabotulinumtoxinA-xvfs (Jeuveau) offer a temporary solution to aging skin. This purified version of the toxin from botulinum bacteria, in minute doses, relaxes facial muscles that cause wrinkles and fine lines. The effect lasts three to six months.

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Chemical peels use an acid solution to remove dead cells from the outer layers of the skin. The solution often has a mix of glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, phenol, or trichloroacetic acid. After a few days, the skin’s upper layers peel away to reveal newer, glowing skin. The treatment can reduce age spots, fine lines, acne scars, and some sun damage.


Microdermabrasion emits bursts of tiny crystals that exfoliate dead skin cells from the outer layer of the skin. This can reduce fine lines, brown spots, and mild acne scars, usually with little recovery time but can take several sessions for a visible difference.









Distributed in Canada by DermaSpark Products Inc. | 1-866-237-0849 |

science of the spa


With Thermage devices, radio frequency energy is used to heat skin, activating collagen production, which can result in tighter skin. The treatment aids with saggy, crepey skin and droopy eyelids. Results are visible in about four to six months.


Performed by a skincare professional, non-ablative laser treatments use light and heat to trigger a controlled woundhealing response in skin. These treatments stimulate cellular renewal and collagen production to help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, depressed scars, or skin tone and texture. Ablative lasers, such as CO2 and erbium (Er:YAG), vaporize the skin’s surface to trigger tissue repair and stimulate collagen production. Diode lasers commonly used in hair removal can also help with acne because they reach under the skin to destroy oil glands that feed acne.

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Similar to lasers, IPL goes below the surface to the dermis but uses a broader spectrum of light. The beam heats and destroy cells, triggering skin renewal. This photofacial can improve skin colour and texture without surgery, improve some sun damage, reduce the redness of rosacea, and lighten dark circles under the eyes.


With the loss of facial fats as we age, dermal fillers can plump up the lips, add volume to the cheeks and sunken areas of the face, hide bags and hollows under the eyes, and reduce jowls. There are several fillers on the market today, including collagen, hyaluronic acid, calcium hydroxyapatite, poly-L-lactic acid, polymethyl methacrylate beads, and fat from the client’s own body.


Smart Aging with endota

Have you ever met someone and thought to yourself, “Wow, she has amazing skin, how can I have that too?” There are a plethora of treatments and skin care products to choose from in today’s spa market – each making their claims of how you can get dream results. The reality is, great skin doesn’t come from having a facial a couple of times a year, it’s a balance of 30% in-spa professional treatments and 70% what you use at home in between spa visits. The relationship between a skin care professional and their client begins with trust, and most importantly education (not sales) about how specific ingredients work to see real change in their skin with next generation formulas that have clinical trials behind them. Beautiful skin can be accomplished without surgical procedures, and it’s not just graceful aging, it’s smart aging.

Can wellness be combined with high-performance skin care? Yes! A warm welcome to the spa with endota™’s signature aroma and wellness tea, sets the tone to begin re-charging and de-stressing. A thorough skin care analysis prior to your experience allows the skin specialist to tailor the treatment to each client’s specific needs. COSMOS certified organic products are used in the Organic Infusion facial – high-performance facials include electromesotherapy, hydro-dermabrasion, Light Therapy (LED) as well as clinical peels. Each is extremely relaxing when enjoyed in a tranquil spa environment, who doesn’t love a wonderful foot massage while LED does its magic?

Following the treatment is where the education comes in, the most important products to take home to maintain your results! Potent formulas including hexapeptides, octapeptides, vitamin C, and encapsulated retinol ensure consistent results, endota™’s New Age range will provide glowing, radiant skin!

How can your spa benefit from carrying endota™? In November 2020, The Spa Magnolia brought in the endota™ brand – in the middle of a pandemic! The team was so inspired throughout our training learning about the brand philosophy, treatments and products. Training and support are crucial for the success of a professional spa brand, and endota™ has a comprehensive program. With 100 spas in Australia, 3 Wellness Schools and a 20 year history, the company understands both what a skin care specialist needs to perform treatments and what their clients need to use at home to maintain results. My service to retail ratio is already 5% higher than 2019, our best year to date which speaks to the saleability of their products. It is easy to see why endota™ is the market leader in Australia, find out how you can get started with endota™ in your spa today! Paula Veenema is Canada’s Distributor of endota™, owner of The Spa Magnolia in Victoria BC and a previous board of directors’ member for Leading Spas of Canada. For more information on how to carry endota™ in your spa please contact

science of the spa

BODY CONTOURING According to medical experts at Jennica Platt Plastic Surgery in Toronto, cool sculpting is a non-invasive treatment that safely and effectively reduces fat without pain or surgery. It’s a nonsurgical, fat-freezing procedure that uses controlled cooling methods to safely target and reduce fat that diet and exercise can’t eliminate. Cold temperature targets fat cells, without damaging the surrounding tissue, and crystallizes the fat cells until they’re frozen and die. Over time, the body naturally processes the dead fat cells and eliminates them, revealing a more sculpted physique. Available through DermaSpark, the TriLipo technology in Pollogen’s Maximus works on the dermis, hypodermis (fat), and muscle layers all at the same time to deliver triple action fat reduction. By heating both the dermal and fat layers, fat is forced from the cells, accelerating natural fat metabolism while causing the skin’s collagen fibres to contract and regenerate.

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fresh & new FORMATK

Alpha System

Formatk’s new Alpha System combines a diode laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment in a single platform. The innovative system includes diode laser 808 nm technology for high-speed hair removal in five treatment modes; 3-D IPL technology with high-level accuracy and precision control of contact cooling intensity; and Milo, a melanin reader to ensure optimal treatment.


XCellarisPRO HA

XCellarisPRO HA is a moisturizing serum for the face, neck, and décolleté. Matrixyl and copper tripeptide promote the skin’s own collagen production, stimulate the reduction of wrinkles, and visibly improve the skin’s complexion. While the hyaluronic acid locks in moisture, the copper tripeptide boosts collagen production and stimulates skin regeneration; it’s also anti-inflammatory.


Countertop water bottling system

Offer your clients their own water bottle filled with either still or sparkling filtered water from this stand-alone dispenser that sits on your countertop (with the CO2 canister underneath the counter). Or, the entire unit can be reconfigured to fit underneath the counter. Each system comes with 60 Vivreau designer glass bottles and one wash rack.



A rich moisturizing eye cream that helps improve skin’s elasticity and firmness, AluminEye also diminishes the appearance of fine lines, dark circles, and puffiness. Rich in peptides and vitamins, the product includes a combination of tremella mushroom extract, niacinamide, and murumuru butter for moisturizing, and a unique blend of antioxidants for protection against free radical damage.

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fresh & new


The OPI Fall Collection: Downtown LA

OPI has introduced its Downtown LA collection — dark autumnal tones like forest green and midnight blues and purples, and nostalgic pastels and metallics that transcend seasons. All 12 shades — dark shimmery purples; midnight navy blue; green; pops of red; rich, chocolaty browns; and rose gold — are available in Nail Lacquer, Infinite Shine, and GelColor.


New surgical-grade blades

Offering the finest surgical-grade blades, DermaplanePro is a leader in dermaplaning certification classes, tools andsupplies. Among the range of products, the company’s #10 Dermaplaning Blade is sterile and disposable, and comes individually packaged. A plastic handle with the single-use, stainlesssteel blade avoids the need for loading blades or sterilizing handles.


The Elite smartphone hygiene

Clients entering the spa at the Hilton Toronto/Markham are now met by a new device that removes harmful viruses and pathogens from their germriddled cellphones. Developed by Glissner, the Elite is touchless and can be strategically placed in busy areas to help keep guests safe. The Elite’s quick cleaning time and sleek design eliminate the need for long and arduous cellphone sanitization processes.

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Phloretin CF

As a daytime vitamin C face serum, Phloretin CF’s potent antioxidants deliver advanced environmental protection. The serum combines phloretin, pure vitamin C, and ferulic acid to protect skin from damage and premature aging, and minimizes discoloration, reduces fine lines, and evens skin tone.

spa star

What should clients look for in a cosmetic dermatologist? Clients should research practitioner credentials to ensure they’re a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Fellow and have had additional training in medical aesthetic procedures and technologies, like laser. To make their decisions, patients can also search for doctor reviews and ratings. They have to be aware that some practitioners are not true board-certified dermatologists and may have taken only a brief online course in Cardiff, Wales, or at other university centres.




his past June, Dr. Catherine McCuaig took the helm at the Canadian Dermatology Association as its newest president, a post she will hold for the next 12 months, during which she will focus on enhancing education while promoting the profession. Dr. McCuaig earned her medical doctorate at Queen’s University in Kingston, followed by training at the University of Toronto, dermatology at McGill University, with a pediatric fellowship in dermatology and laser. Canada has more than 870 certified dermatologists who are trained in both the medical and aesthetic fields. Why is this new role important to you? I really believe in the competency of Canadian dermatologists and wanted to promote dermatology because it’s a wonderful specialty that allows us to help people and build close relationships with them. When should clients see a dermatologist? Board-certified Canadian dermatologists are best positioned to diagnose, treat, and manage skin, hair and nails — in both health and disease. Canadian dermatologists, including cosmetic dermatologists, are university-trained medical specialists who spend an extra five years in developing this expertise that enables them to deal with medical issues, as well as improve patients’ appearance — and well-being. As doctors, they abide by the Hippocratic oath and are committed to rigour and honesty.

Some spas — particularly outside of Canada — are expanding their menus to incorporate more health and wellness services, boosting staff education, and engaging paramedical professionals like physios. Is there a role here for cosmetic dermatologists and room for Canadian spas to grow? There could be room for growth. In the medical sector, we often use a multidisciplinary approach to developing care plans, which lends itself well to involving experts in nutrition, life coaching, psychology, and mental well-being. For example, people who have body dysmorphic disorder may seek multiple treatments, always thinking there’s something else they need done. It would be great to collaborate with other professionals to help these patients. What more can Health Canada do to safeguard clients and spa employees? Health Canada should ensure employees are well trained. Ideally, [these employees] should be supervised by a cosmetic dermatologist. And, I’d like to see regular inspections. Health Canada’s regulations and legal requirements say that medical treatments, such as fillers and toxin treatments, should only be performed by a licensed medical professional who has been appropriately trained and is medically accountable, including a physician, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, or dentist. How has the COVID pandemic affected dermatologists? From a medical standpoint, we have to see the patient in person. Obviously, that became a challenge during the pandemic. Introducing teledermatology helped, especially for routine followups of patients, which also apply to cosmetic procedures. I would expect this to become a “new normal” because it respects our patients’ time, and I’m sure it’s a welcome option in light of Canada’s harsh winters. However, if we’re dealing with sensitive information and skin cancers, in-person visits are still very important. What are some benefits and pitfalls of injectables and fillers? While Botox can reduce wrinkles and furrows for up to six months, some complications on the upper face that may occur are droopy S pa I nc .c a


spa star Microdermabrasion and peels are generally milder than a laser, and are minimally invasive epidermal resurfacing procedures used to treat uneven skin tone/texture, photoaging, striae, melasma, and acne scars. In the wrong hands, scars and pigmentary changes could arise. To see improvement with epidermal resurfacing depends on the skin’s degree of damage and aging. With peels, improvement also depends on the depth of the peel and the concentration of the acid and how long it’s in contact with the skin. If the peel has a higher concentration, there may be some improvements, but you see more changes in hypo- or hyperpigmentation and could face possible infection.

eyelid or eyebrow, eyebrow asymmetry, double vision, inability to close the eyelids, a protruding lower eyelid, and prominent “bags” under the eyes. In the lower face, Botox can lead to the inability to speak easily, lip asymmetry, bruising, and — more critically — vascular occlusion, skin necrosis, and even blindness. Fillers can improve contours of the face and give a more youthful appearance. For instance, lip augmentation is used to improve the dimensions and relationship of the lips to the patient’s face by increasing vermilion height, softening the perioral wrinkles, adding volume, and reducing excess visible dentition. Bruising and asymmetry may arise. Serious side effects are uncommon; however, infection, skin necrosis, vascular occlusion, and even blindness have been reported.

What are your thoughts on aging gracefully? So, I really appreciate that question. Aging is a privilege. I work in a children’s hospital, and I’ve seen some children who never had the opportunity to grow older. I believe every day we have is a gift and aging gracefully comes from one’s heart and soul. The key to life is to surround ourselves with loving relationships and eating well, keep physically fit, be able to laugh at ourselves, and accept that we’re perfectly imperfect.

What about other treatments like lasers, microdermabrasion, and peels? Lasers (a monochromatic light source) and intense pulsed light offer improvement in pigmentary, vascular and textural changes, as well as rejuvenation and hair removal. Each laser has the potential for infection, hypo- or hyperpigmentation, and scars.

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