I knew a trip to the day spa was likely to be more than, shall we say, tolerable, however I didn’t expect to leave feeling so educated. But, as I discovered, the Ella Baché Skin Care Salon is no ordinary spa. Ella Baché, located in the James Cook Hotel, is the brand’s flagship salon in New Zealand, and although having been in operation only since September, it’s already got a bright future.
A wide range of spa-like treatments, such as relaxing massages, waxing, bronzing and make-up application, is only the beginning of its services. Helene, the James Cook salon’s owner, and her staff try to provide services above and beyond, including customised indulgence packages, and collecting clients from the airport.
Since its early beginnings in the 1930s, the five-star Ella Baché brand has stuck to its fundamental principles of promoting knowledge and understanding of the skin, and is known in the industry as a skin-care specialist. The salon offers a complimentary in-house skin diagnosis, that diagnosis being a crucial part of its philosophy, that “no two skins are alike”.
Jana, my therapist at Ella Baché, stresses to me that this is one of the most important things to understand when it comes to skin care and that it’s important to learn about your skin’s unique needs. Prior to this visit, I was under the impression that I was doing right by my skin by picking up whatever cleanser, exfoliant and moisturiser was marked with “for combination skin”.
Once I’m tucked up into a bed (yay!) in a treatment room that can only be described as perfectly ambient, Jana begins with a basic cleanse of my face, and then brings into play the mighty True View, a tool designed to read skin and help therapists diagnose their clients’ skin concerns. Then, based on how my skin appears through the True View, Jana chooses an Ella Baché product that will benefit and protect my skin, and explains that products are mixed and matched from various ranges to suit the individual skin being treated.
It is at this stage that it occurs to me that the dry/oily/combination categories we lump ourselves into are distinctly limited.
I am then treated to a relaxing massage, which succeeds in making the real world fade into a distant memory, followed by a second cleanse and a luxurious face massage. The next step is having some magical patches (activated with a special wand) applied to my face, topped off with a mask that contains a plethora of glorious ingredients, including hyaluronic acid — babies’ secret to soft skin. I’m left feeling refreshed and entirely unwound, not to mention much wiser about skin care.
The Ella Baché therapists’ approach is to provide a high-quality treatment, while at the same time educating their clients about skin care. The down-to-earth and unintimidating manner in which they deliver that service makes the salon a delight to visit.