Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I try: Spa Ayurda's ultra luxe Gold Facial

The changing seasons – not to mention Auckland’s wildly unpredictable weather patterns – have been playing havoc with my skin, and so it was with great relief that I checked in at Ponsonby Road’s Spa Ayurda recently to give it some tender loving goodness.
Just walking into this temple to wellness is a treat in itself, but arriving there with the promise of the facial awaiting me meant that I was more than ready to snuggle down under a warm duvet and let my therapist Anjana do her work. All Spa Ayurda rituals begin with a personalised skin analysis, after which your experienced therapist will customise the products and touch for your skin’s optimal wellbeing. A questionnaire is used every time you visit to determine where you are sitting in the Ayurvedic universe (it’s also online at www.spaayurda.co.nz), and this time around my usually Pitta skin had moved closer to the Vata realm. This could be put down in part to ageing, as well as the fact that winter has inflicted its cooler air and stronger winds on my sensitive skin. It was definitely in need of a tune up either way, and a Vata-type facial will both nourish and stimulate.
We decided that what I need most is an Ayurda Kanaka facial, which is anti-ageing and counts 24 carat gold as a key ingredient. The healing and restorative properties of gold and silver have been used in Indian medicine for centuries. Spa Ayurda offers both a gold and silver-based facial, the gold targeting clarity and anti-aging and the silver (known for its cooling and healing properties) recommended for problematic skin to tone, purify and build the skin’s natural integrity. 24 carat gold is rejuvenating and readily absorbed by the skin to help increase circulation, reduce fine lines and prevent ageing. It is massaged into the skin to promote cell growth and return its lustre and glow, and is also said to assist lymphatic drainage, improve blood circulation and enhance skin elasticity. Gold is also renowned in skincare circles for accelerating cell renewal, and is touted as an ingredient that can reverse oxidation damage. All in all damn good stuff!
All Ayurda signature facials begin with a warm foot soak, which according to ancient Ayurvedic tradition is a traditional welcome for honoured guests. This beautifully relaxing ritual will prepare you for all of the goodness that you are about to receive, and is pretty much the best way ever to relax in my humble opinion. Next up I lie down and Anjana gives my skin a thorough cleanse with Ayurda’s Hingot Cleanser, which includes lots of yummy stuff like coconut oil, neem and turmeric. Then their signature Oliana oil (which is sesame and almond oil-based) is used to give my skin a stimulating massage, designed both to promote relaxation and prepare the skin for exfoliation. The exfoliating product for my skin type is the Invigoration Scrub, which includes almonds to nourish as it gently sloughs away dead skin. After this is removed I’m given a refreshing spritz of Rose and Basil toner, which feels as good as it smells and is perfect when applied at any time of day.
All of this of course is in preparation for the arrival of the Gold Gel, which has flakes of 24-carat gold and Himalayan cherry suspended in its soothing aloe vera base. This is carefully applied and then massaged into the face, neck and décolletage along with Ayurda’s Skin Rejuvenating Cream for the ultimate in skin nourishing treats.
Finally, a foot, hand and head massage begins to complete my journey to total relaxation and all too soon I realise that my 90 minutes of bliss is up. Do I really have to leave? I’m not ready!
This story first appeared in the fabulous Ponsonby News, which you can read here.

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