All about: SO/ Spa’s newest treatment brand, Waterlily, and its inspiring founder

A few weeks ago I was invited to inner city wellness destination, SO/ Spa to experience one of its newest treatments, and to meet the inimitable woman behind handcrafted Australian Biotech beauty collection, Waterlily - Michelle Reeve (above).
If you haven’t been to SO/ Spa before, then I suggest you do so, stat. Nestled two stories underground in SO/ Auckland — former vault for the Reserve Bank of New Zealand — SO/ Spa is a true mecca of beauty and wellness where an array of completely unique, five-star star treatments are performed in truly bespoke fashion. Just sitting next to the spa’s pink Himalayan salt wall lulls you into a state of utter surrender, and the Comfort Zone and now, Waterlily treatments on offer are second to none.
Which brings me to my meeting with the woman behind Waterlily, which forms the latest addition to the SO/ Spa treatment menu. It’s safe to say that Reeve has lived a life underpinned by passion for wellness and natural medicine, and the passionate formulator is a walking encyclopaedia when it comes to all things skin health and overall vitality. “My background is natural medicine,” she tells me, “and what I set out to do twenty years ago with Waterlily was create a brand that performed beautifully and was able to work alongside some of the best spas in Australasia. At the time I saw a lot of brands out there that were purely beauty focused, and all about corrective ingredients and that one magic bullet that would fix things… whereas when it comes to our bodies we are all about nourishing ourselves and eating well, lowering stress and inflammation. I wanted to take that naturopathic approach and apply it to skin, nourishing skin and boosting its health through nutrient-rich cosmeceuticals.”

Reeve is also passionate about creating skin and bodycare that doesn’t just focus on one or two ingredients, but rather taking the wellness approach and “feeding our skin the rainbow, much as we eat the rainbow”. The brand’s offering is filled with rich emulsions and cold pressed plant oils, and the slow food movement philosophy is also integral to each and every product they create. “It’s botanical luxury in results-driven formulations,” explains the powerhouse founder, “products that are really effective in a dermal setting but lean into wellness too.”
Now celebrating its twentieth anniversary, one of Waterlily’s original releases was their Omega Cream, which is still a hero product today. Reeve calls it “a hug for your skin”, and the buttery blend of cold pressed omega seed oils rich in active enzymes and essential fatty acids sound right up my alley! Designed to repair and protect skin from sensitivity dryness and redness, the ultimate comfort crème also comes fortified with regenerating extracts of calendula, peach, chamomile and rose, further upping the wow factor. Committed to repairing the barrier function and reducing inflammation at every touch point, Reeve’s approach is refreshing in an industry often more focused on quick fixes and invasive procedures that all too often achieve a potentially damaging result in the long term. “We want to see skin’s resilience boosting and healing responses kick in,” she says, “which delivers true rejuvenation.”
Which brings me to the arrival of Waterlily at SO/ Spa, bringing its coveted range of sensorial, botanic treatments — including a world and an Aotearoa-first. SO/ Spa is the first in the world to receive Waterlily’s Vino Therapy Body Wrap Ritual, and also the first hotel spa in New Zealand to welcome the brand itself. “We have taken freeze-dried Shiraz wine pressings and fresh strawberries and whipped them into a raw cacao chocolate mineral clay cream,” says Reeves, of one of the body rituals. “It has been intensified with lashings of pure resveratrol, a natural antioxidant found in grapes to brighten the skin, while boosting the production of collagen.”

The Vino Therapy Body Wrap Ritual and Vino Therapy Facial joins four sumptuous yet naturally powerful Waterlily additions to SO/ Spa’s menu, which are:
The Marine Wrap Body Ritual: vegan marine extracts tone skin with a full-body masque and massage
The Moroccan Melt Body Ritual: Hammam-style exfoliation with French clay masque, precious oils and a balm massage with pure Vitamin E
The Rose Peptide Performance Spa Facial: The treatment I tried, which is brightening, collagen-inducing facial with a signature multi-vitamin complex component
And lastly, the Triple Berry Performance Spa Facial: Where Hyaluronic acid works with berry-powered actives to soothe inflammation, boost hydration and skin’s resilience.

I personally love that food-grade ingredients and nutraceuticals are exclusively used in every single treatment and product, and that everything is artisan-handcrafted in small batches fresh each month by a passionate team of women, in their Brisbane-based Botanical Laboratory.
“Each product is artisan-crafted using a double blending method which means the precious volatile botanicals are infused at room temperature in a second blending stage to protect the integrity, aroma and nutrients of each hand-picked ingredient,” says the founder, who also creates masterful concoctions for other brands.
It’s all an extension of Reeve’s own ethos for living. “My passion is wellness and nutrition,” she says, “and the range was inspired by the slow food movement, where whole ingredients reflect the paddock-to-plate ethos and are meticulously extracted to protect their nutrient-rich offerings.”
“Just like in food, the freshness of ingredients are paramount. How we bring our ingredients together matters. The artisan-crafting protects the botanical nutrients. All of these principles are the foundation of who we are and a cornerstone of our ethos.”
I left my meeting with the industry advocate and thought leader feeling even more inspired about the possibilities of botanical beauty solutions, and as for the facial treatment I gladly submitted to? Walking on air.

If you’d like to explore the Waterlily offering at SO/ Spa, head here. I highly recommend that you do.


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