When you discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.” — Jean Shinoda Bolen
Like most women I know, I feel a bit guilty when I schedule beauty and spa treatments on my calendar. Luckily, my husband likes to surprise me — on birthdays and holidays — with gift certificates for local pampering. That’s how I ended up cocooned in a terrycloth bathrobe in a spa treatment room at the Douglas J Aveda Institute in Royal Oak earlier this week.
The Douglas J Aveda Institute is a cosmetology school offering a full menu of beauty and spa services, from hair styling to body waxing. For this visit, I chose the Elemental Nature facial and Perfecting Plant Peel, both of which employ heady doses of aromatherapy.
Haley, the student assigned to give my facial, invited me to take a seat in one of the treatment rooms while she filled a metal bowl with warm water for my feet. (A foot soak and massage are always included with Aveda facials.) While my feet soaked, Haley asked a few questions about the health of my skin and what I expected from my facial. We also selected the scented oils to be used in my treatments.
A scented candle flickered on a nearby table stacked with thick white towels. Meanwhile, the obligatory spa music – Native American flute and new-age piano – wafted through the hallway beyond my curtained treatment room. It occurred to me that the modern Asian ambiance of Royal Oak’s Douglas J could easily hold a candle to some of the pricier professional spas I’ve visited on vacations in northern Michigan. Better yet, this escape is less than a 10-minute drive from my house.
My facial also included a hand massage as well as special attention to my neck and chest. And while Haley performed all of the spa services by herself – and was totally professional – her support instructors periodically stopped by to check her progress. This is standard procedure at all Douglas J Institutes, which are part of a statewide Academy of Cosmetology founded by Douglas and Sharon Weaver in 1986. The academy partnered with Aveda in 1993.
Aveda’s spa treatments combine physiological and psychological benefits – and nothing synthetic is used in the products. It’s all about “high touch versus high tech,” with an emphasis on helping each client relax and re-balance.
It’s very affordable, too. My 90-minute Elemental Nature facial/massage was $49, plus $15 with the added Perfecting Plant Peel. (Gratuities are not accepted.) I ended up with a fresher complexion, new skincare tips, and a much brighter outlook on life.
Best of all, for two blissful hours, I hadn’t given a thought to my caregiving duties, or anything else on my to-do list. I enjoyed the experience so much, in fact, that I booked another facial for January — knowing I’ll need a remedy for post-holiday burnout. As author and therapist Brene Brown advises: “We can’t practice compassion with others if we can’t treat ourselves kindly.” Copy that in your day planner.
HOLIDAY TIP: Most Aveda Institutes offer gift certificates for spa services, hair styling, manicures, and pedicures. You might want to mention this to Santa.