Now that the holiday parties have rolled in, you’re probably already noticing that between holiday shopping and consuming cookies and mulled wine, your wellness routines are quickly eroding. Not only do our eating habits tend to change, but taking time for ourselves becomes increasingly difficult as social functions and family are knocking on our doors every day of the week. When I heard that Toronto’s Sweetgrass Spa had teamed up with one of my favourite natural skincare lines, Tata Harper, I was excited to try their exclusive 90-minute facial.
Tata Harper is a Vermont-based, 100% natural and non-toxic skincare line, helmed by its namesake. After Harper’s stepfather was diagnosed with cancer, she began to examine her lifestyle and personal care products, realizing with horror how many synthetic, carcinogenic, and dangerous chemicals she was using every day. This birthed her desire to develop her own line of natural, luxury skin care products on her farm in Vermont.
Sweetgrass is the only spa in Toronto offering this facial, which boasts a ‘quadruple-masque’ system to deeply penetrate the skin and clarify, firm, hydrate, and rejuvenate. The masques are exclusive to the facial and not for sale (yet) by Tata Harper. My facialist, Shadi, explained that all products contain the base botanicals arnica, borage, alfalfa, and meadowsweet, which are all highly effective anti-inflammatory herbs. (I was prescribed arnica tincture to heal the swelling after my wisdom teeth were removed, so yes, it works.)
After a thorough cleansing and skin analysis, the first masque containing sea kelp and bladderwrack extract is applied. This clarifies and detoxifies the skin, preparing it for effective extractions. After extractions, the skin is soothed with Tata’s Hydrating Floral Essence Toner, followed by a Firming Masque which contains calcium extract and gotu kola, boosting elastin production for a tightening effect. This is paired with an Instant Recovery Eye Treatment with warm teabags infused with soothing herbs.
Short of cucumber slices, the teabags made me feel like I was experiencing the quintessential facial. The next masque was my favorite: a wildflower honey masque, harvested on Tata’s farm. This is applied along with rosehip oil and a lymphatic massage. Lymphatic facial massages are a favorite of celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas, who works her magic on women like Sofia Coppola and Michelle Williams.
The final step is an intense Hydrating Masque containing Silver Ear Mushroom Extract, which holds one million times its weight in water to increase hydration in your skin. If at this point you are not feeling more relaxed than you have in weeks, the scalp, hand, and foot massages in between masques will guarantee you get there.
To elevate this facial to the next level, I would pair it with eyelash extensions, also offered at Sweetgrass Spa, which will simplify your routine in the coming weeks to the point where you can wake up, cleanse, throw on some blush, and call it a day.
When I looked in the mirror at home after the facial, I was glowing, had no redness (which I usually do, especially after extractions), and my skin felt hydrated and firm.
When I made my partner touch my skin later that night and told him about the facial, he simply said: “I want one.”
TATA HARPER HOLIDAY PICKS
If you can’t make it out to the spa, my favorite Tata Harper holiday picks are the Restorative Eye Creme and Resurfacing Mask.
I’m skeptical of what most eye creams claim to achieve, but this restorative eye cream does what it says it does, and it does it instantly, thanks to minerals and herbal extracts like eyebright, calendula, and gotu kola. The formula brightens the eye area and deeply hydrates, reducing puffiness and dark shadows. A little goes a very long way and I like to dab it under both eyes and on top of the eyelids for extra hydration and radiance.
The Resurfacing Mask works like a traditional peel but without the downtime. The beta- hydroxy acids boost cellular renewal and improve the texture of the skin. It reduces redness and dullness, so it’s especially helpful if you want to combat a case of the ‘hangover face’. You can also use it as spot treatment and apply a dab on a blemish and leave it overnight.