We tried a signature facial at Caudalie Hazelton House, the clean beauty brand’s new Yorkville flagship
It was the ultimate post-lockdown treat
After months of lockdown, Torontonians are finally emerging, troll-like, out of their houses to take care of grown-out roots, chipped nails and sore necks from anxiously scrolling through the news on their phones all day. Personally, I came to embrace the au naturel vibe, but now that the city’s entered Phase Three, there was one indulgence I was really craving: a facial. Needless to say, the stress of quarantine and all-day mask-wearing hadn’t been kind to my already-reactive skin. As a serendipitous sign from above, I learned that Caudalie, whose range of clean-yet-potent skincare goodies I’ve long admired, had just opened a gorgeous new flagship and spa in Yorkville.
Caudalie hails from Bordeaux, and the brand’s story is deeply connected to French wine country (the name itself refers to measuring the quality of wine by how long the taste lingers in your mouth). The company was founded in 1995 by vineyard owners Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas, who collaborated with a renowned professor studying the polyphenols found in grapeseed. He found they contain unmatched levels of powerful antioxidants that slow the aging process. The seeds are simply thrown away when you’re making white wine, so the couple decided to patent the active ingredients and build their brand around this discovery. Everything is made in France, with natural, eco-friendly ingredients, and the brand donates one per cent of its global turnover to ecological and environmental protection agencies.
The new flagship is inside a historic Victorian semi, and was designed with chic French wine country in mind: there’s tiled flooring, a custom glass grapevine chandelier and white oak barrel displays. At the front of the space is a marble table devoted to complimentary mini facials and skin analysis sessions, which use a high-tech machine that can help suggest which products and facials are best for your skin type. There’s also a bin where customers can drop off their empty Caudalie bottles for proper recycling. The spa is behind steel-framed doors backlit with rows of pristine Bordeaux vineyards.
When I entered my cozy, candle-lit treatment room, my aesthetician, Susan, explained Caudalie’s various skincare lines and we discussed which facial would be best for my skin. We settled on the Vinoperfect facial, which uses products from the award-winning Vinoperfect line to amp up brightness in the skin and fade any hyper-pigmentation from sun damage or acne scarring. Susan mentioned it gives clients a “J. Lo glow”—I was sold.
I settled into the plush towels and immediately mellowed out to the soothing tunes and aromatic scents. The atmosphere was one of a zen massage—as opposed to a brightly lit, more medical-feeling facial—allowing me to sink into the treatment and relish every moment. Susan started off by giving my skin a good double cleanse, using a mix of hot towels and massage to apply the brand’s Make-Up Removing Cleansing Oil, which uses non-comedogenic plant oils like almond oil, followed by their airy, soap-free Instant Foaming Cleanser. Next, and at many other times throughout the facial I was liberally spritzed with the brand’s famous Grape Water, an organic facial spray that instantly refreshes and hydrates the skin, followed by their Beauty Elixir, another spray designed for toning the skin and setting makeup. It’s formulated with various essential oils that give it a beautifully intoxicating scent.
Next up was an exfoliation with the Gentle Buffing Cream, combined with a facial massage and steam, to open the pores and prepare for the extractions. Never my most favourite part of a facial, they were relatively painless and supremely satisfying. After, Susan used hot and cold stones to massage and lift the face, neck and décolletage—and it felt like heaven. It was followed by a more traditional head and neck massage that relieved any residual Covid tension I was carrying.
Then, the creamy Glycolic Peel Mask was applied, and sealed in with layers of gauze spritzed with more of the Grape Water. The mask contains glycolic acid and papaya enzyme to brighten the skin, along with viniferine, one of the brands patents that’s 62-times more effective than vitamin C (without any of its sensitivities or irritations). While the mask absorbed into my skin, Susan massaged my arms and legs. After it was washed off with a hot towel, Susan applied the final steps of the routine (and some of the brand’s hero products): the Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, a top-seller packed with tons of viniferine to reduce dark spots; the Vinoperfect Instant Brightening Moisturizer, which only launched this march and is full of hyaluronic acid, viniferine and natural pearlizers that leave the skin insanely radiant; and the ultimate anti-aging Premier Cru The Eye Cream. When I changed, retrieving my clothes from a sleek oak closet equipped with a mirror, hairbrush, headband and everything else you’d need to re-enter the world, I noticed they left me a brand-new mask to keep my skin as clean as possible for the rest of the day. And that J. Lo glow lasted until I went to sleep that night.
Anyone who mentions Toronto Life when they call to book their own post-quarantine facial will receive a free add-on service, getting to choose between an oxygen serum infusion, a firming eye contour treatment or a relaxing back, foot or scalp treatment.
17 Hazelton Avenue, 416-551-9455, caudalie.ca.