Skoah-Spa, Vancouver

Walking into Skoah is like entering a fresh lemon. Okay, I know that sounds silly but think cool, lemony walls, high, exposed Yaletownish ceilings, minimalist décor with shelves of their blue and white labeled product. The whole place is as sharp as its name.

Skoah is a made up word which owners Andrea and Chris Scott came up with while brainstorming. This was 2001; today as well as the Yaletown location Skoah is Burnaby and Calgary. You have to love their fun concepts – you take ‘personal training for your skin’ and facials are ‘workouts’.

I’m here for their classic Facialiscious and I soon see why Skoah, among heaps of other plaudits, was named the best place to get a facial in 2009 by Vancouver Magazine’s survey.

As I relax under a comfy quilt esthetician, Tahni Poulin gives me a foot and leg massage. Next my face is cleansed — I learn I should only use a cream cleanser — then freshened with Skoah’s ‘tonik’ that is used several times throughout the facial. An exfoliating mask – think apples and grapes with a touch of peppermint – is gel like and gives a prickly feel.

A few extractions followed by ‘kalm down’ mask, which does just that, soothing and adding moisture. What I found most impressive, aside from the lovely feel of the products that, as one example, use a highly refined olive oil called polysynlane rather than a petroleum product as one of their bases, was the skill of the Tahni who assessed my skin and made decisions about what to use as she went along.

The finale step was hydradew mask and an arm, neck and shoulder massage. As well as feeling cleansed and hydrated, I fell in love and purchased one of their most popular products, the ‘skin boost serum’ that, among other ingredients, contains plant polyeptide that stimulates collagen. Often after a facial you slump around feeling red-faced. Leaving Skoah, after a touch-up with their make-up line, ‘chiiki munki’ and my ‘game plan’ for my skin in hand, I felt downright perky and rushed off to meet friends for drinks.

Pass the mineral water!