Facial at Toronto Spa Julia's Esthetics

Doesn’t this sound glorious?

You’re lying down in a dimly lit room, wrapped in a cozy towel under soft, plush sheets. As part of a facial, your esthetician is expertly applying creamy lotions and potions to your skin. For that heavenly 75 minutes, you’re in your own little world, thankful that you’ll look and feel so much better when you emerge. 

It’s so tempting, isn’t it? And so necessary. If you’ve never had a facial or haven’t had one in a while, you’re missing out. 

And, not only on the opportunity to relax but to prime your body’s largest organ, the skin, to effectively perform its job as the body’s protective barrier against invasive external forces.

Yes, our skin is more than just a beauty standard. It is our first line of defence and needs the same care and attention we give to the rest of our bodies.

Your Skin

Three layers of the skin, hypodermis, dermis and epidermis


Your skin is the largest organ on your body. It comprises several different parts, including water, protein, lipids (fats), and various minerals and chemicals.

It is made up of three layers: the hypodermis (inner), the dermis (middle) and the epidermis (outer). 

The hypodermis hosts sweat glands, fat, and collagen cells, and is responsible for conserving your body’s heat and protecting your vital inner organs. Beauty-wise, the reduction of tissue in this layer contributes to sagging skin.

The dermis is a complex combination of blood vessels, hair follicles, and sebaceous (oil) glands. Here, you’ll find collagen and elastin, two proteins necessary for skin health. From a beauty perspective, this layer of skin gives it its tightness and plumpness.

The epidermis is the visible layer of skin on our bodies. As such, it acts as a protective barrier to preserve internal fluids (moisture) and ward off damage from environmental toxins and pollutants, harmful bacteria, UV radiation and pathogens.

Perhaps you’ve never thought of your skin as a passageway that rids your body of toxins and helps prevent chemical and waste build-up. Our skin works so well that we tend to take it for granted, but we shouldn’t. 

And, that’s why facials should be more than an occasional treat.  If your pores remain blocked with chemicals and pollutants, your skin simply can’t function properly to remove the toxins and keep you healthy.

And besides, nothing beats the pampering of a spa facial!

The Facial 

If you’ve never had a facial or need a pleasant reminder of the experience, you can expect the following of your treatment.


Before your esthetician can assess your skin’s condition, they must remove all your makeup and cleanse your skin. They will apply a cleanser with soft terry cloth mitts and remove it with warm water.


During the consultation, your esthetician will use a lighted magnifying glass to analyze your skin and decide what type of treatment you need to get the best results. The magnifying lamp allows the esthetician to identify your skin type (oily, dry, combination), and any skin conditions (acne, sunburn, blackheads, etc.) that need attention. 

This is an opportunity to discuss your concerns and skincare goals with your esthetician and agree upon the type of treatment you will have. 


a mask is applied to a woman's face during a facial at Julia's Esthetics

Next, your esthetician will position a machine above your face, directing a layer of steam on your skin. Some estheticians may apply a mask to your face to assist in opening your pores (Julia does!), which is beneficial.

The steaming is very important as it weakens blackheads and whiteheads and opens up the pores to make extractions (see below) easier. Skin that is not steamed for at least 10 minutes before the extraction process is vulnerable to damage. 

The warmth from the steam also relaxes your face muscles, priming them for the calming massage to come.

This part of the facial is a welcome opportunity to relax. If you have your facial at Julia’s, she will treat you to a complimentary paraffin wax hand treatment, one of the luxurious bonuses she offers. 


If you’re unfamiliar with the extraction process, you may not find it to be the most pleasurable part of the treatment. Although many people relish the cleansing feeling of having their pores cleaned. Still, it is necessary to ensure your epidermis is healthy and beautiful.

As you’ve been under the steam machine for a good 10 minutes, the extractions should not be painful. Your esthetician will look at your skin under the magnifying light to locate and remove blackheads and whiteheads. 

To remove the clogged pores, she will use her tissue-wrapped index fingers to gently apply pressure at the base of the clogged pore to encourage the toxin or excess oil from your skin. 

Before long, you will be rewarded for your patience with a pampering massage for your face, neck and shoulders.


Have you heard the recent buzz about the anti-aging benefits of a facial massage or the “#facegym” trend? The rest of the world seems to be catching on to what skincare experts have long known.

A lengthy face massage not only stimulates inactive facial muscles but also increases circulation, ultimately producing collagen and elastin.

Julia gives her clients a lymphatic drainage massage. This technique helps to drain the fluid of the lymphatic system, which contains toxins, waste, and proteins. She will begin at your jawline and work her way up to your hairline touching on the chin, cheekbones, under-eye area, eyebrows, forehead and temples. 


By now, you now feel as if you’re floating on a cloud. Seriously. 

But you aren’t done yet. The second last step is the mask application. Your skin consultation, coupled with any concerns your esthetician has discovered during the treatment, will determine which mask is best for your skin.

The mask works its’ magic for 10 minutes, giving you another opportunity to decompress while enjoying a scalp massage.

Moisturize and Protect

At the end of your facial, your esthetician will apply a serum, moisturizer, eye cream, lip care and SPF. 

Before you dress, you can look forward to a warm towel pressed to your back (another of Julia’s signature bonuses) to leave you with a soothing feeling as you go about your day.

Variations of Treatments

Everyone has unique skincare challenges and goals. While the “Basic Spa Facial” follows the above format, there are many variations and add-ons that you can request. 

If you are concerned with anti-aging, as most of us are, the microdermabrasion facial is popular. It is a non-invasive treatment that treats many anti-aging concerns, including fine lines, skin discolouration, enlarged pores, age spots, and acne scars. 

To perform this facial, Julia uses a diamond-tip wand to gently remove the top layers of skin. It feels like a gentle vacuum sucking the impurities and dirt from your pores, resulting in rejuvenated, firmer skin. Although it is slightly more expensive than the Basic facial, the results are immediately noticeable, and there is no downtime!

If you have sensitive skin, you might opt for the facial that uses a marine serum and a seaweed mask for a gentle, soothing approach. All products used for this facial are best suited to delicate skin.

You can check out the full list of facial treatments available here. Remember, Julia and her team are dedicated to customizing every treatment based on your individual needs to help you achieve your skincare goals.

So, you’re now convinced that you need a facial, like yesterday. But how often should you have one?

How Often Should You Have a Facial

Dermatologists and estheticians recommend having a facial every four to six weeks, based on the skin cycle. 

The skin cycle is when a new skin cell is formed at the deepest layer of the epidermis and works its way up to the surface of the skin. 

A skin cycle can vary with each individual and is affected by such factors as age, hormones, skin condition/health and stress. On average, a skin cycle is 5-6 weeks. At the age of 19-21, the process can take 14-21 days compared to a middle-aged adult, estimated to be 28 days. As we grow older, this skin cycle slows to about 45-60 days in our 40’s and 50’s. It can further slow to about 60-90 days in our 50’s and 60’s.

You know your skin best. Talk to your esthetician about the best schedule for you.

Skincare Lines at Julia’s Esthetics

Julia uses two professional skincare lines at her spa, Dermalogica and Phytomer, leaders in the professional skincare industry. Julia has seen the efficacy and quality of these lines during the 15 years she’s been an esthetician and recommends them to her clients for their at-home skincare routines.

Julia’s Esthetics – The Spa Experience

Julia has over 15 years of experience in the spa industry and understands the importance of getting the details right. As a result, she meets clients’ expectations and goes over and above to make their experience worthwhile.

Along with the very best skincare lines, Julia uses the latest equipment available to spa professionals. Her clients appreciate her undeniable passion and in-depth knowledge of skincare. She is committed to offering her services at competitive prices because she believes everyone deserves healthy, beautiful skin.

Facial treatment room at Toronto spa Julia's Esthetics

Book Your Appointment

If you’ve never experienced the calming and therapeutic feeling of a spa facial, you’re missing out! 

The treatment is not only beneficial for the appearance and health of your skin. It’s also an opportunity to relax in the care of an expert esthetician who wants to see you achieve your skincare goals.

Plus, the massages are heavenly! 

Book your appointment here!

Laura Gatsos Young is a health and wellness freelance writer based in Toronto. You can read more of her work at


esthetician applies face toner to woman at Julia's Esthetics Toronto

If you’re a skincare junkie like me, you probably have a vanity full of moisturizers, serums, masks, eye creams and cleansers. But, I ask you, would a toner make it into your skincare #shelfie?

In the skincare world, toners don’t get the glory. Many customers will forgo buying toner in favour of another more celebrated product in their skincare routine.

I get it – skincare is an investment, and you want to put those hard-earned dollars toward products with big benefits.

But toner is just as beneficial for your skin as the other skincare heroes! High-quality toners are loaded with effective ingredients that can transform the way your skin looks and feels after cleansing.

Today, I’m sharing why you need to start incorporating toner into your skincare routine if you want healthy, flawless skin.


OK, so you’ve probably had a bad experience with a toner. We all have! After cleansing, you doused a cotton pad and rubbed it on your face. For a moment, you basked in that refreshing feeling, but then it happened … you felt your skin constrict and dry out.

No, thank you, right?

Wrong! You’re just not using the right one.

Toners were actually created to be state-of-the-art liquid moisturizers to replenish and nourish the skin after cleansing. The type that many of us are accustomed to contain drying alcohols instead of the beneficial fatty alcohols such as cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl.

Yes, just as there are good fats to eat, there are good fats for the skin. And these “fatty alcohols” are non-irritating and help keep ingredients stable in your other products. They also have emollient properties that can soften and smooth the skin, priming it to better absorb serums and moisturizers.

Look for toners that combine these fatty alcohols along with botanical extracts like lavender water that naturally help to tighten, clarify and refine the surface of pores without damaging your skin.

Avoid all toners that have SD alcohol, denatured alcohol, menthol and isopropyl alcohol on the ingredient list as these deplete the skin of its moisture and contribute to ageing skin.


Think of your toner as a secondary cleanse, the right-hand woman to your cleanser. A quality toner will remove any traces of dirt, makeup, cleanser residue, and excess oil left behind from step #1 in your skincare routine. 

It will also minimize pores and tighten cell gaps, reducing the penetration of impurities and environmental contaminants into the skin. It can even protect and remove chlorine and minerals present in the tap water you use to wash your face.

Uneven skin tone or discolouration is another common skincare concern that can be addressed with an exfoliating toner.

Skin discolouration is the result of excess melanin, a natural pigment that gives a tint to a specific area of the skin. It is often caused by chronic UV exposure, hormonal fluctuations, past acne blemishes, and natural ageing.

To treat discolouration, look for toners containing salicylic acid as it works to exfoliate the affected areas.

For blemish-prone skin, look for toners containing oats and active botanical ingredients that work below the surface to interrupt inflammatory triggers.


These two letters are thrown around a lot; I don’t know about you, but I need a refresher on how this impacts our skin!

pH stands for potential hydrogen and is a measure of how acidic or alkaline a substance is. When it comes to the pH of your skin, it’s reliant on the skin’s acid mantle. This acid mantle protects skin against external influences like bacteria, allergens and pollution while maintaining moisture.

According to Dr. Hadley King, a New York City-based, board-certified dermatologist, our skin is naturally acidic, typically with a pH balance of between five and six (on a scale from zero to 14). 
But that balance can get out of whack after cleansing due to the alkaline nature of soap, UV rays, humidity and other skincare products. 

When this happens, your skin needs to work overtime to return to its normal levels (and that may result in oil), but using an alcohol-free toner can help restore this balance quickly.

Dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engleman advises looking for toners with acid blends like lactic or glycolic to exfoliate, as well as soothing toners that contain aloe vera, witch hazel, or vitamin C. 

Steer clear of products with fragrance or alcohol, which can trigger further skin issues.


Have you opened a new browser window and started shopping for that toner yet? 

While toners have suffered through some bad press in the past, beautifully-formulated toners loaded with beneficial ingredients have the power to transform your skin from dull to glowing.

Look for toners packed with generous amounts of antioxidants, soothing agents and vital hydrating ingredients and avoid the harsh alcohols we discussed.

If you have questions about which toner best suits your skincare needs, discuss them with Julia at your next appointment. She offers clients 15% off all skincare products purchased at her spa.

Laura Gatsos Young is a health and wellness freelance writer based in Toronto. You can read more of her work at

How To Perfect Your Fall Skincare Routine

It’s pre-fall, which means that those hot, humid, sticky days are turning less so, and a blissful cool breeze is starting to circulate. This gorgeous season also means your skin requires a different approach to keep it supple and healthy. Read on to learn all you need to know about perfecting your fall skincare routine and protecting your skin as we move into the colder months.


If you’ve been taking great care of your skin, you’ve been applying SPF daily throughout the summer. Don’t ditch the SPF just yet as it is a must-have year-round but do give your skin a restart with a good exfoliation. 

The most effective method is to have a facial with a microdermabrasion treatment as it removes buildup deep in the pores. But if you can’t make it into the spa, try to exfoliate more often with a gentle exfoliator like Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant.

Exfoliation not only rids the skin of impurities caused by SPF buildup and excess oil; it also clears the pores of the dry skin that comes with the colder air.

Simply put, a more intense or frequent exfoliation will prep your skin for the added moisture it will need come the colder days. 


While heavier face washes that lather away excess oil, sunscreen and sweat work well in the heat, gentle face cleansers are ideal for the winter months because the skin is already prone to dryness. 

Depending on your skin type, there are many options from soothing cleansing milk to face oils and balms. The one common denominator to note: the pH levels.

NY-based Dermatologist Whitney Bowe says, “I cannot stress enough how important it is to maintain the health of your skin’s barrier by using gentle, pH-balanced products. Your skin should feel hydrated, smooth, and nourished after cleansing, not tight and dry.”

If you have normal to dry skin, you can opt for a balm as it is an oil-based product that attracts impurities away from the skin. It gently dissolves and removes built-up residue and make-up. Balms and oils such as Dermalogica’s Precleanse products smooth, calm and nourish skin without clogging pores. You then follow up with a cleanser of your choice.

Cream-based or milky cleansers work well for sensitive skin, and foaming cleansers are suitable for skin prone to acne and breakouts. Look for a cleanser that contains Salicylic Acid, a Beta Hydroxy Acid, because it stimulates natural exfoliation to help clear clogged cells and smooth away dullness.

While washing the skin, avoid using hot water as it further depletes moisture. Gently press your towel into your face or let the water seep into the skin and gently pat dry after cleansing.


Gel-based and light-weight creams provide ample moisture in the hotter months but come fall and winter, you need to up your hydration quotient.

Assess your product to ensure it’s meeting your needs. Dry patches, itching, redness, or tightness will signal that your skin needs more moisture. You can switch to a richer formulation and add a hydrating mask and/or serum to your regimen. 

Mature skin also benefits from a more intense night cream in general. Thicker creams are better used at night as they penetrate the skin while in recovery mode – a time of intense repair and regeneration. We’re also tucked away in our beds safe from the pollutants and other external factors, allowing the skin to rest.

If the cream is too rich for you, you’ll notice melee or white heads appearing on your skin, at which point you need to try a different product.

Eye Cream

Never sleep on eye cream (wink, wink)! The delicate skin around our eyes is especially susceptible to dryness, which only speeds up signs of ageing. 

The skin around the eye is crying out for moisture in the winter, so apply under eye cream during the day as well, if you aren’t already. 

Perfect Your Fall Skincare Routine by Focusing on Moisture

The colder months demand that we perfect our fall skincare routine by focussing on hydration at every step.

Aim to add an additional layer of moisture in the form of a serum and mask to your routine if your skin can’t handle the rich lotions. 

It never hurts to drink more water and use a humidifier to add some moisture in the air while you sleep.

Got questions? Drop us an email, and we’ll address your unique skincare concerns.

Face Yoga in 5 Simple Steps

face yoga in 5 steps julia's esthetics toronto


“The best part of a facial is the massage.” Has a truer statement ever been made? Most of us don’t have facialists on call to bless our skin with their supple touch every day, though. But we do have the next best thing: our own two hands are capable of working wonders by practicing face yoga.

Face yoga is a hot trend right now in skincare and for good reason. There are forty-three muscles in our face that, like muscles throughout the rest of our body, suffer from tension and lack of blood flow. By taking a few minutes every morning and evening to stretch and massage your facial muscles, the skin will appear more supple and radiant over time.

Today, you’ll learn how to improve your skin’s look and feel in minutes by practicing face yoga.


Before you proceed with the five face yoga stretches below, it’s vital to prepare your face. Layering on extra moisture before face yoga works in a couple of ways. It keeps skin supple while you apply pressure during stretches and helps your favourite products penetrate deeper into the skin.

After cleansing and toning, apply a serum, pat on eye cream and finish with face cream. 


Using both hands and medium pressure, tap your fingertips from the forehead to the neck, making sure to cover the entire face. 

Next, slowly stretch your head forward and back then side to side. 
After that, focus on the mouth area by opening the mouth wide and closing it three times.

This process works to relax all the facial muscles and prime them for the stretching to come.


There are five common areas on the face where wrinkles tend to appear due to many factors, including dehydration, stress, genes, sun exposure, poor diet, among others.


This stretch relaxes the frontalis muscle, which sits in the forehead.

Technique: Make a fist with both hands and place them in the center of the forehead. Apply medium pressure and slide fists outwards to the temples. Repeat four times.


This move relaxes the procerus and corrugator cupercilii muscle, reducing the tension that causes the vertical lines between the eyebrows. 

Technique: Apply firm pressure, then begin to spread fingers slightly apart horizontally. Take a deep breath in and slowly frown while breathing out for a count of five. Feel the resistance of the muscles underneath your fingertips. The key to this stretch is to ensure your forehead is relaxed.


This move works the outer corners and lower section of orbicularis oculi, a muscle in the face that closes the eyelids. It targets the fine lines around the eyes.

Technique: Place the middle and index finger just above the temples, close to the hairline, and pull up. Feel the stretch. Without moving the forehead, squint for five seconds and relax. Repeat three times.


This move works the zygomaticus major and minor, a paired facial muscle that extends between the zygomatic bone to the corner of the mouth. Major and minor zygomaticus lie next to each other in the cheek area. This stretch also smooths the nasolabial fold lines.

Technique: Place both palms on the temples and pull upward. Make an O shape with your mouth, then stretch your face long at the same time. Press the upper mouth firmly against the teeth. Hold this pose for five seconds and relax. Repeat three times. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and keep breathing.


This exercise works the platysma (responsible for many expressions) and sternocleidomastoid (head rotation, flexion of the neck) muscles to tighten the neck and jawline.

Technique: Turn your chin to the upper right side at a forty-five-degree angle. Pucker your mouth as if you were going to kiss someone. Hold for five seconds and relax. Repeat three times. Then do the same move on the left side.


To finish, simply tap fingertips on both hands from the top of your head down to the base of the neck. Repeat three times. 

By now, you’re in a state of bliss. Apart from the esthetic benefits, face yoga feels fantastic and can transport you to a state of relaxation.


Face yoga feels good, it’s free, and it works to make your skin look better without the sweat. Plus, it only makes sense – we exercise and stretch the muscles in the rest of our body, why not the face? 

It is worth adding a few minutes, or many minutes if you fall in love with it, to your skincare routine. 

Try it out every day for a few weeks and pay close attention to the results. You’ll become a devotee!

Sources: Anatomy NextMayo Clinic

Laura Gatsos Young is a digital content freelance writer based in Toronto. You can read more of her work at


How do I Know My Skincare Products Work Julia's Esthetics

Do my skincare products work? How many times has that question crossed your mind as you stared in the mirror? With so much emphasis on skincare routines, and thousands of products on the market, how can you tell if your hard-earned dollars are being well spent on the right skincare products?

This post will address common skincare questions and shed some light on how to know if your beloved products are doing what they should. By the end of this post, you’ll be a more informed skincare lover and consumer!

Let’s start with the most obvious question …

QUESTION #1: How do I know if a skincare product works for me?

ANSWER: The most obvious sign that a skincare product is working is that your skin feels comfortable and nourished – not dry, itchy or tight. Over time, you’ll notice your skin feels softer or smoother than usual. You might look in the mirror and notice that your complexion seems a bit brighter and more radiant.
There are three easy ways to gauge progress with a new skincare treatment:
1.    Photos: take a “before” picture of your skin on the first day of use. Take another on day seven, then after two weeks, then after a month. These visual progress reports should reveal the subtle changes in your skin.
2.    Monitor problem areas and note any changes as a result of a specific product.
3.    Ask your facialist whether the products they recommended have made significant changes since the last time you visited (ideally, 6-8 weeks later)

QUESTION #2: Do I have to feel something to know the product is working?

ANSWER: Depending on the product and your skin’s sensitivity, you may or may not feel a slight reaction. Suppose you feel any itching, burning, or prickling sensations. In that case, it is time to discontinue use and wash the product off right away. Do not believe that discomfort equals results. When the skin itches or burns, it’s sending a message of barrier disruption. Your skin is naturally meant to protect you. Maintaining a healthy skin barrier is fundamental to proper skincare, so you should always be mindful of product pH. The only time you should seek to disrupt your skin’s natural barrier is under supervised medical treatment.

QUESTION #3: How long does it take to see the results of a skincare product?

ANSWER: Julia always preaches preventative versus restorative skincare for the simple reason that it’s easier to maintain your skin than to fix it. That’s why quality products and regular professional cleanings are so important.

The idea of overnight transformation, while prevalent in beauty marketing, is not how skin functions.That said, cleansers and exfoliants will quickly provide visible and tactile results, whereas serums and moisturizes will show results after about a month because the skin cycle takes that long to replenish surface cells. After a full period of skin turnover, you’ll see if the skin that’s resurfacing looks and feels healthier.

You know your skin best. If you are unsatisfied with the product, stop using it. Most reputable skincare companies and purveyors will take slightly used product back due to customer dissatisfaction for any reason.

QUESTION #4: What are some tell-tale signs that a skincare product or treatment is not working for me?

ANSWER: Here is a list of danger signs to look out for and some general indicators that the product is not best suited to your skin:
•    Redness, itching, irritation, burning – all signal a reaction.
•    It doesn’t treat your concern – if you are using a moisturizer and continuing to see dry patches or experience tightness, it’s not working for you. Similarly, if you are using a night cream and breaking out in whiteheads, it is probably too rich for your skin.
•    Most professional brands claim to be clinically or dermatologically tested. Even so, it doesn’t mean that the formulation is right for your skin. Everyone’s skin is different and changes during the seasons, so you must pay close attention to how it feels to know whether it’s worth your time and money.
Tip: Do a patch test on your neck or on your inner forearm for two days before applying to the face. Estheticians provide samples to save you from committing to the wrong product.

QUESTION #5: Is there anything I can do to make my new skincare products work more quickly or effectively?

ANSWER: You can stimulate skin cell turnover and prevent clogged pores by exfoliating a few times a week with a scrub or daily with a rice-based exfoliator like Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant. It’s important not to exfoliate too often because you will encourage oil production and strip the skin of its natural pH levels. It can also become sensitive and irritated.
Serums also prep the skin to better absorb the moisturizer that you layer on top.

Professional facials are the best way to ensure your skin is clean and primed to absorb the products you use.

In Summary

The best thing we can do for our skin is to consistently take care of it and pay attention to how it feels. There are a million products on the market – some of them will work for you and some won’t. If you know you have sensitive skin, start with products tailored to your skin type.

While it can be frustrating, informed trial and error is the best way to nail down the skincare products that work best.

Talk to Julia about your skincare concerns and goals. She will guide you based on her extensive product knowledge and experience.