Put Your Best Face Forward

On a recent trip to participate in Silo Distilleries “Cocktails and Creations” night, I sat across from fellow artist-in-hoping, Abigail Zsenai from Woodstock, VT. When I met Abigail, it was hard not to notice how beautiful and youthful her skin is. She claims to be in her early forties, but her skin looks more like late twenties. Once I discovered that she was the owner of Facials on the Green in Woodstock I immediately knew I was booking an appointment. Who doesn’t want to have the youthful skin of a twentysomething? Or, in my case, I’d settle for a late thirtysomething.

Our New England winters are especially harsh on my face. Constantly burning wood stoves, roaring fires, and raised thermostats harm exposed skin. And, simply step outside to experience the anhydrous effects of Mother Nature- below freezing temps, wind, and the occasional exposure to our fleeting moments of sunshine, all add up to dry and chapped faces. Throw in an active lifestyle forcing greater exposure to the harmful, drying effects mentioned above and, it’s a recipe for aging faster. Or, at least, that’s what I’d like to think is wrong with my skin!

I made an appointment with Abigail knowing that it wasn’t realistic to think that I would ever have her skin, but just hoping to have a nice, relaxing “spa” day, treat myself, and maybe have better skin for at least a day. What I discovered was much more than I had expected.

Abigail’s business is located on the second floor of the Fox Gallery building at the start of Woodstock’s historic green. It’s a small, cozy room and when I stepped in I immediately noticed the warmth that filled the space. It had good light and good “energy”. Once I donned my comfy robe and slippers, Abigail started by asking me questions about my daily skin habits, or lack of them. She wanted to know what I used to cleanse and moisturize (whatever CVS has on sale), what I considered to be issues with my skin (where do I start?), etc. She listed problems with my both my routine (or lack of) and my products, and she gave me detailed explanations of the issues and what she would be addressing. Then the best part started.

The contoured facial table is heated from top to bottom. When I piled in, I instinctively wanted to order one for my home…just to have to watch tv, or read a book, . It would be so divine. It’s that comfortable. First, she offered me a choice of fragrance that would help enhance my experience – all very light, nothing too overwhelming- and, I found that it did help relax me. The facial was very involved and included a microdermabrasion, a clinical grade peel (remember that scene in Sex and the City? This was nothing like that!), an algae mask, plenty of moisturizers, effectively placed hot towels, warm stones, all combined with head, neck, arm and leg massages. By the time it was over, I honestly felt as if I had experienced an entire spa day, instead of a 90 minute facial. This was like no facial I had ever encountered. And, to top it off, it ended with a delicious piece of artisan chocolate from Woodstock local, William Winand.

Abigail takes her craft very seriously. She throughly explained each step in my facial and the reasons why each was important. I never felt like I had simply ordered a facial off a menu. The products she uses are organic and she steers away from harsh chemicals that can actually compromise your skin. She also thoughtfully discussed the impressive training she had received to become a certified and licensed esthetician and the continuing education credits that she demands of herself. She takes tremendous pride in her business and the relationships she has developed with her very loyal clients. Prior to opening Facials on the Green, Abigail had worked at the luxury spa at the Woodstock Inn, and all 25 of her Woodstock Inn “regulars” moved to her new business when she opened. That says a lot.

I also spoke with a friend who had a similar facial with Abigail. Her comments mirrored mine exactly. She agreed that the entire experience at Facials on the Green was top notch- superior to any facial that either of us had ever had. And, we both walked away believing we looked younger (and, hoping it was true), and knowing we would be back. In fact, my next facial is already booked and inked in my calendar.

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