Blissful escape at Mona Lisa Skin & Body Bar

From the moment you step into Mona Lisa Skin & Body Bar in Camps Bay, you step into a mini world of pampering, indulgence and beauty.  Lisa-Marie’s clinic is situated in a private residential property in Camp’s Bay which makes this experience all the more private and relaxing.  A real escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.


I had the privilege of receiving a !QMS facial which is one of my favourite product houses.  After a !QMS facial you can be guaranteed of a post-facial glow and your skin feeling great for days afterwards!  Have a look at my post on the !QMS Oxygen facial here.  Today Lisa Marie did the SK Alpha facial on me – her description of it sounded perfect for my dull post-winter skin:

This treatment is designed for dull, asphyxiated and tired skin conditions that will intensively stimulate, oxygenate and brighten the skin complexion while also firming and lifting the skin.
The treatment starts with a facial cleanse and gentle exfoliation with some steam.  The specialised mask involves the application of an anti-ageing collagen serum and a self heating mask and foil – to really warm up your skin and encourage penetration of all the good stuff 🙂
The plasticizing mask is the second mask which instantly cools and soothes the skin, leaving the skin looking glowing and smooth.  While the masks are doing their thing, Lisa-Marie spoilt me with some much-needed TLC – a divine hot stone foot massage, décolleté massage and file & paint on my toes using a gorgeous Morgan Taylor nail polish.
2015-09-18 12.01.00It’s now about a week after the facial my skin feels smooth and looks hydrated.  I love going to Lisa-Marie – she is passionate about what she does and is super thorough.  While you are with her – she is 100% focused on you and your needs and also offers a listening ear if that’s what you need 😉
I can highly recommend Mona Lisa Skin & Body Bar – I’ve already made my next appointment 🙂
Have a look at her website here
Lisa-Marie Marais
Health & Skincare Therapist
C: 083 676 1671
A: 189 Kloof Road, Clifton, Cape Town, 8001
Yours in wellness, Helene xxx

Check out these AMAZING promotions…


The tranquil outside area

The tranquil outside area

Just what my skin ordered – my recent visit to Skin Symphony – Environ:

After a recent bad facial experience as well as my skin care issues during the past couple of weeks, I decided to be brave and go for another facial.  When I got a personal recommendation from someone who I know is picky, I felt a lot more confident to try it out.

I booked my appointment at Skin Symphony at Renaissance Body Science Institute for an Environ Enhancing Vitamin Therapy facial with Nina. The description on their website:

Developed to intensively focus on several key areas of concern, a targeted treatment that ensures your primary skin care concerns are directly addressed.

As you might recall from a previous blog, I am very particular about receiving great service and an amazing treatment when going to a salon or spa.  Why else would I take the time and spend the money to go?

When I arrived at Skin Symphony, the receptionist gave me a comprehensive client consultation card (which covered everything from my medical history, contraindications and skin concerns) to complete.  Nina came to fetch me in the comfortable reception area right on time and took me to the treatment room.  Everything about this place suited their image of being more medically inclined, but still having a relaxed, spa like feel.

The beautiful treatment room…

As Nina showed me into the room, there were a couple of things that impressed me.  I liked that there was a cupboard where I could leave my clothes and bag, the room was very spacious, minimalist (I don’t like a cluttered, messy treatment room), warm and inviting.  The bed was perfectly made with fresh linen. I immediately felt like closing my eyes and drifting off, happy place!

Nina started the treatment by ensuring that I was comfortable – this is one of the most important steps in client care during a treatment.  After chatting about my skin care concerns and expectations, she briefly explained to me what she was going to be doing and also warned me that this facial was a less pampering facial.  I did expect this though, coming to the Renaissance BSI.

The facial commenced with double cleansing with steam and a few extractions.  Then came the real highlight – the Ionzyme DF machine used over Environ’s Moisture Gel:

World renowned Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon and founder of Environ, Dr Des Fernandes, invented the revolutionary DF Machine which incorporates the simultaneous use of Iontophoresis and Sonophoresis to provide the skin with maximum penetration of active ingredients for best possible results. Iontophoresis is an electrical current that is passed through the skin and facilitates greater penetration of vitamins into the skin.  It is used for larger surface areas such as the face and neck.  Sonophoresis involves the use of sound waves to transport vitamin molecules through the skin and produces better penetration through the skin than conventional ultrasound.  When both methods are combined an intensive treatment is the outcome.

She then applied a plastisizing alginate mask and gave me the option of a foot or hand massage while the mask did its magic.  I of course opted for the foot massage!

The facial was concluded with the application of a hydrating moisturiser and sunblock. Nina left the room and told me to meet her at the reception.

A nice touch to end off your treatment...
A nice touch to end off your treatment…

This facial sets you back by R490.  I think it is totally worth it.  Not only did I feel relaxed, but my skin truly looked amazing when I walked out ready to face the world again.

This is a more intense anti-aging facial due to the addition of the iontophoresis and sonophoresis to really get those good ingredients to penetrate a lot deeper.

Read about Environ’s Product range here.

the Beautiful Truth STAR RATING: 7 out of 10 for the RELAX factor and 8 out of 10 for the treatment and after effects on my skin.

Skin Symphony – Address:  RBSI | 183 Bree Street | Cape Town | 8001 | Western Cape, South Africa;  Phone:  (021) 422 5693;  Email:

Stay relaxed and beautiful

Helene x x x


the Beautiful Truth SPA REVIEW – VIEWS SPA, Wilderness (Western Cape)

Views Hotel – South Street, Wilderness. (044) 8778010

the Beautiful Truth STAR RATING: 4 out of 5.  I can highly recommend this spa and therapist!

I love this pool mosaic!  It really suits the location of the spa - right on the edge of the ocean...
I love this pool mosaic! It really suits the location of the spa – right on the edge of the ocean…

In a recent blog, I wrote about the things you should expect from your spa/salon visit. As part of this spa review, I will highlight some of these must-haves again.

During our mini breakaway to Wilderness recently, I decided to visit the Views Spa at the Views Hotel for a little bit of a pre-birthday, me-time treat to myself. The last time I was here, was with the hubby for our honeymoon! The hotel & spa is about 5 years old and a real stand-out in the Wilderness area.

Booking my appointment:  I phoned the spa and Nicky (spa manager) informed me that they had two 30 min slots available for the next day.  Later the therapist phoned to confirm and also to let me know that she had a cancellation so she could help me with a more convenient time.

A good salon/spa will either phone or send a message to confirm your appointment at least 24 hours in advance which also gives you sufficient time to cancel should you wanted to.

The stunning reception area.
The stunning reception area.

Arriving at the spa:  Upon my arrival, Nicky gave me a beautifully printed (not copied) client consultation card to fill out and sign. She then took me through to the ladies changing area and showed me to my locker where I could find a gown and slippers. She also explained the set-up of the spa briefly and informed me that my therapist would come and fetch me in the relaxation area.

It is important to explain to a client the different facilities at the spa and also what he/she can expect. My advice would be to treat every guest as if it is their 1st visit to a spa.

I love this mural at the pool area!
I love this mural at the pool area!

After I got dressed into my cozzie, gown and slippers I waited for my therapist Nicole in their beautiful pool/relaxation area. Nicole came to fetch me right on time, led me to the treatment room and explained exactly what she wanted me to do (e.g. leave your gown here, lie with your head this way etc.)

Once again – it is important to treat every client like they have never been at a spa before – explain to them exactly what to do and what to expect.

The treatment:  Nicole started with the “Herbal Hair & Scalp Treat” and finished with the “Revive Feet” treatment.

Tranquil treatment room.
Tranquil treatment room.

Nicole inspired me to compile this list of things to look out for from your therapist during a treatment – she ticked all the boxes!

  1. She must ensure that you are comfortable i.e. you are warm enough, your head and neck is comfortable and there is a pillow/folded towel under your knees to take some pressure off your back.
  2. She needs to ensure that the music is at the right volume for you and that the lighting is dimmed sufficiently.
  3. She needs to inform you about the treatment, but then respect you by not talking if you prefer silence and want to relax.  A therapist who keeps on talking when a client clearly doesn’t want to, is one of the biggest things that can spoil an otherwise great treatment.
  4. The therapist must not leave the room unless she absolutely needs to.  You are paying for her full attention for the time that you are there under her care.
  5. She needs to make sure that she is as quiet as possible e.g. quietly opening and closing cupboards and getting her products etc. ready. All of this needs to ideally be done before you enter the room.
  6. She needs to start and finish the treatment properly.  This is different from spa to spa or different product houses.  Some design their own “welcome and ending rituals” to signify the start and finish of the treatment.
  7. She needs to keep contact with you i.e. when a therapist moves from the feet to the head, she can lightly keep in contact by placing her hands on your legs and arms as she moves up from the bottom to the top of the bed.
  8. The therapist must do the treatment thoroughly, according to the specific treatment’s protocol and with all the correct products.

The end:  Nicole gently lifted the bean bag from my eyes, lifted the bed up slightly, handed me a glass of lemon water, told me that the treatment was over and that I could get dressed and come out in my own time.

I ended my time at Views Spa with a dip in the heated pool, a quick warm-up in the sauna and finally a shower – I felt super relaxed and warm – perfect for the cool April overcast evening outside.

The pool and relaxation area.
The pool and relaxation area.
The ladies bathroom with lockers and showers.
The ladies bathroom with lockers and showers.
And finally... the view!
And finally… the view!


Does your salon tick these boxes?

A recent visit to a hotel salon sparked the idea for this blog.

I have been having some issues with my skin (acne type break outs at the age of 36!?) as well as feeling particularly in need of a pamper session after a couple of stressful weeks.

So… when hubby announced that he’s been super proactive and booked us into a hotel for the night where we would have a 40th celebration – I thought this was the ideal opportunity to go for that much needed treatment at the hotel’s salon.

To cut a long story short… I left this particular salon not only with my skin looking bruised and irritated (perfect for getting ready for the party in an hour right?!), but my mood in a bad state.

This brings me to a short list of what you and I can demand from our salon and spa treatments.

The following are the absolutes of what any decent salon/spa should have in place – I will refer to my recent horrible salon experience as “salon X”:

1. You deserve a really warm and friendly welcome & comfy area to relax before your treatment – There was no one to greet me at salon X. I had to wait in a tiny reception area where the one and only chair was occupied by another guest. I had a stair to sit on – thankfully not the floor.

2. A thorough client consultation card – Salon X had nothing of the sort. The therapist only knew my first name when I went into the treatment room.

Ok, I know enough of the paper work already. But, the reason for a client card is that the therapist can know who you are, what your particular expectations and needs are for this salon visit, any contra-indications like pregnancy, medications and allergies as well as a couple of other important points.

The client consultation card is there to guide the therapist in her conversation with you before the treatment, performing the treatment (e.g. I prefer medium massage pressure; I prefer you not to do extractions etc.) and finally afterwards to conclude your treatment and talk about your treatment and home care plan.

3. You deserve a beautiful, clean treatment room with clean, fresh linen and an attentive therapist. You should be told by your therapist how to get ready for the treatment, where to put your clothes/bag as well as which items of clothing to remove. She should then come back after a while and ensure that you re 100% comfortable. At salon X I had to tell her to please cover me with a blanket as I tend to get cold quickly especially my feet. The towels also had this smell of not being washed thoroughly enough between clients.

4. You deserve a treatment that is done according to the product house’s treatment protocol. This means that all the right products and the particular sequence is followed. The therapist should have received training of some sort on this treatment that she is performing.  I have trained beauty therapists for many years and have also, so when she skipped a step/product here and there – I knew it immediately. To end off the treatment she went from mask removal to applying a SPF – all done! This brings me to the routine most facials should follow:

FYI – A facial should typically include at least the following steps:

Cleanse & Tone; Skin Analysis under a magnifying lamp; Exfoliation; Extractions (if needed); Mask (could include a serum underneath); Massage while the mask is on; Mask removal; Tone; Serum & Eye cream; SPF.

Some facials include extras such as: Eyebrow shape; A specialise mask; Advanced method of exfoliation e.g. Microdermabrasion; Fruit acid based peels etc; A machine treatment e.g. Galvanic/High Frequency etc.

After she left the room I had a quick look at her trolley with professional products and realised that salon X must be low on stock – no serum, moisturiser, eye cream etc.

5. You deserve a therapist who is sensitive to YOUR needs. After telling my therapist politely that I desperately needed to relax – she continued throughout the hour to chat about irrelevant topics, ask me annoying questions and open and close cupboards looking for products etc.

6. You deserve your therapist’s attention for the full duration of your treatment. Therapist at salon X left the room after doing a 1 minute décolleté massage while the mask is on – to go and make a phone call loud enough for me to hear. Your therapist should offer you one or two “touch therapies” e.g. scalp/décolleté/hand/foot massage while a mask is on.

7. Finally – your therapist should offer you something to drink, give you feedback after your treatment e.g. “Your skin is showing signs of congestion which could be due to the stressful time that you have had – I would suggest the following…”; Offer to take you through a treatment and home care plan and ask whether you would like to re-book. I wanted to leave salon X as soon as I can so didn’t mind that the therapist didn’t do any of the above…

This concludes the list – which I will expand on in a future blog.

The question of course now is this. Do we have a salon owner or manager at salon X who cares enough to handle my complaint and suggestions with care? Does she realise that this complaint can save her from many unhappy clients who might never return and as an opportunity to improve her services at her salon?

I’ll let you know 😉