The sun rises over Granville Island, and after days of darkness, I let the warmth seep into my skin. The morning glow feels like a renaissance, and I can’t help but to think that today is going to be special.
Up and down the island’s narrow streets, I wander looking for the big red building they call The Creekhouse. Within the walls of this edifice is my destination: Clarité Wellness.
I walk into the space and see the sun dripping in behind lace curtains. A big red velvet couch brings old-fashioned charm to the immaculate white room, and in the corner is a beautiful wooden desk. I’m here to receive one of Colette Yeomans’s transformative holistic facials, a decadent service that currently has local skin worshippers adding their names to a seven-month waiting list.
The soft, gentle, and nurturing demeanor of Clarité’s space is a reflection of Yeomans. With 11 years of experience practicing medical and naturopathic disciplines, Yeomans opened Clarité three years ago in an effort to create a space where individuals could go to replenish, rejuvenate, and reflect on mind, soul, and skin. Mixing skin care methodologies from both the western and eastern worlds, Yeomans is able to bridge our relationship with our skin through mental, physical, and emotional observation.
Let’s make one thing clear: this isn’t your average facial. This is a service that taps into the human experience, reaching for the good and the bad—the moments that have made us who we are. Yeomans practices etiotherapy, which she defines on her website as working “at the intersection of your physical and emotional states, providing a unique new way to heal.” What this means is that within us, there are stories told and stories kept untold; etiotherapy brings forth the information, either calming or distressing, that we need in order to move forward. Each part of our body carries with it information and knowledge of our health and wellbeing, and that includes our skin.
After a detailed consultation and analysis, I lie down on the cozy table situated in the middle of the bright room. Having studied the traditional Chinese diagnostic practice of face mapping, Yeomans brilliantly customizes every facial for each individual who walks through her door.
Mine begins with a cleansing of the skin, allowing for flaws and imperfections to be unleashed from any signs of makeup. I have dark circles under my eyes, gifted to me partly due to genetics, and partly due to lack of sleep. What Yeomans notes about them shocks me. “They’re beautiful,” she says, helping me understand there is a meaning behind them that I should embrace. I learn that these dark circles are a reflection of depth and creative ways of communicating—a result of my supportive kidneys. I’ve never had someone compliment me on this personal insecurity before. It makes me feel empowered and emotional. As Yeomans notes, true beauty is about self-acceptance.
Next, Yeomans exfoliates and balances my complexion with products including local standout Sangre de Fruta, Switzerland-based Luzern lightweight serum, and cult favourite Biologique Recherche’s Lotion P50T. As she takes a closer look at my skin, Yeomans asks me what happened to me at the ages of two, 16, and 21. I’m astounded—my skin is showing Yeomans the ages at which I experienced my most life-altering moments. Giving in to the process, I begin to dig deep to unlock and rediscover information, reliving both joyous and heartbreaking moments of my past. As my skin indulges in this service, my soul does as well.
We talk about my mother, my grandmother, and my history. There is a certain energy in the room that makes me feel completely safe to share these episodes of life. After applying a fresh locally-pressed black cumin seed oil to the problem areas on my skin, Yeomans begins to perform gua sha, a gentle way to tighten and tone the face’s surface and muscles using a jade stone. Utilized in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the stone pulls heat out of the skin, moving stagnation along high points of the face to assist with lymphatic drainage and lifting. I develop a deep appreciation for Yeomans’s approach to skin care, which is similar to that of the French: work with the skin, rather than bombard it with harsh products that have the potential to cause inflammation.
After spending three hours with Yeomans, I am released back into the wild. For the first time during this dark winter, I feel revitalized, both on the inside and out. Despite the fact that I have been a beauty writer for the past four years, I learned something drastically important from Yeomans: our skin has very little to do with what we use topically. In reality, it is a reflection of our internal state, and to truly understand our canvas, we must open up to our physical, biological, and emotional self.
Clarité’s facial leaves me feeling connected with my entire wellbeing. Never did I think I could experience something so emotionally healing through my skin.