I Got A Monastery Facial, and Can't Stop Thinking About It

Posted by Natalie Cito on

Monastery is known for its standout, massage-forward facials using their all-natural, small-batch skincare to heal and nourish the skin barrier. 

Experience the Monastery Signature Facial for yourself at Health Hut in Toronto. This facial includes manual massage techniques using oil cleansing, water-free moisturizing and a full lymphatic facial. The optional, and highly recommended Gua Sha addition lifts the face without fillers. 

Curious about what to expect? Follow me along on my first Monastery facial.

I arrive at Health Hut on College Street at 10:20 am. The store is not yet open and Jeronnie, HH’s beloved esthetician, is kindly welcoming me in. Mid-morning light ushers its way through the large front window. I already feel a sense of calm as she directs me through the shop and into the facial room.

I hang up my belongings, walk through the French doors and settle into the facial room—the white walls and high ceilings feel fresh and inviting. Jeronnie and I talk about my skin and skincare routine. She asks if I've had a facial before to which I respond, “Yes, but few and far between. In the past, I’ve had more chemical and micro-current facials, but I’ve never had one at Health Hut.” I tell her about some of my skin concerns and what I use day-to-day. She asks plenty of follow-up questions such as, “Is this breakout you are experiencing recurring or hormonal?" I have yet to lay down, and I already feel taken care of and confident in Jeronnie's attentiveness to my skin.

Before I get on to the extra wide heated table I get the rundown of how my facial will go. I'll receive a double cleanse, glycolic gel treatment, optional extractions and multiple layers of moisturizing products from oils to creams to balms. "Our Monastery facials contain the option of an exfoliant or retinol. For morning facials I normally recommend choosing the exfoliating option while evening facials are more suited for retinol use. However, if I find throughout the facial that a retinol would be beneficial to your routine, I'll let you know," Jeronnie explained. 
I gladly take her suggestion. Needless to say, I'm excited.

Jeronnie leaves the room for me to change. After a while, she gently turns down the lights and knocks on the door, asking if she can enter. Already cozy on the table, I welcome her in. Before starting the treatment, Jeronnie slowly put her fingertips on my shoulders to acclimate me to her touch. After putting on my headband and moving my hair back, the treatment begins:

STEP 1: Steam and Double Cleanse With Sage and Rose Oil Cleansers

“Please take a few breaths in and out,” Jeronnie says as she hovers her hands over my face. I take a deep breath in, smelling the warm hinoki, Japanese cypress, lavender and pine oils. She begins with the first cleanse using Monastery's Sage Oil Cleanser. After deeply massaging and removing this cleanser with a warm cloth, the second cleanser is applied. Monastery's Rose Oil Cleanser smells of hazelnut, rosewood and orange.

STEP 2: XX Glycolic Mask, Enzyme Mask, Extractions

Throughout the facial Jeronnie continues to let me know her next step. Her voice is soothing and I'm lulled into relaxation by the combination of smells and soft speech. "I am going to begin applying Monastery's Glycolic Gel, XX with an enzyme mask for exfoliation. If this product starts to tingle on the skin, please let me know." The Enzyme mask is one of the two products that are exclusive to the Monastery facial and are not available for purchase.

After a few moments of sitting with XX and the enzyme mask, I feel no tingling, but Jeronnie still checks in with me to be sure I'm comfortable. She informs me that some people with sensitive skin experience a slight sensation when these two products are applied. I'm thankful for her attentiveness.  

After removing the mask and glycolic gel, my skin feels much lighter, open and soft. As Jeronnie begins the process of extractions, I'm surprised by the lightness of her hand and how relaxed I continue to feel. With other facials, I often become tense around this stage and experience pain during extractions. Thankfully, Jeronnie was gentle and kind to my skin while focusing on the areas of concern that I mentioned during our consultation. 

STEP 4: Massage and Moisturize With Gold Face Serum

With open and clean pores, Monastery's Gold is applied to my skin. This oil repairs skin irritations caused by sun, acne, inflammation and dryness. As this thick and luxurious oil sets into my skin, I'm greeted with scents of magnolia and jasmine. Gold is massaged into my neck activating my lymph nodes and starting the sculpting process. After an invigorating massage, Gold is removed from my skin with a warm cloth. 


STEP 5: Depuff and Hydrate With Aloe

Next, Aloe—a Hyaluronic Moisture Boost—is generously massaged into my skin. The natural jelly constancy of this product allows Jeronnie to easily slide her hands along my face without tension. Using various hand placements under my jaw, cheekbones and forehead, I receive a deeply invigorating lymphatic facial massage. The double-weight hyaluronic acid and aloe in this product give my skin what it needs to hydrate.

STEP 6: Firm With Flora

In a full circle moment, Jeronnie applies Flora, a sage and rosehip-infused serum. Flora's lightweight formula feels like a kiss to the skin. Silky and packed with a long list of invigorating ingredients, my skin drinks in this uniquely formulated cream serum. 

STEP 7: Protect and Repair With Attar

Right when I think I can't sink any deeper into relaxation I'm introduced to Attar, Monastery's Floral Repair Concentrate. This four-ingredient balm feels like a hug of moisture on my skin. Hazelnut seed oil, two forms of jasmine and rose wax envelope my skin while Jeronnie continues her massage techniques, deeply activating my lymph nodes for more drainage.


After the facial, Jeronnie and I discuss my skincare plan, what she learned about my skin throughout the treatment and what products are best suited for me. I feel secure in her suggestions on how to achieve balance in my routine. I purchase Rei, Monastery's Gentle Retinol Cream. Since my concerns include blackheads and hormonal breakouts around my chin, this product will help to keep my skin exfoliated and clear.

I’ve received chemical facials before but they’ve never felt this restorative. Coming out, I feel as though the treatment I received reflects the way I want to view my skincare routine—gentle and supportive instead of forceful and restrictive.

Leaving Health Hut, I'm overcome by a deep sense of calm. This experience was unlike any other facial experiences I've had. As the sun hits my face I keep turning to storefronts windows in hopes of catching my reflection and experiencing the glow I felt from within.


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