Get beautiful skin, now

September 26, 2011

_MG_4367Ottawa-based Oresta Organic Skin Care Confectionary heals more than skin deep

After a hectic day of meetings, assignments and errands, a luxurious facial at ORESTA organic skin care confectionery was just what I needed to unwind and relax. The plan was to interview the owner and namesake of the confectionery, Oresta Korbutiak, and then receive a facial by her expert hands. Get the work out of the way and slow down. I could get used to this routine. I entered the store and was enveloped by soothing smells of lavender. Korbutiak was seated by one of the corner shop’s main windows, posing for our photographer extraordinaire, Marissa Baumeister. When the shooting wrapped up, Korbutiak greeted me with a warm smile and the soft hands of someone whose skin is in constant contact with heavenly moisturizers. She wore a beautiful stretchy jersey-like dress with elegant silk folds in a calm blue. The talented aesthetician not only personifies her business in name but in spirit too and I immediately feel my muscles ease and my thoughts decrease as we sit down to chat about ORESTA and skin care over a delightful cup of peppermint essential oil tea.

We begin by discussing the top five skin care misconceptions. Korbutiak is a woman who took her skin care into her own hands, unsatisfied with store goods and unwilling to sacrifice her health for ineffective products. She must’ve studied the dos and don’ts of skin care before embarking on her own journey to build Oresta and I want to know her secrets.

You can over cleanse – People think that tight skin after a cleanse means good skin, but it doesn’t. A cleanser sets the tone for the entire skin care routine and tight skin means your cleanser is too aggressive for you. When Korbutiak finishes cleansing my skin with an Éminence cream-based cleanser, she asks me to feel my cheek and says, “This is how your skin should feel after a cleanse.” My skin is moist and supple, not dry and stretched out. 

An aggressive cleanser will contradict your moisturizer – Applying lotion to soothe your agitated skin won’t help. Remember, the cleanser sets the tone for the rest of your skin care routine so if your skin dries out use a gentle, non-foaming cleanser. Not only will your skin feel clean and healthy but it won’t suck up your moisturizer like a dried out plant. Korbutiak sends me home with two types of moisturizers and a packet of Argan oil. The moisturizers are effective but my skin sucks them up quickly and still feels a bit tight. This is most likely because of the cleanser I’m currently using. It has a lot of fruit juice in it and is too aggressive for my skin. I try the Argan oil and fall in love. It soothes and calms and doesn’t leave my skin feeling greasy. I think this is the fountain of youth for moi.


The fewer bubbles the merrier – Sulphates such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) are ingredients in many products from shampoos to toothpaste and detergent that create the suds we so dearly love. Unfortunately, these are some bad bubbles. Sulphates are skin irritants and should be avoided. Exposure to this chemical can result in eye damage, severe skin irritations, hair loss, urinary tract, bladder and kidney infections. All ORESTA treatments use Éminence organic skin care, a certified organic, all-natural line of great products that I can’t wait to purchase. For best results, Korbutiak told me to apply a cream cleanser to dry skin, dip my fingers in warm water and massage the cleanser around. This is now my favourite part of my cleanse because the cream becomes so smooth and I can’t help but feel like I’m putting warm butter on my face, mmmm. For more information on other harmful ingredients, read here.

You can over exfoliate! – Although it is an important step in your skin care regime, you shouldn’t do it more than once a week. Exfoliation helps remove excess dead skin cells that can clog pores. However, because our skin is self-regenerating, over exfoliating can remove your skin’s natural oils, causing it to become dry, produce more oil and cause break outs.

It’s not all in the genes – Yes, some people are blessed with good genes that allow them to get away with washing their faces with only soap and water. But chances are they also lead a healthy lifestyle. Your skin is the best indicator of your internal health so the more junk food you eat, the less exercise you do, the more alcohol you consume, the more your skin will show signs of wear and tear just as much as your liver and expanding waistline. To improve your skin, improve your diet and consider eliminating dairy, wheat and sugars one by one to see if you can’t pinpoint the culprit that is causing you skin troubles. In addition, eat more living foods like grapes, carrots, antioxidant-rich blueberries, greens and yogurt.

Armed with this initial information, I dig deeper to get more tips and tricks to improve my skin care routine. Korbutiak is very realistic when it comes to switching your skin care routine to one that is more natural. She doesn’t encourage people to just throw out their current products and start from scratch. It’s wasteful, unnecessary and costly. Instead, finish your current products and do your research. Test a variety of all-natural, organic skin care lines and figure out which works best for you. Korbutiak strongly believes that you are the expert on your own skin. So inform and test until you find what makes your skin happy.

Here are some other tips that will help you along the way to better skin:

If you have sensitive skin like me, avoid extreme temperatures. Yes, this is almost impossible if you live in an area like Ottawa with our cold winters and humid summers, but this refers to your water temperature too. I use to cleanse my face with hot water and then rinse with cold water. I grew up reading in beauty magazines that you use hot water to open your pores and cold water to close them but Korbutiak tells me that this is near torture for my skin and might explain why I have redness and can get blotchy. So, for the past two weeks, I’ve been using lukewarm water and what a difference! My skin tone is even and redness is way down.

The skin around your eyes is very thin and sensitive. Avoid dragging your fingers or hands across your eyelids and under your eyes. This constant pulling and tugging will prematurely stretch the skin, not to mention spread germs from your fingers to your eyes – a surefire way of getting sick.

Rather than tell teens to never squeeze their zits, Korbutiak gives zit popping lessons during her teen skin care workshops with local high school students. “Teens experience a lot of hormonal changes with their skin so the teen years are the perfect time to educate them on simple, proper skin care,” says Korbutiak. “It’s inevitable that some of them will pop their pimples, so we teach them how to properly do it – after cleansing, with toilet paper on your fingers to avoid transferring bacteria to your skin”.

Change your moisturizer with the seasons. “People like to stick to their products and that’s fine, but as your skin changes with the seasons, look at adjusting your moisturizer,” says Korbutiak. In the winter, most people will need a thicker moisturizer than what they use in the warm months.

Beware of green washing and pink washing. Green washing I had heard of, but pink washing was a new concept to me until Korbutiak explained the term. Green washing is a tactic used by many companies to label their products with generic words like ‘natural’, ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘green’, regardless of whether or not they actually are. The idea is to attract consumers into buying something because it says it’s green. Unfortunately for these companies, consumers are smart and we know more and more about the difference between ‘green’ and certified organic, etc. As for pink washing, this is when a product is painted pink in support of cancer. People buy the product because they want to support a good cause but it’s almost counterproductive because the product itself may be harmful to your health.*In an effort to support cancer patients, Oresta offers one free facial every week throughout the year to a client who is undergoing cancer treatment. “Many of these women are going through chemotherapy and their skin reacts to the toxins. So we pamper them to soothe their skin, help them de-stress and feel good,” says Korbutiak.

My heavenly facial lasts what seems like a lifetime. Every step of the routine, from the cleanse to the moisturizing, includes a lovely massage. I am pleasantly surprised when Korbutiak not only massages my arms and legs but even tweezes my eyebrows. Now that was the icing on the cake for me. I leave ORESTA feeling calm and beautiful. My skin is firm, supple and glowing! I’m also equipped with a slew of samples to try at home. I book another facial for next month in preparation for a wedding. I may have to return early to buy my new favourite skincare products. Once you find the secret to healthy skin, you can’t go back.

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