St. Catharines Standard - It's all about passion and personality. Oodles of it, rubbed into every pore.
That's the mantra and reality of Freida Polihronis, owner-operator of Zoe Anti-Aging Skin Spa & Boutique in St. Catharines, Ontario.
"If you don't have passion, go home," insists Polihronis, in a recent visit to learn more about the esoteric world of spa treatments.
"In order to be good and be recognized, you have to be passionate," she announces. "You have the confidence to know you're good."
It's all foreign territory for a reporter who's lucky if he can get a family member to give him a Christmas backrub.
Let alone give one himself.
But inside this St. Paul St. home of manicures, massages and micro-dermabrasions, I'm asked to attempt a facial and rub. My test subject is a demanding one - it's Polihronis herself!
Before we start, I hear a wince-inducing description of hair-removal procedures, including the dreaded, hair-razing Brazilian.
No further comment.
Men are also really into body sugaring, she says: "They get their backs done and a lot get their eyebrows, ear hairs and nose hairs done.
"When guys hit 40, they start to lose hair from their head and get it in their nose, ears," Polihronis explains. "So then we pull it out - hmm, but you have nothing," she remarks, after peering into my ears.
She hurries over to her "witch's brew station" to mix an all-natural skin elixir. It has a gardeny smell and includes a white clay powder, strawberry extract and a seaweed variety
"We customize the stuff to accommodate everyone based on their skin type," she says, as the blend is stirred and distilled, water added.
I throw on my apron and off come Polihronis' clothes (behind closed doors).
I'm ready to prove my esthetician's talent, as she lies beneath hot towels.
The act as I scoop and brush goop on her face and shoulders feels like face-painting did as a kid.
"You're going to tell me how beautiful I am and how great I look," she says with a laugh. "You're amazing at this.
"It feels nice and cooling . and you don't have to do my ears."
I am impressed: "I feel like I just painted a masterpiece," I announce.
Polihronis agrees: "I would hire you in a minute," she says. "You are spa material.
"You've got it, brother. Any time you need employment, you come see me."