Ottawa Citizen

November 2014

Magdalena Tomczak, owner of Woman Divine, makes her own skincare line depending on the person's skin type., writes JANET WILSON

Magdalena Tomczak looks intently at my face, scanning for blemishes while running her fingertips across my cheekbones and forehead. I nod when she asks whether I have a headache.

“I can see it on your face, the stress around your eyes,” says the holistic skin therapist and aromatherapist. “For each client, I make an individual blend from my staples based on what is appropriate, based on your skin on any given day.”

Tomczak plucks ingredients — her handmade concoctions in pretty glass bottles of varying sizes — from a nearby counter to use in my face massage. She is a master at judging skin types and curtailing the treatment to fix any issue.

“Vegetable oils and essential oils are very effective skin remedies and form the base of the majority of organic skincare products you find on the market today.

“They definitely are indispensable in my practice,” says Tomczak, whose welcoming Westboro spa is called Woman Divine (womandivine.ca).

As the cold weather sets in, I’m here to get a lesson on oils.

Growing up in Poland, Tomczak says it was not uncommon for her mother to get monthly half-hour face massages.

“Sadly, training in North America focuses more on product application than massage.”

“It is an old European remedy for aging skin and has played a prominent role in the Eastern practice of Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. Face massage is the No. 1 aging preventative technique,” she says.

Nutrient-rich oils provide a pleasing lubrication during a face massage and hydration for those with dry skin.

Tomczak says massage helps to carry the oils with all of their benefits deep into the skin. With so many skincare products to choose from, she recommends you keep it simple and purchase only quality products or even make your own.

“It is good to get creams from someone who knows what they are doing. Base oil on its own is a great way to start and has plenty to offer. If you want to make your own concoction for every teaspoon of vegetable oil, only add a few drops of essential oil.”

In recent years, argan oil has been hailed as liquid gold and a miracle cure for a host of skin conditions. It has also spelled big business for the beauty industry. Rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, pure argan oil (harvested from the nut of an argania spinosa tree) was used by Moroccan women to hydrate their skin and to fight the effects of the relentless desert sun. It is said to reduce inflammation, minimize wrinkles and treat acne.

Tomczak began practising holistic skincare in 1996 and opened her business in 2008, merging her background in massage therapy, aromatherapy, herbal medicine and nutrition.

For my treatment, she used a gentle blend of “solar-infused” chamomile flowers in jojoba oil with a touch of argan oil to treat my slightly sensitive skin.

She explained that her flower concoction was made over a period of eight weeks with exposure to the sun and moonlight and stirred daily.

“Chamomile is soothing for both the skin and the nervous system. Since you have mentioned you were stressed, I felt this would be a nice one to use. The chamomile flowers I used are from a local organic herb grower and a lovely lady — Judy of Judy’s Organic Herbs. Both the jojoba and argan oils are organic cold-pressed and unrefined, keeping things simple, effective and beautiful.

“A lot of love goes into making infusions like this one.”

Before purchasing essential oils, Tomczak recommends checking labels for the Latin name and meaning and choosing oils made from organic or wild-crafted plants.

“There are often many species of the same plant. Oils produced from each species are different in their biochemical composition, which determines the healing properties of each oil.”

One of her favourite ingredients is organic sunflower oil from Les Huiles d’Amérique, a farm outside of Montreal.

“I use this oil in my treatments and in few of my formulas. It is one of the ingredients in my face balm. I also use it in my kitchen. It is very tasty.”

Another item she says everyone should own is a silk pillow, which keeps the face fresh and aids in your sleep. “Cotton tugs and sucks the moisture from the delicate skin on your face and neck.

“When you think of the health of your skin, remember that your body has basic needs: good food, sleep, fresh air and exercise. We need to be kind to ourselves.”

jwilson@ottawacitizen.com

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

Read more at Ottawa Citizen


National Post

November 2014

All’s well that oils well: Face dry skin season with some essential moisturizing tips

Using oils alone, skin expert and spa owner Magdalena Tomczak says, isn't enough: Massage, adequate sleep and diet all play role in keeping skin healthy over colder, drier months of the year.

Read more at National Post


Ottawa Citizen

August 2012

Woman Divine offers raw vegan organic facial treatments that leave skin with a healthy glow, writes JANET WILSON

Magdalena Tomczak has been using food as medicine for the skin since her childhood while growing up in Poland. She followed her mother’s simple beauty regimen of using cucumber slices and tea bags on her eyes, honey as a facial mask and essential oils for stomach aches and colds.

Tomczak owns a holistic skincare clinic called Woman Divine in Westboro. She credits her “beautiful” 81-year-old mother for influencing her to study nutrition and herbal medicine and aromatherapy.

“Organic products are full of life and energy. You can’t compare them to products that sit on store shelves for two years,” she says. “I love the freshness of creating a mask using local products in the summer. I source everything from local growers in Aylmer and purchase exotic fruits from Herb & Spice on Wellington Street.”

Tomczak moved to Ottawa 24 years ago and was one of the first in the area to get involved in the local organic skincare movement. While she makes most of her own treatments, she has been using anAustralian skincare line called Jurlique for 18 years.

After hearing glowing reviews about Tomczak’s raw vegan facial from a few neighbours, I recently decided to check out what the buzz was all about. Located on the second floor of a converted home on Churchill Avenue near bustling Westboro, Tomczak began offering this particular facial a year ago.

“I love it. I can fully customize the treatment and can make it as complex or as simple for the client. People with skincare allergies love it because it’s pure and there’s no fuss. You don’t have to worry about unlisted ingredients because what you see is what you get.”

For my visit, Tomczak showcased the natural ingredients in little glass dishes, including lavender, marshmallow root and rose petal infusions, cucumber juice, a blend of camellia oil, lavender essential oil and blue camomile, manuka honey, ground oats, almond butter, matcha green tea and white clay.

The raw vegan treatment, which costs $90 and is an hour long, starts with a cleansing process using manuka honey, oats, almond butter and marshmallow extract.

A lavender infusion spray is used to hydrate the face along with rose water and cucumber. A warm blast of steam opens the pores and readies the skin for deep cleansing, exfoliation and extractions, if needed. Tomczak offers a relaxing massage of the upper chest, shoulders, neck, face and scalp. After that, a face mask of apricot, honey, white clay and matcha tea is lathered onto to the skin and then it’s time for a foot massage.

In a word, the experience was blissful and one I hope to repeat in the not-so-distant future. I loved the feel and the smell of the natural ingredients on my body, the heavenly massage and listening to Tomczak’s insightful philosophy on how she chooses to lead her life and about her hopes to inspire those around her. I left feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

“I never believed in the five-step skincare routine, but I do believe in mindful, nurturing self-care and the power of touch, which is why massage is a big part of my treatments,” says the 49-year-old.

“I wish for women to take beauty into their own hands and to trust their intuition rather than the latest advertisement. Skin and the face are not separate from the rest of the body. They are very much a dynamic part of the whole being.”

Magdalena’s secret tips:

What can’t you live without:

I love working with oils especially rosehip seed oil. I use this vegetable oil to moisturize my skin on a regular basis. Rosehip is excellent for aging skin and heals burns and scars.

What else?

I also love lavender essential oil because it is an amazing skin-cell regenerator and it’s wonderful for the nervous system.

jwilson@ottawacitizen.com

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

Read more at Ottawa Citizen


Sweet Spot

October 2011

Ottawa’s Top Organic Treatments and Spas

Pregnant and in need of pampering? We’ve rounded up five organic spas that offer all the TLC we crave without any harsh chemicals that may be bad for babe.

Woman Divine

We don’t all get that coveted skin glow with pregnancy, so we’re heading here for all-natural, organic facials (including a raw vegan option) to get our glow back.


The EMC News

December 2010

Woman Divine, a holistic skin care clinic located at 351 Churchill Ave. N., is offering a new face regeneration program that not only allows women to feel better about their image, but also provides several health-related benefits as an added bonus. Owned and operated by Magdalena Tomczak, an established holistic skin care therapist and aromatherapist, Woman Divine provides a peaceful environment in which to discover and experience a holistic and very personal approach to beauty and skin care.

"It's a one-woman show," Tomczak said. "I've been in the natural health and beauty business for many years -- since the early '90s when I started as a massage therapist, but I've always loved working with the face."

While her business offers a series of holistic skin care products and treatments, it is Tomczak's new face regeneration program that has quickly become one of her most popular services amongst clients.

"It is massage-based only -- no products and no equipment," Tomczak said. "I approach the beauty business from a different perspective -- I always use massage as the basis. Our face is much like the body. Over the years, we create tensions that eventually alter how our body looks. The same thing happens with our face. As we express or feel emotions over time, specific emotions become our look. That's why, as they get older, some women have that grumpy old lady look."
Tomczak went on to explain that a big part of her new program involves relaxing tension from the various layers of facial tissue.
"This will allow you to see a more lively person when you look in the mirror," she said. "Today, the beauty business involves a lot of surgeries and injections. This creates a mask-like appearance, but a beautiful face is an expressionable face. We've all seen how too many surgeries and such can cause a person's face to look a bit alien."

As well, Tomczak said her program differs from more traditional beauty preservation methods because of the active involvement of clients and their commitment to improving their entire self as opposed to their outward appearance. "When women come to me, they work with me," Tomczak said. "This is not a 'fix-me-up' treatment. How you look has a lot to do with how you're feeling. If you're willing to work with that, I will use my treatment to help you release it. Both sides participate. I very much would like women in general to feel good about what they look like and who they are. I believe a woman is most beautiful when she doesn't try to be anyone or anything other than herself instead of trying to hold onto a youthful, wrinkle-free image. It's about understanding the value of life as a woman instead of trying to hold onto what has passed."

Background

Although the Woman Divine skin regeneration program has only been offered publicly for a short period of time, Tomczak explained that it is not something that came into being overnight.

"I started working in the skin care field about 15 years ago," she said. "It took me a few years to prepare this particular program and another year to test it on my regular clients. I have been offering it to the public for the last few months."

While different people are expected to see varying results based on several factors such as skin condition and age, all clients who choose to take part in the program automatically begin with six sessions on a weekly basis. "We want to be able to get to the chronic tensions in the facial tissues," Tomczak remarked. "If you skip treatments, we will always be dealing with surface tensions and we won't get to the tensions that have been there for many years."

She also described the program as a very relaxing process. "And, it has added health benefits such as relief of sinuses, migraines and eye strain," she added. "Some of the women I have treated have told me that they initially came to me hoping for a better look, but later came to understand the other benefits they were reaping were much more rewarding."


Savvy Mom

June 2010

"The old saying is true: when mom’s not happy, nobody is. That’s why we need to collect our wits and regroup before the summertime frenzy begins. Here’s one way to start:

  1. Enlist a friend and trade childcare for an hour or two during the week
  2. Get a facial

You won’t regret it. If you don’t already have a fave place to go, check out Woman Divine for a relaxing, organic facial treatment. Owner, and savvy mom herself, Magdalena Tomczak knows skin, and has a wonderful philosophy about beauty and aging. It’s just like our mothers told us (and somewhere along the line we forgot)…we need to take care of ourselves and learn to love the skin we’re in."

Read more at www.savvymom.ca


Quiet Fish

June 2010

"I had the organic beauty facial treatment. I have to confess that I was worried about redness and skin irritation. My skin is very sensitive. In fact, I would categorize it as the kind of skin that is Generally Unhappy With Everything. But I needn’t have worried. By the time I left I wasn’t red, just glowing. (I know that sounds cliche, but it’s true!)

The whole experience was pretty darn awesome, but I was really impressed by Magdalena herself. The emphasis here is on more than just nice-smelling (albeit organic) products. Magdalena’s philosophy on beauty and aging won me over from the start. Her take on skin, beauty and health is more uplifting (haha, pun not intended) than any stuff she can use on my skin."

Read more at www.quietfish.com