Woman Divine's Magdalena Tomczak unveils the power of oil
More from Janet Wilson
Published on: November 5, 2014 / Last Updated: November 6, 2014 4:26 PM EST
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.”
THE ART OF OILS WORKSHOP
What: Magdalena Tomczak explores oils and shows how to select the ones that are right for you.
When & where: Dec. 1, 6 p.m. / Woman Divine, 351 Churchill Ave. N.
613-216-7676 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Vegetable oil
Yes, you could cook with it. Oils pressed from unrefined and organic seeds and nuts, such as argan, sunflower and camellia, have been used on the skin around the world for centuries and have been picking up steam in North America over the past decade. “Oil is full of vitamins A, E, D and K as well as essential fatty acids.”
2. Essential oils
Known as the most concentrated form of herbal medicine, essential oils are produced by the process of distillation to get the essence of the plants. Essential oils offer impressive healing possibilities in skincare in balancing, regenerating, astringent, antiseptic and soothing action and protection of the skin, Tomczak says. “Some of the most lovely oils for the skin and for skin-cell regeneration are carrot oil and frankincense.”
Oils & skin types
Rose hip, argan
Carrot seed, rosewood
COMBO SKIN (dry and oily)
Sunflower, jojoba, camilla
Chamomile, ylang ylang
Grape seed oil, jojoba