Last Monday was the hottest and most humid day of our Philly trip. I loved all the walking we did in this great city but on this day in particular, it was a little much to walk 30 minutes from a coffee shop after stopping for an iced tea after walking 20 minutes from our hotel, even after reading the severe heat warnings on weather.com. Half way along our walk I wondered why we didn't just hail a cab but we kept walking whilst sweat dripped down our backs and legs. I arrived at Juju Spa & Organics about 5 minutes late for my 2pm appointment because we didn't realize how long it would take to walk, but I called to let them know and the woman who answered assured me it was fine.
I opened the exterior door of a centuries-old building which led me into a small pumpkin and black entryway with a window facing an antique sofa and a sign that indicated silence is golden and a request to turn off cell phones. I pulled on the second door and entered a long and narrow tranquil space with soft music, a whispering receptionist and fresh air infused with pleasant natural aromas from the products showcased on and in vintage furniture. I was given a clipboard with some paperwork to fill out but first I used the restroom and noticed my face was beet red from the walk there and intense heat and was a little embarrassed by it. I mean, my face gets bright red when I exercise or when I am in what feels like a furnace. In fact, on our walk there I asked my sister "I wonder if this is what hell feels like?". I sat back down on the comfy chair and filled out my paperwork. When I stood up to give it to the woman at the vintage desk I noticed my shirt had stuck to my back and was damp. I looked at the pillow on the chair and my sweat had soaked through my shirt and seaped onto the pillow. Gross. I turned the pillow around.
Shortly thereafter I was greeted by a petite blonde with a soft voice and gentle handshake named Courtney. She escorted me to a room in the back (door on the left in photo below) and I immediately felt the need to explain my red face so she didn't think it always looked like that or that I was about to have a heart attack.
She was very sweet, assured me that she also has red-face syndrome and her soft voice was calming and relaxing. The facial room was dimly lit with sun just slightly creeping in around a dark curtain and the flicker of LED candlelight. At first I thought the latter was odd but decided it was energy efficient and thoughtful of
those sensitive to smoke or aroma. It was very "zen" with peaceful music playing very quietly in the background. Courtney gave me instructions of clothing to remove, the half robe to wear and how to get under the sheets on the massage slash facial table. I slipped under the sheets and immediately felt how soft and cozy the bed/table was and I loved the comfort the triangular bolster pillow under my knees provided.
I began to sweat even more. I know it's important to be warm for a facial or massage but my body already felt overheated. I tried to calm my mind and chill out. Courtney returned and asked me some skincare questions and she noticed on my questionaire that I had already used Dr. Alkaitis' products. She also asked if I was opposed to her using goat milk for one of the steps, because I noted I have a dairy sensitivity. We didn't exchange a lot of words before she got started which was fine with me, but she put me at ease right away.
|Woodsprite Organic bodycare|
I began to focus on completely relaxing every muscle in my body, slowing my breath and trying to identify which product she was using next on my skin based on the aroma alone. It didn't take long for my body temp to drop to a comfortable level and for me to forget about it completely. She began with several steps of gentle cleansing, massaging each product in and then steamed my face with a machine that reminded me that I used to put my face in front of our humidifier at home. This wasn't cold air though - this was very warm and it's purpose was to prep my skin for deeper cleansing. A scrub was applied that she had mixed using Dr. Alkaitis Enzyme Exfoliating Mask and organic honey. I was asked periodically how I was doing and if I was comfortable, which I appreciated. Each time she would move to another step and product, a folded warm towels was applied under my chin and gently wrapped around my cheeks and forehead in a smooth and seamless manner followed by a quick shoulder massage. The organic goat milk step smelled a tad funky but I know that it is a good exfoliator and is beneficial to skin.
I was asked how I felt about extractions since I had written that I was attending an event the following day and didn't want any evidence that my skin had been poked, prodded or irritated recently. I told her I wasn't opposed but that I was concerned about them causing irritation or breakouts. She said she doesn't use an extraction tool as often used during facials and that she would be very gentle. I didn't know what to expect because I had never had extractions done before, other than doing them myself while I sit in my sink and squeeze out blackheads or pop zits in a methodical manner. Not proud of that fact and knowing it isn't good for my skin, I confessed this to her as I felt compelled to do and she said a lot of people do that and encouraged me to not to it too often or to press to hard so not to cause permanent damage.
She covered my eyes with something I imagined being similar to the eye protection goggles used in tanning beds, but I wasn't sure since my eyes were closed. Still, I could see a bright light through my eyelids and she said she was going to look at my skin under the magnifying glass. "Scary!" I thought, since I have looked in those magnifying mirrors people have in their bathrooms and sometimes it's downright horrifying. Owning one seems like a way to torture one's self which is why I don't. With gentle strokes she looked at my skin and said some nice things and wondered if she says that to everyone to make them feel better. She asked if I drank a lot of water because my skin looked well hydrated. I told her I felt like a was losing a lot of water through my pores in this heat but that I thought Dr. Alkaitis products were really helping me with moisture loss. We had a moment of professing our love of his products before she started to extract. To be honest, it wasn't entirely comfortable but it wasn't unbearable by any stretch. It felt like pitching and imagining a bunch of gunk being removed from my pores helped. She said to let her know if it hurt or if she should move to another area and only once did I have to tell her that it hurt on one of my cheeks in a very sensitive spot. She quickly stopped and moved to other areas like the crevice between my nose and cheek, chin and forehead which didn't bother me much. It didn't last long but I was glad it was over and we could move on to the next steps which included a hand/arm massage, a mask application and facial massage as serums and moisturizes were applied. It was so relaxing that there were several times during the session that I felt like falling asleep. And when the hour was up, I could hardly believed that much time had passed.
|Sevi natural skincare|
After Courtney whispered that we were done, she quietly left the room and I slowly got up and put my clothes and jewelry back on and walked out barefoot with shoes in hand. She handed me a glass of water and asked if I wanted any samples. I said I'd like a little of the Dr. Alkaitis mask she used, since it was one I hadn't used before. We chatted for just a bit while she packaged it up, thanked me and took another client back to a room.
|Inside Juju Organics Spa|
I took my time quietly looking around at the products they carried, sniffing and touching several of them. I wasn't quite ready to venture out into the summer elements either. Juju Organics had many brands on display I was familiar with and ones that we've reviewed before like ECO Logical sunscreen, Keys, Dr. Alkaitis, Woodsprite Organic and more. They also carried Sevi skincare which I had heard and read about, but never tried and Solas Naturals which was completely new to me.
|Dr. Alkaitis Organic Skinfood|
|Solas Naturals Body Scrubs|
I bought some liquid eyeliner and nail polish before leaving the urban oasis. Juju Organics is an escape from what's outside it's doors - a hustling and bustling city with honking cabs and people in a hurry. If you live in Philly or you're ever there visiting, I highly recommend booking an appointment for the Dr. Alkaitis Facial with Courtney. You are sure to leave more peaceful, refreshed and glowing! And no, I didn't have any sort of negative reaction from the facial or extractions. My face was happy, nourished and pampered.
Apparently I'm not the only one who feels this way - Juju recently won "Best Holistic Facial" by Philadelphia Magazine and they are celebrating by currently offering 10% off any of their Microdermabrasion Facials.
Image credit: Fig+Sage
Disclosure: Juju Organics & Spa offered this facial at no charge for the purpose of an honest and candid review of their services. This is of course still my personal opinion and thoughts about my experience. To learn more about our review criteria, click here.