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The new wine and chocolate-infused facial that leaves skin glowing


Waterlily Vino Therapy Performance Spa Facial at So Hotel
The indulgent new Vino Therapy Performance Spa Facial at Auckland's SO/ Spa.
Would you try a facial with chocolate, wine, figs and berry-based ingredients?

It sounds indulgent, but also like something – albeit a very messy something – you could perhaps whip up at home. 

You expect a facial to be a relaxing and skin-transforming affair, but new approaches are evolving the traditional treatment into a sensorial wellness experience.

The Vino Therapy Performance Spa Facial and a body version called the Vino Therapy Body Wrap Ritual have just been launched in New Zealand at SO/ Hotel’s SO/ Spa in Auckland’s CBD. 

Created by skincare and spa brand Waterlily, the facial makes the most of the aforementioned ingredients, as well as a number of other natural plant-based active ingredients.

But it’s not the primitive form you might be able to mix up at home, and it’s delivered with a considered and precise layering of cleansing, exfoliating and hydrating steps, not to mention a dreamy helping of rejuvenating massage, in a modern new approach to a skin treatment.

The treatments make the most of Australia-based brand Waterlily’s expertise in developing natural hand-crafted skincare products with the latest advanced biotech ingredients chosen for their ability to improve and nourish skin.

Waterlily's Michelle Reeve and Hotel So Spa Auckland
Waterlily’s Michelle Reeve and Auckland’s SO/ Spa at the SO/ Hotel.

Waterlily founder and formulator Michelle Reeve explains the approach as ‘Eating beauty.’ Food-grade ingredients and nutraceuticals are used in every treatment and product and everything is handcrafted in small batches fresh each month by a team of women in a Brisbane lab.

“My passion is wellness and nutrition,” Reeve says. “The range was inspired by the slow food movement, where whole ingredients reflect the paddock-to-plate ethos and are meticulously extracted to protect their nutrient-rich offerings.”

She explains she takes a naturopathic approach of skin resilience and treating the skin like any other organ. “We’re going to nourish it first with a whole range of anti-inflammatory ingredients, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and then build on that foundation, to then bring in corrective or nutraceutical ingredients.”

That luxe Vino Therapy facial that smells good enough to eat (and you’ll be tempted when that organic cacao chocolate cream is gently massaged over skin!), is also antioxidant-rich to protect and enhance collagen production with gentle alpha hydroxy acids from fruit to encourage skin cell turnover and even out skin tone and texture.

“We have taken freeze-dried Shiraz wine pressings and fresh strawberries and whipped them into a raw cacao chocolate mineral clay cream,” shares Reeve. “It has been intensified with lashings of pure resveratrol, a natural antioxidant found in grapes to brighten the skin while boosting the production of collagen.”

The one-hour facial, now at Auckland’s SO/ Spa, features a generous focus on massage while steps broken up with repeated application of a rose-infused hyaluronic acid hydrating serum and alpha arbutin for brightening, plus a vitamin C contour mask. It’s a treat that reveals its true results in the days after, with plump, bright, glowing skin.

“It’s about not having to choose between those two elements of active and results-driven or  botanical, but bringing them together,” explains Reeve. “Then delivering it in a really mindful way as well.”

The Vino Therapy Body Wrap Ritual ritual also involves aromatic aromatherapy to create a multisensory experience – think notes of blackcurrant, vanilla and a burst of citrus.

It’s about acknowledging it’s often difficult to take a moment – or the expense – for a treatment, so offering clients an experience that indulges all the senses as well as relaxation and quieting the mind delivers on wellness goals as well as beauty ones.

“All of the elements that have gone into the formulations, like really opulent textures and really beautiful cold press plant oils and the lovely aroma and the beautiful skin feel, says Reeve. “All of that is an investment in your health. Even just stopping and performing the ritual of looking after yourself, I think, is a vote towards your own health.”


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