Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Visage Thirty-Nine

Freckles cover my upper back and shoulders due to the many shirtless hours I spent outside as a child. I am now more attentive to protecting my skin, and recently encouraged my mother to do the same. But when I asked her to wear a moisturizer with sunscreen, she frowned at me like I had suggested that she take me out to lunch.

“I’m trying to keep you from getting skin cancer,” I said.

“I’m not outside long enough to worry about it,” she argued. “And since when did you become a doctor?”

I knew that unless I graduated from medical school, worked several years at Abbeville General Hospital, and cured cancer, my mother wouldn’t listen to me. Since I didn’t have that much time to invest to make my point, I decided to seek the assistance of someone in the skin care profession.

Visage Joli’ Spa and Salon, located at 2403 Charity Street in Abbeville, is owned and operated by husband and wife team, Daren and Tiffany Roy. The couple opened their doors in March 2009, and offer services ranging from ion cleanse detox to firming seaweed facials to haircuts, coloring and styling. Their merchandise mix includes vegan cosmetics, handmade baby clothes and candles that can be used as a moisturizer.

“I became interested in the skin care industry after working in the medical field,” says Mrs. Roy. “I love working with people and helping them look and feel their best.”

Mrs. Roy is a licensed esthetician and a graduate of the Aveda Institute in Lafayette. She has received training in various treatments including spider vein reduction, radio frequency skin tightening and laser collagen synthesis.

“The hardest part of owning our own business is the financial stress,” said Mrs. Roy. “My dream is to become profitable enough to expand Visage Joli’ to include nail care and massages.”

Hairstylists Alisha Trahan and Amber Vice operate the salon part of the business. Although it is located in the same building, it is nestled off to the side of the spa, creating a separate environment.

“A woman’s beauty secrets are her own,” says Mrs. Roy. “I wanted to create a place that felt cozy, private and discreet.”

Glenda Abate, Mrs. Roy’s mother, is the receptionist and assistant manager of Visage Joli (Beautiful Face). She suggested that while I interviewed her daughter, I enjoy an ion cleanse detox. I had imagined it to be some sort of drink that would ensure I visited the bathroom regularly. Since I’d already eaten two bowls of raisin brand that morning, I didn’t think it would be wise.

“No thank you,” I said while rubbing my stomach.

“You should try it,” Mr. Roy said. “I do it all the time, and feel a lot better afterwards.”

I didn’t want to be rude, so I said okay, but made a special note of where the bathroom was located just in case there was a problem. But instead of giving me a drink, Mrs. Roy made me put my bare feet in a tub of water. She placed something round like an electric pencil sharper inside, and then plugged it in.

“Is this going to shock me?” I asked.

“The electricity helps extract the toxins from your body,” Abate said. “The water will change color depending on what’s removed.”

While I sat there, Mrs. Roy exfoliated my mother’s face with a diamond chipped laser. According to the Visage Joli service menu, the treatment called diamond microdermabrasion helps rejuvenate the skin and remove fine lines.

“Your skin is dry, Mrs. Couvillon,” Mrs. Roy said. “You should use a moisturizer with sunscreen every day. It will help you look younger.”

“Younger than thirty-nine?” my mother asked. “That’s a good idea. Can you suggest one?”

The water around my bare feet had become yellow. I wasn’t sure it if it was from the toxins in my body, or from the surprise that my mother had accepted Mrs. Roy’s suggestion so easily. For a few seconds I felt hurt, but then realized it didn’t matter because I had achieved my goal.

I enjoyed our time at Visage Joli’. Not only because of their remarkable hospitality and knowledge, but because they had reinforced my belief in the importance of maintaining and protecting our skin.

But later as my mother and I drove away, I couldn’t help but wonder why she’d had a change of heart concerning moisturizer and sunscreen. She’d always insisted that my siblings and I used it when were growing up, but didn’t feel it was necessary for herself.

“Why are you going to listen to Mrs. Roy, but not me?” I asked. “Was that diamond- chipped laser really a mind control device? Can it make you stop asking me when I’m going to get a job?”

“You’re not that lucky or funny,” she answered. “I listened to Mrs. Roy because she said the moisturizer with sunscreen would help me look younger. I’m only thirty-nine, but one day soon I might be able to pass for thirty-eight.”

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