Holistic, natural and results-oriented are three words to describe Uptown Waterloo’s newest spa, Pure + Simple. This haven for natural facials, skincare, and high-quality makeup will help you put your best face forward each and every day. Focused on the relationship between mind, body, and spirit, trained aestheticians take a holistic approach to addressing your skin concerns. With additional perks like loyalty reward points, and bottle recycling, switching to a natural beauty regime has never been better. Co-founded in Toronto by mother/daughter team Jean Eng and Kristen Ma, the Waterloo location is their first expansion outside the big city.
Meet Kate De Sousa and Marcia Gawne
Born and raised in Kitchener-Waterloo, this dynamic sister-in-law duo are the proud co-owners of our communities Pure + Simple spa. Passionate about Ayurveda, these gorgeous girls help clients love their skin again. When not running the spa, Kate enjoys travelling, reading and meditating. Marcia loves to garden, practice yoga and cook.
Read on for the rest of our interview:
Thanks so much for meeting with me ladies! Tell me more about the philosophy behind Pure + Simple?
K: Pure + Simple’s philosophy is based on Ayurveda. It basically looks at the body, mind and spirit, and see’s they’re connected. This is the way we interact with clients. We look at the person as a whole, rather than just noticing a breakout. We try to figure out what else could be going on that is causing the breakout. We actually have a whole line of Ayurveda inspired products here. They are formulated to balance the three doshas, which, in Ayurveda, are considered the energies the every person has in them.
It’s great you take a holistic approach to skincare. Everyone is different.
K: Exactly. You just need to learn what works for you. Before I knew my doshas, there were a lot of things I would do that weren’t working for me. Once I figured them out, I stopped fighting them and everything just started to happen very naturally.
Can you explain a little bit more about doshas? This is new for me!
K: There are three doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each of us have these energies in us, in different amounts. The amounts are determined by personal characteristics. Things like your body structure, the types of food you prefer, your skin, personality, and how you react in certain situations. You can take the quiz online. It explains more about what the different dosha’s mean, and what sorts of things you can do if you’re imbalanced. Imbalances can lead to skin conditions like breakouts, dry skin, acne, and so on.
M: Everyone is different, so it just provides some insight into yourself.
K: Whenever someone has a facial we try to figure out what their dosha’s are, any imbalances they are experiencing, this way we can work at addressing the cause with the client. We talk about what might be going on…it just helps us provide better service.
M: Clients are intrigued by it, and once they see it’s relevant to them, they think it’s so cool!
So why did you decide to open a Pure + Simple Spa in Waterloo?
K: I have always been interested in skincare and in taking care of my skin. Once I found Pure + Simple I felt instantly drawn to their approach to healthy skin. I’ve been a client of theirs for quite a few years now and felt that Pure + Simple needed to be in Waterloo! Before opening Pure + Simple I knew about 26 people who were actively using Pure + Simple products. I knew there was an interest here for it and thought we definitely needed a store in our community!
M: The approach to beautiful skin, naturally, was exactly what I was looking for in terms of my own skin and body care. Once this opportunity presented itself, I knew I wanted to be a part of it!
K: So for us….things happened very organically. I’m not an aesthetician, so Jean, the co-founder of Pure + Simple asked if I knew anyone who thought the same way I did about skincare and who had that background. That’s when Marcia and I teamed up. Jean was super excited! So we all met, and things just started happening from there. It’s been a two year process, but everything has happened the way it’s supposed to happen. It feels good.
Did Jean give you a lot of guidance in opening the spa?
K: Oh ya. She was down here all the time, we were in Toronto all the time. She definitely took us under her wing, she’s our mentor. We did over a year of training in Toronto.
M: The training was very in-depth too.
So why natural beauty? Why use natural products on your skin?
K: I think now people are starting to see the effects of chemicals on their skin. They decide to go the natural route so they can be healthier. Natural beauty products are so much better for your skin. They use high-quality ingredients that actually feed your skin. Personally, I want to read a label and know what I’m putting on my body.
M: People have been making the switch to eating more natural and organic foods so naturally they are more educated and informed with ingredients. Now people are starting to think, I am eating healthy, I want to know what I am putting on my skin and body.
Because you’re absorbing all of the products right? What services do you offer customers?
K: Here at the spa, we offer all-natural facials. We have high-tech facials which include our Salt Microdermabrasion Facials and Aquabrasion facials. We do LED light treatments which help correct any damage done to the skin, and skin renewing peels which are really results-oriented, helping with many skin concerns. We also offer waxing, tinting, threading and professional makeup.
You can get everything here! Do you have a favourite facial?
M: We like them all in their own way, but I think the Hydrating Facial is our favourite… or the Salt Microdermabrasion Facial is really nice.
K: We also love pairing an AFA peel with the Super Hydrating. When we are choosing what facial to get we go based on how our skin is feeling and what our skin needs at that time!
If a client comes in and they don’t know what facial they want, you guide them through that?
K: We do a skin analysis, then based on what their skin concerns are and their skin goals, we go from there.
How often should someone get a facial?
K: It depends on what they are looking for. If they are looking to see results, the more often they come, the quicker they will see results.
M: It is always good to at least get a facial ever season change! By doing that you are helping your skin transition through the change of seasons, giving it that extra bit of love. Also, this gives you a chance to reassess your skin and your skincare regime. Depending on skin types and skin concerns, one may need to change a few items in their skin regime.
I can see along with facials, you offer full skin care lines and makeup. Tell me more about the makeup.
M: Pure + Simple has a line of natural and mineral based makeup which includes pressed powders, tinted moisturizer, eye shadows, eye liners and face colours. We also carry Jane Iredale makeup which is also a natural mineral-based line that has eye-shadows, eye liners, concealers, foundations, blushes, lipsticks, lip-glosses, lip liner, and mascara. All the products are natural and the foundations even have sunscreen in them, which is great.
K: Neither the Pure + Simple line or the Jane Iredale line will clog your pores. Changing your makeup to mineral based can make a huge difference in your overall skin health.
Do you find after clients leave the spa, they come back more confident?
K: That’s the best part! We do a little chest pump in the back because we’re so happy! Hahaha. It’s so great to see people who are committed to changing their skin care and then see results! Clients are so thrilled too when they don’t feel they need to wear makeup anymore! That’s the best.
M: To hear client’s say that they love their skin again…it makes you feel really great!
Any beauty tips?
M: I would say less is more with makeup. I feel a lot of people try to hide their natural beauty, when they really don’t have too. Just use makeup to enhance your features.
K: Also take pride in caring for your skin. When you are washing your face and completing your skincare regime, you are taking care of yourself. Another important tip is to wear sunscreen every day and try your best to stay out of the sun. It’s one of the biggest things you can do to prevent premature aging and damage to the skin.
Great tips! Do you have any favourite products?
K: We love all the products! I personally love the serums though. Basically a serum is able to penetrate to the cellular level of your skin. It helps feed the layers that a moisturizer won’t get too. We have a variety of serums here which target different concerns like dehydration, blemishes, aging, etc. Serums help your skin retain moisture…they basically are feeding your skin cells.
M: Serums also help prepare your skin to get the nutrients from your oils and moisturizers. You apply your oil and moisturizer after the serum. My favourite products are the facial oils.
K: One thing I will say about using a face oil is that sometimes it can take some getting used to. Especially because we have been conditioned for so long that oils aren’t good or that they will clog your pores and lead to more acne. When first using an oil it can take anywhere from two weeks to two months for your skin to really absorb the oil. It depends on the skin. Some people don’t like using oils at all, because they feel it makes them look greasy. But even just using the oil at night, gives your skin a chance to get used to it. Both Marcia and I have both been using oils for years now and they absorb by the time we finish brushing our teeth. Oils do so much for your skin though, they just take some getting used to.
M: A lot of people feel that if their skin is oily, they should avoid oils, but the oils in our products are all natural and won’t clog your pores. Don’t be afraid of oils, embrace them! They are so beneficial and really help with achieving healthy skin.
Are there times of the year that you offer specials?
K: We do monthly specials on facials and products. Twice a year, we do big promotions as well, on Earth Day in April and in September we have a Pure Madness Special.
What can people be doing now to get their skin ready for spring?
M: Ideally a facial would be the best thing to do to get ready for spring. A facial will help your skin with the change of seasons and allows us to reassess your skin care regime. Depending on skin conditions and types, some people may need to switch to a lighter moisturizer for example.
Thanks so much for the tips! Finally, where do you guys love to go in our community?
K: We love being in Uptown Waterloo. DVLB is one of our favourite spots for coffee. It is a way to take a walk, get some fresh air and some delicious coffee!
Pure + Simple spa is a welcome addition to our vibrant community. With a lovely duo passionate about helping you look and feel your best, it’s definitely worth a visit to their location. Struggling with a skin concern? Be sure to check out the website for insight on how to deal with sensitive, acne prone and aging skin. Be sure to keep up with the spa’s latest news as well by liking them on Facebook and following their Twitter account.