Oh, Man. I've been rocking it a bit much lately, and my face was starting to look like Keith Richards (maybe it was the scarf I had wrapped on my head, but still ...). Fortunately for me, I have a friend in one lovely Robyn Frazar, Licensed Esthetician. Robyn works at Alexandra Wagner Skincare, conveniently located on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, so all I had to do the Saturday after an insane last Friday night was teeter my bicycle up the road a short spell.
I managed that, and was so delighted to see what a lovely space Alexandra/Ally Wagner has created for her skincare clients up a flight of steps from the bustling Boulevard. Airy, sunny, crisp, soothing ... it was calming before I even stripped and laid down on the cozy white sheets of the facial table.
Alexandra is a Philly girl, who came out to L.A. via New York City six years ago. She had a painting business and found herself beating up on her body a lot, which led to a new awareness for her own well-being. When you realize how much some TLC helps your mental health, via facials, massages, good diet, exercise, all those good things, then you do your best to give yourself that treat once in a while, the best you can. Alexandra had that light-bulb, got her esthetician license, worked in NY and LA (at Jurlique, where she met Robyn), and then took the plunge into owning her own business.
Alexandra Wagner Skin Care was located above Colcha up the street for four years, until moving to the current location this past March. And it's gorgeous. You can wait for your appointment with a little people watch on the sunny balcony overlooking the Brig end of Abbot Kinney, and then go inside and forget all about it.
I certainly did. Adorable brown-eyed blonde Robyn heard my tall tales of the night and wasted no time in showing me to her facial room, instructing me to undress and get comfy. No problem. The music was good, the air was fresh, and I was almost out before she returned. That was short-lived though, as while I'm usually a lady that loves silence during any service, Robyn is so fun and insightful to talk to that I found myself jabbering away the entire time. Even during the very thorough extraction segment of the deal. Yep.
They use EmerginC products in their "Signature Facial", all of which smell delightful and leave your face sparkling aglow. That probably also had a lot to do with the enzyme peel, microdermabrasion, , those darned but vital extractions, mineral mask, "Gommage" (stuff that super-exfoliates with balls of goo that roll dead skin off your face - awesome), and even a cooling oxygen treatment that was a bonus tingling of fun facial first aid.
My favorite part - aside from the chats - was when Robyn applied this enzyme peel stuff that kind of stung, and then fanned my face as my eyes were closed, like with a fan fanned. I fully expected to open my eyes to find a glistening manservant there with a sprig of grapes to feed me. I shared this folly with Robyn and she replied, "If I have grapes, I'll feed 'em to you!" This is one of many reasons why we love her.
More of those reasons: A born and bred California girl (Encinitas, and now West Side!), Robyn is a truly lovely soul. When asked about what got her into her line of work, she said, "I want to establish REAL connections with people ... My whole purpose is to be an example of love, and put that forth in my every interaction." Which she does. She plays guitar beautifully, and is an avid supporter of all her musician friends (a point we bonded over early on). She loves Yoga, and the whole mind/body/spirit school of thought. She got her Esthetician License, worked for a Doctor in a medical spa, and then found herself at Jurlique until she was snatched up by Alexandra. Venice's gain!
She has recently thrown most all of the vice-y stuff in life out the window, to research for herself (and how she looks and feels) what doing without alcohol, sugar, processed stuff, and I forget what all else, but she wants to explore the more radical approaches to skincare issues through how we operate on the inside. She means business too. Meaning, you can't buy her a drink, but you can buy her a Kombucha! (though recently that seems to be slightly alcoholic too, I was surprised to find out).
Even after all that Robyn did to my now seriously soft and beaming face, there is still a bunch more things to try, like Micro-current treatment that tones facial muscles somehow, high quality waxing of both brow and bikini, multiple kinds of facials, and I'm still hoping for those grapes ...
Both Alexandra and Robyn adore working on Abbot Kinney, and support all the local businesses ("Most of our furniture is from Surfing Cowboys."). Though clients come from all over (even Orange County!), they love that the local clientele mostly show up and park their bikes out front. I forgot where Alexandra lived and asked her if she was in Santa Monica, to which she replied, "Absolutely not". She is firmly a Venetian. A girl after my own heart.
They love the Venice community (once again, the dominant feeling of Blogtown/Venice itself) and as Alexandra said, "There's not a lot of places like it left in AMERICA." Robyn added, "I love the progressive minds of Venice. People have art, flair, energy ... they value their friendships, they're free-spirited, and they, for the most part, want to make a difference in the World". Amen, Sisters.
When I wafted back down the stairs after my luxurious pampering and gab session, I was relaxed, refreshed, was told I had a "glow". Whether that was true or not, I at least no longer resembled old Keith. (At least on the outside). But better than that, I felt inspired by the knowledge that good people continue to share their gifts, make a living, and send people on their way feeling a little better about both themselves, and the world at large ... all in just over an hour.
Make your appointment now. Tell them I sent you. You won't have to tell me you went ... I'll know just by looking at you.
Alexandra Wagner Skincare
Alexandra Wagner/Robyn Frazar
1636 Abbot Kinney Boulevard (up the stairs)