Beauty

Fall Fantasy

A Providence day spa offers seasonal beauty treatments

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More than any season, fall’s particular smells and tastes appeal to me. The popularity of pumpkin means any and everything that can have pumpkin added to it has (Pumpkin macarons, anyone? Pumpkin Greek yogurt? It’s a whole new world of gourds and that world is delicious.)

Until recently, I thought that the proliferation of fall’s iconic flavor was limited to food and drink. Not so. It turns out that Butter Day Spa offers seasonal treatments that benefit your skin and allow you to enjoy autumn, even on a spa table. So in I went to for my first-ever fall-inspired facial.

Butter’s unique location – in a bright yellow Victorian on the College Hill section of Hope Street – was a smart choice by owners Alicia and Arnell Milhouse. It’s a whole new kind of vibe to walk into a grand parlor of a late-1800s mansion, old world art hanging from the walls, to wait for a spa service. I was greeted by Chifferobe’s Kristen Minsky, who directed me to a table laden with French wine and cheeses while I waited for Dayja to lead me to the treatment room. More lovely old art, candles and drapery waited there, in what I’m guessing was once the family dining room. It was a welcome departure from the tiny, muted-color treatment rooms you find in most spas.

The treatment of the day was a Fantasia facial, one of Butter’s signature services. Dayja began by cleansing, toning and assessing my skin type and the kind of products she would be using on me. The spa uses a British skincare line called Pevonia that’s popular in Europe but largely undiscovered in America. She placed chilled green tea and jasmine teabags on my eyes to depuff and improve dark circles, which was new for me - and, it turns out, very effective. We went through the standard steam treatment (with the added benefit of aromatherapy: Dayja gave me my choice of scents like sweet orange, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon and peppermint – I chose rose) and extractions. Then the seasonal elements started, and they were lovely.

First, Dayja moisturized and massaged my face, arms, shoulders and décolletage with a delicious smelling pumpkin moisturizer. Normally, pumpkin scents can be overly sweet and spiced and not smell much like pumpkin at all. This product was delicate and perfectly autumnal. (She added that they would be continuing the seasonal treatments into the winter, next with cranberry products.) Dayja then painted on a pumpkin enzyme mask – the antioxidants and vitamins A, C and K in it clean out the pores and promote cellular turnover. There was more massage while the mask did its work, so I was in a totally blissed-out state when Alicia came in for my spa reflexology treatment.

I had never tried reflexology, but had long been curious about it. It turns out that the Asian methodology is basically a really excellent foot massage, but with an eye towards the fact that certain pressure points in the feet correspond to other parts of the body. Alicia walked me through each one (big toes for head and scalp, arch for liver and intestines) as she applied pressure. I swear I could feel a little sensation in each place before she told me what would happen next. More than anything, it’s completely relaxing. I left Butter with refreshed skin and walked out into the night with a whole new appreciation for the season.