Saving Face: My Aurea Aria
Lo, I bring you Tidings of Great Joy, this Christmas Season. Orinda has a Licensed Esthetic angel – Aurea Fonseca-Geen – whose customized facials are truly otherworldly.
I haven’t enjoyed a full-on, professional facial since before I had kids, over 25 years ago. Which is not to say we are a facial-less household. In all fairness, my daughters’ facials were to treat acne, but I remained a tad resentful. What is it about motherhood that quietly seeps inside our soul, causing us to put our children’s needs before our own? Diaper ads? Hormones? Perhaps it’s the ultimate mother, Mother Nature’s way of ensuring humanity perpetuates.
We could all stand to shed some of that “Welcome to My Universe” attitude we’re famous for in our youth. Not only was I guilty of it myself; it’s a vital part of our development — where dreams and ambitions ignite. Self-sacrifice, once so foreign, suddenly seems so very natural once parents cradle their tiny newborn. Perhaps it starts with skipping a shower or two. Why spend money on a manicure to change dirty diapers? If I have time to eat at all, (and I’m ravenously hungry, by the way) I will wolf down something quick and immediately filling, rather than taking time to prepare something healthy and rejuvenating.
Ignoring ourselves becomes habit. As the children grow, the self-sacrifice becomes as natural as breathing and continues to morph and magnify. We block those $30 tickets to Water World and their $15 nachos from our collective memories for this reason.
Soon, we segue into the stretch where the children covet costly items, typically dovetailing with Santa’s untimely demise. But of course we will still cave and give them some of those ridiculous costly items, because we love them. But, at our house anyway, it meant someone else must do without, and, you guessed correctly: it wasn’t one of the little people.
I learned how to color my own hair and became a seasoned TJ Maxxinista. And I’m cool with all of these First World Problems. In an ideal setting, we tackle them with gratitude and good humor, knowing the days with young children are precious and fleeting.
But then, when we look away for two seconds, those kiddos have grown up. And, if we’re really lucky, they secure good jobs and slide (rather unhappily) off the family dole. One fine day, middle-aged adults, often women, find themselves with extra time and funds to spend on themselves for a change. But it just feels wrong. Awkward. Selfish. We have been conditioned. Orthodontia over ourselves.
We all need to let go of the old routines and embrace this new phase. It is not selfish to pay more attention to self-care, a pot/kettle moment for me too. As we grow older, we are more likely to suffer health issues. Heck, there is a global pandemic raging all around us. Aging can introduce a baffling and possibly depressing phase as well, once the house is quiet and we are unsure how to fill in the blanks. Some of us are managing kids and fragile parents simultaneously.
Here is one wonderful way to invest in yourself: Orinda’s own Aurea Fonseca-Geen, esthetician.
Aurea recently opened a private, peaceful enclave in the Orinda Hair Studio salon at 1 Orinda Way, next to Yu Bistro and Lamorinda Martial Arts. Although this local address is somewhat new, she is firmly established in the realm of professional skincare, having worked as the lead esthetician at the Lafayette Park Hotel Spa for many years.
Close in age and spirit, Aurea and I share the conviction that as a woman ages gracefully, less makeup actually looks better. We both still enjoy wearing mascara and some eyeliner — well, I wouldn’t say I “enjoy” it, but old habits are hard to break. Since adolescence, this Southern girl was convinced she looked better with a face full of paint. But as I aged, applying my cosmetics made me feel like Crayola on an old purse. My hasty, amateur techniques that hadn’t changed much from high school spawned the potential to frighten a toddler.
Aurea to the rescue. The solution to this dilemma is to ensure that skin looks so radiant and healthy one can skip all the blush and foundation (But never the sunscreen!). “My goal is to have my clients love the skin they’re in,” Aurea explained, “so they have more confidence and won’t feel like they have to cover anything up with makeup.”
I was invited to Aurea’s studio in October for one of her 80-minute facials. I cannot find enough superlatives to describe my euphoria. What is unique about this particular facial is that it also includes therapeutic massage. In between the applications of various soothing masks and rejuvenating serums, which needed time to absorb, I basked in foot, hand, neck, shoulder and scalp massage. This procedure combines the best of both worlds. I thought of a dear, far away friend who is currently battle-weary from cancer, and how I wished she could enjoy this soul and body therapy. Along those lines, I also realized how long it had been since I had allowed myself something this therapeutic.
Aurea is a 30-year resident of Orinda, with clients coming from near and far to receive her customized facials. She also sells a plethora of daily skincare products for purchase, but is a self-proclaimed “low-pressure saleswomen,” stating her main goal is for her clients to feel relaxed, younger and beautiful with fresh, glowing skin. To have a low-key expert guide me in product selection beats my overwhelmed, all-consuming stupor in the aisles of Sephora or CVS any day.
Aurea offers a full range of skincare services, from micro-needling to reduce wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, scarring and uneven skin, to waxing and hair removal to micro peels and micro channeling, the newest technology to non-surgically improve aging skin. She is an expert with male skincare as well as acne-prone teens. “Skincare is a passion for me,” she shared. “I get to change someone’s day, and that is special.”
Aurea is also a practitioner of Gua Sha, an ancient Chinese form of gentle healing massage for face, neck and body. Gua Sha focuses on draining the lymphatic system of toxins, which make skin look dull, saggy and listless and can also negatively impact our health. In addition to making skin look firmer, more radiant and boosting elasticity, incorporating Gua Sha into a facial is extremely grounding. “The slow pace is deeply relaxing,” Aurea explained. “The process instantly activates the parasympathetic nervous state. When we feel grounded in our bodies and calm in our mind, we are better equipped to handle obstacles and emotional issues,” she added.
Ladies AND gentlemen, pick up the phone or visit her website: allaboutskincare.net. But if you’re not ready to plunge into the self-care pool just yet, next time you hear, “So, uh, whuddaya want for Christmas/Birthday/Mothers/Fathers Day?” request a facial from Aurea Fonseca-Geen. All manner of gift certificates are available.
Skin Care by Aurea Fonseca-Geen, Licensed Clinical Esthetician, is located at 1 Orinda Way, Suite 5. Phone 925-262-3228 or reach the Spa 925-254-5575 or visit allaboutskincare.org.
Mimi Bommarito can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.