Verabella Skin Therapy Spa was started 15 years ago, like a Field of Dreams, "if you build it they will come" kind of story. Owned and operated by a mother-daughter beauty team–Vera Kantor and Victoria Bondar.
Vera Kantor had been working alongside Ole Henriksen for about 10 years, when the perfect little place became available in the heart of Beverly Hills, in one of the most beautiful buildings. Vera seized the day and called Victoria away from graduate school to help her open Verabella. And from the day they opened, clients have always come!!!
Verabella is an eco-friendly spa and member of the Green Spa Network. The Spa's subtle ambiance, healing touch and welcoming atmosphere, provides a comfortable respite for Hollywood's elite, who count themselves as regulars, however they pride themselves on catering and making natural skin care products and services that are affordable to every woman.
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): What attracted you to go into the beauty industry in the first place?
Vera Kantor: I loved watching my mother (Victoria's Grandmother) receive facials back in Russia. I loved the way the aestheticians hands danced on my mother's face and I thought that I could do that.
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): What are the most common skin problems you see, and the best natural skin care products for them?
Vera Kantor: One of the most often complained about problems that I see is pimples! I treat clients that have been sent to Verabella, by their dermatologists for severe acne and I see clients that have the occasional hormonal breakout. Nobody likes pimples and everybody wants to get rid of them. Well, it is for that reason that all our facials at Verabella, as well as all the Verabella products are based on Aloe Vera Gel. It heals the skin and functions as a natural anti-bacterial.
Our Aloe Tea Tree Healing Gel is an amazing must-have for everyone who ever gets pimples. It’s a cornucopia of comforting anti-irritating ingredients combined with the purifying properties of Tea Tree Oil and hydrating Aloe Vera Gel. Another great zit zapping potion is our Kiss Zit Goodbye Blemish pen.
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): What types of skin products/additives should we be avoiding when getting a facial or purchasing products?
Vera Kantor: Sodium Laurel Sulfate can dry out skin and should not be in any skin cleansers. Used in beauty and oral care products to create suds and foam, this harsh chemical can cause immune system damage and allergic reactions, as well as skin, eye and mouth irritation; its manufacturing results in the release of carcinogenic nitrosamines.
Parabens are a common preservative found in most conventional beauty and personal care products; look for the words “methyl-,” “ethyl-” “propyl-” “butyl-” and “isobutyl.” They have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive disorders. The word “paraben” is an excellent red flag: If you see it on a label, chances are good that more chemicals will follow
Artificial coloring is easy to identify on labels because they are usual categorized by numbers, like Red 40, Yellow 5, and six other widely used artificial colorings found in sugary cereals, candies, sodas and snack foods have been linked to hyperactivity and behavior problems in children and should be prohibited from use in foods, according to the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest. They are also in lots of make-up.
Artificial fragrances or perfume or phalates should also be avoided.
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): Are there any recipes for treatments that our readers can make in their own kitchens?
Vera Kantor: Yes, I love doing these and need to add a section like this to Verabella.com. Your refrigerator is your best source for natural "good-enough-to-eat" skin care. I like to use items like eggs, yogurt, strawberries , cucumbers. I love to do this Egg-on-your-face treatment before a party or event.
Step 1: Mix a TBSP of Plain Yogurt (NOT Low fat or Fat-Free) with 1 Tsp of Steel Cut Oatmeal. Let its stand & soften the oats for about 5 minutes. Next, scrub your face. In the shower would be best, because the steam will help with the exfoliation. This will exfoliate, brighten & moisturize the skin. You can make more and use it all over your body too!
Step 2: Separate an egg.
1) Mix the yolk with a few drops of honey & a few drops of olive oil. Apply to the face and neck. Allow to dry and rinse off with water. This is a very nourishing mask.
2) Mix the egg white with a few drops of lemon juice. Apply to the face and allow this mask to dry completely. This mask will get very tight! Wash off. This mask tightens & brightens the skin.
Step 3: Apply your favorite moisturizer! My favorite is the Verabella Cucumber Aloe MositureScreen SPF45+. And Voila, you are ready to party!
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): What are your top tips for maintaining healthy, youthful skin?
Vera Kantor: Drink water and buy yourself a reusable canteen or water bottle with a filter, like a Bobble. Its so cute, that it makes you look cool for carrying it and people ask about it!
Eat more fish like Salmon and tuna and/or supplement Omega 3 Fatty Acids into your diet.
Wear sunscreen that you love! Otherwise, you may be tempted to go without. Our clients love our Cucumber Aloe Moisture Screen SPF45+. Mineral make-up, like La Bella Donna is another great way to stay protected from UV radiation and looks amazing on the skin. It naturally covers all the flaws!
Eat a variety of colorful foods, like blueberries, peppers, pumpkins, etc.
ONLY use products with Glycolic Acids, or Alpha Hydroxy Acids at night. Your skin and body are at rest and will reap more benefit from the renewing properties. But most importantly, you will not be frying your skin with those chemicals. I can't begin to tell you how many women cause permanent damage by doing this.
Give yourself a mask daily. Most women underestimate the powerful effect a mask can have on daily skin care.
Save time and your skin over time by doing your night-time skin care regime as soon as you come home from work, school, etc…(as long as you are not planning on going out again later). Most busy women are too tired to fuss with skincare right before bed, right? And many sleep with their make-up on! I know because I am guilty of this myself sometimes. So as soon as you come home, take off your shoes, drop your bags, and change your cloths, WASH your face and apply you night-time serum and moisturizer.
Get facials regularly. If you are in LA, we welcome you to come to Verabella Skin Therapy Spa!
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): How do you maintain balance in your life?
Vera Kantor: I'm not sure that we do. We try by taking walks, hikes and the occasional yoga class. Something that I do DAILY, and recommend to all my clients, is to use masks! Most women think that they need to apply a mask once or twice a week and take 20-30 minutes to relax in it. Who has that kind of time? I apply different masks every morning, between washing & toning my face and before I drink my morning coffee. Our Spa Director, Victoria, applies a mask and checks her emails and cooks breakfast for her kids. It only takes a minute to apply and your skin will reap the benefit, even if you don't have time to lie-down.
Naturally Savvy (Andrea): Thank you so much for your insight, Vera! I can’t wait to test out your “good enough to eat” face treatment at home!