How This Aesthetician Made Her Spa A Safe Space For All

Meet Despina Daniilidis of PEAU’ésie
Despina Daniilidis. (@desseydoll) Shot by Lian Benoit (@lianbenoit) at PEAU’ésie

 

Despina Daniilidis is someone who is gifted with multiple talents, from her experience in creating interesting, thought-provoking work digitally from her writing to her podcast and later using her gifted hands to create a safe space on her spa table. Today, Daniilidis has taken all her years of experience to create her spa, PEAU’ésie, as the Founder, CEO, and Lead Aesthetician. PEAU’ésie is a spa made for all genders and body types in Montréal. As she built this safe space for her clients, Daniilidis draws inspiration from the spa name from her online journal Skin Poetry to re-create it in a new format and French language. In this interview, we dive in with Daniilidis to speak on what beauty means to her, her efforts in client care, and the brands she trusts for our beauty wardrobes. 

Who introduced you to the power of beauty?

I suppose I’ll start off with this — What is beauty? How does one define a definition so… indefinite? I believe beauty encompasses what makes up my dearest treasures in life, like music on repeat, extra ice, warm hugs…

Though in the sphere of the beauty of the world of skin care, I felt most connected and introduced to it when I first laid eyes on Too Cool For School’s Egg Mousse Soap when I strolled into Sephora during my lunch break in college back in 2017 — I remember that day like it happened simply yesterday. I didn’t really have a solid skin care routine at the time, let alone know anything about K-beauty. I purchased the cleanser, went home later that evening and dove into the phenomenon that is double-cleansing and the traditional 10-step K-beauty routine. I had instantly purchased The Little Book of Skin Care by Charlotte Cho, founder of Soko Glam, a K-beauty online retailer which also allowed me to discover the power of skin care and beauty in a way that enamoured me so deeply. Soon after, I found myself enrolled in esthetics school after graduating college and here I am now, sitting in my very own skin spa and safe space.

Shot by Lian Benoit (@lianbenoit) Assisted by Jacy (@jacy.gs) Creative direction by Despina Daniilidis. (@desseydoll)

When you first became an aesthetician, did you ever see yourself starting this journey into building your own skin spa?

It’s funny, you know, when people ask me if I ever saw myself opening up a spa… I tell them I probably wouldn’t have even seen myself become an aesthetician, truthfully, for no other reason than I just didn’t know much about this field, or honestly cared for it enough. I initially went to study esthetics to understand the science of our skin, the technicalities and the depths of it all. I personally didn’t think I’d continue with clients onwards because I wanted to focus on the writing and educational aspect of esthetics. But the second I cusped a clients face and began performing a facial for the first time, that was it for me. The intimacy of touching and treating someone’s skin and face is so very vulnerable and special to me, and I fell in love with it. Gradually, but I did, in my own way.

When I created Skin Poetry – my digital creative journal, back in 2017, I dreamt for a digital space where skin and poetry could meet. I remember having hosted an event a few years later called “Skin Poetry IRL” where I brought together 50 strangers, having them all connect in person. I think it was really then that I longed for a physical space that I felt safe in with other people, but something I can call my own. At the time, I was working as an aesthetician at another spa, though unfortunately it wasn’t what I hoped a safe space would feel like. Two years ago, one morning at my grandparent’s house over brunch, we jazzed about me leaving my job not knowing what would come next, and my grandfather looked at me and said, “Des…Your own spa, has that ever crossed your mind?” Two years later, I built PEAU’ésie by myself from the ground up to create a skin spa and safe space for all people to experience advanced face and body care treatments.

PEAU’ésie prioritizes skin education and practical safety in brand pillars.

Shot by Lian Benoit (@lianbenoit) Assisted by Jacy (@jacy.gs) Creative direction by Despina Daniilidis. (@desseydoll)

How would you encourage and educate your current and future clients on how paramount it is for you in the studio and with at-home care?

I truly believe that skin care education and safety should be accessible to all. Yes, accessibility within affordability but accessibility within our day to day and mental capacity to understand what safety means to each individual.

One of my driving factors when building PEAU’ésie was to integrate the safety and educational aspects pre and post-treatment as priority above all. I want to exercise that accessibility doesn’t only encompass physical environment but also within community, energetically and communicatively.

In my spa, safety is practiced and illustrated in the physical layout, first and foremost with accessible furniture. My custom designed treatment bed holds up to 2,000 lbs in static weight, a detail that is often overlooked in this industry that I wanted to make sure was available for all, including myself. At the beginning of every treatment, I perform a skin-analysis to each client despite it being their first time or not, ensuring the check-up stays consistent as clients skin conditions and routines change. I think that’s it, too, really, focusing on details in a more nuanced way rather than looking it as a whole. Skin care is a beautiful, complex and a fruitful practice that deserves all the tender loving and dreamy care.

When it comes to at-home care, I always ensure and remind my clients that if they need anything, I’ll do my best to get back to them whether it’s with a question on product, a skin concern or their routine. Like a little fairy, I’ll be there to guide them just as I would here at the spa, in emphasis of accessibility I speak of beyond these four walls. My hope is for them to take what I build with them here and be confident to bring it back to themselves in their own homes. I want my clients to know that they can practice these things in the comfort of their own home in a way that suits them and their day-to-day, and have PEAU’ésie be a safe space for whenever they want and need it.

As a spa, the products that it houses in its collection of recommendations are important. Many it is how aestheticians and the spa itself educates their clients on skin health, and clients take their recommendations home to their beauty wardrobes. 

Shot by Lian Benoit (@lianbenoit) Assisted by Jacy (@jacy.gs) Creative direction by Despina Daniilidis. (@desseydoll)

For PEAU’ésie, what are your favorite products that you have in your spa and why do you trust them?

I’m honoured and so grateful to say that I’ve been able to curate all my favourite products from my favourite brands to date in spa as well as have them in my retail wall with so much more to come. PEAU’ésie is honoured to be the first unique skin spa to exclusively carry and use Youth To The People in our advanced face and body care treatments!

In my backbar for my face and body care treatments, I use Youth To The People, Tuel and Fur — All brands I love and cherish deeply that align with my values in safety, innovation and nowness. One of my dreams with opening my skin spa was being able to curate the products I’ve been using for years as a consumer before opening my spa, having them be used in treatment and available for clients to take home. (Fun fact, I even recently brought in Too Cool For School! I mean, a true full circle moment.) I love the blend of using PRO skincare (Tuel) mixed with base skincare (YTTP), but my favourite products to use on clients right now would have to be…

 

Youth To The People – Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist

Youth To The People – Superclay Purify + Clear Power Mask

Youth To The People – Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask

Tuel – Balance Deep Pore Cleansing Oil

Too Cool For School – Egg Mellow Cream (A client favourite because of how unique the texture and product versatility is!)

 

Despina, you have built this online community as a content creator and aesthetician that admires you, trust your recommendations, and even loves your undying love for the artist, Billie Eilish. To play off your brand pillars, how do you live in the now and take care of yourself?

MUSIC. I never want to know a life without music. I don’t know… To me, music is a higher power. It’s cleansing in itself, it’s a guided yet so freeing road to all emotions that allow me to flow and be in this nowness. It takes care of me in a way no one else can or has, in all its melody and beauty.

I believe the act of surrendering to understand that I can control only what I can control, brings me back to nowness with a sigh of relief in knowing that all I really have is here in this moment. I mean, time is such a construct and I try not to get lost in it. I feel I can’t keep up with my days anymore, but I end up just relishing that it’s all sort of made up and it feels good to leave it up to whatever truth lays in front of me.

I take care of myself in different ways, but I yearn for others that I’m slowly working on, too. I don’t know, I mean, there’s a lot that I want to do for myself and heal, and I need to take time with Despina to do that. In the meantime, some of my favourite ways to take care of myself is indulging in the coldness of melted extra ice, my showers, my long drives… Human beings. I love human beings and I love taking care and discovering more about them. That to me is living in the now and taking care of myself. I don’t know much, but all I know, is that I’m just so happy to be alive to rejoice in it all. Love is life and life is love. Love is everything. We are love.

You can find Despina Daniilidis and PEAU’ésie on their website

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