Photo: Tina Larkin
Originally published in Taos News
A luxury European facial at Yamina Day Spa starts with a foot soak made with an infusion of black tea and lemon grass.
“The foot bath is a biblical tradition,” said Celina Porter, the spa owner. “When people visited a house, the host would wash their feet as a welcoming gesture and to make the guest feel clean. It also has a soothing effect, that’s why I like to use it.”
Porter opened Yamina Day Spa in December 2010. “Before that, I did a lot of odd jobs,” she said. “I was a waitress, a pet sitter and a house sitter, I also did wood finishing… But after taking part in a Lakota spiritual ceremony, I had a vision of what my true path was and decided to follow it.”
She attended the Academy of Aesthetic Arts in Kansas and became a licensed aesthetician after a nine-month program. “It is a wonderful school,” she said. “I learned a lot there and highly recommend it to anybody interested in this career.”
When Porter finished her training, she was planning to work for someone else but then decided to start her own business. “I put tremendous amounts of time and energy into my work,” she said, “and I definitely want to see the results and have control over the process. Yamina Day Spa isn’t just the place where I work, but a personal oasis I have created for my clients.”
She decided on that name for the spa because Yamina is a Lakota word that means “third,” Porter said. She found out later that it also means “trustworthy” and “marriageable” in Arabic. “I figured that it was a very proper name,” she said.
After the foot soak, Porter exfoliates the skin and uses several kinds of masks, which are customized to the client’s skin condition. The facial includes a neck and shoulder massage, extractions, and a heat treatment for hands and feet.
Another popular service is the Acne Workout Program. “I designed it to get the skin clear and healthy in just one month,” Porter said. “It’s one of my favorites because people can see results soon.”
She also offers different kinds of enzyme lifts to tighten and lighten the skin.
“When you come here, prepare yourself to be pampered,” Porter said. “This is the motto for Yamina Day Spa and I do my best to honor it.”
Celina’s tips for healthy skin:
Use organic products. I use and sell the cosmeceutical line IMAGE Skincare, but I also tell people, “If you want something truly organic, then prepare it yourself. Anything that comes in a bottle is bound to contain artificial ingredients.”
Apply sunscreen every day. This is the best thing you can do for your skin. It will prevent the appearance of sunspots, wrinkles and photo damage in general. It’s better to choose a sunscreen lotion with SPF values between 30 and 45. Anything over 45 is carcinogenic and anything under 30 won’t offer much protection.
Clean your face only twice a day. If you wash it too much, your skin will dry up and will start producing more oil to compensate.
In our desert climate, any product that contains Vitamin C will be great for the skin, particularly serums that hydrate and repair at the same time.
Exfoliate twice a week. Move your fingertips in gentle, circular motions. But don’t overdue it. Exfoliating too much will irritate the skin.
Though Porter admits she hesitated a bit before starting her own business, she now says she is happy that she made the decision.
“There is a lot of gloom and doom in Taos about opening a new business,” she said. “But I found out that if you take the proper steps, it isn’t really that difficult to succeed. Besides, we need more people supporting themselves here instead of looking for a job somewhere else. If you have something good to offer and are committed to it, your business will flourish.”
She recommends that new business owners get a website —“you need an online presence,” she said— and ask for help from other people in the industry.
“I discovered how eager other business owners were to give advice to newcomers like me,” Porter said. “Now I don’t hesitate to ask for help when I need it. And I am very grateful to the many people that took the time to guide me, like my good friend and mentor Kathy Alcon.”
“Celina is the most dedicated young woman that I have met in a long time,” said Alcon, a physical therapist and former owner of Morning Light Physical Therapy. “She set her goals and went ahead to fulfill them. When she works, she goes the extra mile to make people feel pampered and special.”
“Making people feel pampered and special is my job,” Porter said, adding that the best part of her career is to help her clients improve not only their skin, but also their self image. “Beauty comes from the inside out,” she said. “I want people to look and feel their best in a holistic way.”Celina’s Face and Body Scrub Recipes Body Scrub 1/4 tablespoon of sugar (for a nourishing scrub) or salt (for a detoxifying treatment) 4 tablespoons of olive Oil or jojoba oil 3 drops of your favorite essential oil Facial Scrub (oily skin) 3 heaping tablespoons of baking powder 1 drop of lavender essential oil 1 tablespoon of water Facial Scrub (dry skin) 3 heaping tablespoons of baking powder 1 drop of lavender essential oil 1 tablespoon of olive oil or jojoba oil Massage in gentle, circular motions. Yamina Day Spa is located at 332 Gusdorf Rd., Suite C, Taos, NM87571 Phone: (575) 737 8323 Visit Yamina Day Spa website here Photo: Tina Larkin