Thiel recently won Massage Envyâ€™s regional esthetician award, beating out staff at 26 clinics in the Cincinnati/Kentucky/West Virginia region.
Thiel, who has been a licensed esthetician for five and a half years, got into the business after enjoying a facial while on vacation in Benton, Ky. with her mother. Up to that point, she had been working at a Ford Motors assembly line, putting fan blades on engines. It just so happened that Ford was downsizing and offering buyouts, so Thiel saw an opportunity to make a change. She took an education buyout and trained in her new field.
When Thiel meets with a new customer, she first asks her to sit down at the face scanner where Thiel takes a long, hard, intensely magnified look at her customerâ€™s skin, pores, pigmentation and hard knocks. Armed with the knowledge from that scan, she then makes a skin care regimen recommendation. The customer may need help with acne, aging or blotching.
â€œMurad is for everybody,â€ says Vycki Goldberg, co-owner of Massage Envy, who describes the line as possessing â€œamazing natural ingredients.â€
After the skin analysis, Thiel typically leads her client to a private room where new age music strums lightly in the background. A Thiel facial is a multi-phase event that involves steaming the skin on the face, exfoliating and moisturizing along with some other steps. Some clients make it a point to get this royal treatment every week.
One of the greatest challenges of her job, Thiel says, is finding the right balance between dispensing information and allowing the client to just relax and enjoy the experience. Clients need to know when they have sun damage, but they also need to be able to kick back and enjoy their spa experience.
â€œYou canâ€™t tell some people not to go out in the sun,â€ she recognizes.
Thiel, who has seven grandchildren, says she can relate to her customers who have played fast and loose with their complexions. She grew up in the era that worshiped a rich tan. Sunning with baby oil and iodine â€“ instead of sunscreen â€“ and tanning beds were all part of her youth.
â€œIâ€™ve done it all to my skin,â€ she says.
Other times, her job is about helping someone still in his adolescence. One of her clients has a problem with severe acne, and his facial treatments and skin care regime are helping him overcome it, Thiel reports.
Overall, Thielâ€™s compassion and knowledge are a tremendous asset to Massage Envy.
My first facial
She gasps slightly when I admit that I donâ€™t moisturize. Diana Thiel, lead esthetician at Massage Envy â€“ who is giving me my very first facial â€“ gets a whiff of how little care Iâ€™m taking with my skin.
â€œNot soap and water?â€ she says, hoping against hope. Again, I must disappoint her. Itâ€™s soap and water for me on a good day. Iâ€™ve decided not to tell her about the nightly alcohol rubs for makeup removal. Sheâ€™s had enough shock for one day.
My facial begins in a private room where the lights start out dim and get dimmer as we proceed through the experience. I disrobe and get under the blankets of the table, which is electrically warmed, somehow. Iâ€™m already more relaxed than Iâ€™ve been all week.
Diana is concerned about my â€œhyper-pigmentation,â€ which is a tactful way of saying I didnâ€™t use enough sunscreen while on that 2010 vacation to Andalusia, and now I have spots that wonâ€™t go away without the help of a dermatologist. Every outdoor cafÃ© at which I had a mid-afternoon lunch is now showing on my face.
â€œYou say â€˜younger,â€™ and I see hyper-pigmentation,â€ she cautions.
As she proceeds to steam me and apply an exfoliant, Thiel speaks in a soft, soothing voice. The new age music playing in the background augments the experience. While the ointment is doing its work, she massages my shoulder, arm and hand. At this point, I see why women of leisure and even women with just a little leisure would make time for this on a regular basis.
But itâ€™s the facial massage, which includes shoulders, neck, and upper back, that has me just about ready to sign over my car keys to her, should she want them. She asks me if thatâ€™s the right amount of pressure as I am drifting off to where the angels are singing.
â€œHuh?â€ Oh, yeah. Great pressure.
If Iâ€™m not a convert to better skin care at the end of this, it is in no way the fault of Massage Envy or Diana Thiel. They have given me the keys to a better, clearer more faultless me, and itâ€™s in my court now.Â VT