The clay mask and I merged, and now we are one, one entity. Horizontal in the dark, through a series of soft strokes at the hands of a skilled facialist, I am neither solid nor liquid. I am the mask and the mask is me. And I’m obviously very relaxed.
“Every facial is like a work of art – never the same, and inspired and informed by the subject, the client,” says Stacey Burt, founder of skincare studio Little Company, which just opened a location in Collingwood. “There is a sequence that each practitioner creates, customization based on the tone and needs of the visitor.”
At the end of an unremarkable lane just off Smith Street, the new studio is the Australian company’s third, after Byron Bay and Cremorne. David Goss of architecture firm Studio Goss – responsible for spaces for Kloke, The Social Studio and Aesop – took care of the renovation of the century-old former furniture warehouse, creating a cavernous and labyrinthine space, dimly lit and in muted tones. It’s considerably different from other studios, which tend to have natural light.
“We want people to feel in a safe, comfortable and comfortable space,” says Burt. “Something compatible with our other spaces, something ethereal, uplifting and spacious.”
At the entrance, emerald green abstract artwork is inspired by the same drops of chlorophyll you’ll find in your water here. And the five treatment cabins are dressed in brushed linen, whitewash, textured stone and large format reclaimed wood.
Little Company eschews a long list of treatments in favor of just two – the Remedy Facial ($189 for 60 minutes) and the Ritual Facial ($249 for 90 minutes). Both involve a skin cleansing and consultation, and then your treatment is personalized to your skin concerns, from rosacea to acne. The ritual is a more holistic body experience, with massages of the face, hands, feet and scalp as well as scents and soundscapes to create a more meditative feel overall (this is where you and a clay mask could merge).
“We’re totally unconventional and somewhat anti-beauty,” Burt says. “We want to cultivate beauty rather than force something. We prefer to carefully restore something deeper that we all have inside of us. (Australian beauty entrepreneur and author Zoë Foster Blake is a fan of this “less is more policy”.)
There is also an LED light room where you can book in for a rejuvenating 20-minute session, with optional guided meditation. Or you can just go to a self-help skincare consultation; a therapist will give you a mini-facial, examine your skin, and rummage through your beauty bag to advise you on what products to add (or ditch).
The music comes with the help of Burt’s yogi friends and is played at a level that allows you to completely disconnect and immerse yourself in the experience. “The brief is always, ‘No quiet convent oak spa music; more modern transcendental rhythms,” says Burt.
Collingwood Little Company
Montalto Place, Collingwood
03 9957 8721
Tue to Thu 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.