The clay mask and I have merged, and now we are one, a single entity. Horizontal in the darkness, through a series of gentle swoops 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 piece of art – never the same, and inspired and informed by the subject, the client,” says Stacey Burt, founder of skincare studio Little Company, which has just opened a Collingwood location. “There is a sequence that each practitioner creates, a customisation based on the tone and needs of the visitor.”
Down a nondescript laneway just off Smith Street, the new studio is the third for the Australian company, after Byron Bay and Cremorne. David Goss of architecture firm Studio Goss – responsible for spaces for Kloke, The Social Studio and Aesop – looked after the refurb of the century-old former furniture warehouse, creating a cavernous and labyrinthine space, dimly lit and in muted tones. It’s considerably different to the other studios, which tend to radiate natural light.
“We want people to feel like they are in a safe space, comfortable and at ease,” says Burt. “Something compatible with our other spaces, something ethereal, uplifting and spacey.”
On entry, abstract emerald-green artworks are inspired by the very same chlorophyll drops you’ll find in your water here. And the five treatment rooms are decked out in brushed linen, lime rendering, textured stone and reclaimed large-format timber.
Little Company eschews a laundry list of treatments in favour of just two – the Remedy Facial ($189 for 60 minutes) and the Ritual Facial ($249 for 90 minutes). Both involve a cleanse and a skin consultation, then your treatment is customised to suit your skin concerns, from rosacea to acne. The Ritual is a more whole-body experience, with face, hand, foot and scalp massages as well as scents and soundscapes to create a more meditative sensation overall (this is where you and a clay mask might amalgamate).
“We are totally unconventional, and somewhat anti-beauty,” Burt says. “We are about the cultivating of beauty, rather than forcing something. We prefer to carefully restore something deeper we all have inside of us.” (Aussie beauty entrepreneur and author Zoë Foster Blake is a fan of this “less-is-more policy”.)
There’s also an LED light room where you can book in for a rejuvenating 20-minute session, with an optional accompanying guided meditation. Or you can just go in for a standalone skincare consult; a therapist will give you a mini-facial, check out your skin and dig through your beauty bag to advise on any products to add (or ditch).
Music comes with the help of Burt’s yogi friends and is played at a level that allows you to completely zone out and immerse yourself in the experience. “The brief is always, ‘No tranquil convent oak spa music; more modern transcendental beats’,” Burt says.
Little Company Collingwood
Montalto Place, Collingwood
03 9957 8721
Tue to Thu 10am–7pm