Words Sonia Beeksma x Photography Lia Crowe
Most of us have heard the quote “True beauty comes from within.”
Well, this is more than a saying for Joy Stewart; it’s a hymn every layer of her skin sings every day. It may all sound melodic now, but a lot of fine tuning went into what today is one of the most thriving skincare studios in Vancouver, Touch of Joy.
Joy grew up in the Philippines singing and performing, and during her teen years she made a huge leap by signing on with Sony Records in Japan, where she would go on to become a successful singer and show producer.
“I always liked behind the scenes more,” Joy says. “I didn’t like being in front of the camera but I was also always exposed to the beauty industry because of that. I pretty much lived in a spa. I was my own product so I always had to look good.”
Although it seemed like she had it all, there was something missing in her life and that was love. Her contract restricted marriage and children, but we all know that love often wins the war and in this scenario it did. Joy decided to walk away from her contract and move to Victoria with her husband and her one-year-old daughter to start a new life, not knowing what her next endeavour would be.
“I really didn’t know what to do, and my funds were starting to run out,” she says. “One day my sister-in-law said, ‘You’re really good with your hands, you should be an aesthetician!’”
Through different conversations, Joy was stunned to learn women and men in Vancouver had never been introduced to Brazilian wax (not a single hair left behind) and a light bulb went on. Soon after, Joy found herself challenging city hall to grant her a licence to perform Brazilian waxing and, after a lot of back and forth, her perseverance paid off and Touch of Joy was born in 2000.
“I’m a goal-setter and I did 998 Brazilian waxes in three months,” Joy says.
That number was two waxes short of her goal, but she revolutionized the waxing experience in Victoria. Touch of Joy’s buzz started to reach the mainland and Joy decided to move her studio to Vancouver in 2004.
One challenge was conquered but another one then appeared. When Joy moved to the south coast, she developed severe acne and had to use an aggressive medication to treat it. This not only affected her thyroid but also rapidly broke down the collagen in her skin.
“My acne was so bad, it was all over my body and I was losing collagen faster than the speed of light from all the medication, so I decided to research it and it all came down to my diet,” Joy says.
As her skin started to heal from the inside out, Joy had an epiphany: skin care is more than just creams and serums, it’s a way of life, and it’s why Joy’s studio, Touch of Joy, has a holistic approach.
“We really invest in your entire life,” she adds.
Since the studio’s inception in Joy’s basement suite, she’s made it a mission to study and learn as much as she can about true skin health, ingredients that have created all the hype, and products that claim to deliver promising results. She’s commissioned herself to learn from the masters and test all treatments and products on herself before introducing them to her clients. Along with Brazilian waxing, Joy was also the first aesthetician to introduce the Pico Facial, using PicoSure’s original picosecond device (PicoSure is a registered trademark of Cynosure, LLC). It is now the number-one treatment at her studio.
There’s no denying Joy is a skin health guru. Her radiant skin is like a vortex that draws you in and is one of the reasons so many celebrities flock to her studio.
“When X-Men was shooting here, I treated most of the cast. And now all the girls from Riverdale come to us,” Joy humbly mentions.
The relationship with the Riverdale cast was very serendipitous. It all started with Mädchen Amick, who plays Alice Cooper on Riverdale. Mädchen was on the hunt for the skin care line by Jan Marini and Touch of Joy was the only boutique carrying it at the time. Mädchen decided to also try a facial with Joy and the rest is history.
“I’m very particular about facials, but Joy was very knowledgable about nutrition, about so many different elements. She taught me so much about my skin,” Mädchen says, adding. “Just six months ago I started doing PicoSure. Because of hormonal changes, I’m getting a lot of melasma, so that has helped with that. But in general I’ve really noticed some lines are gone and my skin looks great. My accountant asked me what I’m doing with my face!”
At 49, Mädchen radiates sincere and healthy beauty and admits to being very vocal about aging gracefully: “No botox, no fillers, we don’t know what aging looks like anymore!
“It’s very hard to survive, you have to work extra hard, there is so much body and beauty dysmorphia that influences young women now. All the young actresses are going to Joy now and embracing beauty how it should be embraced.”
Touch of Joy has always avoided single formulas.
“All of our facial treatments are 90 per cent customized,” Joy says. “All the girls from Riverdale have their own skin care plan with us.”
It’s also Joy’s genuine personality that draws people to her and her studio.
“She’s very warm and really wants to do the best for you,” Mädchen says. “And, she remembers everything from my personal life scenarios to what treatment I had done last.”
It’s no surprise Joy and Mädchen have become good friends over time.
“We see each other a lot!” Joy says. “We’re always laughing and having a lot of fun in the studio.”
Joy has only one mission: to help her clients feel happier and healthier and, most importantly, spread joy one touch at a time.