It’s all Greek to Dimitra Goula—and that’s a good thing.
I’ve slipped into the Athens-based esthetician’s eponymous beauty institute on a busy weekend afternoon after too much sun and vacation debauchery on the nearby island of Paros. Having heard that Dimitra Goula crafts her own organic products, all made with Greek ingredients (many elements foraged from plants grown on the sacred Mount Athos and blessed by resident monks), I’m curious to know more—but also determined to heal the wear and tear a week of briny air and excessive wine drinking has wrought. I’ve watched Goula on television, the very image of a Greek goddess, intent on showing those who can’t afford a treatment at her exclusive studio how to naturally care for their skin at home. A serious student of organic beauty techniques, and a true believer in plant healing and holistic medicine, the Crete-born wellness expert has spent years perfecting her tinctures, concoctions, and beauty rituals. Her purist’s approach draws clients from around the globe, including a glowing gentleman from London who I pass in the hall on the way to my facial. He virtually dances from the treatment room, his face a testimonial to Goula’s techniques, his pores exuding happiness. “You’ll simply love your visage afterwards,” he says to me. And, I believe him.
A true believer in plant healing and holistic medicine, the Crete-born wellness expert has spent years perfecting her tinctures, concoctions, and beauty rituals.
The Beauty of Indigenous and Organic Ingredients
Every facial at the beauty atelier is customized, so I undergo some scrutinizing of my skin by a team of experts before we begin. Goula, a holistic master, began her career decades ago, researching botany, aromatherapy, and phycology. In 2011, she founded a brand based on Greek organic products, results-driven creations she crafted, then applied to most clients herself. My own facial incorporates various cleansings, masks, tonics, massage—even a fast-paced cupping session, meant to bring toxins to the top layers of the skin for eradication. The aromas that emanate with each step, gently propel me into an intoxicating, dream-like state. I inhale essences of walking in the woods, sitting among flowers, and sailing on the sea. When I ask, my technician shares that the products she uses contain a potpourri of plant clout—fortifiers such as wild olive, blue camomile, black charcoal, royal jelly, and beeswax from a chestnut-tree forest join together for maximum effect. When finished, I walk out into bustling Athens, visibly revived and rejuvenated.
The Secret Oil from Sacred Mount Athos
Goula’s fans tout her years of concentrated study and commitment to natural healing and organic beauty for the results she manages. But Goula takes that one step further. She lavishes credit on the holy men who live and work on sacred Mount Athos, one of the world’s most hallowed destinations. While the centuries-old pilgrimage site does not allow visitation by women, Goula has made contact with a cadre of Tibetan and Greek Orthodox monks who work and pray in harmony on Mount Athos. “They produce an oil for me out of the purest—and highly traceable—ingredients based on valerian, spikenard, myrrh, among others. The synthesis helps the immune system, helps diseases of the skin, and leads to total regeneration,” Goula says. She calls this proprietary blend, The Secret, a potion she utilizes in many of the spa’s treatments. “With The Secret, and our special techniques, wrinkles, skin elasticity, skin color, and texture can be treated. But I’m also convinced that the prayers of the monks contribute massively to empower the formula,” she says.
And, that’s what we call alchemy.
Where to Find Her Products
Dimitra Goula products have been sold exclusively in her Athen’s institute. However, in a new program, they can be shipped, via dry ice, after purchase from her website. They have no preservatives, colorings, or artificial perfumes, so they must be refrigerated at all times. Try the sunscreen, an all-natural blend that does the job right. Watch for them at select retailers around the world in 2019.
Becca Hensley is Editor at Large for Insider's Guide to Spas. Based in Austin, she writes regularly about travel and spas. She believes a good story draws you in like laughter in a crowded room, and challenges you to do it justice. Her work appears regularly in Austin Monthly, Travel Channel, Toronto Star and National Geographic Traveler.