INDIANAPOLIS– All this month, we are exploring places where we can de-stress, rejuvenate and focus on whole-body wellness. And sometimes that requires a trip to the spa.
But this isn’t your traditional spa.
When Marianne Talkovski opened Project Gorgeous (located at 6251 N Winthrop Ave. Suite 7) in Broad Ripple in 2017, she set out to combine skincare, holistic health, beauty rituals and mindset practices to help people get their glow back.
“I’m very big into preventative measures and… I feel like there is not enough conversation about health aging and a big part of that is stress relief,” she said. “When people are stressed out, that’s going to show up in so many areas: your health, your appearance and your mood.”
“I look at beauty as health and health as beauty,” she added.
And Project Gorgeous is dedicated to both. It offers an array of beauty boosting products and treatments – ranging from the more traditional spa staples to the truly unique.
Facial treatments include a skin-brightening turmeric mask, micro-needling, dermaplaning (which uses an exfoliating blade to remove the top layer of “peach fuzz” and dead skin cells from the face) and a luxurious gemstone facial using organic skincare products by Hungary-based Eminence.
“I’ve used this line since 2008 personally and I worked with it since 2012,” Talkovski explained. “They crafted a few different products that actually have gemstone extracts in them for the transformational properties of healing and abundance and joy and love because a lot of gemstones can offer that.”
She can also customize a facial or treatment plan to target specific issues such as dry skin and the dreaded acne breakouts associated with mask-wearing— nicknamed mask-ne.
“I’ve been customizing based on people’s skin needs… maybe they need more detoxification, maybe they need more hydration. Maybe they need more exfoliation. Everybody is unique in what they need,” she said. “So, I take a deep look at that under my lamp… and often times I’ll send people home with samples to try to see what works before they invest in a product.”
Talkovski also incorporates tools like jade or rose quartz rollers and Gua Sha facial stones to rejuvenate the skin, relieve tension and stimulate circulation.
A little time under the red LED light therapy machine is intended to boost collagen and elastin. But it was actually originally developed by NASA before it became a go-to aesthetics tool.
“NASA wanted to see if they could grow plants in outer space and they were successful. And the light really does work as a precursor to the collagen cells… It stimulates them to grow,” she said. “And after we turn 30, we lose a teaspoon of collagen every year so… sorry to break that news!”
The machine itself looks a bit space age and—after applying protective eye-wear—it is placed over the clients face and the light is turned on.
“A lot of times people just check out, like they are on another planet,” she said. “And there’s also a blue light setting which helps with killing the bacteria responsible for acne.
If you’re feeling even more adventurous, there’s acupuncture – a holistic approach to pain relief where tiny needles are placed at specific points on the body.
First, she will typically start the treatment with fascial stretches to help relax. Then, she begins placing the needles.
“I often like to start with the ears [because] the Chinese believe the ears are likened to an upside-down baby,” Talkovski explained. “If you look at your ear… It’s a microcosm of the entire body so it really helps to get a quick response. So, I often use that area to get people to immediately relax.”
If you aren’t a fan of needles, they also offer cupping… a therapy made famous by Olympian Michael Phelps.
“A lot of times, people saw [and thought] ‘Oh my gosh, this guy has polka dots on his back. What’s that about?” she said. “Five minutes of cupping is likened to 30 minutes of massage so it’s super effective in terms of relaxing muscle tension and pull up any kind of stagnation or toxins that are lingering in your tissues.”
In the lobby’s retail area, you can find skincare products, locally made candles, teas, CBD and other items for self-care options at home.
Aside from her work as an aesthetician, Talkovski is also a certified life coach.
So, we asked her for some advice that we all could use right about now: What can we all do at home to de-stress and help our overall wellness?
“One point I love to show is the point right here [on the forehead right between the brows] called the Yen-Tang or the ‘third eye.’ So even just pressing on it for a good minute with medium pressure can help release tension because we can often be concentrating on our screens, so just giving yourself just a little bit of a short massage,” she advised. “I would even recommend taking a healthy break. [Drinking] tea… I call it my ‘hug in a mug.”
“Take a moment for yourself and just really give yourself space to invite de-stressing. Invite peace. And protect it,” she added.
Four Things You Need to Know About Project Gorgeous:
- Marianne Talkovski was a practicing esthetician in Indianapolis since 2012 but she was inspired to officially launch Project Gorgeous in 2017 to combine her skills in a variety of areas to help people not only improve their skin/appearance, but to enable them to feel good on the inside and let that resonate outward. In October of 2019, she officially opened a brick and mortar location in Broad Ripple at 6251 N Winthrop Ave. Suite 7.
- Some of the treatments offered include gemstone facials, turmeric facial masks, acupuncture, fascial stretch therapy dermaplaning, micro-needling, LED light therapy, cupping and more.
- Addition to being an aesthetics professional, Marianne is also a certified life coach, licensed acupuncturist, board certified Chinese herbalist and trained in the art of Chinese face reading– which she does on her podcast, “Humanity Speaks”. Plus, she shares some of her wellness and beauty tips in a new book called “28 Secrets to Glow Up” which she dedicated to her daughter. The book is available on site at Project Gorgeous and online via Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
- In the retail space in the lobby area, they feature an array of retail items Eminence Organic Skincare, LOTUSWEI flower essence products, natural makeup from Rituel de Fille, teas, CBD and more. They also feature locally based items like Ambre Blends and handcrafted candles by Tays Dreamers (based in Anderson, IN).
For more information about the Project Gorgeous, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect with them on Facebook and Instagram.
While in Broad Ripple, check out these other popular local businesses: