Seed to Skin
Interview by Marcia Lissak
Photography by David Barnum
Manchester Life recently sat with Amada Birch to get to know her better and find out more about her seed to skin secrets to her amazing Signature facial treatments.
Marcia Lissak: Telling by your accent you are from the UK. What brought you to the United States?
Amanda Birch: I moved to New York from London in 2012 (my husband’s job brought him to NYC) where, for 20 years, I had been a facialist at leading London salons, Michael John in Mayfair and Gielly Green in Marylebone. We moved to Westchester, New York and I established my first spa business in Chappaqua. The business was successful and many of my clients became friends. I still treat a number of my Westchester clients here in Manchester as they have second homes, or are frequent visitors to the area.
ML: What brought you to the town of Landgrove?
AB: During our time in New York we came to Vermont regularly to ski, hike, or just de-stress and quite simply fell in love. We had a great six years in Westchester but Vermont just seemed like the right place for our family. We are very fortunate to live in Landgrove, which is one of the most beautiful, special places on earth. I fall more and more in love with everything about it every day. It’s tucked away, bucolic, and peaceful; I have space to grow my herbs and make my products. The kids have space to run around and be kids— it’s wonderful.
ML: What is the philosophy behind your treatments and products?
AB: Being a facialist for more than 20 years, with experience at leading spas/salons and a sophisticated, demanding clientele, my approach and philosophy to skincare and its connection to health and well-being in general has evolved over this time. Over the years, I have used many different skincare lines. I found that even natural, organic ‘chemicalfree’ products often have a long shelf life and might be packed with preservatives that contain alcohol, which can be harsh on the skin. So I started to blend my own oils for my facial treatments, infusing the oils with phytonutrient-rich flowers and herbs that work with the skin to treat specific problems. I started to see amazing results! Amanda Birch Seed to Skin was born. I believe that the products we apply to our skin should be as
pure as the food we put in our bodies. I offer a total mind-body experience to my clients, using all-natural, handmade, organic products.
ML: What types of plants or herbs do you use and what are the most unique benefits and effects?
AB: I love herbs and use a wide variety in both my handmade skincare products and oils as well as my teas (I also make my own teas)—some I use seasonally and others yearround. Two of my favorites are calendula and nettle; I use a lot of calendula because it’s so gentle and healing on the most sensitive skin and has flavonoids (antioxidants that help protect the skin cells from free radical damage such as pollution, sun, and so on). It also has antiinflammatory properties that aid in healing the skin; I have found calendula to be amazing when treating skin conditions such as eczema. I use calendula in all of my products! Nettle is another super herb, as it has antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiulcer, astringent, and analgesic capabilities. It’s also packed with vitamins A, C, K, and potassium, magnesium, protein, and iron and is really a superfood…rich in chlorophyll, I drink it as a tea every day, and use it in my Restorative Oil and Cream. Burdock root is another favorite; you will find it in my Nourishing Cleansing Balm. It has many antioxidants including quercetin, luteolin, and phenolic acids—all great for inflammation.
ML: What are your treatments like?
AB: My Signature Facial is 90 minutes long, and I tailor it depending on the clients’ particular needs. I work on cleansing, gently resurfacing, plumping, hydrating, and correcting using Light Therapy. I also use Hydradermie, which is a very gentle way of resurfacing and cleansing the skin without causing irritation (I blend my own solution for this process using healing hydrosols such as calendula, chamomile, and lavender to hydrate and gently cleanse). I studied reiki for a number of years so I incorporate elements of that in my signature facial massage. This bespoke technique focuses on stress and tension in the facial muscles and underlying tissue; by releasing this tension, lines appear softer and the complexion literally glows. Add in the active botanicals and you leave a session with me feeling blissfully relaxed and your skin restored.
ML: What is red light therapy versus blue light therapy?
AB: Clients love my red light therapy lamp, which gently stimulates skin cells to work more efficiently, producing collagen and increasing cell regeneration. It’s great for super-dry skin (Vermont winters!) and sensitive skin along with aging; stimulating collagen production, it is also believed to help with SAD (winter depression) as the light stimulates serotonin, the happy hormone. I use the red light lamp myself twice a week and find it very relaxing and effective. The blue light has a shorter wavelength and is effective at treating acne by helping to kill the bacteria that causes p-acne; clients would need a course of blue light therapy alternating with red light therapy to see results.
ML: What drew you to this particular location?
AB: I need my space to be warm and inviting as well as private and quiet. I work by appointment only; my clients have my undivided attention and I like them to feel like they are the one and only when I am treating them—so it offers us that privacy. I also love anything antique, vintage, and yesteryear, and coming from England, this old brick building was like coming home. I’m in the loft space above Northshire Living; it’s unique and very beautiful with exposed beams and old wide floorboards with skylight windows to let the light stream in… It’s a beautiful and calming space.
ML: What do you do in your spare time?
AB: I have two small children who keep me busy. In the winter we love cross-country skiing around Landgrove and at Wild Wings in Peru—it’s a very special place (they also have yoga classes that I try to get to in my free time). Yoga at Heart of the Village Yoga in Manchester is another favorite. I’m a keen gardener and grow my own herbs and vegetables. Walking/snowshoeing with my two dogs, Doris and Reggie, in Landgrove. We all love to swim and in the summer we can be found in one of the many ponds or swimming holes in the area. We enjoy an occasional dinner at Mystic in Manchester or Solo in Londonderry and breakfast with my family at JJ Hapgood is always a winner. It’s a beautiful place to live, and the people have been very warm and welcoming. I consider myself very fortunate to be here and we are all looking forward to becoming a part of the community.
all the details
Amanda Birch Seed to Skin
5081 Main St., Manchester