A SMOKING ceremony and a ritual foot soak may not be your standard precursor to a ‘facial’ but in an exotic spa on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island, that’s how they do these kinds of things.

Instead of the usual ‘let’s chuck on a few creams and pat them around your face’, something called a Dihlbi bioactive facial has its roots in parts of our indigenous culture. And that isn’t just some branding pitch.

In respect and honour of the indigenous people of Australia who shared their knowledge and wisdom with the Lit’ya brand, who have created this Dihlbi facial (which means early morning dew) the products take a ‘tread lightly’ approach to the environment.

They feature organic ingredients, essential oils, have no synthetics and have not been tested on animals. The latest innovation also has bioactive formulas including banksia flower, Kakadu plum and native Fragonia.

According to Lit’ya’s global trainer, Daniel Hayward, ‘the skin is supported at a cellular level with an age-defying serum targeting a visible signs of ageing and an intensive mask is applied to reduce inflammation and stimulates cell renewal,’ says Daniel as he light up the leaves as the smoking ceremony begins.

Sure, but does all of this actually work?

“Needless to say all of the treatments start with a traditional smoking ceremony where leaves are lit and wafted around the room while your feet sit in a silver bucket of warm water that is also used and filled with leaves.”

A smoking ceremony is an ancient custom among indigenous Australians that involves burning various native plants to produce smoke, which is believed to have cleansing properties and the ability to ward off bad spirits.

After the rituals, the face magic begins.

Interestingly, the remote location of Kangaroo Island also fits in with the whole philosophy of the brand. Just a 20 minute flight from Adelaide, it is renowned for its rugged, wild and often unpredictable terrain and seems the perfect precinct for some serious pampering.

The jewel in the accommodation crown (and our digs for our night of product testing) is the Southern Ocean Lodge, the much-lauded 21-room/lodge hotel with dramatic coastal views. The design of the hotel enhances the existing landscape, as opposed to it being an eyesore.

The Lodge reeks of understated, barefoot luxury and with no TV (winner!) and one of the coolest spa positions ever. As you can see, it is seriously sensational.

Built by a Kanga Island native and renowned architect Max Prichard, and run by the Baillie group of ‘luxe’ lodges (which include longitude 131 in Uluru and Capella lodge on Lord Howe Island) Mr Pritchard has made sure his work fits into the landscape beautifully.

With just 4500 inhabitants scattered over 4500 thousand square kilometres, animal life (including many beautiful sea lions lining the bays and beaches) well and truly over overshadows human life let alone the seemingly 10:1 who work at the lodge.

There is hardly a human to be seen or heard — just pounding waves — as my face got the Dihlbi treatments, which happens to be the first in a series of three new ‘high performance’ facials from the brand.

Yes. I get slathered. And I snore as the intensive bi-phase mask is applied and left to do its thing before a serum (that you can buy) is then applied.

And the results? In all honesty, my skin did feel dewy and plumped up and hey, I didn’t even have to wear foundation for a couple of days. And for me, coupled with one of the most exquisite locations to have a facial, that made the exquisite journey worth single every minute.

Now with 100 spas around the world already using the Australian-made luxe (and affordable, I might add) products, it’s no wonder the name Lit’ya name is starting to kick off internationally.

This article was originally posted on news.com.au