Astrid Sõmera – A Beautiful Woman Who Creates Beauty and Brings Health
Astrid Sõmera, Head of the Beauty and Wellness Centre of the Tallink Spa & Conference Hotel, has worked in her field for exactly 20 years. A great anniversary! When meeting Astrid, one gets a warm feeling from the very first moment, because in addition to her very well-groomed and beautiful appearance, she radiates sincere friendliness, which shines at you like the spring sun! And, she is always smiling – no matter what the weather.
Astrid graduated from the University of Tartu with a degree in economics and furthered herself in business management, but today she has two decades worth of education and work experience as a professional in the field of beauty and well-being. Why did Astrid choose the world of beauty and well-being?
“In the early years of my childhood, I had a big dream of becoming a teacher, a little later it turned into a dream of becoming a doctor, and in high school my undisputed favourite was chemistry. However, to my own surprise, I went to university to study economics instead. I guess the reason was that as a young girl, I let myself be influenced by the trends of the time,” laughs Astrid, “Economics suited me well, and I began to like numbers more and more. Today I am convinced that I made the right choice!”
Astrid knew nothing about the world of beauty and well-being until she discovered it for herself after the birth of her children and having stayed at home with them for years and then going back to work. “Since then, I have constantly developed and grown in the beauty world. My work is also my hobby and therefore very close to my heart. It is very important in life to have a job that you really love,” Astrid is sure. Her journey into the world of beauty began as spa administrator at a hotel. “It was exciting to work with people – I was never bored!” she praises. Since Astrid was becoming more and more interested in the relations of beauty and health, she immediately took the opportunity and moved on to the position of assistant to the hotel spa manager.
The more Astrid learned at work, the more she began to like and enjoy it. “What could be nicer than varied and exciting work with people for the sake of beauty and health?” Astrid asks happily. Further, this career path already led her to the position of spa manager of Tallink hotels. Since 2017, Astrid has also been the Head of Tallink hotels’ Beauty and Well-being Department. Last year, the position of Head of Spa & Wellness and Housekeeping Services was added to her portfolio, and her area of responsibility expanded even further.
Being a team player, Astrid says that despite the heavy workload, it is never difficult – if you enjoy your work, and have an excellent team.” I have very good assistants and team members in all Tallink hotels, with whom cooperation is excellent. After all, we do everything for the sake of offering our guests the most pleasant holidays, best services and good emotions.”
Among other reasons why Astrid likes the field of beauty and well-being is that it’s constantly changing, both in content and form, which forces us to continue to learn and develop, in order to keep up with the progress: “Life around us is changing, and people with it, their desires, knowledge, needs, dreams!”. Astrid likes the necessity for continuous self-development. “I’ve been doing this job for 20 years in a row, but it’s still never not boring,” she is content. Astrid is also very happy with the company, calling herself a true fan of Tallink Hotels. “We have an excellent environment with many development and career opportunities for those who show initiative and have the desire to develop and move forward.”
It may not be known widely, but for many years already Astrid has been participating as an examiner on the evaluation committee of the Estonian Spa Association and Estonian Qualifications Authority for the professional exams for spa attendants. To become a spa attendant, one has to learn at special service schools, and the in-depth training ends with the passing of a professional exam, which Astrid, among others, evaluates. For herself, she considers this experience very developing and valuable. She participates in the work of the evaluation committee also this year.
When we talk about her personal life, Astrid admits that although her closest circle of loved ones is not very wide, the support of her family and friends for her work and activities has always been invaluable. “I have two sons – the older son has gone on to fulfil my childhood dream and graduated from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tartu last year. My younger son is also following in my footsteps and is a student at the University of Tartu, studying in two faculties at the same time. This spring, he is graduating from the Faculty of Economics and at the same time studying at the Faculty of Law,” Astrid is happy and proud of her sons.
Due to her tight work schedule, Astrid does not have much free time, but she considers the ability to have a good rest and exercising a lot to be a very important part of lifestyle. “My great passion is moving around in nature, hiking, walking. Since I have an active lifestyle, I have also practised long-distance running (half-marathon) for many years. At the moment, I don’t run very long distances, but brisk walking is definitely part of my daily schedule.” For Astrid, mountain skiing has also become an addiction, in a good way. She tries to get to the ski slopes at least once every year. This winter, for example, she went to explore the pistes in Norway.
As a counterbalance to being outdoors, Astrid also likes to cook in her kitchen. Making various baked goods is her big favourite. “I have been baking sourdough bread myself for many years and I really enjoy the process. In general, I like simple dishes. One of my favourites is pumpkin puree soup, but to be honest, I also really love seafood.” Astrid does not consider herself to be a keen follower of a healthy diet, but rather eats what she likes. “Besides, I’m a real sweet tooth,” she admits cheerfully.
Although Astrid has little free time, she loves to travel and discover new places whenever possible, both in Estonia and abroad. “I always have to have something nice to do when I’m on holiday, because just lounging in the sun is not my cup of tea at all! I also like to just walk in the forest or the bog and pick berries. Many times, I have also gone on various cruises with Tallink ships with my loved ones, and I am always very happy to go again and again – the sea, good food, entertainment, pleasant relaxation. It’s an absolutely superb vacation!” praises Astrid.
To relax her mind, Astrid likes to read. As a big travel enthusiast, she likes to read travelogues, but also exciting biographies, history interests her, and contemporary fiction also appeals at times. “Usually, I have a book opened on my bedside table for a long time, and it is sometimes quite difficult to make choices from the stack of books waiting next to it. Oh, how I would read and read…,” dreams Astrid, “but there is not enough time.”
Returning to the topic of beauty and health, I ask Astrid to share some beauty and health tips on how to keep the skin healthy and to look beautiful.
Astrid believes that health itself is the most important prerequisite for healthy and beautiful skin. “Beauty starts from within!” she says with conviction. “In addition to daily care at home and effective salon treatments, the biggest role in maintaining a beautiful and youthful state is a healthy lifestyle – sleep long enough and well, don’t eat junk food, eat only clean and healthy food that suits you, drink enough clean water, don’t smoke – as it for it surely spoils all that is beautiful, protect yourself from the more damaging rays of the sun, exercise and move your body as much and as often as possible. After all, it’s all about taking care of yourself. If you are healthy, full of energy and self-confident, then you are beautiful and youthful! Those who have tried have never regretted it,” Astrid laughs happily, her beautiful eyes shining enthusiastically.
In terms of facial care at home, Astrid emphasises that the most important thing is to be consistent and to take care of your skin every day with the right products for your skin type. Facial skin must be thoroughly cleansed both in the morning and evening, creamed, and if necessary, more intensive products must be used that suit particularly your skin. It is recommendable to use a separate cream for the delicate area around the eyes. From time to time, it is also worth exfoliating the facial skin to remove dead cells and contribute to skin renewal.
What are some quick beauty tips that can be used in the morning in 5 minutes?
“My daily beauty routine takes about 5 minutes,” says Astrid happily, “good sleep and a rested state are the basis of a fresh and rested feeling. A quick cooling compress or eye masks in the form of patches, which are very fashionable at the moment, really give an immediate effect. My point is – less is more! It is important to choose skin care products that are suitable for your age and the appropriate foundation for your skin type. Thus – a good night’s sleep, a cooling eye compress, if necessary, light make-up, a beautiful lip colour and nothing else is needed!” suggests Astrid.
If you could only choose one skincare and one make-up product for daily use, what would they be?
One of Astrid’s own undisputed favourites is Sothys Intensive Hydrating Serum – a light texture deep moisturising serum that absorbs easily. It contains low molecular weight hyaluronic acid as an active ingredient, which works well in the deeper layers of the facial skin and helps prevent ageing and drying. “Keeps the skin youthful,” says Astrid and adds that a very good mascara is important to her as far as make-up products are concerned, and of course a lipstick. “So – serum, mascara and lipstick – three in total,” Astrid laughs cheerfully.
How to get a fresh complexion quickly?
An immediate effect and a fresh complexion are definitely provided by professional facial treatments, where highly effective active ingredients do their job. “Before an important event, if possible, I recommend visiting a beautician a day or two beforehand and let yourself be pampered with, for example, an intensive facial treatment with deeply moisturising hyaluronic acid,” Astrid advises, and adds that relaxing and moisturizing masks are also helpful in achieving a fresh look quickly.
What should be done differently in winter and summer to ensure good skin health?
“Winter with changing weather is relatively tiring for the skin, and the soon-to-arrive spring can also be harmful,” warns Astrid. “Winter-time facial cream does not have to be thick in consistency, but contain the right nutrients. During the winter, the most important thing is to moisturise and soothe the skin, but when choosing skin care products for the face, you should take into account the suitability for your skin type at any time of the year.” In winter, Astrid does not recommend rubbing the skin on the face, because the wind and cold already irritate it. Therefore, scrubbing should be avoided in winter or done as little as possible, for example once a month.
Although a moderate amount of sun is good for the skin, Astrid warns that you need to start protecting your skin from the sun’s rays immediately, because even low-intensity sun can harm pale skin. Therefore, Astrid recommends that already in March-April (in Estonia) one should get out the sunscreens or to use a day cream that protects against UV rays. “Generally, we don’t outwit genes and hormones, but there are more factors that can play a role. The skin needs constant care and protection from the effects, then the cells will also stay younger,” explains Astrid.
In order to look fresh and youthful, Astrid recommends getting pampered from time to time by professionals at the beauty and wellness centres of Tallink hotels. “The active ingredients of our treatments are effective and have an immediate effect!” praises Astrid. Hyaluronic acid, collagen and vitamin C ensure a fresh and youthful complexion. Hyaluronic acid is a real miracle substance that intensively moisturises the skin. With age, the amount of hyaluronic acid in the body decreases. That is where high-quality treatments, for example Sothys’ intensive deep moisturising treatment with hyaluronic acid, can provide an effective helping hand. Collagen keeps the skin tight, ensuring continuous renewal of skin cells. The body itself produces collagen, but the older we get, the slower the production of collagen and the weaker the cell structure. In today’s beauty world, vitamin C is also considered one of the super substances that very effectively prevents and reduces the signs of skin aging. It is also an important component in the production of collagen, which keeps the skin well-toned and elastic.
It is pleasant and easy to let professionals take care of you and make you to look and feel your best. The professional beauty therapists at the Beauty and Wellness Centre of the Tallink Spa & Conference hotel and the Relaxation Area of the Tallink City hotel can offer everyone exactly the right choice from a wide selection of treatments. “There’s no need to be afraid of coming to us,” Astrid laughs happily, “on the contrary – I highly recommend it!” As the treatments are suitable for all, both women and men, from children to the elderly, including people with sensitive skin, Astrid encourages everyone to give it a try. “Our professional beauty attendants also provide valuable advice on how to take care of your skin. All to feel good and to have a youthful, bright, and beautiful appearance that reflects it!”
In conclusion, Astrid wishes that health and beauty be kindly available for everyone this year as well.
Interview by Tiia Nightingale