Diary / Beauty / Sep 26, 2022
The Best Facials to Try in NYC Right Now
Written by: Anjali Kumar
In her column for Just Bobbi, author, advisor and attorney Anjali Kumar is willing to try anything in the name of wellness (at least once).
Every writer eventually encounters their career defining assignment. The one that challenges them beyond what they think they are capable of. Under circumstances so trying they don’t know what waits for them on the other side.
This, dear reader, is not that assignment.
Instead, I have the plum job of trying out a few high end facials— the kinds that “people in the know” know about and swear by. So in the name of research, just as New York was slowly emerging from the pandemic and spas gingerly reopened, I set out to try some of the most talked about facials in New York City for a new, ongoing facial series.
The verdict: My skin looks so darn good under my mask. (And also, I love the perks of writing this column! Thanks Bobbi!)
Biologique Recherche at Skinney MedSpa
Full disclosure: I have tried one Biologique Recherche product in the past: the vaguely vinegar smelling cult exfoliation Lotion P50. I read about it years ago and it was a must have beauty item of some famous person I don’t remember who (ok fine, it was Jenna Lyons and she convinced me to wear sequins for daytime so I do what she says) and I tried it. But the smell was intense, and I was using it inconsistently, so I didn’t quite understand what all the hype was about.
Spoiler alert: If your budget allows for it, I highly recommend regular use of Biologique Recherche’s products. Admittedly, I have pretty good skin as a baseline, but after the Biologique Recherche facial and consistent use of their products (including my new favorites of the Lotion P50W for daily exfoliation and the Creme Masque Vernix as an occasional overnight treatment) for a month, I have received so many compliments on my skin that I am officially a Biologique Recherche Believer.
But I am ahead of myself—back to the facial itself.
With facials, I generally expect a combination of steam and heat for massage and extraction, but the Biologique Recherche facial was cold. After massaging half my face with a Biologique Recherche product, Morgan (my aesthetician at Skinney MedSpa) showed me the immediate difference in a mirror—my eyebrow looked lifted, the line near my lip/nose was reduced, and my cheek was less puffy. After massaging the other half of my face, Morgan applied a seaweed mask and gently slid what felt like little cold metal balls around my face. The combination (along with the heated bed I was laying on) had a strangely calming effect and I dozed off for a minute or two (you will note a pattern of my falling asleep during facials which I realize might make me an unreliable raconteur of these treatments!). My skin was noticeably brighter and tighter after.
The day after my facial, at the start of yet another Zoom call, my colleague remarked "Did you just have a facial? Your skin looks amazing!"
Obviously I booked my next appointment right away.
The verdict: A facial is a great way to experience Biologique Recherche products and determine what the right regimen is for you to use at home. You can get great results from the products with consistent use at home.
Tracie Martyn’s Red Carpet Facial
Tracie Martyn was one of the first "celebrity facials" I read about when I first moved to NY years ago. All the celebrities went there to get “red carpet ready.” So I was excited to try their signature Red Carpet Facial (favored by Rihanna and Rita Ora to name a few), even though my red carpet plans involved hanging out with my family at home for the millionth pandemic night in a row.
I arrived at the bright Fifth Avenue space to meet Marius Morariu, co-founder and CEO. His rocker vibes were in stark contrast to the elevated hippie chic vibe of the space, but his warm and welcoming manner was exactly in sync with our surroundings.
Marius first sent me to have a little rest on the Ruby Ray light bed which looked like a large tanning bed. As I rested for 15 minutes, red light lasers shone on my face and body while ocean sounds filled the room. According to Marius, research suggests that a tension-melting session on their red LED light bed “can help stimulate collagen, accelerate skin healing, enhance hair growth, and can even help with seasonal affective disorder.” I don’t know if any of that happened because I fell asleep; it was VERY relaxing.
I then met Dorota, who has worked with Tracie for 15 years, and was charged with getting me (well, my face anyway) red carpet ready.
Over the next hour, Dorota worked her magic applying Tracie Martyn’s signature (and heavenly smelling) products and gliding electrical wands gently over my face for contouring. She also did microdermabrasion and a special anti-aging amber LED light treatment.
While the spa recommends regular treatments for best and lasting results, I couldn't believe the immediate difference to the tone of my face. My cheekbones were noticeably popping for at least a week after. I followed up with a month-long regimen of their Amla Purifying Cleanser, Absolute Purity Toner and Firming Serum -- the Firming Serum smells particularly lovely (you may have realized by now that I love nice smelling products) but I will definitely be working the cleanser into my regular routine. And if I am ever invited to a red carpet event, I will be back for a facial with Dorota. My toned cheekbones were wasted on my 11 year old.
The verdict: Red Carpet Facial is the right name for this facial. It is the perfect pre-event treatment if you need to look your best.
To book an appointment or purchase products: www.traciemartyn.com
Clear & Brilliant at Skinney MedSpa
The Clear & Brilliant is a resurfacing laser treatment that promises to help fade sun-damage, reduce pore size, improve fine lines and wrinkles and improve permeability of product penetration. As I celebrated a birthday a few weeks before the treatment, they had me at “improves fine lines and wrinkles.”
My aesthetician at Skinney MedSpa (quickly becoming my go to spa in NY for all the cutting edge, non-invasive procedures out there) Zasha first applied a numbing cream all over my face. This step is optional, but my advice? Do NOT skip this step. You brave souls opting to skip the numbing cream—well, good on you—but I am not so brave. The numbing cream caused a tingly sensation and I lost some feeling (temporarily) in my lips but that faded over the course of a couple of hours. After about 30 minutes, Zasha traced a laser wand across my face in quick gentle strokes.
I felt a hot and prickly (but tolerable) sensation on my forehead and jawline/cheekbones, but I didn't feel anything anywhere else. Immediately post-procedure, my face felt tight—like I had left a clay mask on for two hours too long and let it dry to a tight crack. I looked like I had a tough sunburn which mellowed by the evening, but didn't fully subside til the next morning.
I was warned that my skin would become quite coarse to the touch over the next few days with a sandpaper texture that wouldn’t be visible to anyone. Mine wasn’t too bad, a little coarse but not as rough as I was prepared for. It looked a little dry for about three days. While I didn’t see an immediate difference in fine lines on my face, the spa recommends 3-4 treatments spaced a month apart for best results and showed me lots of before and after photos that were pretty convincing.
The verdict: If you are laser curious and can commit to a course of treatments, this would be a good light laser treatment to start with. As a one off, it may not yield noticeable results.