Diary / Beauty / Sep 26, 2022
This is What a Cryofacial Really Feels Like
Written by: Anjali Kumar
*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).
I picked a snow day to get a cryofacial. Ok, obviously I didn’t know it would be a snow day when I first booked my appointment at Clean Market in Midtown Manhattan, but the night before my scheduled appointment, a snowstorm was approaching the East Coast and the Mayor canceled all NYC schools for the following day. So yes, I picked a snowstorm to schlep outside and get my face frozen off in the name of beauty. Classic.
I didn't want to miss my scheduled appointment, so I coordinated a last minute playdate for my 9 year old daughter (thanks Kathy!) and jumped on the train to midtown. It is just a few blocks away from the first law firm I ever worked at 20 years ago. Seemed like a strange spot for a “modern wellness bar” but then again, perhaps stressed out lawyers were the exact demographic for the menu of services on offer.
I walked through the brightly lit apothecary full of jade rollers and CBD infused beauty products, past the coffee and smoothie counter serving up things with names like Brain Coffee (which includes ghee and something called “Brain Dust”) and E3 Live shots to Thermostat in the back. A small suite of rooms awaited me, some outfitted with infrared saunas where I would start the facial detox package I booked. It would be followed by an IV drip and the main event...a cryofacial.
Admittedly, it was not my first time doing an infrared sauna (stay tuned for more on that in a later column!), nor an IV drip. In the past, I got pretty antsy about halfway through an infrared sauna (it gets hot, really really hot) and would watch the clock with one eye open counting down the minutes until I could bust open the door and drink a gallon of water. But the promised benefits of increased serotonin and claims you can burn up to 600 calories while just sitting there for an hour have been enough to occasionally get me back into that chamber.
And 60 minutes later (ok more like 45 since I kept jumping out to drink water) I emerged having worked up a solid sweat and feeling pretty relaxed. I was directed to a seat in the "drip lounge," which consisted of four chairs set up in a circle. My three drip lounge mates were already hooked up to various IVs and tapping away on their mobile phones. If this is what the future of wellness looks like, I am not sure I am here for it.
Since I was scheduled for a simultaneous cryofacial, I was escorted to a smaller back room with a massage chair (one of the most intense massage chairs I've ever sat in, which, depending on your feelings about massage chairs, could be a good or bad thing) and then Shoko, the Nursing Director, came in and expertly hooked up my bag. The facial detox package includes a Glow IV full of vitamins that are supposed to boost hair, skin and nail health, cleanse and detoxify your whole body, and revitalize dull skin and overall complexion. I upgraded with a vitamin B booster, which my husband (who is a doctor) has repeatedly told me is unnecessary unless I am vitamin B deficient (I am not), but I refuse to believe him (the promise of an energy boost and kick start to my metabolism is just too tempting).
While the IV steadily dripped into my arm, my facialist Emma came in with a large device that looked like a penguin and a vacuum cleaner had a baby and readied me to have liquid-nitrogen-cooled air blasted onto my face for the next 30 minutes. Cryofacial benefits are said to include decreasing inflammation (which stimulates collagen), reducing puffiness and dark circles, and helping with acne.
The cold air was first pointed on my forehead and was really, really, really cold. Like walking to the subway in the middle of a freezing winter snowstorm and wondering why you don’t live in Hawaii cold, but colder than that. Once the treatment moved on from my forehead area, I found it borderline refreshing. Admittedly, it might have been the post-vitamin drip euphoria and the contrast to the having been heated up like a microwaved chicken a bit earlier, but who is to say? When it was over, Emma sprayed my face with a gentle fragrant mist of "nutrient spray" and told me to make sure to moisturize that night, saying full benefits of the cryofacial and vitamins would be better seen on my face in the morning.
I caught a glimpse of my face in the changing room mirror and my skin looked healthy and smooth and I had a great kick of energy to get me through the rest of the snow day. Did the cryofacial ultimately stimulate collagen or reduce my under eye circles? Hard to say. But my face did look fresh and smoother from the whole package, and even better (as promised) after a good night’s sleep.
Clean Market, 240 East 54th Street, New York, NY 10022