I'm a minimalist when it comes to my skincare and beauty routine. Like, I don't really have one. This is not a choice I've made on purpose: In fact, I own and continue to regularly purchase and hoard many beauty products. (Seriously, I work at a magazine and live above a Duane Reade.) The thing is, my skin is kind of sensitive and I'd rather be eating than shrinking my pores, so mostly these products end up exiled to a bin in the back of my closet.
Still, my skin is far from perfect, and when our deputy editor asked if anyone wanted to try 111SKIN's Micropen Facial, a.k.a Cara Delevigne's favorite facial (involving a "high-tech handheld wand of youth"), I thought: Why not?
Never having received a facial before, I imagined a steamy, futuristic lab, bubbling with potions, filled with Real Housewives in white coats inspecting my skin through microscopes and squeezing my hands as my face slowly transforms into Cara's. I mean, I knew in my heart not to expect miracles. But I thought, barring any allergic reactions, it would at least be relaxing.
Come to find out, 111SKIN's facials don't take place in a lab of the future exactly, but the products themselves are kind of sci-fi. The brand was started when plastic surgeon Dr. Alexandrides was looking for skin care that could help patients heal more efficiently after cosmetic surgery. He ended up developing his own formula with key ingredients used by astronauts traveling in extreme space conditions—where skin apparently ages rapidly. And I thought NYC winters were harsh.
The facialist I had was the lovely Sylwia Gorzkowska, who herself had a glowing complexion and a calming demeanor. She led me into a small, softly lit room where I changed into a robe. I laid down on the table, slid beneath a cozy blanket, and awaited my face fate. Classical music played. I felt like I was in a luxury ship's cabin. (I have never been in a luxury ship's cabin.) I tried to relax. (But trying to relax isn't very relaxing.) My phone was in my bag, far out of reach—I had no way to know how much time was passing. I imagined I was on the Titanic. Was Celine Dion on next on this facial music mix? I started to feel guilty about my inability to relax. Deep breaths. What would Cara Delevigne do?
Luckily, before my phone-separation-sinking-ship anxiety spiraled out of control, Slywia was back in the room and my troubles were melting away. She asked me about my skin and routine, and noted my face was a bit dehydrated. She walked me through the steps of the facial and what to expect. I actually did begin to relax, feeling that I was—literally—in good hands.
Here is how the facial went down:
Slywia washed my face twice, first with the Lift Off Purifying Cleanser and then with the Exfoliating Cleanser, removing each time with a warm towel, a.k.a., HEAVEN. Next, she applied the Daily Orbit Energizing Essence. I felt refreshed. After warning me that the micropen would make a slight noise but assuring me it wouldn't be painful, she applied 111SKIN's Y Theorem Repair Serum NAC Y2 to my entire face and gently massaged the pen over my skin. It felt like it sounded—buzzy—and indeed painless. Again, serum removal with a warm towel.
Next, she reapplied the Energizing Essence and Repair Serum and gave me an amazing face, neck, and décolleté massage. My cell phone and the Titanic were completely forgotten.
Slywia then applied the Bio Cellulose Mask to my face. After another 15 minutes of massage, she removed the mask and finished by treating my skin with Black Diamond Cream. Fancy. She told me to drink lots of water and not to wash my face again for a day.
Voila. First Facial: Done. Did I appear to have been touched by a handheld wand of youth? Did I more closely resemble Cara Delevigne? Maybe? (No, I did not.) But my skin did feel strangely replenished and refreshed. Instead of the irritated blotchiness I had secretly feared, I felt like for once in my life my skin had a slight glow.
And aside from the actual physical benefits to my skin, I really did feel relaxed. Maybe I looked mostly the same—but being pampered did make me feel kind of glamorous. More like, you know, Cara Delevigne.