I wasn’t blessed with great skin. Between the blemishes that have persisted since I was a teen and pesky broken capillaries, a flawless visage has always seemed like a pipe dream—despite trying numerous treatments, topicals, and gadgets. So, with my nuptials on the horizon, I decided to give my complexion a little extra TLC with a facial every week for a month in preparation of my wedding.
The week I embarked on this facial journey, I first headed to Face Gym. As the name suggests, it’s basically a workout for your face with sculpting exercises and a few skin-care products mixed in. (Side note: Three people told me I looked young in the 24 hours that followed. Coincidence? No way.)
The next day, I headed to Christine Chin Spa. To say the namesake founder has a take-no-prisoners approach to facials is an understatement. She walked in and said, “This isn’t going to be pampering, it’s going to be torture.” Was it? Not in the strictest sense of the word. However, I appreciate her fair warning and results-driven tactics.
Meet the Expert
Christine Chin is a licensed esthetician in New York State and the founder of Christine Chin Spa, which services many celebrities in the Lower East Side.
My session kicked off with cleansing, exfoliating fruit enzymes, steam to open pores, and gentle microdermabrasion. Then it was time for extractions, which Christine handled with surgical precision. Also, remember those broken capillaries? She zapped ‘em. A soothing green-tea mask brought some much-needed relief. And of course, Christine applied the requisite serums, spot treatments, and sunscreen.
Did I leave ready to walk down the aisle? Nope. (Truth be told that’s because I’d been delinquent about getting extractions.) But by the following week, I was convinced breakouts were a thing of the past.
My face was looking good, though definitely still in recovery mode, when I visited Silver Mirror Facial Bar. So we took it easy—trading exfoliation and extractions for moisturizing formulas and antioxidant therapy. My aesthetician also utilized a microcurrent device to sculpt, and applied a cooling jelly mask. As a result of her handiwork, it was smooth sailing for the next few days.
On February 28, I had an appointment with Jeannel Astarita, the goddess behind Just Ageless (the low-key medi spa located at 11 Howard). After inspecting my skin and chatting for a while, she decided to do an exfoliating mask from Defenage, followed by Dermalinfusion and Laser Genesis. Last but not least? A relaxing 20-minute session under LED lights.
I emerged ever-so-slightly pink (similar to the flush you get post hot-yoga). Most surprising—in a totally positive way—was the noticeable improvement in tone and texture. I covered a few spots with concealer and went on my merry way to dinner.
The final week is when things went a little off the rails. In fairness, pre-wedding stress undeniably played a big part in that.
By the time I got to Rescue Spa, I had hormonal acne on my chin and a number of congested pores just waiting to erupt. Walking into the chic Flatiron flagship—one month to the day before my wedding—in full-on frustration mode was a real bummer. Aesthetician Ela Lewis aimed to rebalance my skin with a slew of coveted Biologique Recherche goodies. She also opted for microdermabrasion and used a microcurrent sponge. I left feeling optimistic.
As planning kicked into high gear, my complexion didn’t get better. I chalked it up to stress, but Jeannel Astarita at Just Ageless had a different opinion. Could it be that getting a weekly facial, and switching up my daily regimen as a result, was too much for my skin? Yep.
Here’s the deal: Using the right products matters, but so does consistency. Getting a second opinion is great, but it’s when you start seeking out the advice of multiple experts that it can get confusing. Each person is going to tell you something slightly different. And that’s really what happened with me. All the different techniques and formulas kicked my skin into overdrive. It started to rebel and then I had to do damage control. But that doesn’t have to be the case!
Ultimately, what I learned through this process is that regular facials can be transformative, though every week might be overkill. My advice? Find an aesthetician you trust and follow their prescribed routine for a month. See how your skin feels and recalibrate from there. Just like with everything else, consistency and patience is key.