The Best Facials in NYC for Brides

glowing bride


If there was ever a perfect time to up your game and splurge on beauty treatments, it's right before your wedding. You want to be your most glowing self possible on the big day, right? But where do you begin when looking for the perfect facial, especially if you are a New York City bride or plan to come to the Big Apple for your treatments? It is the land of endless choices, after all.

The best way to get that gorgeous complexion ready for wedding photos is a consistent daily skincare regimen with some expert facials peppered in along the way.

Luckily, Brides is here for you. Our staff went out into the vast beauty world of NYC to test the best of the best aestheticians in town (tough job, we know). Here we break down the difference between micro-current, microdermabrasion, and micro-needling; give you all the info you need on facial cupping and galvanic currents; and even take you to a "facial gym."

If you want to see the results in action, follow @brides on Instagram and check out our Insta Story series "I Do" Beauty to go behind the scenes at each of these spas and more.

So without further ado, sit back, relax, and get ready to be pampered with the 15 best facials in New York City.

Ildi Pekar

Courtesy of Ildi Pekar Spa

What to get: Magnetic Cupping Facial

Cost: $330

"Hungarian aesthetician Ildi Pekar knows her stuff—this much is apparent the moment you lie down on her table (or when you look at the skin of every Victoria's Secret model on the runway). She studied chemistry in Budapest and holds a similar, results driven worldview when it comes to skincare, evidenced by her signature magnetic cupping facial. And no, the 'cupping' aspect of this facial will not, I repeat, will not, leave you with those fun black-and-blue welts seen on the backs of Michael Phelps and Gwyneth Paltrow. While it's the same concept—the cupping facial does use light suction to draw nutrients to the surface of the face, increase blood circulation, and stimulate lymphatic drainage—the process is actually quite pleasant...relaxing even. Pekar begins with a series of washes and enzyme peels to cleanse and exfoliate the skin. She then opens the lymphs with a machine that uses magnetic vibrations before moving on to the cupping itself. The magnetic aspect of the cupping means that Pekar has complete control of the blood circulation beneath the skin, allowing toxins to drain out of the face. The device sort of looks like an itty-bitty bulb syringe/turkey baster, with different sizes for different areas of the face. The facial finishes with a scary looking (but totally great) LED light mask whose vibrations target the lower half of the face. The results were honestly stunning. I've never looked and felt so lit-from-the-inside in my life, and my under-eye bags had completely disappeared. My skin was super elastic and lifted (even the next day, after an evening of a few too many cocktails and not enough water...sorry, Ildi), and there was zero redness or downtime—just the opposite, in fact. If this isn't the perfect bridal facial, I don't know what is." —Aviel Kanter, senior digital editor

Joanna Vargas

Joanna Vargas Spa
Photo by Roderick Angle

What to get: Supernova Facial

Cost: $325

"Even if you're a total newbie to the skincare game, you've probably heard the name Joanna Vargas at some point in your life. Whether it was from the glossy (ahem, Klossy) lips of supermodel Karlie Kloss, who describes her facials as 'heaven,' or the always glowing Brad Goresky, who says she 'transformed' his skin, Vargas's facials set the bar high, to say the least. Much has been written about Vargas's signature 'Triple Crown Facial,' so I decided to try out the 'Supernova'—a treatment focused on hydration and reducing puffiness and inflammation. Yes, please! When I told JV master aesthetician Elizabeth Cintron about my dreams of ultra hydration and de-puffed under-eyes, she assured me that the Supernova would not disappoint (spoiler: it didn't, I'm basically Karlie Kloss now). She started with an allover pass of suction to get deep into my pores. This handy little device also blasted those newly cleaned pores first with a dose of glycolic acid to exfoliate and clarify, and then with hyaluronic acid to hydrate. Cintron then covered my entire face (everything other than my nostrils) with a collagen mask—it was a pretty thin layer, so I didn't have any claustrophobia creep in, plus her stress relieving shoulder massage was heavenly. Here's where we moved on to the big guns: micro-current, cryotherapy, and O2. The micro-current here was a different experience than the one mentioned above at Rescue—the Biologique Recherche machine looks more like two big cotton pads, while the micro-current probe Cintron used was metal. It glided over my skin, which was covered by a soothing chamomile mask, and added a cooling effect (no metallic taste with this one, but I did have some fun eye twitching). The cryotherapy, however, stole the show: It was like jumping into crystal clear, freezing cold water in the middle of the summer. The icy cold wand shocks the system in the best way possible—plus it increases cellular metabolism, circulation, oxygenation, and lymphatic drainage while providing anti-inflammatory benefits. Last but not least was a blast of oxygen directly onto my face. When I left, my skin felt tighter, my cheekbones more defined, and there wasn't a wrinkle in sight." —Aviel Kanter, senior digital editor

Face Gym

Face Gym
Photo by Justin Bridges

What to get: Signature Sculpt

Cost: $95

"As the name implies, Face Gym is not so much a spa but a gym for your face. Located on the swanky new beauty dedicated second floor of Saks, this British import aims to put your face through the same rigors as your body goes through during a high intensity interval training workout. After completing a skin quiz, my trainer—Erin Esparza—began the workout with a 'warm-up.' Using a rubber ball she stretched my cheeks and forehead muscles, and especially under my jawline (lots of stress there). After the warm-up comes cardio, of course—she vigorously massaged my face with her fingers for several minutes and gave me quite a sweat in the process. The sculpt portion of the workout came next with more massage, this time aimed at sculpting my cheekbones and jawline and lifting them higher. With the sculpt came a quick micro-current session to help twitch my muscles tighter. Finally, a cool down using a very chilled jade gua sha stone felt like a major relief, much like an ice plunge after a rough workout. Esparza suggested a course of weekly facials over a six-week period to see major benefits from the workout. But even after one workout, I walked out glowing, visibly lifted, and with that healthy post-workout flush." —Roberta Correia, digital director

Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa

Courtesy of Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa

What to get: Biologique Recherche Signature Bespoke Facial

Cost: $190

You had to have heard of the infamous Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 skincare collection, by now. If not, you're missing out on one of the most feverishly followed skincare lines in the world. Biologique Recherche's P50 is a prestigious magic potion only sold by licensed retailers that exfoliates, balances pH, and tones, resulting in the most glowy, smoothest skin of your life—no lie. Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa has taken these holy grail products and channeled them into a selection of spa treatments that'll give you wedding ready, unbelievably soft skin. Thanks to the Biologique Recherche products and the staff's expertise, the spa's Lotion P50 Deep Cleansing Hydrating Facial deeply cleanses, tones, and exfoliates skin for a glowing complexion. But why stop at your face? During my trip to the Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa, I received the Lotion P50 Gommage New Skin Scrub & Massage. Think: a facial for your entire damn body. First, my aesthetician donned a special glove to scrub my skin from neck to toe with the Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 Gommage. This is a serious exfoliation, sloughing off any and all dead skin cells to renew and resurface. Next, I was wrapped in weighted warming blankets to allow the highly active ingredients of the P50 to deeply penetrate my skin. After showering off the exfoliator, I was massaged with Biologique Recherche lotion to hydrate my newly smoothed and resurfaced skin. The result? Allover softness and a healthy glow. With skin this baby soft, you'll definitely be ready to show off those legs on your honeymoon after this treatment. —Jamie Cuccinelli, digital editor

SB Skin

Courtesy of SB Skin

What to get: Micro-Current Facial

Cost: $225

"If you’re looking for immediate results, look no further than SB Skin. With a holistic and all natural mindset, SB Skin founder Shamara Bondaroff developed the signature micro-current facial as an alternative to Botox and fillers, and customers often refer to it as a 'natural face lift.' And I couldn’t agree more. The micro-currents are like a workout for your facial muscles, and you can really feel the tingling and trembling of your muscles (much like during barre class) as they get tighter. After roughly an hour of micro-current stimulation, facial massage, and soothing serums—finished off with a few minutes under an LED light for good measure—I walked out looking actually ten years younger, and as if I had slept for more than four hours for the first time in years. Plus, my face finally felt symmetrical (years of side-sleeping has made one eye slightly smaller than the other). While the SB Skin micro-current facial definitely boasts amazing immediate results (perfect for pre-events), a long-term regimen will only create a more long-lasting and better effect. Bondaroff recommends brides start at least six months in advance and do a series of weekly facials for five weeks, and then once a month until the week of the wedding, at which point she recommends a visit the day before. Bondaroff also suggested I give up coffee to fend off major skin dehydration—baby steps." —Roberta Correia, digital director

Georgia Louise Atelier

Courtesy of Georgia Louise Atelier

What to get: The Georgia Louise Bespoke

Cost: $350

"When celebs like Cate Blanchette, Sandra Bullock, Emma Stone, and Jennifer Lawrence need to give their skin some love, they run straight into the arms of British skin guru, Georgia Louise. Her Upper East Side atelier looks like a Gossip Girl–style penthouse (I seriously said to her, 'I want to live in that bathroom.'), complete with products from skincare heavy hitters like Dr. Barbara Sturm, Elemis, Biologique Recherche, and her own namesake line adorning the walls. It's an uptown girl's dream, and the perfect place to get wedding-ready (also a great spot for the mother of the bride to get pampered for some mother-daughter beauty bonding). Now, let's get to the facial itself. After my skin assessment (again, hydration), the process began with a contouring face and décolletage massage, a three-step cleanse, and a lactic acid peel. Then came a series of machines that I can't gush enough about. First, instead of dreaded extractions, she used a combo of water and high intensity sound waves to blast all the gunk out of my pores—like a tiny pressure wash for your epidermis. Next up: a major dose of red LED light, plus galvanic current—a low-level electrical current that stimulates skin cells (whereas micro-current targets the muscles beneath) and allowed the personalized concoction of Biologique Recherche serums to penetrate my skin even more deeply. And last but not least, and perhaps my favorite facial moment to date: the oxygen bubble. My entire head and chest was under a clear, space helmet dome (I am prone to claustrophobia and this was totally fine) that held in a concentrated stream of oxygen. All the while, my face was being smoothed by a combo of Georgia's Aqua Sheet mask and her GloPulse Ion Enhancer device (which you can buy and use at home if you want to re-up your glow). It's sort of like a Walkman-style headset (if a Walkman were rose gold) that sits on your cheeks and turbocharges the sheet mask with galvanic currents. I walked out feeling plump, hydrated, and all around expensive—just call me Serena van der Woodsen from now on, thanks." —Aviel Kanter, senior digital editor

Mario Badescu Skin Care Salon

Mario Badescu Spa

What to get: European Facial

Cost: $65

"You’re probably already familiar with Mario Badescu Skin Care. Their products are instantly recognizable and the minimalist bottles are mainstays in millennial medicine cabinets. Well, I’m happy to report that a trip to the brand’s NYC salon is just as gratifying as their facial mists. The European Facial is an oldie but goodie, and Mario Badescu takes this signature treatment up a notch (or three) by customizing it to fit each client’s particular needs. After slipping beneath the sheets, my aesthetician expertly evaluated my skin and spoke with me about my concerns so she could choose the products that suit me (and my dry, flaky epidermis) best. Next came the detoxifying steam and the extractions (blessedly gentle, I might add). Then, after a light, could’ve-put-me-to-sleep face and neck massage, my aesthetician applied a mask chosen just for my skin type. We went with the Algae Seaweed Treatment—a soothing blend made for sensitive skin that instantly calmed my redness, hydrated my thirsty skin, and relieved irritation from the extractions (did I mention how I hate extractions?). The overall experience was incredibly customizable (and super affordable), making it ideal for brides who want their individual skincare needs personally addressed for a resulting camera-ready complexion." —Jamie Cuccinelli, digital editor

Spa de La Mer

Spa de La Mer
Courtesy of Spa de La Mer

What to get: The La Mer Miracle Broth Facial

Cost: $375

"To say that I jumped at the opportunity to get a facial using all La Mer products is a gross understatement. The legendary French brand finds its seemingly magic regenerative properties in hand harvested sea kelp that grows only off the coast of Vancouver. Scientist and La Mer founder Dr. Max Huber performed over 6,000 experiments (for 12 years), finding the perfect slow fermentation process combined with natural nutrients and light and sound waves to finally create the amazing Miracle Broth that is found in each La Mer product. However, it is only in the Spa de la Mer facial that the most concentrated form of the Miracle Broth can be found—the precious liquid is carefully siphoned from a tiny beaker and pressed directly onto the face. But before we get there, the expert aesthetician primes and nourishes the skin with a series of sprays, masks, and massages. You'll get a contouring massage using a cotton pad soaked in the La Mer Tonic, revealing some seriously defined cheekbones, followed by a full-body sound bath, and application of the pure Miracle Broth. If you're looking for relaxation (this was the only facial where I floated in and out of sleep), super hydration, and true-to-life spa luxury (take a dip in the Jacuzzi and lounge in cozy cabanas after your treatment), then head to Spa de la Mer—it won't disappoint." —Aviel Kanter, senior digital editor

Shen Beauty

Shen Beauty
Courtesy of Shen Beauty

What to get: The Shen Bespoke Facial

Cost: $200

"First of all, this place is natural beauty heaven. If you, like me, have shunned a chemical-laden beauty routine for a more natural approach, just walking in here will make you giddy. Shen's aesthetician Lara Kaiser gave me her Signature Bridal Treatment, a mix of the Signature Facial and the Glow & Go. The big draw here is this treatment can be done right before a big event—no extractions or harsh chemicals means no down time. Kaiser joked that I would not look like 'Samantha at Carrie's book party' following a very mild peel. After prepping my skin with rubbing alcohol (yes, rubbing alcohol), she applied the SkinCeuticals Red Carpet peel. I'm petrified of harsh peels but this one was so gentle. A magical LED mask followed the peel for 20 minutes. The result: a rosy cheeked incredible glow that only increased for the days following the treatment." —Roberta Correia, digital director

Treatment by Lanshin

 Courtesy of Lanshin

What to get: Facial Gua Sha with Acupuncture

Cost: $350

"If you're into Chinese medicine or just looking for a more holistic approach to a facial, look no further than Treatment by Lanshin, a cozy, all around good vibes spa in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Owner Sandra Lanshin Chiu is an acupuncturist and herbalist who specializes in skin, and can talk you through herbal remedies for everything from anxiety to eczema. She focuses on facial rejuvenation using acupuncture, gua sha, cupping, and other Chinese medical tools. If you've never heard of gua sha before, here's the skinny: A jade or other stone sculpted tool is used to massage the face, so it lifts, sculpts, and smooths your neck, jaw, nasal labial lines, under-eye, brow, forehead, and scalp. It's really all about lymphatic drainage and activating circulation within the body. Chiu also pairs the gua sha massage with body acupuncture; everyone experiences different effects, but I felt an overall melty heaviness, like sinking into the most heavenly bed in the world. Don't be surprised if one of the needle points begins to twitch—this is simply energy being moved around in the body, unclogging different areas of blockage. Chiu applied a series of all-natural oils and serums to my face, and used both her hands and a specific gua sha tool (the Empress, to be exact, designed by Chui herself) to work out every single kink that has ever existed in my neck. She used a series of tools to contour and define my jawline, lift my brows, and eliminate any sign of wrinkles and puffiness around my eyes. The most drastic difference was my neck—when we compared before and after pictures, my post–gua sha neck was visibly elongated and slimmed. (If you want to give yourself a quickie gua sha massage at home, check out Chui's tutorial). This is a great treatment for brides who have been feeling the effects of 'text neck' from scrolling through endless Pinterest boards or have been excessively jaw clenching and brow furrowing during the planning process." —Aviel Kanter, senior digital editor

Savor Beauty & Spa

Courtesy of Savor Spa

What to get: Vitamin C Glow

Cost: $155

"If you want to get a taste of Korean skincare but still want a treatment using all organic products, Savor is a lovely spot to try. Their proprietary line of products is beautifully formulated and designed to use as a buildable regimen, with ingredients and usages for each listed on their minimalist display wall. Plus, they make it super easy to buy the products used in your treatment. The best part about the Vitamin C Glow facial was the incredible, pure Manuka honey mask/massage, paired with a warming steam bath. It was seriously luxurious and left me feeling crazy hydrated. Another cute treatment used in the facial, which you can also buy as a one-off and add to your bridesmaid gift bags: a 'face cake' mask. It feels like true-to-life cake batter on your face (and smells like it too), with 'flavors' like Lavender Milk & Honey and Chocolate Truffle." —Aviel Kanter, senior digital editor


Courtesy of Daphne

What to get: European Facial

Cost: $215

"For all you Biologique Recherche junkies out there, Daphne will be your new best friend. Also be warned, this facial uses all BR products so it can get a bit stinky. If you have a nose of steel and don't mind the brand's signature scent profile, then you'll come out of the European Facial looking dewy and rejuvenated. The facialist will completely customize the products to each individual's complexion needs, specifically geared to stopping the signs of aging. Everyone at Daphne, from the aestheticians to the front desk have an insane knowledge of the whole line of BR products (picking from the multitude of formulations with names like 'Sérum Oligo-Protéines Marines' can be tricky), and will give you recommendations after the facial for how to keep your skin bouncy and glowing well after the wedding. Plus, the Little Italy space looks like it could be on a chic Parisian side street, and feels oh-so exclusive." —Aviel Kanter, senior digital editor

Spa at the Peninsula Hotel

Peninsula Spa
Photo by Mark Wieland Photography

What to get: MBR Age Defying Customized Facial

Cost: $360 for 60 mins, $510 for 90 mins

“The MBR Age Defying Customized Facial (MBR = Medical Beauty Research) is a three-part facial that is customized to your skin and was developed by dermatologists and plastic surgeons (so you know it’s the real deal) in Germany. I had my MBR facial at the Peninsula Hotel, which is located on 5th Avenue in Midtown, and is the kind of building that evokes old New York City charm from the moment you see the impressive stone facade (and no wonder, as it’s housed in the landmark Beaux-Arts building). The moment I walked into the spa I felt calmer, and after changing into my robe was introduced to my lovely aesthetician, Lucy Kelly-Cohen, who assessed my skin and explained what she would be doing. The three steps to the MBR facial, she explained, are the opening work (using cleansers and enzyme peels), the treatment (masks and extractions), and the closing (using moisturizers and serums). Since my skin is naturally quite oily but I’ve recently started using Differin Gel (as a preventative wrinkle treatment and not for acne—thanks retinol), my skin was drier and more sensitive than usual. During the first step she used a very gentle cleanser (that smelled divine) and didn’t steam my skin for nearly as long as she normally would. Next came extractions (not everyone likes this part as it can be a little painful, but I tend to find it satisfying) and then a soothing algae mask. The mask was very cold (in a good way) and Kelly-Cohen explained she used this particular mask because it is meant to take heat completely away from the first layer of the skin in order to soothe it (which I needed after the extractions). While the mask was drying (it dries into a gel that peels off), Lucy gave me a massage on my arms, hands, and feet—exactly what I needed to go into total relaxation mode. Last came a mix of super moisturizing serums and creams, and the 'closing' of my skin to keep all those beneficial ingredients locked in. Walking out of the spa, my skin felt much dewier and more rejuvenated than it had in a very long time, and over dinner right afterwards my friends remarked on the same (and I didn’t feel the need to put a stitch of makeup on).” —Hannah Baker, wedding style editor

Noy Skincare & Laser

Noy Skincare and Laser
Photo by Roy Rochlin

What to get: Gua Sha Buccal Facial

Cost: $450

"When I heard this magical facial with the strangest sounding name is the favorite of none other than Meghan Markle, I have to say I was more than intrigued. I'll warn you—it's weird. The majority of the facial is spent with Noy Spa's founder Danna Omari's (gloved) hands inside your mouth. That said, the results of this holistic treatment were dramatic—the three-step facial targets all the muscles of the face for some serious sculpting. First, Omari went to town on my face with cupping, which prepped and plumped my skin, draining and breaking up all the toxins beneath the skin. Next, a deep tissue face massage to relieve tension around my jaw, eyes, forehead, and shoulders (anyone who sits in front of a computer all day will seriously love this). And finally, the pièce de résistance: the "buccal" massage, which only a few facialists around the world are certified to perform. With expert precision, Omari simultaneously massaged the inner and outer muscles of my mouth, her fingers working out every possible kink inside my cheek, lip, and jawline. The result? My jawline and cheekbones were razor-sharp, and I felt overall de-stressed. My advice: lean into the weirdness. It's 10 out of 10 worth it." —Aviel Kanter, senior digital editor

Ling Skincare Spa

Ling Skincare Spa
Courtesy of Ling Skincare Spa 

What to get: Tight & Taut Facial or the WOW Signature Facial

Cost: Tight & Taught, $320 (60 mins), WOW, $285 (90 mins)

"Ling Skincare's founder, Ling Chan has a solid track record of treating celebrities such as Renee Zellweger, Mariah Carey, and Madonna since the '80s. She developed her own beauty line made without mineral oils, lanolin, and artificial fragrances, and her facials borrow from her Chinese roots; the treatments draw from Asian beauty principals of exfoliation and hydration to balance the skin for preventative care. While the 'WOW' Signature facial is definitely the most popular—rightly so, with its protocol of customized peels and masks—I am more of a fan of the Tight & Taut facial. The results of this treatment are simply more dramatic, and visible after one session. This facial uses a combo of micro-currents to sculpt the face and their state-of-the-art radio frequency machine that stimulates collagen and elastin production. My favorite part: the radio frequency machine was hot. Quite hot, actually, but in a good, soothing way. I'm so used to micro-current, LED, and cryotherapy wands using cold (or freezing) temps to work their magic—the warmth was also lovely. In terms of lasting effects, personal experience tells me that cold works a little better, but the heat was very relaxing and left me with a rosy glow that lasted all day." —Aviel Kanter, senior digital editor

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