Beauty Treatments And Beyond
Posted On Oct 24, 2016
All over Manhattan on any given Saturday, elegant spas are buzzing with high-powered urbanites looking to restore and rejuvenate. While classic massages and facials are, of course, still the mainstays of treatment menus, spa guests are increasingly interested in offerings that will take them to new heights in terms of looking and feeling better. At one chic Midtown oasis, Townhouse Spa, a man in the real estate industry is stepping in to unwind with a seven-hour massage. Meanwhile, a woman in finance has booked the $450 CBT (contour, brighten, tighten) skin rehab caviar facial at Acqua Beauty Bar in Union Square.
Whether the aim is to minimize stress, maintain health, or turn back the years, beauty sessions are more than indulgences. They’re an investment. Economic stress aside, the average city resident is willing to budget more for these experiences than ever before. From Townhouse’s aforementioned $1,000 seven-hour massage to the thousands shelled out for semi-permanent make-up at Dangene in New York’s exclusive Core Club, fortunes are spent on aesthetic treatments—with outlandish (and effective) offerings devised every season.
After the financier cozies up on a cushy bed at Acqua, the unnerving week she’s spent watching numbers rise and fall begins to fade into memory. She exhales deeply and decompresses with the release of targeted pressure points on her face and neck. Next come two sheets soaked in an extract of caviar, which are carefully placed over her face. A third—that looks more like a surgical brace—gets wrapped around her neck. You may have heard of caviar treatments before, but this is no ordinary local fish egg mix. It’s an extremely high concentration of mineral-chocked beluga from the Caspian Sea. To intensify the result, waves of electric currents help penetrate the serum. Next, an oxygen blast eradicates bacteria and plumps skin so that wrinkles seem to vanish. A mask rich in caviar completes the session, and when the client gets up, her skin has a remarkable glow. “The Caviar CTB is a combination of three different facials,” explains esthetician Krystyna Modlinski. “It produces maximum results because we utilize different high-tech machines and massage techniques. It covers a multitude of skin issues such as pigmentation, dehydration, sagging, and uneven complexion, all in one treatment. The Pure Caviar Mask at the end further tightens and brightens for longer lasting results.”
For some people, treatments are about restoration rather than turning back the clock. The man heading in for his lengthy massage has trouble sleeping, and often feels the fatigue of insomnia. Afterwards, it’s as if he’s had his full night of REM sleep. A side benefit: His golf and tennis games are improving. “The seven-hour massage is a journey into the physical, emotional, and spiritual components of massage therapy,” explains Jamie Ahn, owner of both Townhouse Spa and Acqua Beauty Bar. “The body experiences the benefits of the different techniques and range of motion. Ultimately, the client will not only be in a trance, he’ll be more limber than ever.” It allows muscles to warm up before deep work begins.
The first hour to 90 minutes is dedicated to relaxing the body and maintaining deep, steady breathing. The muscles are first relaxed with compression and Swedish movements, then guided into a combination of:
– Deep Tissue
– Trigger point
– Thai massage modalities
There are more than 650 muscles in the body, notes Ahn. “The seven-hour massage was created to help address as many of them as possible to ease muscular pain, tension, and stiffness.”
The therapist goes through each area of the body, focusing on lubrication of the joints (which become tight as we age) and employing stretching techniques to elongate muscles, promote flexibility, and improve posture. Aromatherapy oils are incorporated to aid with relaxation. This treatment calms the heart rate and lowers the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which is crucial to strengthening the immune system and warding off disease. It also improves circulation by moving blood through congested areas, reducing blockage, and promoting new blood flow. Metabolic waste is flushed out through the lymphatic system away from muscles and internal organs. “I often drive in on Sundays for the seven-hour massage,” says Christine Salata, who lives in Westchester, New York. “Some of my friends have asked if I get restless, but it’s like a time vortex, and so soothing that even the most high-strung person has no choice but to relax. It’s very unique, healing, deep work. For me, it’s like going to a therapist.”For many, the treatment is an emotional experience, because the body is guarding against feelings of depression, hurt, or anger that may be unleashed during the session. “It’s not uncommon for people to cry at some point during the massage,” notes Ahn. “But when they leave, they have released those negative feelings and they feel so much lighter.”
Salata has been getting traditional massages for years, but says the difference is monumental. “I used to go for weekly massages that were an hour or 90 minutes,” she recalls. “My body would feel great for a few days, but then go right back to its stress pattern. When I get the seven-hour, my body releases everything on a much deeper level. It’s as if my muscles are being retaught and retrained.” (For those with time constraints, the session can be done with two therapists in three and a half hours.) Ahn says she added the mega massage to the spa’s stellar roster of services, thinking there would only be a few takers. “We’ve seen a big shift in clients perceiving that they are going just for pampering, to understanding that these therapies have real benefits. They now regard treatments as spending money on self-preservation.”
The Yasmine Djerradine institute de Beaute, which has long been famous for its transformational “remodeling facial,” has just added a cutting-edge micro needling technique called “mesopuncture,” which allows anti-aging serums to penetrate more deeply into the skin’s epidermis. This helps it to regenerate. “The technique is based on the capacity of the epidermis to restore itself when stimulated,” explains Djerradine, for whom the spa is named. “The tiny perforations cause minor epidermal inflammation, which activates a repair phase that rebuilds the damaged skin cells. Growth factors are also released that stimulate fibroblast activity. That in turn produces collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. These help fortify epidermal tissue.” The session begins with a thorough cleansing, followed by the application of a cocktail of active substances. These include peptides,poly-vitamin complexes, coenzyme Q10, essential amino acids, and other regenerating molecules that are applied simultaneously to the skin with a needle that goes 0.25 millimeters deep. It targets in a very controlled way, and doesn’t cause bleeding. To tone down redness, the appointment finishes with a calming collagen mask. The experience is more relaxing with the addition of reflexology, for a total of $425. The result—skin that is firmer, smoother, plumped, and moisturized, with increased elasticity andradiance. Though a difference is visible after one treatment, there’s an increased cumulative effect with each additional session.
“Everyone today is much more comfortable with needles than they used to be,” says Djerrradine. “They will do anything as an alternative to surgery, and they notice immediately that it really smoothes out wrinkles.” According to Nicole Paxson, an esthetician at Djerradine’s institute, some clients equate visits to the spa to going on a vacation, and they budget accordingly. “I have clients tell me that they would rather do this than go on an extravagant trip, because this has more long-term effects,” Paxson says. Women on the Upper East Side of Manhattan have always been known for impressive jewels, but now they’re wearing them on their faces. The Lumina Gemstone Radiance facial, offered at the Surrey Hotel’s Cornelia Spa, uses ground up gems mixed with powerful anti-oxidants as a youth-promoting tool. Even better: It gives clients a shimmering glow.
BEDAZZLED SKIN TREATMENT
Upon arrival, a client is fed a teaspoon of honey, known for its healing and antibacterial properties. Next comes a thorough cleansing and exfoliation with pumpkin and papaya enzymes, followed by a second exfoliation with a mix of sapphire crystals and licorice root to brighten the complexion. A toning oxygen mist comes next, followed by a highly concentrated serum of collagen to diminish lines and plump skin. Then special collagen serum and silk pouches filled with herbs and flowers are placed under the eyes to reduce puffiness. As masques are applied to the face, an iridescent champagne shimmer body serum is massaged into arms, hands, and neck with hot stones. The final step is an application of a lifting moisturizer containing micronized rubies, a firming décolleté bronzer with sapphire dust, an emerald eye cream, and a gold smoothing serum. The jewels are not only beneficial to skin, they leave it with a luster. “These gems are micronized to an infinitesimal size, permitting their skin-energizing and microcirculation properties to be activated,” says Ellen Sackoff, the spa’s owner. “The gemstones are positively charged. They are repelled by the more positively charged skin surface, so they stay on the surface of the skin and create a moisture shield, locking in all the reparative properties of the products beneath and leaving a lasting iridescence.”Time is money in the world of beauty, and people are willing to spend if it means cutting down on maintenance or grooming time. One of the biggest trends right now is semi-permanent makeup.Time is money in the world of beauty, and people are willing to spend if it means cutting down on maintenance or grooming time. One of the biggest trends right now is semi-permanent makeup.
It not only enhances appearance, it saves hours of upkeep. A subtly tattooed line gives definition to the eye. Brows go from thin and practically nonexistent to thick and sexy. Lips can be made to appear fuller, more symmetrical, and rosy. “Thin eyebrows can make you look older and faded,” says Dominique Bossavy, who works between Paris, Los Angeles, and Dangene’s Institute of Skinovation at New York’s Core Club. She is widely considered one of the best in the world at cosmetic dermal pigmentation. “The right proportion and shape and thickness of a brow can brighten your eye sand take 10 to 15 years off your face.”
Women struggle to create a perfect arch, only to have brows look uneven, artificial, and smear throughout the day. “I can give them the perfect color, texture, and shape. They never have to touch them,” says Bossavy. The process usually takes two sessions—an initial one-hour treatment, followed by a touch up several weeks later. With a very fine needle, similar to the ones used for acupuncture, she draws the ideal brow, or the perfect thin line at the base of the lashes, or adds a touch of healthy color to the lips. Numbing cream is applied first, and the penetration is very superficial, so the experience is virtually painless. There is no bleeding or downtime. When you get up from the table, you’ll notice a dramatic difference, and you can toss out those pencils, liners, and brushes. “It’s instant gratification,” says Bossavy. Another permanent makeup artist, Fabrice Condemi, who is based in Brussels but works out of Djerradine’s New York salon, has created a sensation by drawing a thin silver line inside the lower eyelids to illuminate the whites of eyes. “When you’retired, the lower lids get red, which contributes to the fatigued look,” he explains. “The silver line does the opposite.” At a time when we’re living longer, a big part of “quality of life” means taking steps to look and feel younger and healthier. We no longer have to settle on being cleansed and coddled. The choices are much more vast and profound.
“Age doesn’t mean the same thing anymore,” says Djerradine.“People used to say, ‘You look five years younger.’ Then it was 10 years younger. Now it’s even more. We all want to have the appearance that goes with our spirit. We live in a great time for this because there are so many things we can do to look and feel
better. This is what we are willing to spend our money on.” It’s time to turn back time, in true luxury.