First Class Facials

Beauty

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Sought after by celebrities and industry insiders, today’s skin experts can transform your face in a matter of minutes. These top facialists use a mix of high-tech machinery, unique massage techniques, and elegant spaces to go far beyond “just a facial” and elevate the entire experience. Here are some new facialists on our radar, and their favorite skincare products.

The Fascia Facial

When the Paris-based Sophie Carbonari looks at skin, she gleefully sees bubble wrap waiting to be popped. You can expect to hear cracks from the fascia (our body’s connective tissue) releasing tension in what she calls “deep tissue mobilization.” After a facial with Carbonari, she aims to leave you (and your fascia) feeling relaxed. Her distinct, and surprisingly pain-free, technique has garnered many loyal clients, the likes of which include Naomi Campbell and Lenny Kravitz. Of course, there’s also her incomparable studio, which sits atop Théorème Éditions, a contemporary art furniture gallery nestled in the Jardin du Palais Royal in Paris. Carbonari’s treatment room is kind of like a rotating gallery itself—Studio KO, an online furniture gallery, filters in new couches and art pieces to complement the airy, window-filled space, which was formerly the Joyce Gallery.

Learn more about Carbonari’s services here.

Sophie Carbonari The S Serum

The S Serum

Sophie Carbonari The S Serum

The “Beauty Sandwich”

For Iván Pol, a bit of age, just like patina, can only serve to highlight beauty. “It’s okay to age a little bit. It’s okay to have some wrinkles. I’m more about the architecture,” the former makeup artist says. Over the years, he’s developed a multifaceted approach to radio frequency (the “beauty sandwich”), which includes a “V-shape” for the face. Interior designer Katherine Waronker and Kamp Studios designed the mid-century French feel to his L.A salon and clients like Ashley Olsen informally advised Pol on the artfully aged pieces— like Pierre Chapo’s T21 table. Pol himself also gives new life to vintage pieces—for example, a piece of siding from Jean Prouvé’s Maison Tropicale house is now a clever shelf.

Learn more about Pol’s services here.

Chanel Sublimage L’Extrait de Nuit

Chanel Sublimage L’Extrait de Nuit

Chanel Sublimage L’Extrait de Nuit

The Allover Facial

London-based Fatma Shaheen treats every inch of skin on the chest, neck, and face, even the lips. Her “Glow Pen” treatment combines microneedling with microcurrent to rejuvenate skin. She also uses radio frequency to stimulate collagen, ultra high frequency to tighten, cupping to increase circulation, and cryotherapy to de-puff. First-timers are often surprised by the intensity of the facial, in which Shaheen digs deep to get into every aspect of the muscles, but once they get used to it, they “fall asleep,” she reassures. Shaheen, whose work uniform tends to be silk slip dresses paired with a power blazer from Prada, likens the power of her machine combo to “a Ferrari.”

Learn more about Shaheen’s services here.

Skin Design London Face Tight Serum

Face Tight Serum

Skin Design London Face Tight Serum

The Bespoke Facial

There’s a long waiting list to see Cynthia Rivas, who adapts her protocol to each client rather than following a set treatment menu. Some love her massage, some love her result-driven approach to hyperpigmentation, and for others, it’s the delicacy and meticulousness in which she treats acne-prone skin. Her newest project: a members-only “skin care club,” whose privileges include monthly treatments like Rivas-approved facials, scalp treatments, IVs and more, debuting this spring at WSA, a new downtown New York cultural hub with a curated beauty floor from Palm Heights founder Gabriella Khalil.

Learn more about Rivas’ services here.

iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance Plus

Pro-Heal Serum Advance Plus

iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance Plus

The High Tech Facial

The walls of Shani Darden’s Beverly Hills studio hold a secret: They’re laden with crystals. While building the space, Darden had a crystal healer come in to place different crystals like amethyst and rose quartz directly into the walls. After seeing Darden’s minimal, palatial studio, even crystal cynics would agree on the studio’s serenity. Darden worked with Jake Arnold, a British interior designer based in Los Angeles and responsible for many A-list homes. Darden says that the minimal, chic, and calming qualities of the studio represent her, and anyone who’s gotten a facial at her hands might agree. Her less is more approach and love of extractions and tech makes her second-to-none for good skin in LA. A client-favorite treatment involves silver-laced microcurrent gloves, which allow Darden to hand-sculpt cheekbones before big events.

Learn more about Darden’s services here.

Shani Darden Skin Care Retinol Reform Treatment Serum

Retinol Reform Treatment Serum

Shani Darden Skin Care Retinol Reform Treatment Serum

The Red Carpet Facial

New York editors love Edyta Jarosz, the Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue’s star facialist. Her passion for facial massage (which she refers to as the “artful application of pressure and precision”) comes through in her gifted hands. Her specialty is the Red Carpet Facial, blending massage, machines, and cryotherapy for the most “snatched” result. These facials incorporate manual massage to sculpt, an Oxylight machine that can do everything from microdermabrasion to high pressure oxygen infusion, a Diamond Glow machine to exfoliate and infuse serums, and occasionally cryotherapy to sculpt the skin even more. She always finishes with LED to reduce inflammation and stimulate collagen production.

Learn more about Jarosz’s services here.

SkinMedica TNS Advanced+ Serum

TNS Advanced+ Serum

SkinMedica TNS Advanced+ Serum

The Pain Relief Facial

Joseph Carrillo knows you’re hunching over your phone. That’s why he begins every facial massage by asking clients to look deeply to the left, to the right, and finally, having them attempt to kiss the sky, so that he can see the range of motion of the platysma (the sizable muscle that connects the lower half of your face to your neck). He’s well-versed in buccal massage—he snaps on black gloves and sticks his hands inside the mouth to soothe soreness and provide TMJ relief. He started honing in on his method, which he calls a “non-invasive face lift,” during his time working exclusively as a makeup artist. Now, dressed all in black (a carryover from his MAC makeup artist days), Carrillo is the go-to facial masseuse for celebrities and VIPs, including longtime clients Paris and Nicky Hilton. Carrillo is invite-only and works in a private space.

Learn more about Carrillo’s services here.

Tata Harper Tata x Lure Facial Cupping Set

Tata x Lure Facial Cupping Set

Tata Harper Tata x Lure Facial Cupping Set

The Goldilocks Facial

Skincare fanatics may know Danuta Mieloch as being one of the main reasons that Biologique Recherche P50 gained popularity stateside. Rescue Spa, the award-winning New York City spa that Mieloch founded, has been selling the cult-favorite product on shelves and incorporating it into facials for years. Mieloch has been doing facials for 30 years, and in her eyes, repetition is key. Through practice, Mieloch has been able to create the Goldilocks of facials—it’s “just right.” Her massage is firm without being painful, and her extractions and microdermabrasion techniques are efficient without leaving skin inflamed. “That’s my language,” Mieloch says. “Your language would be with words, my language is with my hands.”

Learn more about Mieloch’s services here.

Danucera Cerabalm

Cerabalm

Danucera Cerabalm

The Fashion Facial

Raquel Medina-Cleghorn’s eponymous studio in Tribeca, New York City, is reminiscent of the cool-kid gallery spaces nearby. It’s airy, minimalist, and infused with tons of personality. “The inspiration was really seventies Italian postmodern design,” says Medina-Cleghorn. Rather than the usual nondescript piano played during a facial, Medina-Cleghorn opts for alternative rock—picture Superstar by Sonic Youth playing while she gives you a relaxing facial massage. During one of her facials, you can expect microcurrent, LED, and maybe even lymphatic drainage using the Vodder method. Medina-Cleghorn was a stylist before becoming a facialist, and it shows—her daily uniform ranges from the occasional “frilly, frothy Simone Rocha and Molly Goddard dresses” to band sweaters from Hades knitwear. She’s also often wearing Tabi ballet flats—the mark of a true fashion person.

Learn more about Medina-Cleghorn’s services here.

Environ Youth EssentiA C-Quence Serum 1

Youth EssentiA C-Quence Serum 1

Environ Youth EssentiA C-Quence Serum 1

The Relaxer

On a quiet stretch of Centre Street at the intersection of Soho and Chinatown in New York City, Taylor Worden’s tech-forward facial studio offers an oasis for the in-the-know downtown set. After finding a mentor in famed facialist Georgia Louise (and working on skin in Louise’s basement), Worden set out to find a studio of her own. Worden likes to say that every service at her studio is “Taylormade.” By design, no two facials at Taylor Worden Skin are the same—Worden will make sure she does only what your skin needs. For the full experience, the Taylormade LTMD (Lift, Tone, Massage, Dermaplane) facial is as effective as it is relaxing. Even as Worden deploys her favorite machines, like her bio-rhythmic drainer to help de-puff or her Vibroacoustic machine to curb inflammation, it’s still easy to feel lulled to sleep.

Learn more about Worden’s services here.

Supernal Cosmic Glow Oil

Cosmic Glow Oil

Supernal Cosmic Glow Oil


A version of this story appears in the April 2024 issue of ELLE.

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