Ah, Kiehl’s. A New York institution, do-er of the apothecary look long before everyone else, all-round amazing brand that somehow managed to keep its hip image seemingly without trying at all. Well, collaborations with Jeff Koons and supporting worthy causes may have something to do with it, but mostly it just doesn’t need to try. We didn’t have any preconceived notions about the spa but we did imagine it would be full on apothecary-ish. Wrong! Instead of old-timey barbershop overkill, the entry is all bright and fun and references Kiehl’s affinity for motorcycles. However, it’s not like you’re having a facial at Motor City on Ludlow (insert lewd joke here), it’s all very subtle. Yes they’re playing Flaming Lips instead of the standard pan pipes spa music in the common area, but there’s a bowl of fruit and beautiful coffee-table books and huge windows so you can relax prior to your treatment. The rooms are themed, yes there’s an apothecary room but there’s also an adventure room, a rainforest room etc with the walls covered in giant photos by David LaChapelle.
We went for the Re-Texturizing Micro-Dermabrasion Facial and as fans of a medical facial, we were pleasantly surprised to learn our aesthetician Elizabeth came from a dermatology background so the entire treatment was less fluff and more impact. Yes, we relaxed with the oils and so on and so forth, but we were mostly concerned with the removal of as many layers of skin as was legal. Elizabeth did the buffing-suction machine thing once, applied a mask and then went back and did another layer of the buffing-sucking machine. Get it all off, was all we could think, and afterward we were blown away by how good our skin looked. It was so even toned! The texture was super smooth, including a previously particularly zitty forehead, and our pores seemed smaller. Is that possible? We didn’t even have to hide our face in a religious-looking headscarf for the subway ride home. Side note: it wasn’t just wham bam thank you mam, it was an hour-long treatment that involved massage, relaxing masks, extractions and more. The experience was great, the results were exceptional.
Re-Texturizing Micro-Dermabrasion Facial, $225 156 East 64th St., NY 10065 tel 1-888-SPA1851 Kiehls.com