The Grooming Journal

When Soap, Water and Moisturizers No Longer Cut it

Modern times call for modern measures, yes?

At a certain point in a man's aging process, there may come a day when he realizes he looks a little more agèd than he'd like to, or that his appearance no longer seems in keeping with his youthful inner proclivities.

Well, my friends, in this, our youth-obsessed, beauty-boner culture, we have many options -- from acne remedies to prevention potions to wrinkle rehabs. 

But before you go overboard, let's talk about facial treatments.

These days most facial treatments center around the gentle removal of the dead outer layer of your epidermis to (a) freshen up the appearance and (b) stimulate your face to produce new collagen and elastin, the building blocks of new skin.

If you're thinking about a facial, here's what you can expect:

1. EXFOLIATION. In order to prep your face, an esthetician will probably slather on some sort of moisturizers or enzyme treatment to relax the face and loosen the cellular bonds of the dead skin. As you lie there vulnerably hopeful, a soft and steady plume of steam will issue forth from a mechanical arm positioned over your head. The steam will open your pores and hypnotize your skin into temporarily relaxing its barrier duties thereby submitting to the will of the knowledgeable spa lady. Come to think of it, steam is kind of like a face roofie. From there it's probably either an enzyme peel or the now commonplace microdermabrasion, which uses a little wand to buff away the skin cells that are overstaying their welcome to the detriment of your youth.

2. EXTRACTIONS. Once your face is in their hands, a good esthetician knows how to manipulate your skin's behavior in such a way that minimal damage will be done while maximum results will result. They're like snake charmers but for your face. And one way they charm out the dead cells, glopped up sebum and other pore-clogging particulate is a good old fashioned, zit-popping squeeze. Now, you know from your time spent in mirrors that blackheads and their channel-obstructing cousins can tear the skin when you squeeze, leading to bleeding and scabs and other facial accessories we'd rather do without. So leave this to the professionals. When they do it, they'll make the proper preparations that will result in cleared pores with hardly any pressure applied at all.

3. MASSAGE. Along with the process of ripping off your dead skin and digging out your pore pollutants (so far it sounds pretty gross, right? No wonder it's expensive), you can expect the relaxing and restoring primal art of massage to get you into the zone. The way I see it, this could have ended up totally different: dermatologists could have been the ones tasked with administering facials in one of those cold, clinical environments where doctors offer prognoses and diagnoses and dole out medical treatments. But thank the cosmetologods that isn't how it played out. Instead, day spas are often comfortable treatment facilities that resemble doctors' offices, except there are usually decorative flourishes to remind you this is supposed to be cozy. A fish tank. A feng shui fountain. Silk flowers. Ambient music. Bunny rabbits. Just go with it. And enjoy the rub-down.  

4. LED and Microcurrent Technology. Light-Emitting Diodes (not unlike ones that twinkle atop the new and improved Empire State Building) are employed to create ATP within the skin. The non-thermal (heatless) light is converted to energy that powers the metabolic processes of regeneration, growth and balance restoration. It's almost the same thing as photosynthesis, the way plants use the sun's light as energy. LEDs come in different colors and strengths to target specific issues that the esthetician should be able to diagnose after just a few minutes alone with your ugly mug. Microcurrent is the use of actual electric pulses to "exercise" your facial muscles, encouraging taut skin and youthful firmness. It's actually a cosmetic taser job. But I'm told it doesn't hurt. And anyway, you're a man, right? You can take it.

Here are a few places I recommend you check out if you're thinking about having a facial:

1. Noy Spa, an upper-east-side hollistic skincare and wellness studio 

315 Madison Ave

18th floor

New York, NY 10017    


2. Skin by Mamie, this Korea-town gem boasts clients like Angela Bassett, Nene Leakes and pro footballers

315 Fifth Ave

Suite #403

New York, NY 10016


3. Kiehl's Spa 1851, the men-only facial treatment facility by the apothecary super-brand (if you need a butch environment)

157 E. 64th St

New York, NY 10065



Tell'em Sloan sent ya!


Stay Handsome...

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