Tantejoan here! Did you ever hear the story of King Canute, the ancient English king who marched down to the seashore and commanded the tide not to encroach on his realm? He got soaked, and sometimes I feel that I do, too, as I pat, stroke, exfoliate and knead in my efforts to turn back the advancing tide of age. No matter how many amazing products I embrace, what tips and techniques I employ or the hours and dollars I expend, at some basic level I periodically have to take stock of my face and body in a mirror that does not lie to me, as I have trained my own to do. Sometimes I think I look pretty good, always adding for my age. Sometimes, though, I flinch, especially if the light over that stranger’s mirror is cold and clinical. That’s usually when I call in my Big Gun. Its name is The Jillian.
I have been going to Jillian Wright’s Glow Skincare Spa for several years now, after reading an article in InStyle Magazine that called her East 60s spa “the best kept secret of famous faces.” My face is pretty anonymous, to be sure, but I am always treated as a valued client and, more importantly, my face and body are given the careful attention and respect I have seldom found in over 30 years of New York City spa-tripping. Skin and what goes on under and on top of it is what has made Jillian’s reputation as a celebrity facialist. Frankly, I have never seen the point of being a “best-kept secret.” When you are the best, everyone should know about it – so long as I still can get an appointment, that is! Well in a few weeks, Jillian and her staff of 6 are moving from their “secret” location inside a medical tower close to the Three “Bs,” Barney’s, Bloomies and Bergdorf’s, and are taking up residence on the second floor of a lovely historic townhouse at 22 East 66th Street. And to celebrate the move Jillian is finally branding her spa with the name and the description that has made her famous: Jillian Wright: Clinical Skin Spa
On Monday, fresh from a vacation at my sister’s beach house that included lots of sand, disobedient tides, glorious food and drink and great company but virtually zero makeup, I presented myself to Jillian and beseeched her to do to me whatever she wished. I should say that normally I confine my visits to simple facials, although “simple” is a misnomer. Jillian’s facials are all soundly based in science, and designed to deal with a full range of skin issues. But because I knew I would be writing about that day’s treatments, I simply turned myself over to her preferences. Here’s what I got: After a simple, gentle cleansing, we proceeded to a LumiFacial with Enzymes, an arm and hand massage, a LumiLift for Eyes and finished with two Bioelements treatments I loved: Calmitude Delicate Skin Eye Gel and CreateFirm, a serum that slips on easily and melts into the face and neck, leaving them firm but not taut.
So, back to the beginning. I’m not a fan of extractions. Years of painful sessions at Georgette Klinger in my acneic youth with Xacto-blade-wielding Valkyries has given me a lifelong case of the heebie-jeebies when the topic comes up. After 15 minutes under a soothing layer of enzymes, my blackheads were literally standing at attention at the top of my pores, simply begging for Jillian to release them from captivity. An excellent beginning, I thought, so make with the Lumi, whatever that is, I breathed. As many of you may know, it is light. Colored LED lights, micronized and polarized to encourage collagen production, smooth fine lines and wrinkles and a host of other cool things. Using a sequence of colors to perform functions designed to calm, correct and renew the skin, the sensations were at first distracting, but soon relaxing. According to Jillian, when done in a series, these light treatments can actually re-train your skin cells to help make your skin thicker, more elastic, less acneic and all sorts of new tricks. Fascinating does not begin to tell the tale, but the good news is that, even after one treatment, the results are actually visible. And measurable. Today my skin is less red, softer and much better able to make the most of fewer products. In all, the session was slightly over an hour, and both relaxing and stimulating.
And my eyes? The LumiLift that followed my main facial was designed to de-puff and de-toxify the skin around my eyes, again using polarized light in combination with a sort of rhythmic, targeted massage with an instrument that felt strangely like a multi-pronged divining rod. This morning I awoke with no bags. At all.
I can never lie to you. This is not a cheap facial. My super-duper treatment cost $275, not including tax or tips. Regular facials begin at $90 for 30 minutes, but an average one hour facial is usually about $150, and includes a hand or upper body massage. The spa is full-service, so you can also have microdermabrasion, peels, massage, and a dizzying array of waxing options. And then there’s the Sleep Machine, which she took to Sundance this past year for her annual celebrity facial fest for the film crowd. It sends you to dreamland while your procedure is underway, so you wake up refreshed and beautiful. Oh, and here’s the one that got Jillian a feature spread in Playboy: she offers a butt facial.
Even if you never come to New York or visit Sundance, you may still benefit from Jillian Wright’s expertise. St. Ives, whose scrub Gigi recently reviewed in Drugstore Deals, recently signed Jillian as a consultant. As a mother of two young children, Jillian is very eco-conscious and has helped St. Ives to commit to a company-wide green campaign that reflects her long-held beliefs and values. If you check the St. Ives web site you will find a new page called “Our Natural Commitment.” Among other things, by 2010, all St. Ives products and their containers will be completely environmentally-friendly and biodegradable. No parabens. No phthalates. No animal testing. No toxic ingredients. And the formulas will all be reviewed and reformulated to reflect a more earth-friendly profile. Nice.
Special to Meg’s Makeup readers: Mention the website when you reserve and get 10% off any treatment with one of Jillian’s fabulous staff. (As owner, Jillian does not discount her own services.)