Philadelphia Facials: The Ultimate Guide
We tried tons of facials (we know, our jobs are hard) to bring you the treatments at Philadelphia spas and skin care shops that are actually worth the hype.
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Sure, they’re relaxing, but with high-octane products, effective tools and expert techniques, these 22 hardworking treatments produce long-lasting results.
The KK Beauty Treatment
Epidedmy Skin Care
Medical esthetician Edmy Peña took a cue from Kim Kardashian’s routine for this combo service: Exfoliation comes from a resurfacing oxygen wand; tightening and new collagen come from radiofrequency and ultrasound; soothing comes from a mask; and the ahhh comes from a to-die-for massage. (Note: Epidedmy is moving to Rittenhouse soon.) $299; 1904 South Street, second floor, Grad Hospital.
About Face Skin Care
There’s regular microneedling, and then there’s this double-whammy treatment: Tiny needles create invisible wounds that collagen rushes to heal, and radiofrequency aids in that process. (Adiós, large pores!) And owner Naomi Fenlin (a Philly medi-spa pioneer) has education and experience in spades. $750; 1015 Chestnut Street, suite 1205, Washington Square West.
Deep-pore cleansing Facial with Acupuncture
With regular treatments, cosmetic acupuncture can give you serious wrinkle-erasing benefits sans injections. This version starts with an intense cleansing, exoliation and a mask from an esthetician before an acupuncturist steps in to strategically place tiny (painless) needles in just the right places. $150; 1038 West Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr.
On its own, the HydraFacial — which uses a tool to suck out debris and put good products in — is a wonder, but combined with extractions, toxin-release massage, an LED treatment (which makes everything more effective), and a series of corrective masks, it’s permanently skin-altering. $315. 31 West Ferry Street, New Hope.
Elizabeth Carderelli, owner of this pristine medi-spa (she also creates products for Penn Med), says this is her favorite treatment for doing the most work in the least amount of time. The three-step peel removes roughly 20 layers of dull, aging epidermis, which sounds intense but is surprisingly pleasant. (One mask tingles a bit; another smells like a cherry orchard.) Afterward, you won’t be able to stop stroking your soft, plumped-up face. Customized peels from $200; 2212 Walnut Street, Rittenhouse.
CURE de Repos
CURE Glow begins with a workout — light suction from facial cupping to plump skin, followed by microderm and an acid peel to exfoliate — and ends with a cooldown: a chilled hydrating mask massaged into your face and décolletage. You’ll have that just-worked-out glow, except all you did was relax. $175; 8133 Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill.
CBS Ice Therapy facial
Contour Body Studio
Models like Bella Hadid swear by ice cubes as beautification tools — and the experts at Contour Body Studio know why. This 45-minute facial uses a frozen gel (feels better than it sounds) to stimulate collagen production and tone and tighten skin; a face-sculpting tool reduces inflammation. Topping off this cost-effective treatment? A soothing all-natural mask. $80; 2930 Jasper Street, studio 202, Kensington.
The geniuses at Rescue took two of their most effective treatments and combined them to create this mother-of-all service. You’ll get immediate gratification from lifting electric microcurrents, intense exfoliation from the diamond abrasion, collagen production from LED lights, and deep product infusion thanks to thermal ultrasound. It’s the busiest 90-minute facial you’ll ever have. $450; 1601 Walnut Street, third floor, Rittenhouse.
Keep walking past the clean-beauty products (if you can!) to a back room where an esthetician is ready to put those potions to work. After a gentle cleanse and custom mask, a Chinese gua sha massage tool is used to encourage lymphatic drainage, break up pore congestion, and relax those areas where you carry stress. (Jaw-clenchers, this one’s for you.) $160; 736 North 2nd Street, Northern Liberties.
The Super Rejuvenating Facial for Darker Skin Tones
Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia
This service is all about renewal: Microdermabrasion instantly changes tone and texture; an intense massage — with potent Dr. Barbara Sturm products — sculpts and lifts; and finishing drops (sun, glow, anti-pollution) seal all that hard work in. $345 to $375; 1 North 19th Street, Center City.
With an entire beauty store full of products to choose from, you’ll get a facial that injects your skin with the moisture that’s right for you, be it a gentle hibiscus mask or an intense cycle of serums. Regardless, all treatments end with a vitamin A-, C- and E-infused oxygen mist. The end result is a dewy glow for days and clearer skin for much longer. $140; the Shoppes at Brinton Lake, 967 Baltimore Pike, Glen Mills.
The Ultimate Microdermabrasion
Cole Wellness Spa
A paste of ground walnuts (which gets an extra boost from a suction pen) removes dulling dead layers, leaving skin primed for all the goodness that follows: enzyme creams, oxygen, LED lights and more. And the technicians here dispense invaluable, non-judge-y advice to boot. $225; 101 North Wayne Avenue, Wayne.
Cryo Facial Deluxe
Athletes, celebs and wellness obsessives regularly dip into the cryo chamber because the cold reduces inflammation and puffiness and promotes healing. This service is like that, but for your face. The deluxe version comes with a cleansing, an exfoliation, extractions and serums, but you can always stop by for a quickie tune-up blast of cold — you won’t even have to take off your makeup. $99; 1700 Sansom Street, suite 501, Rittenhouse.
The Excellence Code Facial
Spa on Main
This facial, designed by Parisian skin-care company Yon-Ka for “mature” skin, doesn’t just rely on luxury products to revitalize hormone-ravaged faces (though it features these in spades, from a biocellulose mask to cell-boosting serums). It also incorporates techniques like lymphatic drainage, contouring massage, and pressure-point targeting to de-puff, de-wrinkle and reenergize skin. $199; 9 South Main Street, Yardley.
Currie Hair, Skin and Nails
If you think your skin is too sensitive for products that deliver real results, this service is for you. Food- and plant-based enzyme creams and masks (think pumpkin, cocoa, raspberry) add a ton of hydration, brighten dull skin, exfoliate, and reduce inflammation. Ask for Farhat Ahmed, who not only knows how to give an effective massage but can expertly shape your brows, too. $128; Glen Eagle Square, 585 Wilmington-West Chester Pike, Glen Mills.
Skin House Facial Bar
This 90-minute service combines dermaplaning (the top layer of your skin is shaved, so products go deeper and regrowth occurs) with dermal infusion, a process that injects a corrective serum deep into the skin. Your skin color will be more even, your texture will improve, and you’ll look like you just got 20 hours of sleep. $200; 1238 South Street, Bella Vista.
Vitamin C Facial
The Rittenhouse Spa & Club
If you’ve got sun damage or signs of premature aging (and who doesn’t, in these scorched-earth end times?), this hardworking infusion of vitamin C (in the form of peels, salves and more) will soften lines (even any under-eye caverns) and brighten everything up. The coma-inducing scalp massage is just a bonus. $155; 210 West Rittenhouse Square, Rittenhouse.
Oxygen Dome Facial
The Skin Rejuvenator Skin Care Studio
Celebs regularly get this oxygen facial because the glow is instant and long-lasting and makeup glides right on afterward. First, skin is prepped (cleaned, exfoliated, perhaps dermaplaned); then a hyperbaric facial dome (not as scary as it sounds!) injects pure oxygen into the skin and lungs. A mix of vitamins and minerals and hyaluronic serum is also added. Pores and fine lines? Buh-bye. $250; 110 South 20th Street, suite LL2, Rittenhouse.
Body + Beauty Lab
This name-brand service is way more effective than a plain old facial thanks to a machine that uses suction to remove all the stuff that’s gunking up your complexion and pressure to put vitamins and hydrating serums deep into those newly cleaned-out pores. The facialists here do dozens of these a week — they all know their stuff. $189; 834 Chestnut Street, suite 104, Washington Square West.
You won’t find a mile-long menu of facials here. Instead, you’ll select a 30-, 50- or 75-minute time slot, answer a lot of questions about your skin routine, and hop in the chair for an effective, fully customized treatment. And forget the stuffy silence that pervades many high-end spas; your skin therapist will talk you through every step and dole out many skin-altering tips. $95; 1735 Chestnut Street, Center City.
Gua Sha Facial
A Buddha statue greets you outside this unpretentious space where skin savior Courtney Cavanagh is waiting. She uses natural products and research-backed holistic methods like gua sha (the process of using a massage tool to turn over skin), plus add-ons like microcurrents (to jump-start sagging muscles) and LED light therapy (to target acne, aging or discoloration). $150, with $15 to $55 for add-ons; 6 Waterloo Avenue, Berwyn.
Le Reve Rittenhouse Day Spa
You know what makes skin better? Not being so damned stressed. That’s where CBD oil comes into play in this soothing, smoothing facial that also does wonders for ruddiness. And thanks to a swipe of the Biolift machine — which gently zaps your epidermis with microcurrents — you’ll be tighter, too. $150; 255 South 17th Street, suite 400, Rittenhouse.
Published as “Get the Glow” in the February 2020 issue of Philadelphia magazine.