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Photo: Courtesy of Naturopathica

The Best Facials in New York City

In need of a post-winter pick-me-up? These botanical facials will leave your skin glowing and refreshed.

In the last few years skincare has gone from a necessary aspect of personal grooming to a full-on obsession in popular culture.

While small-batch beauty brands are dominating the retail space (looking at you, Glossier and Drunk Elephant), skincare and relaxation treatments have also become a cornerstone of wellness cosmology– especially when it comes to splurging in the name of beauty.

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While this year’s winter weather seems to be dragging on at an exceptionally slow space, we rounded up a list of our favorite facial offerings in New York City that are great for Spring renewal. This time of year, most people are looking to refresh their skin after months of cold weather and dietary abuse, before warm weather arrives and gives them a reason to show it off. (It’s like spring cleaning for your pores.)

For those living in or visiting New York City in 2018, the below facial treatments offer the ultimate glow up.


Joanna Vargas Oxygen Facial (A New York Original)

The Joanna Vargas Salon is one of the premiere beauty institutions of New York City, featuring cutting edge skin treatments for every complexion. Using all natural boutique products from Vargas’ own line, the spa’s signature Oxygen Facial is used by dermatologists and celebrities alike.

The treatment involves spraying 98% pure oxygen infused with antioxidant serum to restore essential nutrients and boost collagen and elastin production. This facial is very hydrating and the results are visible immediately, which makes it a great facial for people who don’t want to wait a week for their face to start looking good again. (“Madonna even has her own oxygen machine and personal aesthetician [for] performing regular oxygen facials,” the spa writes on their website.) A must for those seeking a quick glow for a glam event.


Complete Skin MD’s Full Facial (Board Certified Excellence)

GC contributor and celebrated medical esthetician Jordana Mattioli offers a fully customizable approach to multidimensional skincare at Complete Skin MD.

You know you’re in good hands when your facial is recommended by dermatologists, and Mattioli’s Full Facial consists of a mix of clinically tested cosmeceutical skincare, including but not limited to: ultrasonic deep cleansing; enzymatic exfoliation; dermaplaning; medical microneedling; crystal free microdermabrasion; extractions; LED photo modulation; micro-current lifting; enhanced penetration of vitamin infusions using ionzyme technology; therapeutic masks; and pure medical oxygen therapy.

Whew! Plan for 75 to 90 minutes of pure heaven.


Photo: Courtesy of Naturopathica

Naturopathica’s Bio-Energy Lift Facial (An All Natural Wunderkind)

Naturopathica’s Bio-Energy Lift Facial is an editor favorite, featuring some of our favorite planted-based serums on the market. Naturopathica’s Healing Arts Center & Spa in Chelsea offers an array of nature-inspired mind-body work, featuring items like arnica oil, lobelia, and cramp bark compresses to unwind sore muscles; probiotic masks to restore a healthy skin surface; and luxurious Indian-Lime scalp massages.

The Bio-Energy Lift Facial aims to do exactly what its name purports: lift and enhance. It uses liquid microdermabrasion technology to infuse Naturopathica’s signature bio-energy lift serum for a deeply moisturized and restored complexion.


Massage Envy’s Customized Healthy Skin Facials (Fast, Cheap, and Effective)

Great for those looking to get an earnest skin diagnosis without being sold too many products, Massage Envy’s under-rated facials service is great for those with an unused massage package who want to swap out body treatments for facials interchangeably.

Massage Envy’s price point can’t be beat (especially in New York City), and although the experience isn’t super fancy the aestheticians are skilled, knowledgable, and let’s just say they know their way around a sebaceous filament.

Image via Shizuka

Shizuka’s Bird-Poop Facial (Yes, You Heard That Right)

Shizuka made a name for itself in the New York City beauty scene about five years ago when they started offering a treatment that had previously only been available in Japan: a bird poop facial. Now one of the spa’s most novel services (and a bucket list item for many New Yorkers,) the Geisha Facial consists of using irradiated nightingale droppings to exfoliate and soften the surface of the skin. Irradiation sanitizes the droppings, which have been caged raised from birds fed a special organic diet.

It’s one of the strangest facials that New York City has to offer, but it’s a great experience for those looking to try something really novel. And the results– the smoothest skin ever!– speak for themselves.

Image via Pratima Spa

Pratima Spa Ayurvedic Facial (Bespoke + Deeply Nourishing)

Dr. Pratima Raichur’s Ayurvedic Spa is one of our favorite urban sanctuaries in New York City. In the healing cosmology of Ayurveda, each person possesses a “dosha” that consists of one of (or a combination of) three different bodily constitutions– vata, pitta, and kapha. 

At Pratima Spa in Soho, facials can be tailored to meet these specifications, which are reflected in the skin. We love the spa’s Ayurvedic Facial, which incorporates fresh herbs to thoroughly cleanse, exfoliate, and renew skin. The treatment is fully customizable and can be tailored to include extractions, nourishing earth masks, and a face, neck, arm, and shoulder “marma massage” (a gentle massage that targets energy points or prana in the body, analogous to acupuncture points in Chinese medicine) that brings radiance and balance to all doshas and skintypes.

Want more spring beauty tips? Read our piece on why you should be using micellar water, and learn how to properly apply face oil.

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