My grandmother took me to get my first facial when I was 15, at a place that seemed more like a medical office than a spa. The aesthetician owned her own business, and had for 30+ years, and used the German product brand Biodroga. My grandmother explained to me that it was time for me to start a healthy and preventative skin care routine, which involves 4-6 facials per year.
More than 20 years later, I remember her advice, and work to make the time for facials. Most often, I time my facials to be at Forever Laser Institut during my quarterly trips to Geneva. Once in a while, however, I make an exception and experience a facial on this side of the Atlantic, as I did recently when my friend Pilar invited me to experience a treatment at her new location in Vienna, Studio-Pilar Organic Facial Luxury.
I have known Pilar for 10+ years, she is and has always been a pioneer in the world of clean skin care and organic facials, and she has had a number of facial studios in the greater DC area over the years. This is how she describes her treatments:
“When asked recently by my friend Ada to describe my facial treatment I was inspired for the first time to think of it like a recipe. Your personal recipe to feed your skin! It starts with ingredients of the purest quality. Then combines therapeutic hand techniques and high-tech equipment in a unique sequence of steps to deliver results. These hand techniques include aromatherapy, lymphatic detox massage, reflexology and hot stone massage with high-tech tools like microdermabrasion and LED light therapy an ultrasonic tools.”
Her 90 to 120-minute signature treatment combines clean products, amazing manual techniques, and modern technology – this is not something that can be rushed. I experienced lymphatic and ultrasonic technologies, a diamond-tip microdermabrasion treatment that also delivers LED light (device from Image Derm), effective (yet not too painful) manual extractions, a cold steamer treatment that calms the skin post extractions (Lucas pulverizer, a device made in France), and LED therapy that offers 3 light sources simlultaneously (by a company called Celluma). Her treatment also incorporated a reflexology foot massage, and neck and shoulder massage.
Pilar explains that the goal of the treatment is to address inflammation, which is one of the core causes of aging. She thinks of every detail, including the fact that the facial bed is adorned with an amethyst Biomat that induces far infrared therapy into the body.
The products she uses include Dr Alkaitis, I Sun (both handmade, living and raw botanicals) and Alchimie Forever. One of my favorite aspects of her treatment is that in addition to excellent product brands, Pilar also blends products according to her own recipes, honed over the years and 50,000 facials. I ask her about these: “I blend my own beauty oil / elixir for facial massage using Marula oil, rosehip, and a coconut butter and blue tansy balm with one other oil based on your unique skin type. Prior to extractions I make a pore decongesting oil of jojoba, lemon, Manuka oil and rosemary extract to prepare the skin for deep cleaning. And every guest receives a freshly blended masque!”
I leave her feeling like I have had a mini vacation, and like my skin is clean, refreshed, glowing, and stimulated all at the same time. And yes, I leave without a trace of makeup, and am complimented on my skin all day long. Thank you Pilar!