I think we’re all getting itchy about facials. It feels like we’ve been doing them for 100 weeks (reality: about five) but we have to perform 75 before we graduate, so the empty pages in our blue books (where Miss Jenny signs off on each treatment) seem to mock us as we hurry through yet another cleanse-analyze-exfoliate-extract-massage-mask-tone-moisturize.
And the truth is, I’m extra impatient because I’ve always been sort of dismissive of facials. They just seemed like an absurdly expensive indulgence that didn’t really give you a whole lot of take-home results. I’m still having trouble seeing the much-touted results — after I had Repechage’s Hydra Medic facial last week, everyone raved about how clear my skin became, but as far as I can tell, the three papules and pustules (technical terms, yo) that were there before the facial are still there now.
Even so, I’m kind of giddy when Miss Jenny breaks out the box of Repechage Four Layer Facials. This is because the Four Layer is like the Cadillac of facials. Repechage founder Lydia Sarfati developed it about 30 years ago, and claims that it revolutionized the way we do facials because the four layers of seaweed masks are so much kinder and gentler than so many other facials, which leave you red and raw after as proof that they’re “working,” yet just as (more so? why not?) effective.
Spas pay about $20 per Four Layer in ingredients and charge anywhere from $80 to $150. So you pretty much have to know how to do one because it’s one of the biggest money makers on the spa menu.
Problem there is, they’re wicked hard.
So here’s how it’s supposed to go down: Up above, you can see the Repechage model version of the Four Layer. A seaweed serum, hydrating cream, seaweed mask and mineral mask are all layered on and left to set, and then, in box number five, we have the grand finale, when the mineral mask hardens into a thick shell and you can rock it off your client’s face in one magical piece. The seaweed mask rubberizes underneath, so you peel that off, slap on some more hydrating cream, and show your client their shiny new self.
Here’s how I did:
No, that’s not a pile of vomit. It’s my seaweed (green) and mineral (tan) masks, after I had to break them off Meg’s face. Not so much on the gently rocking and rolling them off. More like, both masks set before I finish applying them, and begin hardening into a lumpy mess all over poor Meg’s face while she focuses on deep breathing so the claustrophobia (that quite naturally ensues when your face is frozen by a granite-like pile of mineral gunk) doesn’t win.
“It’s your first time and this is a very hard facial,” says Miss Jenny sympathetically as she helps me pick pieces of seaweed mask out of Meg’s hair. The senior girls, who are all rocking their mineral masks off in one scary Halloween mask piece, nod. “I’ve broken a lot of mineral masks,” says Sue.”You’ll get it next time.”
And, anyway: “Meg’s skin looks fantastic now!” says Miss Jenny. “Just look how much better.”
I look and look and wish I can see what she sees.