After breaking out thanks to my super glossy and OILY Fekkai shampoo, I was desperate for a facial. The only problem was that I didn’t know where to get a moderately priced facial with a reliable aesthetician. My editor had raved about her aesthetician at Mario Badescu Spa, so I made an appointment and got excited. This woman, Irina, apparently does Martha Stewart, Emmy Rossum and Ali Larter, so I figured I was set. Weeks of desperation and depression from pesky breakouts would be gone! Except they weren’t. I was about to go for the worst facial of my life—keep in mind, I’ve been getting extracting facials for about five years now and have developed a very high pain tolerance for them. My last facial was in May and I went to MB Spa in June, so it’s not like I had gone a while without a good facial.
Name: Mario Badescu Spa
Location: 320 E 52nd Street
Time: 3pm on a Friday (June 27)
Service: European Facial with Glycolic Acid Treatment
Review (in essay form): If someone had taken a snapshot of my face mid-facial, I would have looked like I was watching Titanic during the “I’ll never let go” scene—for the first time. That facial was the most brutal, painful, traumatic cosmetic undergoing I have ever suffered. Worse than any kind of waxing, tweezing, threading.
When Irina first came in, she was very brusque and immediately pointed out my breakouts, but not in a comforting “It’s not that bad, we’ll take care of it way.” It was more of a “That acne is so noticeable and we have to do several treatments.” She tried to pressure me into a glycolic treatment and mask, but I informed her that my pockets weren’t deep enough. She settled for glycolic and started applying it. Then she opened my pores with a steamer, which was the third sign that this wouldn’t end well. There are a million and one ways to open up pores for extractions (i.e. microdermabrasion, masks, exfoliation, etc). This is not 1970, we don’t need to resort to steam.
After what felt like a steamy eternity, she started diving in and clawing at my unfortunate, defenseless skin. Honestly, it felt like a dagger jabbing into my skin and pushing deep until it hit a bone or something. I started crying immediately, mascara running everywhere, twitching beginning, embarrassment skyrocketing. She wouldn’t stop and continued to attack the rest of my face. I had to physically flinch and tell her to stop. In an attempt to defend herself, she claimed that she does deep pore extractions and that I must have never gotten those done before, and that I had so much build-up. All of which were false, because I have been faithfully following one gentle yet effective aesthetician in FL for years and have had great facials with an aesthetician at Blue Mercury in Georgetown named Ashley.
Once I started sobbing (and developing a sore throat and shaky voice), Irina felt bad for me and began her futile attempts to cajole my bodily heaving. “I’m on your side” and “Don’t cry, it makes me sad” did nothing. Once she left for a break (to later come back and jab some more), I stopped crying. I really only felt okay once she applied a mask and then a compress. At the end, she covered the red, irritated pimples with some dust cover-up product they have so my skin didn’t look crazy but it did look awkward.
Irina made me feel like an Accutane patient who needed several treatments to “fix my skin.” I now know that I had minor breakouts (mostly congestion and a few deeper rooted blemishes), which only require a couple facials for the next couple months. At the end, I got a free skin consultation, which was basically another woman attempting to sell me the whole line (most of which I had used a year ago and did nothing for me) and telling me I had acne, instead of breakouts. I paid for my facial and had to go to a nearby Chase to take out cash for the tip.
It’s been a couple weeks and I’ll say I didn’t see some miracle results period. My skin looked like absolute crap the day after and for the next few days. When I looked under sunlight, I saw that I still had a lot of little things she didn’t take out and my skin had not visibly improved. Needless to say, I will never go again.