Rewind The Lines

Can an hour in an aesthetician’s chair noticeably turn back the clock? Rachel Levitt tests three anti-aging facials.
wedding facials

Photograph by Stockbyte Photography

THE FACIAL
Violet facial, $95–$135
Violet Skin Boutique, 1362 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-264-7546, violetskinboutique.com.

THE EXPERIENCE
While other spas boast intense peels, Violet Mkhitaryan, the diminutive owner of Violet Skin Boutique (which recently opened a second location in Brookline), maintains her 30-year dedication to natural skin care. “Chemicals irritate the skin and, as far as I’m concerned, actually cause wrinkles,” she says. Accordingly, she slathers me with a bevy of hand-mixed, preservative-free products including a chocolate mask packed with elasticity-boosting egg yolk. That’s not to say that a Violet facial is just a sweet treat: She also administers thorough (if painful) extractions. The combination of tough love and soothing natural serums leaves my skin blemish-free and makes my fine lines less noticeable.

THE DIY FIX
Mkhitaryan recommends using her cream cleanser, $29, and rose cream moisturizer, $39, every day. Her oatmeal exfoliation mask, $20, and chocolate nourishing mask, $42, can each be used twice a week.

 

THE FACIAL
Green Tangerine 90-minute self-renewal facial, $120
Green Tangerine, 238 Patriot Place, Foxboro, 508-203-9414, greentangerinespa.com.

THE EXPERIENCE
We had our doubts about this new strip-mall spa in the ‘burbs, but the facial proves as effective as any on Newbury Street. Aesthetician Courtney Pereira starts with a fruit enzyme treatment by Murad, which softens my skin and prepares it for extractions. After having her way with my pores, Pereira zaps any remaining bacteria with an electric-current wand (which sounds painful, but feels like mild static shocks). After one more clarifying mask and some green tea compresses to reduce under-eye bags, I emerge looking like a pampered lady of leisure instead of a crazed editor on deadline.

THE DIY FIX
Try the Murad clarifying mask, $37, twice a week; and Murad’s Essential-C eye cream, $67, and Age-Diffusing serum, $72, daily.

THE FACIAL
The Loft facial, $55–$85
The Loft Salon and Day Spa, 207 Newbury St., Boston, 617-536-5638, theloftsalonanddayspa.com.

THE EXPERIENCE
Facialist Ashley Schrater has upped the Loft’s ante. After “face mapping” my skin to pinpoint sun damage, Schrater applies a lactic acid exfoliant (to speed cell turnover), then swathes me in an herbal wrap topped with a heat mask (which, in addition to feeling heavenly, helps skin absorb moisture). Meanwhile, she exfoliates my hands and massages my arms and shoulders. Her extractions are the gentlest of the bunch, and her multivitamin “recovery” mask erases any redness.

THE DIY FIX
Schrater applies a salon-grade exfoliant, but using Dermalogica’s multivitamin thermafoliant, $48, four times a week yields similar results.

 

THE VERDICT: I don’t look 10 years younger. But the compliments (“You look rested! Were you on vacation?”) do pour in. While Mkhitaryan’s products win points for their environmental bent, and a visit with Pereira is relaxing, I’ll be heading back to Schrater for her no-unnecessary-roughness approach.