What It Feels Like To Get A Facial In NYC Right Now

by Freya Drohan

After six months of stress, sun exposure, excess screen time, and salty/sugary snacks, it’s safe to say my skin needed some TLC. Due to safety concerns surrounding the spread of COVID, New York City’s spas have mostly remained closed—much to the chagrin of my pores—so this was something of a pipe dream in recent times. Thankfully, Noho’s FaceGym just reopened its doors and oh my, was my visage grateful for some hands on attention.

Even just the thought of a facial workout, performed in a safe and sanitized space, was enough to get my happy endorphins flowing. And luckily, the results were better than I hoped for. Knowing that protocol was being followed—FaceGym has taken into account all the current guidelines—the experience was seamless, time-efficient, and relaxing. My temperature was taken upon arrival, and to keep social distancing measures in place, there’s no waiting around before or after your appointment. The location is also taking reduced bookings to ensure there’s no one in the chair beside you, and cleaning procedure for both face tools and the studio surroundings has been ramped up.

As for the face ‘workout’, it was the legit high intensity bootcamp that my lazy face muscles were in dire need of. I opted for the Signature Sculpt; a 35-minute no-nonsense session that whipped my cheekbones and jawline into shape quicker than trying to figure out how to use FaceTune. After cleansing my skin, the aesthetician used a yoga ball to stretch out my muscles (heaven), before tending to my complexion with FaceGym’s gold derma roller. Next, she brought out what I will tenderly refer to as the big guns: the Pure Lift Face tool. This electrical muscle stimulation device is clearly the secret weapon that every chiseled and radiant celebrity is hiding from us.

When my ‘PT’ showed me the results on one side when she was half way through, it looked like the rest of my face was slacking off. I don’t think I’ve seen such visible cheekbones since before I discovered a penchant for wine and sweets (i.e. at least a decade ago.) This micro-current device is so effective and powerful, you can even feel the vibrations in your teeth…which is an odd but kind of cool feeling? I haven’t looked at the paltry NuFace I have at home the same way ever since. After my session, I was fuming that I had to put my mask back on in order to re-enter the world, lest people miss my new supermodel bone structure.

I can’t remember the last time I had a facial. Maybe January, which seems like approximately a decade ago. But the feeling of having someone delicately but intentionally knead my face after all this time was actually too enjoyable for words. Even with the high tempo beats of Basement Jaxx, Daft Punk, and—randomly—Chaka Khan playing in the studio, it was the most relaxed I’ve felt in a hot minute.

[Ed note: FaceGym is also offering virtual sessions, for those who prefer to continue to ‘workout’ remotely.]

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