Recently, I enjoyed the most incredible facial at Renew Spa in the Upper East Side. I have to be honest, I had never had a facial before. And wow, was I missing out or what? My skin has been glowing ever since.
Owners Carmel and Mary, both originally from Ireland, founded Renew Spa in 2004. Mary who enjoys working with numbers, handles the financials and clerical work. Carmel has an unbridled passion for skincare and is a licensed master aesthetician. Together they have created a welcoming environment where all treatments are 100% customized. They’re both friendly and fun and I felt right at home.
Renew Spa uses Environ products, invented by Dr. Des Fernandes and sold exclusively by skincare professionals. According to Environ: “Beautifully radiant and healthy-looking skin has the right levels of vitamin A. [Environ products help] restore the benefits of skin’s natural vitamin A levels and reveal its natural beauty.”
Before my facial, Carmel looked at my face using a high resolution magnifying glass. From there, she was able to decide which products would be best for my skin type (which is sensitive, dry, and eczema-prone). To prepare my skin for the facial, she used a pre-cleansing oil, a hydrating clay masque, a cleansing gel, an alpha toner-forte and steam with alpha gel. Then she extracted all of the pimples and blackheads in my T-zone. This was my favorite part because I couldn’t wait for those little buggers to be gone! She then applied an antioxidant gel and an Alginate masque. While the mask was drying, she gave me a hand and arm massage using Environ A, C, and E oil and Derma-Lac lotion. I was so relaxed, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.
Carmel also gave me some invaluable skincare advice during my visit. Here are five things I learned (and began incorporating into my routine right away)…
1) Wash your face as soon as you get home
Carmel suggests washing your face as soon as you get home. One, it gets all of your makeup and city grit off your face sooner than later. And two, any moisturizer or overnight mask/cream you put on will begin to actually seep into your skin. Otherwise, if you do it right before bed, it will all end up on your pillowcase.
2) Always wash your face in the mirror
I definitely have been guilty of washing my face in the shower, especially when I’m in a rush. Carmel suggests doing it in front of the mirror, that way you can really see what you’re doing. I always start with my chin and massage my way up.
3) Don’t forget to wash your neck!
When I really thought about it, I don’t know that I have ever actively thought to wash my neck. I know, gross. Carmel suggested washing my neck while I wash my face. This reminded me to moisturize my neck as well. Better late than never, I suppose.
4) Take a tablespoon of flaxseed oil daily
Carmel suggests a tablespoon of flaxseed oil everyday. It helps with skin dryness and redness. She also mentioned eating foods that contain a lot of natural oils, like avocados and almonds. She recommends Barlean’s Flax Oil, but I bought some at Trader Joe’s. I’ve been taking it daily since my visit with her!
5) Always wear sunscreen
Okay, this one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s really easy to forget. It’s incredibly important to keep your face sun-protected. You can do this with SPF moisturizer, foundation, or plain old sunscreen. My foundation, Sunshine Skin Tint from Milk Makeup, contains 35 SPF and is super lightweight.
I left Renew Spa feeling, quite literally, renewed! I met a friend for lunch afterward and he said, “Your skin is glowing today.” If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, I don’t know what will. Make an appointment to visit Carmel and Mary. Environ products are top-notch, will work wonders for your skin, and Carmel will make you feel special and beautiful.
You can find Renew Spa online, on Instagram and Facebook. They are located in the Upper East Side at 109 East 73rd Street, Suite 1B. Photos courtesy of Renew Spa. Created in partnership with Renew Spa (I received a complimentary facial to review their services).