Spa 101: The Collagen Facial – Spa Spotlight: Spa Merge
Just a few blocks from Central Park and close to luxury Fifth Avenue shopping, is NYC’s Spa Merge, the new concept spa by Hilton where I experienced my first collagen facial. Having mostly heard about collagen in the same context as celebs and lip enhancements, I just assumed this was going to be a less natural facial. Not so…
The basics: Collagen is produced by the skin and gives it elasticity and firmness, which is lessened as we age (hence wrinkles, crows feet, lines around the lips, you get the idea). So, because collagen is naturally produced by our skin, what a collagen facial does is help stimulate the production, using a special collagen protein serum. Collagen facials are said to leave the skin looking plumper and revitalized. It also helps with anti-aging efforts because dead skin cells are sloughed away. I learned a very interesting fact about exfoliation…more on that in a minute. Collagen facials are especially popular (especially in Tinseltown) before a special event. Typically, this is a pricier spa beauty treatment than say a spa’s signature facial.
At the very modern and sleek Spa Merge, one is instantly transported to an urban oasis. Spa therapist Tatiana would perform my treatment, but first I was given a tour. The treatment suites, including one for couple’s massage, have everything you need – locker, shower, vanity, and amenities, ensuring optimal privacy for spa-goers.
Tatiana is incredibly professional and knowledgeable, which I attribute to her 15-year career in esthetics and medicine. She conveyed her absolute expertise, likely from her background in the clinical aspect of skincare having worked with dermatologists at other luxury day spas.
First, my skin is cleansed to remove makeup and excess oils. Exfoliation comes next to slough away dead cells so that the skin is smooth and ready for the maximum penetration of the collagen protein. Interestingly, Tatiana told me that peels are actually recommended for exfoliating rather than products with tiny granules. This is because the latter can leave sensitive skin red and even irritated. A glycolic peel is a more natural exfoliant and way gentler than it sounds – its fruit acids are derived from sugar cane! I never knew that!
On to the main event. A cold, extremely thick, white material is painted on my face and left on for about 15 minutes. I then enjoy a fantastic head and neck massage by Tatiana. Although the mask never actually hardens, the slightly wet, sort of rubbery textured mask is later peeled off my face intact.
When all is said and done, I take a look in the mirror before I head out to dinner – I am not red, and my skin does have a more youthful plumpness and smoothness. I’m now convinced. Collagen facials are great for staying ahead of aging by boosting collagen level and improving the skin’s texture. I typically opt for signature facials when I visit a spa, but to maintain a youthful appearance it seems like the collagen facial is one of the least invasive ways to maintain younger skin and tank up on our ever-depleting collagen!
102–108 W 57th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (646-484-4104, spamerge.com).
Find SpaFinder spas that offer collagen facials.