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What Is a HydraFacial?

I Got a Facial From a Machine, and My Skin Has Never Looked Better

By the time the end of April rolled around after a particularly dismal New Jersey Winter, my skin had definitely seen better days. With temperatures that would oscillate between 30 and 65 degrees every other day for about two months straight (fun!), I was in need of actual medical assistance.

I sh*t you not: my skin was so dry that I looked like an old Italian man painted me back in 1510 and never bothered to give me an upgrade over the last few hundred years. My face could literally be in the Uffizi with a black sheet over it for two years saying: "Do not touch, under restoration for the next three years." Yeah, it was that bad and painful.

I moonwalked out of the spa without a drop of makeup on and for the first time in my life, my cheeks weren't red . . . at all.
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No matter how much I moisturized and avoided harsh cleansers, my skin looked actually cracked by the time 3 p.m. rolled around. And for the record, I drink so much water, I often wonder if the people who sit next to me at work notice how frequently I get up for a refill, so that's not the problem, either. I just have terrible skin.

As you can imagine, when one of my friends asked if I wanted to get a HydraFacial at Chuan Body + Soul at The Langham New York, I quite literally jumped at the chance. Fast forward a few days, and I was hanging in the spa decked out in a robe awaiting my treatment.

Then I met our aesthetician, Anna, the most lovely lady I've ever met who lives in Queens and commutes to work 45 minutes each way. Yes, it got personal. She had me disrobe — see what I mean about personal? — and then she hit me with the info bomb: a machine was going to do my facial.

If I can be completely candid, I was a little nervous because I am generally a suspicious person. Sure, the machine definitely looked legit with all its gizmos and hoses, and she 100 percent assured me that all the solutions were accurately measured.

I trusted my new friend.

Before I knew it, I had pads over my eyes and a light as bright as the sun was shining directly in my face. Anna was giving me the up-down and she seriously knew her stuff. "You have really sensitive skin, especially on your cheeks, and your skin is really dry. Your T-zone can also get oily in the afternoon, and it looks like you break out around your period."

Obviously, my initial reaction was:

Followed by: I sure do.

And then we got down to business. First, Anna used a deplaning tool to cleanse and exfoliate my skin. It felt like a tiny windshield wiper was going to freakin' town on my pores, and I have to say it felt really good.

The next step was an acid peel, and that's officially when I thought sh*t was hitting the fan. Because I have supersensitive skin and don't generally get facials, I started to panic when the skin around my cheeks started to feel hot. Suddenly, images of burn victims crossed my mind, and I quickly realized that I was stark naked under the blanket and would give Anna a view she didn't ever ask for if I was to actually lose it and run out of the room.

I opened my eyes and told Anna that I was fairly confident my face was peeling off. Thankfully, Anna is a normal, level-headed human being and assured me that my skin was, in fact, still very much intact and that I'm definitely a little bit of a hypochondriac.

The third step involved extractions, one of my all-time favorite pastimes akin to America's love of baseball. And although I was definitely bummed I couldn't see her actually take all the gunk out of my face, she ended up showing me the giant plastic container of grossness she was able to take out à la machine — and it was simply life-changing.

The last, and arguably the most relaxing step? The serum application. All I had to do was lie back and let Anna apply red light to the top half of my face for the first six minutes, followed by six minutes of the same process on the lower half of my face, and I was done.

The entire process took me less than an hour. And to say I left feeling good is a tremendous understatement. My skin instantly felt a heck of a lot lighter and, well, healthier. I moonwalked out of the spa without a drop of makeup on and for the first time in my life, my cheeks weren't red . . . at all.

And guess what? They haven't been since I've left. Over the last few days, my skin has been completely clear and I have zero blackheads or chin zits (my sworn enemy).

The bottom line here is at $150, a HydraFacial is definitely a little pricey, but you seriously can't beat it in terms of results. So if you have a wedding, graduation, or other event or just need some good ol' Spring cleaning action on your face, it's definitely worth the splurge. And now I can wear no makeup forever. Well, maybe not forever, but at least in this picture.

Image Sources: POPSUGAR Photography / Murphy Moroney and Giphy
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