Over the past six months, my ideas of self-care have shifted dramatically. Going to the spa dropped several ranks from its already very low place on my list of priorities. While I’ve struggled with problem skin, I’ve never really been a big fan of facials–they’re too expensive and usually left me looking and feeling worse.
However, my skin has been kind of a mess since the spring. Maybe it’s stress, or my weird work-from-home diet, or all The Ordinary products that 13-year-olds on TikTok told me to buy, or the one glass of water I drink per day. In any case, my skin has been unhappy and all the sheet masks and serums that I’ve tried while hanging out at home haven’t done much to cheer it up.
I have to be honest, I was a little skeptical about the spa chain. I’d gone once when it first opened in Dallas, and I was kind of disappointed with the initial experience. The facial didn’t include extractions, the salon-like setting was a bit awkward, and I was left with a greasy product feeling. As much as I liked the idea of facials at a more accessible price point–most Face Haus services are under $100–I didn’t feel like it was worth it. Sure, it’s a fifth of the price of a visit to Joanna Czech’s iconic spa, but it’s still a good chunk of change.
With my troubled 2020 skin, I was ready to give it another shot.
Right off the bat, Face Haus made me feel comfortable with their new COVID-19 safety protocols. I walked in the door, was directed to sanitize my hands, had my temperature taken, and filled out a health questionnaire. Then, I was introduced to my esthetician and taken back into the treatment area, a large room where clients are seated side-by-side. I’m still not the biggest fan of the communal set-up, but there was plenty of space between me and the one other client there.
Once seated, my esthetician, Jo, instructed me to take off my mask and had a chat with me about my skin concerns. She used a tiny square of paper to test my skin’s oil, moisture, pH levels, texture, and absorption preferences. I chose between a water-based and an oil-based texture, and all that information went to create a personalized Atolla serum to be shipped to my home in a customized bottle labeled “Natalie” after treatment.
From there, the usual facial activities ensued. She gently cleansed and massaged my skin, then exfoliated, steamed, lathered it with product, cleansed, and lathered it with something else. This time, there were extractions, and Jo did them expertly so that they didn’t hurt or even leave red marks. By the end of the 45-minute treatment, my skin was cool, calm, and for the first time ever after a facial, it looked better than it did when I walked in the door. I was pleasantly surprised.
The Atolla facial costs $100, including a custom serum, and I think it’s worth the price. Face Haus may not be a full spa experience, but it gave me the skin pick-me-up that I so desperately needed.