face time facial clinique province apothecary darphin beauty garance dore photos

9 years ago by

Okay. So, as you all know (or maybe you don’t, who am I to assume) I’m getting married this September and there are about 9,567,891,101,532.9 things to do to get ready for it. One of which is do everything I can to look like “the best version of myself.” Or at least that’s what all my friends and all the magazines and all the websites and that little voice in my head are telling me. But what does that even mean? Who is the best version of myself? What does she look like? I mean, sometimes the best version of myself is sitting in bed watching You’ve Got Mail in that pair of underwear I love (high-waisted, black, cotton) but my fiancé hates. 

One thing I do know is that I would really love for my skin to look like I was just born. Or like fill-in-name-of-celebrity-with-really-good-skin here. Which means: facial? Only thing is, I’ve never had one and I’m a little worried about what might happen. I’ve heard so many horror stories (Samantha’s beef Carpaccio moment in Sex and the City for one) that to start facial-ing so close to the wedding seemed like a pretty huge gamble. 

But more than anything, I’m terrified that I am going. To. Love. It. That my bank account will never be the same again and that, once I start, I won’t be able to stop. 

Still. The promise of perfect skin is a powerful one. I did some research (which meant I Googled “wedding facial”) and I found out that the perfect time to start a “wedding beauty regimen” was six months before the wedding. The big day is in September so I’m a little behind, but I always am, and I figured that by giving the whole facial thing a test run now (as opposed to the week before) I’d manage to sidestep any last minute pre-wedding facial disasters and find out if it’s even worth it.

The team at the Studio said the Caudalie Spa has just about the most luxurious facial you can get in the city. Enough said. Appointment booked.

I walked into the women’s dressing room and walked out in a robe I was swimming in, feeling like the least glamorous version of myself and that any minute the head of security was going to be alerted to my presence and escort me out the building (we’re sorry lady but you reek of Brooklyn). Instead I was greeted by Regine who lead me to the room where my skin would be assaulted reborn (my words, not hers). 

I’m going to spare you a blah blah blah blah narrative and break it down for you real quick like:

Regine: lovely warm woman with the slightest shadow of a French accent and fingers that were David Blaine level magical. To have your face touched and massaged for an hour is no small thing. I can’t believe I didn’t have a complete and total breakdown from the sheer disarming nurturing onslaught of it. Pretty sure I said “Thank you” to her at least 100 times.

Here’s what happened (or at least everything I could remember from the hazy cloud of delirious happiness I was lucky enough to occupy that morning):
1. Face wash: pure total lathery goodness aka foaming cleanser.
2. Warm, wonderful steam in my face.
3. Exfoliating cleanser applied with a Clarisonic brush. The beauty nerd in me is geeking out pretty hard at this point. Clarisonic is one of those things I would never buy but have always wanted to use (like a Sonicare toothbrush or a thong).
4. Gentle squeezing of gunk out of my pores. 
5. A slathering of ginger carrot something that smells amazing and makes me feel instantly energized. Like I could conquer a six floor walk up no probs. 
6. Some eye cream was massaged around my eyes with those magic fingers. 
7. Don’t forget the steam—it’s still happening. Also happening: shoulder and neck massage. 
8. Then Regine applied a “slow release glycolic peel.” At this point I braced myself for what might be the moment I would feel my skin  burn off my face but…nothing. Totally manageable tingling and slight warmth, which I can totally hang with. 
10. Did I mention periodic hot towels wrapped around my face?
11. Regine alternates hot and cool stones (hot to pull out impurities, cool to seal the pores back up) on my face and now the hippie in me is thinking about how connected to the earth I feel because of all this. 
12. I stumble out of the room, sip on some Draining Organic Herbal Tea and speed flip through a copy of Vogue because the part of me that wants to leisurely read all the magazines in the spa lounge and the part of me that can’t wait to take a good long look in the mirror are seriously at odds with each other. 

Turns out the whole thing is pure freaking magic. Yes, my skin was glowing (really, it was!) Yes, my pores were smaller. Yes, those mottled dark spots on my forehead were less so. And yes, I felt like the best version of myself. Not even that weird thing my hair is doing these days bothered me.  

The effect lasted about three-four days (sans breakouts and raw skin splotchiness) and when I got lunch with by bestie the next day she mentioned that my skin looked amazing, so, yeah, I’ll probably be getting another one of these before the big day. Can you put a facial on your wedding registry? 

Are there any beauty rituals or procedures you underwent to get ready for your wedding that you wouldn’t have done otherwise? Disaster stories? Success stories? Any tips or tricks?


If you want to save $200 for that pair of Rachel Comey jeans (you know which ones) I say get all DIY with it and do an at home facial. While the products in the photo don’t come with the zen spa soundtrack they’re pretty great for whipping your skin into shape (and that’s what a facial’s all about, right?) Mix Province Apothecary’s Clay Mask with honey or water till it turns into a paste and then smear all over your face. Take a selfie and send it to your boyfriend to scare the crap out of him. Keep it on for 5 – 10 minutes until it’s almost almost dry and then wipe off with a damp cloth. Things should already be looking up. Next, apply a healthy dose of Clinique’s Clarifying Lotion 4 to a cotton pad and then to your face—the stuff’ll remove excess oil and prevent blemishes (gotta love a multitasker.) Lastly, pick a serum that works for your skin type: for dry skin, try Mizon’s Original Skin Energy Hyaluronic Acid, if you’re looking to iron out some wrinkles try Darphin Beauty Revealing Serum and for an all round crowd pleaser that works for any type of skin try Clinique’s Turnaround Revitalizing Treatment Oil. Sure it’s not the Ritz but you’ll get to watch whatever Netflix episode you’re bingewatching and eat chips while you do it—can’t say that about any spa, can you?

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  • I have to say that i used Caudalie when they have just started and i loved it Till i started doing like an allergy to the product!!!my dermatologic explanation was …we need to change products every 1-2 years….
    the best for our face is always try to eat clean health simple..and try to be happy…Mazal ToV
    Yael Guetta


  • Ohhh pareil pour moi! Je me marie en Août et j’ai une peau qui a tendance à être très sèche! Je suis allée prendre un cours de maquillage chez MAC (j’ai envie de me maquiller moi-même le jour de mon mariage) et a trouvé ma peau très sèche à certains endroits. Du coup, j’essaie de l’hydrater à fond pour qu’elle soi au top le jour J! On m’a conseillé de toujours avoir une crème hydratante pour le visage sur moi et de l’hydrater plusieurs fois par jour et non pas seulement le matin et le soir!
    Des bisous

    Le monde des petites

  • Bon déjà rien que le visuel qui accompagne l’article donne un coup de fouet (l’effet du bleu ? ).
    Concernant le soin du visage au Spa Caudalie ton article et ta description donnent envie d’y filer tout de suite, il faut dire que rien les produits sont une tueries ! Et puis le fait que tu n’es pas de réaction post soin montre bien la qualité des soins apportés et le fait que les produits sont adaptés à ta peau, en même temps payés un soin au prix fort et se retrouver trois jours après avec des plaques rouges ce n’est pas le but escompté.


  • The BEST thing you can do for your skin is to eat well! Fruits, veg, water,limited sugars, sleep, and exercise will do far more for your skin than products. Boring but true! Massage is good though, you’ve got that right.

  • I don’t understand the glorification of beauty products, they are all full of chemicals that are bad for you. They disrupt with our hormonal balance, and lets don’t mention the ridic prices… Like Sashi said: the best thing to do its to eat healthy, drink lots of water and sleep. If you want to glow on your wedding day just try a week before to eat a vegan diet, no coffee, no alcohol and plenty sleep.

  • Hi Sashi and Marion – it’s Lisa!

    Totally agree with you about the correlation between good skin and lifestyle, I exercise regularly – not for great skin but for my health. I eat healthfully, favoring fresh fruits and veggies and drink minimal caffeine and alcohol – because that’s the sort of food I like and because I’m a lightweight :) I am religious about getting eight hours of sleep (I’m of no use to anyone otherwise) and water just happens to be my favorite beverages.

    Marion – not ALL beauty products are bad for you – I think blanket statements like that are dangerous. In fact, one of the huge selling points of Caudalie is that they believe very strongly in what they call “Cosm-ethics” – they select natural, environmentally-friendly active ingredients whenever they can and they use 0% parabens, phenoxyethanol, phthalates, mineral oils, sodium laureth sulfate, and animal ingredients. Additionally Caudalie donates 1% of its world revenue to NGOs to act and protect the regions of the world most threatened by deforestation and where biodiversity is in danger.

    That being said, I do agree that it’s important to minimize the number of products one uses and be a smart, educated consumer whenever possible.

    Thank you both so much for your suggestions – will do my best to get as much rest as possible the week before the wedding though I’m afraid that stress might win that battle :)


  • Ahah, oui, j’avais fait des mèches 5 mois avant: une horreur, ce que j’appelle les mèches zébrées c’est à dire pas du tout naturelle mais bien présente, trait par trait… Bref, un peu les boules avant le mariage de voir que cela NON ça ne S’ESTOMPE pas… du tout (ah cette phrase magique des mauvais coiffeurs…).
    Et là, on me conseille Karina qui fait des mèches à l’argile… En fait ce commentaire est un appel à témoin: si Karina tu me lis, pitié, dis moi où tu sévis maintenant, je n’ai jamais eu d’aussi beau cheveux de ma vie (i.e. “naturel” et éclatant), comme quoi parfois les choses se passent juste comme il faut à 2 jours du mariage (oui, à 2 jours…!).

  • I’ve experienced quite a few facials. The best “conventional” facials were at Vaishaly Patel and Organic Pharmacy in London. However, for amazing results, I highly recommend an oxygen facial. I thought it would be bogus when I tried it out. It wasn’t and even managed to lighten a dark spot from laser damage. I was blown away.

  • Justyna June, 23 2015, 10:52 / Reply

    You’ve got mail is the most romantic movie of all times :)

  • Happy Wedding! How exciting. I so enjoy your writing style and posts, Lisa. Well done! Thank you. The ginger carrot moment sounds amazing. Best!!

  • this seems amazing — I would love to go to the Spa right now! that facial is exactly what I need


  • I really like the way you write. Looking forward to hearing more in the run-up to your wedding (precisely because of the way you describe things!)

  • love You’ve Got Mail…is your skin really sensitive or reactive to your diet? My skin looks AMAZING–like I’m 10 years old again, when I eliminate _all_ sugar and dairy. You can’t beat Caudalie. Looking forward to more of your wonderful posts ;)

  • ….I forgot to mention what is likely a no-brainer: eating more fresh, not cooked, vegetables and fruit–broccoli, pineapple and cantaloupe work especially well for me.

  • Natalie June, 23 2015, 1:17 / Reply

    Alexandra Soveral – absolute dream!
    I had a few facials in the lead up to my wedding and now can only afford / justify continuing to use the products. But my skin on the day of the wedding was better than ever and the treatments were the perfect zone out / me time in the plans leading up! As my wedding was abroad, my last facial with them was about 10 days before, but they told me what to do everyday to keep it looking good – and gave me a pot of honey to use.
    Couldn’t recommend more – Alexandra comes to NY every now and again so definitely check them out.

  • Yes! Thank you for showing Province Apothecary! It’s made in my hometown, and her products really are a dream for sensitive skin. She has a cult following here in Toronto–I tried to book a facial in March, and she was booked straight past July.

  • I know this sounds cliche, but good skin starts on the inside. If I could go back into time, knowing what I know now, I would have my juicer on at all times and I would become one with Turmeric! Chalkboard Mag has a great turmeric summer smoothie I can’t wait to try!

  • Congrats on your wedding! Totally love the products you picked, however, my idea of a glowing, healthy complection is a mix between great quality products, a healthy diet and a big dose of daily smiles!

  • Congrats to you Lisa! Brides Magazine gives plenty of beauty advice to get ready for your wedding, will feature DCL Glycolic Acid pads and for sensitive skin there is Penta Peel that you can use regularly http://www.dermstore.com/profile_DCL+Dermatologic+Cosmetic+Laboratories_500746.htm

  • Claudia Bustamante June, 23 2015, 3:08 / Reply

    Je suis hyper contente d’appendre la nouvelle (pour moi) de ton mariage , et je te souhaite tout le
    bonheur du monde. Quand à ta peau , je suis d’accord avec la majorité des commentaires , tu n’as pas
    besoin de tout cela ,fais attention à la nourriture ,dors bien et bois beaucoup , ta peau est magnifique,
    t’occupe des autres milles détailles du mariage et laisse ta peau tranquille. Bon courage et félicitations!!

  • Bonjour ca vous dit des préservatifs en capsules personnalisables avec votre logo ou un message que vous voulez passer?


  • Ana @champagnegirlsabouttown June, 23 2015, 4:19 / Reply

    Congratulations Lisa! I’ve had the best skin ever since I came across Face Gym. I’ve been having semi regular face massages. Apart from getting cheekbones, my skin is tight and glowing. Dangerously addictive :)

  • ooooh really?? congrats!! who is the lucky man? ;)

  • lafemmefrancaise June, 23 2015, 4:55 / Reply

    Hello Lisa !
    I am getting married in July ;) and I would love to do make the same facial at Caudalie here in Paris. What was its name ?
    Thanks and have a lovely wedding !

  • Congrats on your wedding and I do think the idea for a facial is such a good idea, especially for the deep cleansing and pure relaxation! I’ve done it once at a local spa and I it was like walking on a cloud for days. I wish it was more than temporary–perfect for the day before the wedding! xo

    adorn la femme

  • May I suggest Sk2 masks. Allegedly, Korean Brides wear it for 21 days before their wedding to have flawless skin. I think its true. They work wonders on me and everyone I have recommended it to.

    Also, that image you posted is beautiful. Does Garance take all the pictures or to each contributor to his own ? Those blue shades are serene !

    – Archana.

  • I was just married three weeks ago, and my one advise would be – do not get lost in the perfect skin, perfect makeup world. I made a slight detour into the world and regret it – trying new products and getting a facial too close to my wedding day. I do not regret massages… they are a godsend! On the day of my wedding I had three pimples (the stress!), forgot two key pieces of makeup, barely slept, and still everyone said I was a glowing and beautiful bride. And I felt like one! The happiness of the day, the adrenaline pumping through your body, and the presence of loved ones is the best beauty secret out there. Enjoy!

  • I bought a Clarisonic in January and I was skeptical but its June and my skin is perfect. I’m 42 and my skin is better than it was in my 20’s.

  • Je ne me suis encore jamais mariée et ce n’est pas prévu pour le moment, mais je pense que c’est à peu près le meilleur prétexte du monde pour faire des soins du visage !
    Sans déconner, ça doit être un peu stressant : faut VRAIMENT se sentir la plus belle pour affronter toutes les photos :)

    Après, vu que je suis vraiment plutôt pauvre (je lance tout juste ma boîte de bijoux faits main alors bon ! un peu de patience !), je fais le programme maison, à peu près ce que tu recommandes, avec diffusion de vapeur avant l’argile même que ! OUAIS on fait les choses bien en Provence !
    J’ai hâte de lire la suite de tes aventures-préparatifs !

  • Hi Lisa congratulations! I believe that preparation is great but on that day you would be so happy – a natural glow will be your perfect “beauty” look. Good luck and God bless!

  • Stephanie Marie June, 23 2015, 10:39 / Reply

    I’m so excited that you are getting married! haha. BUT NOW, I am wanting to try out a facial… and I’m not even close to walking down the aisle! Not good for my wallet!!! I have a pretty awesome skin regimen and eat well, but this facial you just described… sounds pretty divine. :)

  • shopgirl June, 24 2015, 4:33 / Reply

    If you look at those celebrities who have skin problems and really all the possibilities in the world, such as Britney Spears, Cameron Diaz, Katie Holmes, Kate Moss … you realize that miracle product nor miraculous treatment or diets simply does not exist. There is no perfect skin or luxurious facial that will last, there are just genes, your current biorhythm and climate to which for the time being the money and the cosmetics industry has no impact ….

  • Transat June, 24 2015, 5:07 / Reply

    Le nettoyage, l’expulsion manuelle des points noirs, et enfin le massage sublime, c’est certain que ça a dû faire grand bien à ta peau, surtout si naturellement elle n’est pas mal!
    Mais franchement, tu ne trouves pas hilarant le nom du sérum de Darphin “Exquisâge” ? Nous avons reçu une beauty box pour hommes pour la fête des pères : hé bien la crème anti-âge est à l’extrait de chêne !! (les fleurs pour les filles, les gros arbres pour les garçons….) on nous prend vraiment pour des pommes!!

  • Manger alcalin (sans forcément faire l’impasse sur la viande, juste en équilibrant le rapport acide/alcalin) fait une peau du tonnerre !!! Et dormir, évidemment ! Sinon, j’ai découvert une lotion qui m’a sauvée durant mes périodes stress/pollen, une lotion apaisante car mon cuir chevelu, mon front et mes ailes du nez me grattaient. C’est la lotion apaisante Poil à dégratter (Gimme Clean) d’Indemne.

  • Rachel June, 24 2015, 6:51 / Reply

    I’m getting married in a whole year and am freaking out about this already, but a friend of mine recommended Sunday Riley and I’ve been using their Lunar oil for a few days and it’s already made a huge difference in the tone of my skin. I’m also using their Artemis oil in the daytime (my skin is combination) and started with my Clairsonic again after months of neglect…Hope everything goes well, Garance! x

  • I’m getting married in July, and I was esking myself the same question: how to get a wonderful skin for my wedding?
    I’d like to have a facial massage, and use some miracle products( still to be found)
    I’m afraid to get to that day with wrinkles, pale, and tense.

    And i want the right to glow all life long – not only on wedding day!!!

  • bisbee June, 24 2015, 9:11 / Reply

    Why would you never buy a Clarisonic? I highly recommend it – wait for a sale, or get it in a deal on QVC or something like that. You won’t regret it! And…congratulations!

  • Great products!!!
    Passa a trovarmi VeryFP

  • Colleen June, 24 2015, 1:06 / Reply

    I love love LOVE Province Apothecary! It’s made right down the street from me and I swear by most of their line. Their exfoliating powder is fantastic too- especially good after weeks where I’m too busy to do a full routine.

    Also, just a warning- I’d be really careful adding in new products with new or stronger ingredients, even a couple of months before a big day! I’m on a Retin treatment right now, and it can cause flaky and sensitive skin for the first few MONTHS of use. And never change up the routine you’ve decided on a few days before the event! You’d never want something crazy and bad to happen (last year, I tried a new mask right before a gala. My face haaaated it and turned bright red and I got some really angry little bumps!)

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