Secret Service

5 years ago by

Words Anna Zahn

You would think that after years of talking about fashion and beauty I would be a beauty guru, but I’m not. Ok, let me correct that. While I lived in New York New York, in many instances, I was the one to answer the beauty questions. But since moving to LA, it’s gone to a whoooole new level. I feel totally ignorant when I talk to my friends. They’re just SO PRO.

Enter Anna. Anna is my friend, and thanks to her I also discovered the magics of lymphatic drainage which she practices in her studio in LA. I’ll tell you more about that very soon. Anna is also one of the women I call when I have a health or beauty question.
Yes, and there is also you, Lauren, and you Shiva, and you, Lise Ann, and…

Anna knows everything. She’s tried about everything. She talks about it with passion, distance, and she’s also very funny about it (last time she had me put on the Neutrogena Light Therapy Mask on my face while she was driving (“I do that all the time! Who cares if you scare other cars!”) so I thought, Anna needs to write for us.

And let’s start with… Her at-home beauty essentials. And I mean, if they’re essential to her, they are essential to me. And maybe to you? Here’s Anna!


Apprenticing, then running a studio with a niche offering like lymphatic drainage has expanded my beauty and wellness scope from limited to panoramic. Garance is generous for believing I know everything, I’d consider myself more of an enthusiastic nerd than renowned expert. What I have found in my time spent as both practitioner and client, is that the necessity for a simple, curated collection of beauty tools is essential, and overwhelming. We are perpetually sold on excess consumption with limitless selection. Fortunately, I’ve made a career out of my obsessive searching, researching, and engaging my clients. Beauty is not only a matter of investing in products that deliver results, but also making self care an essential practice with a less is more approach. Focusing on quality over quantity, these tools have proven themselves to be signature accessories that transform your self care routine into ritual. Anticipate some sticker shock (I chose the word investment deliberately), but keep in mind that these scientifically backed products retain their value and reduce extraneous spending on unnecessary products and salon treatments. Here we go!

The Infrared Mat
So many people ask about the best investment for their home wellness regimen, and the infrared mat is always top of the list. I lounge on my mat daily (it has become a permanent fixture on my living room sectional), and I’m a huge advocate of its healing properties. As part of the electromagnetic light spectrum, infrared rays recreate the healing properties of natural sunlight without the harmful UV/UVB radiation. Each mat provides negative ions, far infrared rays, and heated jade, amethyst, and tourmaline gemstones that are scientifically proven to boost the production of healthy cell tissue, increase circulation, relieve muscle soreness and calm the nervous system. Infrared mats are used on pro athletes, in hospitals, and are a godsend if you’re sick or have any injury (my mom, who’s had multiple surgeries, sleeps on hers every night). The best part, no effort required – I’ve spent many a Netflix binge sessions regenerating my cells. (The Infrared Mat, $699.00)

The LED Mask
Aside from transforming into what I call Beauty Kruger, my LED mask is a definite staple. If you’re doubting it’s legitimacy, take comfort in knowing it was born out of NASA technology developed to improve healing for astronauts on space shuttle missions, and has quantifiable results. Designed to emit specific photon wavelengths, LED masks reduce breakouts and bestow a noticeable glow. Blue LED wavelengths kill acne causing bacteria, while Red LED lights diminish wrinkles and skin fatigue by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin. I always love the luxury of reducing my expression lines and neutralizing breakouts while taking a few minutes out of my day to bathe my skin in healing light, usually while reclining on my infrared mat (despite my mystical star wars appearance, this is not just a Los Angeles beauty fallacy.) Regular use of LED lights are essential, similar to the necessity of continual sunlight for plant growth, but the experience is so lustrous that never seems to be an issue. (The LED Mask, $94.99/$250)

The ZIIP Beauty Nanocurrent Device
There’s more to treating your skin than selecting effective skincare products. Often overlooked, exercising your skin cells and practicing regular lymphatic stimulation in addition to applying product is essential for ensuring healthy skin. The best way to stimulate your skin between treatments is the ZIIP – a pocket sized nanocurrent device that stimulates lymphatic drainage, increases collagen production, reduced breakouts and tonifies skin texture.

Melanie Simon (the renowned LA esthetician who designed it) spent 10 years developing the product to expand her reach beyond her clients so trust me, it’s worth forking over the $500. I know, I’m sorry! But you could be spending this or more on med spa treatments and regular microcurrent facials. The ZIIP allows you to customize your treatment with varying electric currents and frequencies (there’s an iPhone app too, of course). I’ve seen regular use of this device transform skin from lackluster to lustrous, particularly around baggy eyes, necklines, and fatigued jawlines. Slathering a thick layer of gold jelly over your skin (part of the process) also amps the luxury experience. (ZIIP Beauty Nano Current Device, $495)

So there you have it, my essential foundation for a beauty regimen formulated over years of work and experimentation. As much as I’m an advocate for quality treatments with skilled practitioners (my black book is ever expanding), the lasting results of taking beauty and self care into your home, or with you while you travel, are uncontested. Even if you hire a landscaper for the garden, you still need to water the houseplants, know what I mean?

Oh and please, feed my obsession for exploring the beauty terrain, share the tools you love with us below.

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  • j’avoue que ce genre d’articles me semble complètement de la science fiction.
    j’hydrate ma peau, je ne vais pas trop au soleil et voilà.
    je fais 10 ans de moins que mon âge me dit on.

  • Sunny Side September, 27 2017, 12:07 / Reply

    Merci pour le fou rire ! C’est pour quand la BD Beauty star trek made in L.A ? Et le pétage de bulbe c’est combien ?

  • And where are the treatments / products a person in the real world on a realistic salary can afford, I’m not often outraged- but seriously!

  • I read this article and just as a lot of other readers was a bit shocked and maybe even a little upset. I was wondering why, as I see a lot of expensive advertisements online and even though I don’t like it, it doesn’t upset me. I think for me, as a long time reader, I was a bit upset about the tone of the article “regular use of LED lights are essential”… I just don’t think buying machines for hundreds and hundreds of dollars to diminish your expression lines are essential. For me this blog is a safe place to reflect on real life (I became a vegetarian after the discussion thread about fur a couple of years ago, the blog has really helped me in realizing that beauty and perfection aren’t the same thing, and “create your own definition of succes” is a mantra I learned here). In this light this article makes me sad. I don’t think beauty and really thought provoking content are mutually exclusive, but it here it feels like its solely about outer appearance and spending huge amounts of money on it.

  • Natalie October, 1 2017, 9:24

    Hi Nathalie (great name) – I totally hear you. The thing is, beauty is such a huge realm that we are constantly learning about, experimenting with, and exploring. This particular story was the personal account from our friend Anna, who’s super knowledgable in the product / treatment / beauty world. We were specifically curious about the things she does at home in lieu of spending a ton of money on treatments. Every person has different priorities, desires, and curiosities about, well about many things, but in this case beauty. We’re trying to cater and explore as many of them as possible. I’d love to hear what kind of beauty stories you’re interested in seeing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts xx

  • Could you please provide citations (ideally PubMed) to support the use of these devices? It would be really cool if they worked, but without data I have trouble believing health claims. Additionally, I would like to know about potential side effects (I’m a medical student). Without data, I’m afraid we might be wandering into GOOP Body Vibes sticker territory.
    In short, if something is “scientifically proven,” please provide citations to back that claim.

  • We’re just giving Anna, who is a passionate beauty explorer as well as a licensed lymphatic drainage practitioner, the space to talk about products she loves and has belief in their effectiveness. She’s sharing the love / knowledge for you to take should it interest you!

  • Ce serait en effet intéressant d’avoir des sources, est-ce que Anna pourrait nous en dire plus en commentaires? Non pas pour chipoter, mais je ne trouve pas l’info non plus du coup il faudra peut-être éditer l’article pour ôter le “scientifically proved”. De ce que j’ai déjà pu lire sur cette matière, c’est surtout la chaleur qui est l’agent actif plus que la pierre.

  • Yuck, I hate this kind of snake oil.

  • I’m sorry to hear that!

  • Je suis complètement d’accord avec le commentaire de Nina! Pour dire la vérité, j’ai été choquée par son contenu. Et pourrant, je suis une lectrice de très longue date et il est intéressant de s’ouvrir à de nouvelles réalités et produits… mais là franchement!

  • We do our best to explore all products, high and low, near and far, basic and bizarre!

  • Michele Welz September, 27 2017, 1:30 / Reply

    I agree with Nina. I would imagine these suggestions are not helpful to the majority of your readers who actually have to pay for the items and don’t get them for free because they are putting them on their blog.

  • Hey! We’re not receiving any of these items for free. The story was written by our friend Anna (as stated in the credits) who is a passionate beauty explorer as well as a licensed lymphatic drainage practitioner with her own studio in Los Angeles. We fully recognize the big price tag of some of them (also stated in the piece), but also understand that these amounts and more could easily be spent on the various treatments people seek! These are products that work for Anna, she’s just sharing the love / knowledge should it interest you!

  • I love this! As a beauty obsessed myself this is so interesting. I’m always so product focused that you forget your skin can benefit from other kinds of therapies. I had a dermatologist once have me use the LED light for my over freckled face and didn’t do it long enough to really see results. I’ve been debating getting the Neutrogena mask for some time and now I’m getting it. Anna rules and now I want that ZIIP Nanocurrent too! But I’ll have to wait on that one. xo

  • I am disappointed, not by the price tag of the items, but by the fact that you are, albeit indirectly, advertising for these things without any knowledge or proper research in the field. It took me all of 5 seconds to google two random terms to figure out that infra red treatments are bogus (no health benefits) and LED masks although harmless are not backed by any scientific studies (that are not performed by the companies selling them).

    ” Anna, she’s just sharing the love / knowledge should it interest you” is not an excuse. You have editors. There is a responsibility with an editor in a reputable publication. Please take that responsibility more seriously.

  • Hello Emmeline and everyone! While this piece was commissioned as a personal approach to at home beauty from our friend and practitioner, Anna, and as stated in the intro is being presented as a suggestion, Anna has sent through a handful of scientific articles backing her personal belief in the safety and effectiveness of these products. I have checked these links for accuracy and relevancy


    As a safe nonablative, non-invasive, technique for facial rejuvenation.

    Studies supporting the positive effect of electrical stimulation by MCD in the acceleration of wound healing suggest that further research is justified and necessary.

    Micro current as accelerated healing dependent on ES waveform employed.


    LED therapy in the treatment of photoaged skin, also here.

    LED to treat acne, rosacea, photo aging, alopecia areta and androgenetic alopecia.

    LED as demonstrated efficacy and safety for skin rejuvenation and intradermal collagen increase when compared with controls.

    LED as healing from NASA here and here.

    The application of light therapy with the use of NASA LEDs will significantly improve the medical care that is available to astronauts on long-term space missions.


    FDA Approved.

    Far Infrared Therapy for cardiovascular, autoimmune, and other chronic health problems

    Infrared therapy for chronic low back pain.

    Far-Infrared Therapy promotes Nerve Repair

    FDA Substantial Equivalence

    Similar to how we always approach beauty, we use both personal experiences and professional opinions to explore the ever-expanding field of beauty and wellness. One person’s approach isn’t necessarily going to work for everyone, so whether or not you are inclined to participate in certain explorations is up to you!

  • I get the comments that these are expensive but as someone who recently discovered LED technology I think the outlay is worthwhile. I’ve always had spots so bought the neutrogena mask (this isn’t too expensive). I was so pleased with the results, I invested in the more portable Foreo device. I can honestly say if I use this on an emerging spot, it either doesnt develop into a spot at all or it goes in a day. I’ve spent a fortune on products during over the years but these LEDs are the best money I’ve spent I think. I’m saving up for the Zip now. I hope its as good as the reports I’ve read!!!

  • Just wanted to voice my agreement with people asking for evidence and citations. You can’t have it both ways: claiming these products are scientifically proven AND THEN responding to reader concerns with, “Oh it’s just spreading love/ knowledge/ Anna’s personal testimony!” If it’s really just a subjective review that’s fine, but don’t bring NASA into it. And if it’s scientifically proven, it shouldn’t be hard for someone who does this professionally to provide some links. Isn’t that the whole point of bringing on a licensed expert — that she has done the research and can share the findings instead of making your readers track down medical studies?

  • Just shared a handful of sources Anna sent over in a previous comment – thank you!

  • Je me contente de mon simple “beauty regiment” qui donne les resultats escomptes a l’age que j’ai. Cet article m’a donne le tournis !

  • I have just checked the links to scientific articles provided by your invited writer and those are far from what a scientif articles is. Some of them are just articles reviewing the topic or providing opinions rather any scientific data. There are a few articles in unknow journals with some type of results, extremely limited, one of them 3 lines in a text. I am a scientist, I know what I am talking about when we discuss scientific articles. I think that it is OK to present any treatment but
    please do not introduce the benefits under the umbrella of scientific results if results does not exist. Please just be more careful with the statements. Science is based on facts and rigurous comparison and analysis, not just a bunch of patients or clients that do respond to a treatment.

  • Perso j’adorerais avoir le super tapis , les autres produits pourquoi pas , essayer ,
    Cela me tente , il faut savoir évoluer !
    Cela montre surtout à quel point on vit son corps differemment , à L.A , culte de la beauté , de la
    santé , ce pays me fait rêver , c’est loin de nous , je pense que c’est nous qui sommes en retard !

    Enjoy , Garance!

  • le “culte de la beauté” ne me semble pas forcément un progrès et une “avance” par rapport à nous, mais bien au contraire un esclavage.

  • I love this article so much! Thank you Anna for sharing your passion! Searched NASA LED on google and they are all for it!

  • I enjoyed this post (thanks Anna!) but it’s also been a really interesting comment thread.

    I don’t find it at all offensive to have someone recommend expensive products. As a consumer, it’s up to me to decide how much money I want to spend on beauty, and to do independent research on any recommendations I hear. I found this post interesting because all the products being recommended were things I hadn’t heard about before – it doesn’t mean I have to buy them.

    But given the overwhelming response that these products aren’t in most people’s budgets, perhaps Anna could also recommend 3 or 4 of her favorite beauty products that are a bit more affordable?

    x x x

  • Yes, I appreciate your perspective! And will definitely see if Anna can share a few favorite products that are lower priced. I know the Neutrogena LED mask is more reasonably priced, but only lasts for 30 uses before you have to replace it. Thanks Belle x

  • Thanks for sharing Anna’s point of view. Probably not for my actual budget but I’m always happy to discover new beauty philosophy, it inspires me :) – I believe it would be interesting to hear Anna on a PMF podcast.

  • Right there with you! Not necessarily things I can afford, but happy to learn about them should I find the opportunity to use them one day. Also – will definitely explore having Anna on the podcast! She’s super awesome :)

  • I look away from this site for a few weeks and Wow! what a bunch of whiners your readers have all become!! This is a lifestyle site, not a scientific magazine – nor is it a bible!! If you are interested in the things she mentions in the article go research them yourself! no one is forcing you to use them. Do they need to certify the fashion won’t chafe your thighs before they publish them.. Merde!

  • Sorry Mary but Garance’s readers are critical thinkers that share in conversation, appreciation, delight and interest in balanced content that goes deeper than the surface.

    Your comment: “I look away from this site for a few weeks and Wow! what a bunch of whiners your readers have all become!!” is a comment that does not welcome comments, questions or constructive suggestions. In fact, it sounds a bit Trump-ish (sorry).

    We must remember that we are all among friends and you are talking to loyal readers who were largely there from the beginning as Garance built her presence and blog with her wonderful personality so many years ago. She has vested readers in its continued success that checked in daily – and not once in a few weeks. Regardless of how many changes the site undergoes or is renamed, we remain true!


  • Comment avez-vous fait pour devenir un simple supermarché alors que vous pouviez grandir comme voix singulière ?

  • I’m sorry, maybe I’m too European to buy into all this hocuspocus. Sure i love beauty too. But throwing hundreds of euros (or dollars) into these vague products, all for the sake of better skin… Even if they do work.

    There are more important things in life. I like atelierdore for keeping it real, I come back for Garance’s sincere letters. But sometimes it feels I’m reading GOOP instead of atelierdore. I feel that atelierdore is more and more catering towards people who drown in money, and I feel not ‘part of it’ anymore.

  • Sorry you feel that way! We try our best to inclusive, exploring beauty and fashion along the style / trend / price spectrum. A couple weeks ago our shopping cart was all about beauty on a budget. Lots of beauty to be explored, would love to hear what you’re interested in, specifically.

    x Natalie

  • I’m not a scientist, but I was reccomended the infrared biomat for my chronic back pain and invested in after doing some research. After a few months of use it has really changed my life. If the large size is too expensive, good to note they do come in smaller sizes that are less expensive! Also very comforting in the winter months. Curious about the LEDs! Thanks for sharing!

  • Glad to hear it’s worked for you! x

  • D’après mon kiné, ce genre de matériel est de la fumisterie totale. A mourir de rire….

  • What works for some might not work for others! x

  • Nan mais sans déconner?!!!!????!!!

  • Thanks for sharing Anna !! And thanks to Atelier Doré to give “a tribune” to all women who have a lot to learn from xxxx

  • Polémique sur la beauté , alors que toutes les femmes ne rêvent que de cela , séduire , être belles ! Si jamais il existe des produits innovants , pourquoi rejeter en bloc !
    Le temps est passé des soins vite fait pour se consacrer à tout sauf à soi , l’esclavage c’était
    cette époque , révolue .

  • Désolée mais pour le coup tout ceci ne me parle absolument pas. J’en resterai donc à mes recettes de grand-mère qui sont à mon sens beaucoup plus efficace. Ajouter à cela une bonne dose de fous rires, de bienveillance et de zen attitude et de temps à autre un bon massage ; ainsi, pas besoin d’investir dans du matériel hyper high-tech pour avoir l’air reposé et le teint frais.

  • To each their own! Your techniques sound great, whether they stand alone or are in addition to creams, products, and tools :) x Natalie

  • The first article about microcurrent facial rejuvenation cited by Natalie was published by a private consulting company hired by the cosmetic company. Maybe they’re doing good science, maybe they’re not. They don’t have the need to account for the quality of their research like the Food & Drug Administration, for example, and the research did not test any long-term effects of using this product. It’s scientific validity is pretty shaky.

    Just my two cents. Sorry, guys! I think you all do great work. I just think it’s important to assess a product’s credibility before investing in it.

  • Je rejoins liz… où est donc passée la page pleine d’humour et d’esprit que j’aimais tant ouvrir?

  • We are still here! Beauty, and life in general, is multifaceted. This is just one woman’s take. x

  • I have to say that this article (from my point of view) shows what this blog has became over the past years : a fashion/beauty magazine like the paper ones. Elitist and Advertising.

    The problem is not the subject : to me this kind of tools are not different that the anti-aging lifting creams and other claims in the beauty industry (seriously where is the “science” in the classic L’oréal cream ? ). It is all about fake science to make you buy the “happiness and success in a bottle”.

    What’s more annoying/sad to me is the fact that what I loved about this blog has mostly disappeared : the point of view, the sarcastic eye, the a “little bit on the side” position of Garance on beauty trends, fashion bla blas and life in general.
    It seems to me that this “pas de côté” is missing from your stories.
    In this particular article for exemple there is no critics or thoughts or distance or perspective on this trends, on this tools but it seems just to be a commercial.

    I come here for a point of view and/or an analysis on woman life which include the topics of beauty, style, success, love, life…. not for seller speeches.

  • Sometimes I fell like Atelier Doré lacks a member: a pharmacist with a passion for fashion and beauty but who also has the scientific knowledge to properly review the claim made by the brands. It would be a great add to the team.

  • I agree with Marriet, Violette and many other readers,

    Je suis d’accord avec Mariet, Violette et tant d’autres..

    Where is the real Garance? Où est passée la vraie Garance?

    Growing is one thing, turning into a cash machine is another story.

  • Hey! I think this article is great. I’m glad you are all developing and I am all for Garance being allowed to explore. Keep up the authenticity!!

  • Lindyl Crabb September, 29 2017, 11:45 / Reply

    I loved this piece. My facialist and acupuncturist both use some of these principles in their practice and they WORK.

    On another note, I think that Atelier Dore serves to inspire and introduce ideas – it is not a science blog. Thoughtful readers can take this inspiration and do their own research. Having an open mind and staying informed is so important.

  • Natalie October, 1 2017, 9:13

    Graciously said – thank you Lindyl <3

  • ouh là là !! pétage de plombs sous le soleil californien . Je vous aime beaucoup Garance , mais quelques fois il faut garder un peu de distance et son libre arbitre . Un peu d’humour, une bonne alimentation, pas trop de cigarette et du bon vin devraient faire l’affaire pour nous les femmes :))

  • Maryanne October, 2 2017, 8:58 / Reply

    I was going to buy the LED mask and went to Amazon to read the reviews. Almost all the reviews are bad. I wonder if she has a secret way to use it. People complain that it doesn’t work at all, that is too big and some mentioned that it broke after 2 months of use.

  • A.S., LED lights have quite a few studies showing skin regeneration results- they’re one of the better researched modalities. I just googled “LED skin study” and a whole bunch of studies came up (I routinely google studies). You can also do a Google Scholar search if you want to narrow the results to just studies.
    At any rate, here are a couple:

  • I agree with Marietta about how sometimes the way things are presented on this site now are a little more like a commercial for products.

    I’m a long-time fan of the site, and this is my first time commenting. I love the different perspectives that all the team members share in posts–they’re wonderful! But I do have to admit that sometimes it feels so jarring when I’m reading about a rather personal experience (like one of Garance’s trips) that features certain products from the trip sponsor. That’s happened more and more in the last few months, to the point where I feel like I’m reading the site with a more skeptical eye, rather than just being open and embracing.

  • I’m always intrigued, and yet at-home lasering makes me nervous…

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