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8 Healing, Holistic Facials to Refresh Your Skin

Blending New Age beliefs with state-of-the-art treatments, facialist healers are the new beauty gurus.


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Practices such as meditation, crystal healing, and Reiki have become mainstays in the health and wellness worlds, so it’s no surprise to find a new school of facialists incorporating energy work into their regimes. These facialist healers claim that using various techniques to clear “blocks,” or imbalances in the biofield, help stimulate the body’s immune system, better allowing it to heal and rejuvenate itself. So instead of the traditional cream-and-steam facials, they use treatments like craniosacral therapy (gentle manipulation of the skeleton and connective tissues) and Marma therapy (an Ayurvedic style of reflexology). The goal: a holistic approach to achieving that elusive shine from within—a cleansing of the pores and the soul.

Facialist Terri Lawton, who counts Zoë Kravitz, Michelle Williams, and Demi Moore among her clients, has been incorporating energy work into her facials for more than 20 years. “I bring the skin to life, so to speak,” she says. To this end, she uses a combination of carefully chosen cleansers, serums, moisturizers, and masks, along with microcurrent, craniosacral, and energy work—she can even release stress held by facial muscles from inside your mouth. “My intuition is strong and focused,” she says. “I’m unwinding certain stagnant energies to balance and uplift the skin.” Lawton is extremely discerning about new clients and requires a questionnaire to see if it’s a good fit—energetically, of course. 90 minutes from $305;

Patricia Vernhes provides sonic facials and body treatments at her new studio in Brooklyn—and every other month at her home near Joshua Tree, California. Well versed in ancient, holistic medical practices like the Indian tradition of Ayurveda and Native American medicine (both are based on the belief that illness stems from an imbalance in a person’s energy or life force), Vernhes is also proficient in craniosacral work, Reiki, and sound therapy, where vibrations from Tibetan brass and quartz bowls and tuning forks help de-stress. “Everything in the universe has a frequency, including us,” she says, adding that precisely administered sounds can help “rinse” toxins from the muscular and nervous systems. She also uses mists, milks, oils, and masks from her own organic, botanicals-based product line, Mojave Desert Skin Shield. 60 minutes, $250;

Williamsburg-based holistic aesthetician Melanie Herring has a multi-pronged approach to improving skin. “When someone comes in with a skin issue, it’s really the body communicating that something is out of balance,” she says. “My job is to help them get in touch with their own innate ability to heal.” Before clients arrive at her space, Herring uses tarot cards to meditate on their energy. After they settle in, she gently cradles their head while they describe their present emotional and physical state. Then she relaxes them with Reiki, deep facial and scalp massage, and lymph and Marma work, as well as homemade herb-infused oils, balms, and broths. “The goal,” she says, “is to relieve tension, which can lead to wrinkles and furrows.” 120 minutes, $200;

Mashell Tabe lives in North Dakota, but sees entertainment- and fashion-industry clients in New York twice a month. She describes herself as a “way-shower.” “I merely reawaken that knowing which is already in you,” she says. Tabe acts as both therapist and aesthetician, helping clients gain clarity and insight on issues that might be holding them back; shed negativity, or “density”; and “bring in more light.” It’s this kind of energetic light, she says, that helps heal the body—and the skin. On that more corporeal plane, Tabe employs microneedling and mesotherapy (tiny injections) to push nutrients and vitamins into skin, which aids rejuvenation. 120 minutes, $695;

Models, actors, and media types flock to the Take Care Face & Body jewel-box-sized salons in Los Angeles and New York City. In L.A., Civiello Polier’s sessions can include Reiki, meditation, chanting, and angel work—when healers call in other beings, or “ascended masters,” for guidance. Clients leave feeling “relaxed and bright-eyed.” She’s humble about her healing powers: “It’s just an ability to see the person, see what they are going through, hold space for them, and watch their process.” In New York, Clark addresses blockages with a powerful combination of craniosacral and microcurrent work that she says enables her to connect to the central nervous system, which can directly influence stress responses in the skin. 90 minutes, $400;

Late-night texts from clients in desperate need of her “magic hands” are routine for Anastasia Achilleos. A favorite in the beauty industry, her hybrid healing facial combines craniosacral and energy work, connective-tissue release, lymphatic drainage, and deep massage. Says the Knightsbridge-based aesthetician: “I look at how a person sits, breathes or doesn’t breathe, how tight the tissue feels, how much fluid is stagnating, how they hold tension and emotion in the abdomen, where they store worry.” Everything is connected, she says. Achilleos sees clients one day a week at the Lanesborough Club & Spa in Knightsbridge, and her method is also available on spa menus at the Anassa and Almyra hotels in her native Cyprus. 90 minutes, $655;

A tune-up for your soul that happens to smooth wrinkles and refine your skin? That’s how London-based prana practitioner (prana is Sanskrit for “life force” or “cosmic energy”) Toby Aspin describes his face- and body-rejuvenation treatments. Holding his hands about six inches above the body, he does a “scan and sever,” in which he searches for emotional and mental blocks in the energy field. Clients report feeling heat or cold, a gentle breeze, or even stronger sensations, which Aspin attributes to pranic energy interacting with their aura. “I’m removing the spiritual, emotional, and mental gunk that has manifested as physical-aging milestones like lines or age spots,” he says. 35 minutes, around $135; or

“A lot of the work I do is internal,” says Erin McGowan, an in-demand but under-the-radar facialist healer who recently moved her practice from outside Washington, D.C., to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. McGowan’s process starts with conversation, to get a sense of what is happening on the inside. Then, she uses intuitive touch and massage on facial pressure points to help bring clients to what she terms a “childlike” state: “Your mind isn’t racing—you’re at peace.” On the outside, she uses microcurrent technology, which she says changes skin on a cellular level. 90 minutes, $350;


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