“Your skin is not the same all over your face. It changes with your emotions, your age, your environment, and events of the moment.” — Erno Laszlo
I couldn’t imagine a better way of opening this article than with that quote, from a man who not only understood skin, but was aware of its nature. For skin is always in a constant state of flux as we age, as we feel and as the day goes on. His legacy lives on today through his renowned products and facials, which you will learn more about today.
I was lucky enough to experience (for an hour at least) what it would feel like to be in the hands of Erno Laszlo — the man who perfected the complexions of Hollywood’s most-beloved stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Katharine Hepburn and more. He started his career as a dermatologist, opening the first Erno Laszlo The Institute in Hungary in 1927, then in New York in 1939.
I ventured out to the newest Institute location on West Broadway, nestled among the chic SoHo boutiques away from all the heavy-footed traffic of passerbyers. Its sleek black and white logo makes it hard to miss, peppered with ticking clock motifs signifying Laszlo’s “Clocking” system (“AM” skin types lack oil, having dry skin; “PM” types have excess oil) which determines your skin type.
Check out our review of one of Marilyn Monroe’s faves: Erno Laszlo Phormula 3-9 Repair Serum and Transphuse Line Refining Cream —> HERE!
But, as you walk inside you are instantly greeted by a winding red staircase circling a towering crystal chandelier taking center stage.
I patiently waited for my appointment (arriving 15-minutes early out of sheer excitement), until I was delicately tapped on the shoulder by the Institute’s skin therapist, Eliana. Before we began, she ushered me beneath the stairs in the back to talk about my skin.
For some reason I felt compelled to tell her all of my skincare vices: overzealous picking, forgetting to exfoliate (sometimes) and finding it hard to jump on the cleansing oil bandwagon — I guess I felt calm in the hands of such a professional.
After we figured out my skin type and concerns, I followed her down the red carpet-like staircase, fantasizing about bumping into Marilyn as she came out emanating an arresting Erno Laszlo glow. What can I say? This place brings out the mystic of glamour from years past.
I’ve had facials before, but never like this: I was given a comfy Velcro towel, headband and plush, white terrycloth slippers. Not to mention a dainty jewelry box to put all of my accessories in before the hour-long facial began.
Once donning my facial attire, I opened the door to find Eliana smiling, ready to take on the challenge that was my face. I have sensitive/combination skin with an oily T-Zone, normal to dry cheeks and some acne around my chin and forehead.
Eliana examined my face under a light (much like in an interrogation scene), and I immediately felt guilty as if she was going to find something terribly wrong with me, my skin… in a sense, me!
She quickly got to work, shut off the light and put on some steam (and soothing music) to open up my pores. She explained every step, washing my face with the Anti Blemish Beta Wash ($45.00) since I told her I was allergic to nuts (the Phelityl Pre-Cleansing Oil ($45.00) was out of the question), constantly patting my face with warm towels after each exfoliation process.
As she ritually cleansed my skin, she would break moments of silence (the Duchess of Windsor didn’t dub it “the House of Silence” for nothing) with skincare tips, like the importance of toner! Not only is it essential for my skin type, but it helps balance the pH levels in my skin. The Light Controlling Lotion ($45.00) would soon become my newfound friend.
Here are some of the goodies I took home:
Light Control Lotion (Slightly Dry to Oily Skin)
Dr. Laszlo’s original controlling preparation reduces surface oil and refines skin to eliminate dullness. It tightens pores, evens texture and gently exfoliates skin by loosening dead skin cells. Antiseptic clove oil eliminates bacteria and glycerin naturally binds moisture to the skin.
Oil Control Night Treatment ($45.00)
Is an astringent-type acne treatment with antioxidants and citric acid, zinc oxide and silica to calm, exfoliate and repair the skin. This nighttime oil-controlling toner absorbs excess oil overnight without drying to prevent breakouts, heal blemishes and soothe the skin.
You shake it before applying it to problem areas on your face. It is meant to be used at night because it turns a milky white shade where applied. Unlike all of those other famous acne spot treatments, it does not dry out the skin by stripping it of its natural moisture, but purifies by absorbing excess oil and nourishes with a mineral-rich formula.
Anti Blemish Beta Purifying Mask ($50.00)
Eliana used this green mask to remove excess oil and dirt to heal and prevent breakouts. It contains a potent mix of botanical and antibacterial ingredients to exfoliate, tone and moisturize blemished skin while reducing redness and inflammation. Left on for 10-minutes, my skin instantly felt a cooling sensation from the peppermint and eucalyptus, as kaolin clay diminishes shine and brightens skin.
I am a big fan of extractions, as I have found that more and more skin therapists are supporters of getting all the bacteria out, or, in layman’s terms, popping pimples! Eliana is trained in using an extractor tool and lancer to remove my stubborn, deeply imbedded pores on my chin.
“You have no pores!” she exclaimed. I unknowingly thanked her, but soon found out that she meant I have stubborn pores that don’t come to a head. Therefore, extractions are a necessity for me.
After all the primping and prodding, Eliana ended my session with some light therapy and high frequency violet rays to help enhance my treatments and ward off bacteria — both painless but otherwise beneficial to your facial.
I walked away a little red, of course (due to the areas on my face that had been extracted), but by the next day my skin had resumed to its proper coloration. I could feel that my skin had just experienced a luxurious treatment. My skin felt smooth, refined, moisturized and clean.
If you are interested in trying out a Erno Laszlo facial, The Institute offers membership programs of regularly scheduled, sequenced treatments to deliver optimal results. Clients are invited to join The Institute Membership and benefit from a year-round skin maintenance program closely supervised by a skin therapist.
The knowledge that is obtained from the regular skin assessments gives the skin therapist the vital information needed to create a fully customized treatment program for each individual. You can reach The Institute at (212) 300-4111 or by email | TheInstitute@ernolaszlo.com. And, of course, their website: www.ernolaszlo.com.
Are you beauties interested in receiving facials from Erno Laszlo The Institute? Where do you normally get your facials?
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– Theresa Romano
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