About Face -- My Journey From Fear To Facial Fan Girl

"Exfoliating gets rid of dead skin," Tony told me. "If you're applying expensive products to your skin but not exfoliating," he said, "you're probably just wasting money."
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Every time I decide to indulge and visit a spa, I book a massage. And after every visit I tell myself that next time I'll book a facial -- my skin desperately needs it. But nonetheless, time and again, I find myself booking a massage instead. I'm paranoid about people irritating my skin, I'm not particularly enthused about extractions (too painful!), and despite what I know to be the incredible effects of facials (I am, of course, encouraged by the thought of a youthful, glowing complexion), I just never manage to make it over the hump to book myself some much needed skin care.

Well, this was the day that my facial-free streak ended.

I landed at LAX with a stretch of day ahead of me to fill as I pleased; my boyfriend was booked with work meetings before our weekend of fun in LA together commenced.

I had heard about Face Place before -- famous for their killer great facials (hence the name -- this isn't just a spa with a smattering of services, this is a place for your face,and your face only) -- and adored by celebs. I determined that if I was going to get a facial, this was the place to do it.

So finding myself in Los Angeles with time to spare, I decided it was my moment to finally indulge my skin and give my face the TLC it deserved at the place especially designed for just that.

And what can I say other than this: I'm officially a facial convert.


I had the good fortune of getting my signature facial from Tony Silla himself -- co-owner with husband Paul Rogers. Tony was warm, friendly, and seemingly more knowledgeable about my skin than the last dermatologist I visited. (And I'm not gushing simply because Tony couldn't believe I was in my 30s).

Once Tony stepped in the room my nerves were calmed and concerns immediately allayed -- I'm not sure if it was the endless rave reviews I had just scrolled through on the website, an intuitive knowing, or the welcoming, serene aroma of the space, infusing me with that classic spa calm, but I melted into a space of trust and just gave myself permission to relax and enjoy.

What followed wasn't what I remembered about facials -- no steam spray at my face (this makes you sweat, Tony tells me, and the goal is to moisturize), no painful extractions (Tony gently used the pads of his fingers -- a technique he seems to have mastered), and no facial massage (that actually loosens the skin, Tony said, and we don't want that!). But my care was exquisitely delivered as I lay there wrapped in a warm blanket (not just a blanket -- a warm one) and chatted with Tony about my skin, my boyfriend, my work, and Tony's move from Toronto to LA 20 years ago to buy Face Place with Paul after years as adoring clients of the business.

I'll admit as the time wound down I started to fear what my face would look like once the anti-aging zinc- and vitamin C-soaked mask was removed and the galvanizing currents were finished their rigorous detoxification process. But one look in the mirror and life as I knew it --- the skin-neglecting one that is -- was over. There was no way I was skimping on this again.

After my treatment I asked Tony and Paul for their top tips for skincare -- what did I absolutely have to do to keep this up, make my skin look better, and fight acne and aging and sun damage? What didn't I know that I had to know?

Here's what they said:

  • Exfoliate!: "Exfoliating gets rid of dead skin," Tony told me. "If you're applying expensive products to your skin but not exfoliating," he said, "you're probably just wasting money."

  • Your face ends at your décolletage: Tony explained: "Treat your neck and chest like you would your face -- use your face products on them, too!"
  • It's never too late to start taking care of your skin: I admit I started to feel as though I had waited too long - but they assured me that's not true, and based on the results I got, I now believe them.
  • It's all about consistent behavior: "You can't use a skincare product for a bit, stop for a while, and start up again and expect the product to work," Paul shared. "You get results when you use your skincare products consistently." This seems like a no brainer, but worth emphasizing.
  • And, given Tony and Paul's obvious love for each other and effusive, sweet remarks about working together ("we've been together 24/7 since 1997!" Paul told me--and that's just as business partners), it seemed I should ask the couple their secret to a long lasting love like theirs, too.

    "It's all about understanding and compromise," Paul advised. "You can't get too crazy over the small things. And we have each other's back. "

    I witnessed how Paul and Tony's love permeated their business, too--they see clients as "family," they both told me, and because the place has been open since 1972, they have third generation clients. Family, indeed.

    I was off from my treatment toting a bag full of Face Place products that have thankfully kept up Tony's magical work, and needless to say, I'm well over the facial-booking hump now; I'm already planning my next trip back.

    For more about Face Place, click here. (And p.s. Face Place is in NYC and London, too!)

    And if you're looking for inspiration and concrete practices for living your best life, check out Alexis's free interview series by clicking here.

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