How much will celebrities pay to make sure photographers capture them in their best light on one of Hollywood’s biggest nights? Apparently, 2 Gs. Stylish heard that Golden Globe nominees including Michelle Williams, Claire Foy, Jessica Chastain and others are flocking to the Beverly Hills pop-up clinic of dermatologist Dr. David Colbert for his signature treatments, including the brand-new Runway Facial — which, at $2,000, is roughly the price of a coveted Chloë handbag!
Colbert’s patient roster reads like a who’s who of Hollywood. He was once dispatched to the set of the 2010 thriller Salt to treat Angelina Jolie, and he advised his client — and friend — Caitriona Balfe through the surgical scenes in Outlander. A quick glance at his Instagram reveals pics of the top doc with Naomi Watts, Taylor Schilling and Emilia Clarke.
So when the good doctor told me he’d cooked up a new mega facial, I had to try it. (I’ve long been a fan of his Triad Facial, a 12- to 20-minute microdermabrasion/laser/chemical peel that leaves one with skin akin to a luminous baby’s.)
First, let me tell you, the Runway Facial is not an express treatment — it takes about an hour — and there are many, many steps.
To begin with, Dr. Colbert’s associate Dr. Tagupa cleansed my skin to remove makeup and whatever other grime might be lurking. Then, a very thick clear gel was spread over my entire face and neck to protect surface skin from the extreme heat emitted by the eTwo Sublime radio frequency tightening device. This device is basically a super gentle (read: no pre-medicating with Valium or any swelling or redness later) version of skin-tightening treatments such as Ultherapy or Thermage. RF energy heats tissue to stimulate “collagen remodeling” in the lower levels of the skin. It felt like teeny-tiny sharp pinches that at moments were excruciating.
Just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, the gel was removed and we moved on to microdermabrasion, which aimed to suck gunk out of pores and rid skin of the dead cells that prevent products from penetrating to do their job and even worse, make your complexion look dull.
Next up: laser toning. A machine emitting 5,000 light pulses a minute claims to stimulate collagen and cell growth to increase skin firmness and elasticity, smoothing the tone and texture of the complexion and “resulting in instant rejuvenation of the face and neck.” The laser felt hot on my skin, and it sounded like heavy raindrops — kind of like if you were next to a window during a monsoon. It lasted for only about five minutes. And then the real fun began.
A “light” chemical peel was applied with a giant cotton swab. The treatment usually entails a 20 percent glycolic peel, but since I used retinol the night before (#oops!), I got a customized 10 percent glycolic dose. To keep the stinging from feeling too intense, Dr. Tagupa held a fan over my face for two minutes until the solution was neutralized and removed. Then the calming began. And this part was cool!
One of the cellulose sheet masks from the Colbert MD line was draped over my face. In a move I’ve never experienced (or heard of) before, a handheld LED red light device was massaged over the mask, driving ingredients deeper and heightening their anti-inflammatory properties.
And what a glow! It’s three days later and I didn’t need any concealer this morning. Plus, my trouble spots, my neck and jawline, look smoother and seriously more taut. Turns out firming and tightening is the real takeaway; it’s no wonder Dr. Colbert did this treatment on the knees and, um, other body parts of Victoria’s Secret models before the VS Fashion Show in Paris in December, thus its “Runway” name!
The bottom line: If you have an hour to spare, a threshold for mild pain and 2,000 bucks in your beauty budget, run, don’t walk to the New York Dermatology Group. Or … just invest in a good firming cream and do a sheet mask once a week to tighten up.
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