Prior to my experience at Skin Laundry—the international chain of laser facial spas that offer 15-minute breakout-busting treatments—lasers were responsible for the most painful beauty experiences of my adult life. Namely laser hair removal. I purchased a set of five hair removal sessions back in 2015 and actually couldn’t bring myself to go to the last session because of the pain (it hurt worse than my tattoos!). Apparently there's numbing cream they can use before the laser? I don't know if this is real or a myth, but they certainly didn't use it on me.
So when I was flying from New York to LA last month and looking to add a quick and effective facial to my itinerary, I wasn't exactly bouncing out of my middle seat when a friend recommended a treatment of only lasers. I'd been envisioning a relaxing, 75-minute steam-and-cream situation—not 15 minutes of bacteria burning and protective glasses-wearing.
For background, my skin is "OK"—pretty cooperative on a daily basis but suffers from extreme dryness and hormonal acne. I had assumed that joining the Glossier team would magically rid me of my monthly chin Volcano Zit, but turns out this is the toughest type of acne to cure. Cool! I got one facial once at Equinox and asked the facialist how to prevent the dirt in my pores that she was so outwardly revolted by. But she just responded, "This is what happens when you live in New York, dirt everywhere!" So I wrote off facials as a preventative measure and Volcano Zit continued to rise and erupt, on schedule. Skin Laundry has such a killer intro offer, I couldn't not go: Your first facial is free. So good I actually booked an appointment from the plane.
I am so, so pleased to report that it didn't hurt. The nurse told me the laser would feel like "small rubberbands popping on your skin" (I'VE HEARD THAT LINE BEFORE AT THE LASER HAIR REMOVAL PLACE AND IT WAS A LIE) but the sensation didn't even make me flinch. Not bad at all. Now, for the part that has me totally addicted: You can hear and smell when the laser is going over an area with a lot of dirt or bacteria. It's so satisfying. The laser will crackle and pop and I envision sparks flying in certain spots. She did two passes over my face with the laser to blast all of the dirt and bacteria out of my pores, then one pass with a super bright light that stimulates collagen production and reduces redness. Fifteen minutes later, I was done.
The one downside of the treatment is that it can be pretty drying—I was traveling, so I had my army of dry-skin products with me. Immediately after the facial, I applied Glossier's Super Bounce, Sunday Riley UFO (on my chin only), and my Belif Peat Miracle Revital Cream mixed with a few drops of Fresh Seaberry Skin Nutrition Booster. If I ever see a hint of redness in between sessions (yes I re-upped for more—the killer intro deal works), I'll use Glossier's Super Pure to calm the inflammation. From time to time, I'll use Biologique Recherche P50 V, too.
Six laser playdates later (some appointments I did nearly back to back; others I let weeks lapse between) and I'm more or less addicted. My moisturizer sank in better, my makeup went on smoother, and I felt like I could get away with much less makeup. But most importantly, it's been two months since I've seen Volcano Zit. Screw the intro deal; leave the satisfying crackling at the door—getting rid of Volcano Zit is the only selling point Skin Laundry needs.
Amy is Glossier's Head of Integrated Marketing and Communication. Photo via ITG.
Conquer acne without ever leaving home: facialist Renée Rouleau advises.