The Best Facial Is A Fast Facial


What makes a good facial actually good? Results, no doubt. What makes a good facial really good? Two things in my book: price and time. And for both, the lower, the better.

Not too low of course. A bargain-bin facial is nothing short of suspicious and a 5-minute facial won’t yield any kind of result worth writing home about, but when both meet at the sweet spot of low enough? Oh baby, that’s heaven. And also the ethos driving Glowbar, a new fast facial spot in Tribeca that’s won me over.

We’re in no shortage of “the Drybar of facials” popping up all over Manhattan these days, and Glowbar is definitely brewed from startup crop (its founder Rachel Liverman cut her teeth at Birchbox for three years), but Rachel’s also the product of skincare obsessives. Her grandmother, Catherine Hinds, started the first esthetician school in the U.S. up in Boston. So it makes sense that Rachel learned to marry quality with efficiency in Glowbar. It’s got everything you’d want in a facial worth leaving your house for (big ol’ high-tech machines! Spa-grade peels!), without eating through your wallet and your time. Imagine that.

The time part is what really got to me. Baths are my mortal enemy, and so are salon appointments for that matter. And not because of the end result—that’s always fine. It’s more so the time it takes to do those things. I don’t know, I feel trapped? One foot in the tub and I’m already thinking of what I’d rather be doing—watching Real Housewives, taking my back massager out for a spin, the important stuff. A long, relaxing facial just really isn’t my speed. It can certainly feel nice and luxurious, but that falls low on my hierarchy of needs. I’d much rather it, uh, help me look nice? Call me crazy but I’d rather use the extra frou frou time for other things (please refer to the super important examples above).

If you book an appointment at Glowbar, you first fill out a questionnaire about your skin—standard facial procedure. Then you turn the corner to go to the sinks and wash your face, which is the first way you save time. How long does it take you to wash your face—one, two minutes? Why is it when you get a facial anywhere else it feels closer to 10? Then you get to your room and your aesthetician gets to work. When I was there I got a lactic acid peel, followed by extractions via cavitation and a few zaps with the high-frequency wand. No frills, no fuss, and all fast. Then we did a moisturizing mask and I spent 10 minutes under a red LED light. Thirty minutes and 65 bucks ($55 for you, if you get a membership). No feeling of being trapped and just great skin. A streamlined facial at a price that encourages you to get one more often. Really, what more could you ask for?

—Ashley Weatherford

Photo via ITG