Nestled in the foothills of the glorious San Gabriel Mountains and home to the Rose Bowl, Norton Simon Museum and Huntington Library & Gardens, Pasadena has a lot going for it. But that’s not all: It’s also the location of the Langham Huntington, an upscale, century-old hotel set on 23 verdant acres that feels a world away from the rest of Los Angeles.
Set in a separate building to the right of the Langham’s main entrance is the serene Chuan Spa. It boasts a beautifully designed interior based on feng shui principles—Chuan means “flowing water” in Chinese—from the light-filled reception and retail area to the Contemplation Lounge and aptly named Dream Room, which guests can enjoy pre- and post-service.
The menu offers a range of deluxe services, but we were here to try a new one: the Vitality Facial (50 min./$200) showcasing products by Immunocologie. So far, Chuan is the only spa in California to offer this treatment.
Immunocologie was created in 2012 by experienced skincare pro Karen Ballou following her diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Firmly believing that the skin is the first line of the body’s immunological defense, she was determined to develop a brand “as luxurious as it is healthy, natural and effective.” (The classy black-and-white packaging doesn’t hurt, either.)
A crucial component to the line is Vital Oligo Science, its signature natural skincare delivery system that’s said to reduce inflammatory responses caused by environmental stressors “while effectively and efficiently penetrating the hydrolipid barrier.”
The active ingredients are natural, cold pressed, and sustainably and equitably sourced. Think volcanic French green clay, African baobab and, well, snail mucin, which is pretty much what it sounds like—although we were happy to read that it’s harvested humanely! In fact, Immunocologie’s ethical and environmental standards are impressive too: For starters, it works directly with communities in areas from which it sources ingredients to provide educational scholarships, school supplies and support other projects.
My facial was sublime and my esthetician, Samantha, fantastic. She applied a series of cleansers, serums and masks to my dusty, dehydrated skin to reveal a fresh, healthy complexion that glowed (in a good way!) for hours afterward. As I headed out into the blazing November heat—this is L.A., remember!—my face felt clean and renewed—naturally.—Lesley McCave