I’ll admit it: One of the reasons I enjoy the Oscars is the chance to scrutinize all the famous faces on display. Is a certain leading man becoming a touch jowly? Is that an elaborately concealed pimple on an A-lister’s chin? What has she done to her lips? In this year’s historically screwed-up ceremony, the Best Actress winner’s complexion was nothing less than perfect. Okay, Emma Stone has youth and beauty on her side, but some of the credit for her radiant visage goes to celebrity facialist Georgia Louise, a London transplant who also counts statuette-wielding stars Jennifer Lawrence and Gwyneth Paltrow on her enviable client list. So when I was given the chance to visit the luxurious Georgia Louise Atelier on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to try the Elemis Pro-Radiance Superfood Facial (60 min./$300), it was almost as exciting as being nominated by the Academy myself.
First Impressions: Before opening her current location in fall 2015, Georgia tended clients in a space within her apartment on the other side of Central Park, but her growing popularity meant she needed to upsize. Staffed with three additional facialists trained in her techniques, the Atelier retains the feel of a private residence, discreetly tucked away on the first floor of an elegant apartment block. As I entered, the staff was gathered around a VIP: Georgia’s 11-month-old baby, Luca. Georgia greeted me with the sunny, down-to-earth manner that must put her high-profile clients at ease.
If not for the Elemis and Georgia Louise products on display, the sophisticated, neutral-toned waiting area, dotted with eclectic objets d’art, could have passed for one of the neighborhood’s tasteful living rooms. My treatment room (one of three, all spacious), furnished with a glam leopard-print chair and vintage accents, had a boutique hotel feel. Instead of the ubiquitous ambient spa soundtrack, mellow piano jazz tinkled at low volume.The Service: As the NYC flagship for the U.K.-based natural skincare brand, the Atelier offers Elemis facials alongside Georgia Louise’s signature treatments, all customized to the individual. I discussed my skincare concerns—aging and dehydration from a recent Caribbean trip—with facialist Taylor. Following a thorough cleanse with the essential oil–rich Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm, she brushed on a delicious-smelling Papaya Enzyme Peel to gently slough away dead skin while delivering an antioxidant blast.
This was followed by a customized cocktail of three Elemis professional serums, designed to hydrate, lift and smooth fine lines. To boost the anti-wrinkle effect, Taylor used the LED attachment of the company’s Biotec machine, which also has oxygen, microcurrent, ultrasonic and galvanic settings. Though she acknowledged the LED treatment doesn’t actually counteract seasonal depression, Taylor commented that it perks you up in the light-deprived winter months.
The highlight was Georgia Louise’s signature facial massage in conjunction with the Superfood Facial Oil, which, true to its name contains concentrates of broccoli, daikon radish and flax seeds, ingredients rich in antioxidants and omega. More vigorous than other manual facial techniques I’ve experienced, the deep-tissue massage, which lasted a full 10 minutes, works on the muscles to produce a lifting effect. Taylor paid special attention to the lower part of my face—my particular aging and tension trouble spot—fluttering her hands over my jawline with firm, rapid pats.
Next came the Exotic Cream Moisturising Mask, a honey-enriched confection spiked with soothing samphire and bergamot extracts. The Biotec machine came into play again, pumping oxygen over my face and décolletage to aid infusion and plump up the skin, followed by a final application of Superfood Facial Oil and the award-winning anti-aging Pro-Collagen Marine Cream. While I can’t say I saw any dramatic difference in my facial contours, my previously parched skin certainly had a well-rested, dewy finish.
Noteworthy: Elemis continues to bolster the plant-powered facial oil market. Following the launch of its Superfood Facial Oil last fall, the company will introduce a Pro-Definition Facial Oil ($104) in April, incorporating raspberry plant stem cells and naturally derived essential fatty acids for firming and contouring results.