ASTAXANTHIN (as-ta-zan-thin) / n./ 1./ A carotenoid and antioxidant from marine algae that gives salmon eggs their coloring. It’s also the reason crabs, lobsters, and shrimp turn pink when cooked. /2./ A diet rich in astaxanthin is what lends the feathers of flamingos, born white, their rosy hue. /3./ Taken orally by humans, it can support brain function, vision, and joint and bone health, as well as protect from UV damage. /4./ Previously, it was used to preserve the light-sensitive particles in photographic film. /5./ Applied to hair, it can strengthen its integrity and prevent oxidative damage to color—e.g., “Spin damaged, dry strands into satin with a regimen rich in astaxanthin.”
Try it: Pureology Strength Cure Shampoo, $27, Condition, $29, Restorative Masque, $50, Fabulous Lengths Treatment, $28, and Split End Salve, $28; pureology.com
Anyone who has experienced a facial with Isabelle Bellis firsthand would likely agree that it’s a transformative experience. And a lengthy one, at that—her signature facial treatments, which incorporate plenty of circulation-stimulating massage, usually hover around the two-hour mark. Even her extractions somehow don’t seem as painful an ordeal. And Bellis herself is always full of helpful skincare advice, so we couldn’t think of anyone better to offer up some guidance on how our skin can best, ahem, weather the extreme changes in temperature that seem par for the course this winter. Here, five tips to abide by.
WASH WITH CARE
“The skin needs to be cleaned in a more gentle way during the winter. As the skin of the face and neck get finer, it is more vulnerable to the cold weather and the heat in our homes. It’s vital to retain the good elements that the skin produces in order to protect the complexion. An aggressive foaming gel can damage and dry the skin, so even if one has oily skin, it is better to clean with a mild formula in order to keep the delicate skin fabric intact. A milky cleanser and toner or an extremely gentle foam cleanser is preferred.”
SHELF THE ACIDS
“Limit the amount of acidic products and treatments the face and neck are exposed to. Those who have fragile skin should opt to use these kinds of products in the spring or fall instead.”
WATCH YOUR WATER
“Try to limit the use of tap water on your face. If you use product that needs to be rinsed off with water, I recommend finishing with a spray of thermal water—I prefer the La Roche-Posay Spray Thermal for its beneficial properties and wonderful dispersion—to rid the skin of hard elements like chlorine, calcareous deposits, etc. We also have a tendency to take longer and warmer showers in the winter, and it’s important to avoid directing too much of the shower’s spray directly on the décolletage, as it is a very sensitive area where capillaries can react easily. Be sure to dry your body in a gentle way and not to rub with your towel. If you take a bath, apply oil to your body before you soak or add a few drops of oil to your tub.”
WARM UP YOUR DIET
“Avoid too much raw food, as it has a tendency to create dryness in the system that shows up on the skin. Since the body needs more energy to break it down, you may feel tired and less energetic. If you juice, make sure you have warm, balanced, healthy meals to compensate.”
ADD SOME OIL
“Oil is for any age and any type of skin, from combination to extremely dry. Apply an oil-based product to create an extra barrier and protect the capillaries from the cold. L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Oil is fantastic for winter. It absorbs rapidly without leaving skin greasy. And if you’re very dry, top it with a moisturizing cream for extra protection and nourishment.”
Synaesthesia, stemming from the ancient Greek word for “together,” is a neurological phenomenon wherein stimulation of one sense can result in the involuntary stimulation of another. For example, those who experience the color version of it may, when looking at a set of numbers, see not just the digits themselves but each one associated with a specific hue. Besides being an insanely awesome Scrabble word to have in your back pocket, synaesthesia is also the name of the signature treatment at New York’s first-ever Lush Spa. Tucked away on the second floor of the Lush store on Lexington Avenue, the space itself has a transporting vibe. Outfitted to look like an old-timey English cottage, there are reclaimed-wood cabinets, vintage teapots, and stacks of flea-marketed books—certainly not your standard spa decor. The spa and signature treatments were conceived of by Lush cofounder Mark Constantine (he has scent-shape synaesthesia, so he perceives everything he smells as having a shape) and behavioral therapist Lady Helen Kennedy. U.K. folk musician Simon Emmerson was commissioned to dream up the accompanying music. (He also has synaesthesia, the sound-color variety—he perceives certain sounds as having a color.) The first order of business when you arrive is selecting a “mood” for your experience from a wall of words describing emotional states; this will drive the focus of your treatment. I went for “mind cleanser,” which, along with “relax,” are, rather unsurprisingly, the most popular requests at the New York location. (At Lush’s sister spa in Philadelphia, the top picks are “confidence” and “energized.”) Because of my mind-focused pick, I had extra special attention paid to my head and face (score!) during what would be an impressively choreographed massage set perfectly in time to one of Emmerson’s tracks. This particular composition, complete with birdsongs, was conceived of to take you—sonically, at least—through a full day from sunrise to nightfall. And amazingly, when in tandem with the therapist’s precise movements, it does—in the so-called evening hours, I was drooling and drowsy, and come “morning,” I started to feel energized. A neat trick. I emerged eighty minutes later, loose, relaxed, and, I’m happy to report, with my mind entirely at ease. For the free-thinking spa-goer who doesn’t mind a dose of chakras with their massage, the Lush Spa is a necessary addition to your beauty black book.
Synaesthesia massage, $230 for eighty minutes. Lush Spa, 783 Lexington Avenue, New York, (212) 207-8151.
We are longtime Yosh Han fans. The San Francisco-based perfumer’s approach is unique to say the least—she’s always called it vibrational. In other words, fragrance not just as a surface pleasure but as something more, well, evocative. But while Han’s scent collections and bespoke fragrances are beloved for their delicate, but nuanced, nature, her “M” series trades in something more intense. Designed for the dudes, Han’s first “M” was Sombre Negra, and her latest, König, delves even deeper. Named after the German word for “king,” König was meant to evoke royalty, specifically kings on the hunt speeding through Bavarian forests. But one whiff of the fierce scent, a union of saddle leather, smoky firewood, amber, aromatic bitters, and cypress notes, and it wasn’t the Bavarian forest we were transported to, it was the continents of Westeros and Essos in Game of Thrones. The manly men of the dueling families would surely revel in Konig’s primal aroma, but that doesn’t mean the fairer sex can’t also appreciate its distinctive charms. In our humble opinion, it’s a truly noble choice for those days when you are channeling the fierce spirit of Daenerys Targaryen or Arya Stark. And those days are many.
$130 each, available at Barneys New York and luckyscent.com
With fashion month coming to a close, there’s no better way to celebrate (and unwind) than with a treatment before takeoff. A former colleague of mine closed out the menswear shows with a massage and said he didn’t even mind that his flight was delayed a few hours when he arrived at the airport—all of the stress and tension had completely disappeared before he even whipped out his passport at check-in. Here, two spots worth hitting up before you say bon voyage:
Where: Spa My Blend by Clarins, Le Royal Monceau, 37, avenue Hoche, 01.42.99.88.99
What to get: Ask for the Anti-Jet Lag Stopover Massage for Face & Body because, let’s face it, you’re probably still jet-lagged. This rubdown refreshes and moisturizes dehydrated skin after weeks of vacillating between espresso and champagne. It also claims to relieve tiredness, insomnia, upset stomach, headache, and irritability. (If you’re anything like me, you’ve ticked off all five boxes and already made an appointment.)
Where: Biologique Recherche Ambassade de la Beauté, 32, avenue des Champs-Élysées, 01.41.18.96.84
What to get: Sign yourself up for the Soin Minceur, stat! This “modeling massage” helps drain toxins (of which you’ve probably stockpiled) and leaves you feeling toned and rejuvenated. A textured rubber mitt is used to work essential oils into the skin, leaving you soft, glowing, and ready for the long haul ahead.