How far are you willing to go to look forever 21? Some people draw the line at using eye cream before bed. Others casually go in for Botox injections or get plastic surgery. And, others still are actually attempting to reverse the aging process by putting young blood into older people.
But if you don’t want to go under the knife and the thought of waiting for future young blood infusions creeps you out, there’s a less invasive (and possibly hokey?) youth booster on the market—collagen—and it’s been cropping up in mainstream creams, bottled water, pills, powders, juice shots, and facials recently.
The collagen facials seem to advertise the fastest results—go in; get the facial; leave with revitalized, less wrinkly skin—so we went on a mission to find Brooklyn’s best examples—and to see if it actually works. We have the results right here.
Collagen is a protein that keeps your skin taut and joints supple and provides the structure in your organs’ connective tissues. Since everyone’s collagen production naturally goes down past the age of 30, the idea is that you can kickstart your body into building new collagen by swallowing a pill, drinking some water, or taking a juice shot on the regular. And, the people who believe it works really believe it works.
While each spa has its own treatment protocols, the first part of getting a collagen facial feels like getting any regular facial: Your skin gets wiped, scrubbed, examined under harsh lights, exfoliated, and massaged. Then comes the collagen application, which feels like getting a thick blanket of clay spread over your skin. Once it starts to harden, it fells less like clay and more like plastic or even Jim Carrey’s green mask from The Mask. After a few minutes, the mask gets peeled off and, voilà, new skin!
Or, almost new skin. As I stared at my face in the mirror, it looked like those fine lines on my forehead were a little less fine at first. But then, 24 hours later, my skin had rebelled and gone back to its old ways, lines and all (although it was still glowing). Was it worth it? Will I try it again? Yes—but I draw the line at collagen facials.
Read below for Brooklyn’s top spas that offer collagen facials:
1. Brooklyn Herborium: A cute, holistic spa with natural and amazing-smelling products, the Brooklyn Herborium is the place to go if you want a high-end ($278) collagen facial. Their Level II Facial Treatment, which runs from 80-100 minutes, uses collagen “infused with natural hyaluronic acid and herbs to firm your skin and plump fine lines.” Even if you have sensitive skin, this is really worth a try. Plus, the aestheticians are knowledgeable and caring, and will consult with you about your diet, your skin care routine, your hormones, and anything else that can contribute to breakouts (like your stress levels). If you can book an appointment—and they are usually booked at least two weeks in advance—your skin will thank you.
275 Columbia Street, Red Hook
2. Venelle Salon & Spa: This neighborhood spa has a funky vibe—vintage furniture, hardwood floors, and exposed-stone walls, plus lots of earth colors, which all combine to make it feel like being in an old French home. While they don’t offer a specific collagen facial, you can get the Hungarian Organic Facial, which runs for 60 minutes ($95), and combine it with an added-on treatment that contains collagen, like the Yam & Pumpkin Hydrating Peel ($40). The staff is very friendly and will offer you water, tea, coffee, or wine. Pro tip: look for Venelle’s occasional spa deals online.
62 7th Avenue, Park Slope
3. Pure Qi Spa: A small business that gives you a bang for your buck—the Collagen Anti-Aging Treatment facial at Pure Qi lasts for 70 minutes and will only set you back 70 bucks. But forget about the extras: You won’t get a beverage, a robe to change into (you will get a towel to cover yourself instead), or a skin consultation. Those would probably just bump up the costs, and that’s not what this place is about. Still, the facial comes with a massage that is relaxing enough to almost make you fall asleep, includes the standard exfoliation and extraction, and, most importantly, has that magical collagen mask.
268 Driggs Avenue, Greenpoint
4. Good Face: This tiny studio is the passion project of aesthetician Lori Sprester who opened her own business in Brooklyn after working for years in “busy spas in Manhattan.” She’s friendly, thorough, and actually likes to field questions about your skincare issues. Her Contouring/Lifting Microcurrent Facial—which Sprester describes as “pilates for your face!”—uses a mild electrical current to “stimulate the skin and facial muscles, while promoting healing, and collagen and elastin production.” While this procedure sounds potentially painful, it’s not. (Actually, getting extractions is more painful.) For now, the facial is on sale for $140 for 75 minutes, a significant discount off the usual $215. Facial of the future? Yes, please.
141 South 5th Street, Suite 6, Williamsburg
5. Anor Spa: A neighborhood favorite, this little spa is usually busy but makes sure to keep its priorities in the right order: clean facilities, friendly customer service, and a tranquil atmosphere. The owner, Charos, is usually on site so you can ask her questions but it’s likely that your aesthetician will patiently talk you through your skin care needs herself (and won’t try to push products). Anor’s collagen stimulating facial—the HydroPeptide Anti-Aging Facial ($115 for 60 minutes)—comes with a Vitamin C Peel to exfoliate the top layer of the skin, which will give you a fresh-faced look.
113A Pacific Street, Cobble Hill
6. d’mai Urban Spa: On a not-so-quiet, tree-lined street in Park Slope, d’mai Urban Spa has tried to create a small oasis. The place has all of the zen-triggers: candles, fresh flowers everywhere, and lots of calming music. It’s clean and cute, and has what you’re looking for—that collagen treatment, which comes by way of a LED light therapy facial ($150). The LED action is supposed to stimulate collagen production in the lower levels of your dermis, leading to plumper looking skin and firmer skin. According to the Guardian, “[l]ight-emitting diode therapy is big this year” and actually makes you feel more relaxed. But, more importantly, some are saying that this is the secret to Jennifer Aniston’s magnificent, ageless skin.
157 5th Avenue, Park Slope