The Future of Facials? Trying Skin Laundry’s Ten Minute Laser Facial

Skin Laundry in Chelsea
Skin Laundry in Chelsea

You wouldn’t be surprised if I told you that as a makeup artist, I love great skin. And you might think that I’d be meticulous with my skin care – doing things like getting regular facials. Isn’t that what makeup artists do on their days off?

You’d be wrong. I love my products – my super pure bio-organic skin products I could probably eat if I wanted to, plus all those super-techie advanced products I try just to see what they do. But I’m not one of those people who gets a lot of facials – they’re kind of painful, with all that pore squeezing. I’m red and sore afterwards, so I’ve got to plan my day around them. So while I see the wonderful results of regular facials on my clients who get them, I don’t go that often myself.

So when I get an offer to try Skin Laundry‘s new 10-minute laser facial, I’m both interested and afraid. Ten Minutes? Sounds great! Lasers? Dunno, lasers are kind of scary. And since it’s a facial, won’t I have to plan it out? How long does this “10-minute” facial really take?

Skin Laundry’s Technology

Skin Laundry’s premise is based on the idea of using laser technology to clear pores of dirt, oils and dead skin cells by setting it to penetrate to a more shallow depth of the skin’s epidermis than most of the laser procedures we’ve heard about. By vaporizing impurities at this more shallow level, they tell me, the skin is thoroughly cleaned – and there is no downtime.

Sounds interesting – I’m booking it!

The Skin Laundry in Chelsea

The New York store is in Chelsea, and my appointment is early in the morning – I’m nervous – using lasers on the skin is a medical procedure, and I’m thinking about the risks. Who will be performing this on me? What is their training?

Arriving at Skin Laundry, the vibe is dermatologist-in-Jamaica, with a clean white waiting room decorated with surfboards and beach photos. The music is mellow reggae. The staff are upbeat and friendly – signing in is easy, if a little unnerving – laser procedures require you to sign a medical waiver acknowledging just how powerful these machines can be – and how dangerous in untrained hands. I consent to the unlikely occurrence of an untimely death that morning, clean my face with one of their makeup remover wipes, and go into the room.

The treatment rooms carry on the “mellow clinical” vibe, concealing the laser equipment behind slatted doors and leaving plenty of room for personal belongings. But I won’t be changing into a robe – the treatment I’m getting is face-only.

The Skin Laundry Experience

My first treatment is with Janice, one of two nurse practitioners in charge of training Skin Laundry’s staff and seeing new clients. NP’s are advanced practice registered nurses who are licensed to diagnose and manage quite a number of medical conditions. And in New York, they are licensed to hold their own practice. I feel better already.

After Janice secures my hair with a headband and gives my skin one more cleansing, she places the protective goggles on me and it’s time to go. After all the nerves, the laser experience is kind of anticlimactic – there’s a little zapping sound, and yes, I can feel it – but it doesn’t hurt. It feels a little warm mostly – though I can smell burning protein. Janice tells me that it’s from the dead skin cells being vaporized. She passes the laser over my face twice, periodically checking in with me to make sure I’m comfortable.

After the laser, Janice applies a cooling gel to my face, and then pulses the IPL device over my face. This feels like nothing, really, but even with the eyeshades I can see the bright pulse of light. I even wonder if it will zap a few hairs like the IPL hair removal I know and love, but Janice assures me that it’s only going to take down the redness. And then one of the studio assistants removes the gel and applies a sunscreen. And that’s it – ten minutes and I’m good to go.

How Do I Look Afterwards?

One of the issues I have with a lot of beauty treatments is the time it takes to recover after the treatment. That hour of waiting for nail polish to fully dry keeps me away from the manicurist for weeks at a time, and facials can leave my skin blotchy for hours. So when I see that my skin looks amazing – not blotchy or red, but smooth and evenly pigmented – I’m elated – I can go straight to work. I’m asked not to do anything harsh or hot to my skin – no Clarisonic, no working out – and to give myself a sheet mask later that evening.

My skin feels mostly normal, until I get into an un-airconditioned¬† subway car later that day – not having those extra dead skin cells can make your face feel raw in pure heat. But once I get home, I put on one of the Korean snail gel masks I’ve been meaning to try and it’s all good.

The next day my skin still looks good – and feels good. It’s more exfoliated than I would have with a scrubbing, but less raw than with a “lunchtime” peel. And it still feels like skin – I don’t have that overly shiny feel I get with some of the salon and dermatologist peels I’ve tried.

The assistants at Skin Laundry tell me I can do this every other day – or every week – but I think this is something I would do less often. Maybe every three or four weeks? I have two more appointments to try, and on the second one they let me get video:

Okay, not the flashiest video, but you see that I’m not screaming. It really didn’t hurt at all! And the “after” photo is real – no blotchy red spots all over!

Skin Laundry After Skin Abuse

So you know how you’re not supposed to tan? It’s bad for the skin, right? Except it’s summer, and even though I wear sunscreen, I enjoy a little tan after a good beach vacation. But when I look more closely, my skin is not in good shape. It’s rough and flaky, and my pores are clogged from all the neglect.

So I book another appointment for a week after I’ve returned. I see Candice, the NP who did my second treatment, who is in on a Saturday to oversee trainings. Candice makes sure that my tanning isn’t a burn and then hands me over to Marta, one of the Physician’s Assistants who also administer the treatments.

I’m not sure if it’s the heat or that I’ve abused my skin, but my skin is more sensitive during this treatment. I still can’t really say it hurts – it just stings a little. And it looks much better after she’s done.

Conclusion: What Skin Laundry Does (and Doesn’t) Do

I’ve enjoyed the Skin Laundry experience: the staff are amazing, and the treatment is a great fast fix for when your skin needs to look better immediately – with no downtime. I’m not sure I’d take it as a substitute for a full facial – having a deep cleaning involving extractions, massage, and masks is another experience entirely. But it’s easier, faster, and less expensive than most peel procedures (and doesn’t have your skin flaking off days later). And even with the waivers it’s not scary – maybe it’s the beachy vibe.

Skin Laundry is getting popular – when I went on Saturday the waiting area was full, so obviously I’m not the only one who sees benefits. They’re building locations in California, New York, and Arizona, so if you’re around, check it out!

Skin Laundry – $150 for three treatments. 3 West 16th Street, New York, NY and other locations in California and Arizona.

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