Joint Review: Skin Laundry
Last week, I was in New York to meet Tricia for our quarterly Key To Radiance meeting to talk about how we can bring you better content and useful information. (Yay!) And obviously, a meet-up with the two of us in the same city wouldn't be one without joint skincare treats. Since visiting Skin Laundry was a favorite of ours, we decided to share our #getlaundered experience(s) at this zippy facial bar with all of you.
A little background: Skin Laundry is founded by Yen Reis, and the idea for it came from her time in Singapore, battling hormonal acne after giving birth to her third son. Reis said in an interview with Coveteur:
And we're all for that. Skin Laundry is essentially a mild laser facial that only takes 15 minutes, tops — it's a 2-step process, combining a proprietary YAG Laser and IPL Light to deeply cleanse your pores. In Step 1, Skin Laundry's YAG laser penetrates 2.5 mm below the skin’s surface to deep clean pores by pulverizing dirt, debris, and excess oil, as well as kill acne-causing bacteria. It also aims to boost collagen, which smooths and tightens skin. Step 2 has the IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) fade sunspots, acne scars, and broken capillaries on the surface of the skin, as well as destroy light-sensitive acne-causing bacteria. It aims to give the user overall photo-rejuvenation for smoother and brighter skin. Because it is a mild laser, there is zero downtime, basically perfect for today's multi-hyphenate.
Describe Your Experience at Skin Laundry
Elaine: I first went to Skin Laundry the summer of 2015, while I was still in business school. I was traveling a lot to New York on my weekends since my fiancé's MBA internship was in the area. I wanted to get a facial to up my skin game, but I was hyper wary of those that included manual extractions (since I have such sensitive skin), so when I read about Skin Laundry's quick and easy mild laser facial in a magazine, I was intrigued. I booked my first appointment in July 2015 at the Flatiron location and went back 3 more times.
I remember being greeted warmly by the receptionist and filling out some forms and disclosures. My aesthetician had extremely good skin and she also was a skin laundry client on her off-days so I felt greatly assured. She talked me through the whole process and explained how the laser and IPL worked, chatting with me to ease my slight apprehension while she worked her magic. She made sure the goggles covered my eyes properly as well. The YAG laser, when going over skin, can produce a prickling sensation (which is alright) — but what was unnerving was the burning smell that accompanies it — I confess, I did freak out a little. However, my aesthetician was so gentle and calming — she explained, "It's the dirt and gunk being zapped off so your skin looks bright and clean"; and assured, "Don't worry, your skin isn't red at all" (×5) — so I felt more at ease. Next, she appropriately prepped me on how IPL was really bright, and that I'd still see flashes despite being covered, but it won't hurt my eyes. The cold jelly being slathered on was an interesting sensation, for sure. She finished with cleaning, moisturizing and sunscreening my skin for me.
This experience pretty much holds for all the Skin Laundry's that I've been to: Flatiron, Midtown East and Santa Monica. The only difference is I was served by someone with really, really bad skin at the Santa Monica location, and she did it so fast that I thought the whole treatment lasted maybe only 5 minutes. My favorite location is definitely the Flatiron one, because my aesthetician was exceptionally genial and sweet, and I never felt rushed at all.
Tricia: I know as a beauty writer, we’re expected to be brave and adventurous with anything beauty-related. But truth be told, I’ve always been so scared to go to clinics and try new treatments, especially on my own. I remember seeing Elaine right after her very first Skin Laundry laser and light facial, and was genuinely impressed with the results. Her skin was glowing and I didn’t realize she had no makeup on at first! So because of that, I decided to give it a try when Elaine visited New York again last year; I was less nervous to have company the first time I went.
Thankfully, everyone at Skin Laundry was very friendly, so that helped calmed my nerves too. I got to say though, because it calls itself a “clinic” and your treatment is done by an RN in a white coat, I felt like I was at a doctor’s appointment. Luckily, it turned out a lot less frightening than it seemed.
The assistant who prepared my treatment used a wipe to clean my skin, and covered my eyes with a pair of goggles before the laser treatment started. I couldn’t see, but I could feel it going from my forehead down towards my chin. The laser felt like little needles jumping on my face; it didn’t hurt, but just stings a little during the treatment. I have low tolerance for pain, and it was bearable, so I think it would be okay for most people. The second part focuses on light treatment, which didn’t hurt at all, except you’ll see several flashes of strong bright red lights, despite wearing black-out goggles, and having your eyes closed. It was a bit irritating at first, but I got used to it soon after.
What was good/interesting/helpful?
Elaine: When I had a package for that summer, I saved about 20% per treatment and also got to try some of their new products, such as masks or creams. I also like the sensation of the cooling jelly — it was certainly welcoming after the YAG laser zaps off the dirt.
Tricia: I found it amazing that the treatment only takes about 15 minutes. It was very hassle-free and easy, and everyone explained everything in a clear manner, so that was very helpful.
What can be improved, or felt weird/scary?
Elaine: To be honest, it wasn't weird or scary at all if you know the procedure beforehand and what to expect. The burning smell and the prickling sensation from the YAG laser, despite me knowing they will happen, still unnerved me a little, but it wasn't scary at all. By my second time ever, I was pretty much attuned to it.
Tricia: I think one thing I wished they did is keep track of the status of our skin. Whether it is to see a "before and after" on a more magnified level, or to see the differences over the course of a few treatments.
I’ve went a total of three times, and during the second time, two trainees were in the treatment room along with the nurse. This isn’t a big deal, but I think I would have preferred to be notified that they would be present the day of.
What was the facility like?
Elaine: Very clean and inviting, with beach vibes! I like the light/white wood used, and bright yellow lights. The treatment room has more of a clinical feel, with fluorescent lights, but it's such a short procedure that it's over before you think about those things.
Tricia: The place is very brightly lit, and very clean. They offer cucumber water and mints, as well as additional face wipes, which is all very nice. The waiting area of the Midtown East branch is a cute and comfortable space. It’s not too big, so there were never a lot of people walking around during the treatment period, which I thought was quite nice.
What do you think of the effects of the treatment?
Elaine: I think it was pretty good, that you can definitely notice with the naked eye your skin looking brighter and clearer even with just one treatment. By my second treatment, I remember Tricia asking me what I had on my skin that made it so glowy, and I said, "Nothing! I just got laundered." 😄
Tricia: My biggest concern is open, congested pores, and one of the things Skin Laundry claims to do is vaporize dirt and remove bacteria. I don’t know exactly if my pores are cleaned but I do see a visible difference — my skin glows right after the treatment and appears to have less blackheads. Right after the treatment, they recommend you to use a moisturizing mask, and my skin tends to look even better right after the mask. Pores are one of the hardest to clear, so I have high hopes that this would aid my beauty routine and in time, minimize the appearance of my pores.
Would you recommend it, and why?
Elaine: I definitely would! Now that I'm based in SF, I don't go to Skin Laundry as often as I would like (they don't have a location in the Bay Area), but if you're in an area with Skin Laundry you should consider becoming a member! I think their packages are designed to be affordable and they offer results while saving time with zero downtime... It's really ingenious. The only drawback is, if you're looking for a "pampering" facial treatment (aka a more traditional one), this isn't really one. But if you're a busy person juggling multiple roles and still want to keep your skin in good condition, Skin Laundry is a great maintenance facial treatment. Best of all, it does not cause eczema outbreaks on my skin later in the day, unlike some other facials I've tried.
Tricia: Yep! Because it’s so easy, hassle-free, and it really isn’t that expensive! You see amazing results right after the treatment. The best thing is, I'd always thought this type of treatment involves and requires a “healing period” but the laser and light treatment at Skin Laundry doesn’t. My skin didn’t go red, it wasn’t irritated, and I could get on with whatever I had planned to do that day right after the treatment. It really suits those with a busy schedule, too!
Thank you, and we hoped you enjoyed reading about our experience! Let us know if you'd like us to try something — be it a product, a service, or a brand — in the comments below, and we'd be happy to share what we learn!