Skin Laundry Express Facial Gave Me An Instant Glow, But I'm Not Giving Up My Hour-Long Treatments Just Yet

New York loves doing things the express way. Express trains, express DMVs, Pizza Hut Express... so Skin Laundry's express facial was an inevitability. But can you really get the same results from a ten minute treatment as one that lasts 45 minutes to an hour? I, for one, was dying to find out.

When it comes to skincare, I usually prefer things the good old fashioned way. That means extractions, soothing music, and those fashion forward hand mitts that look like I'm reaching in the oven. To put it simply, I relish in the ritual.

However, when I heard about a 10 minute $100 laser facial promising the skin of an acne-free teenager, I was ready to set all that aside. Could something that takes less time than the line at Starbucks really transform my complexion?

Skin Laundry, which opened their first New York location in March, uses a combination of laser therapy and IPL (intense pulsed light) to vaporize buildup and clean skin. West Coast women have long sworn by the treatment, claiming both an instant glow and longterm benefits. Many people with acne say it's as effective as prescription creams. I, a traditionalist, was quite skeptical of course, but I still decided to give it a go after work one day.

The Treatment

I arrived at a clinical space with white counters and bright lights — more like a dermatologist's office than a spa. A cheery assistant checked me in while gushing about her experience with the laser, which she uses every other day. I handed over my ID — which is necessary to proceed — and was led into another sparse, white room.

A technician named Candice walked me through some safety tips. Since the treatment uses the same laser as hair removal, you'll want to follow similar guidelines: Try to avoid the sun before and after, no other laser treatments for four weeks before, and use lots of sunscreen after.

I was then given a pair of goggles not dissimilar from those at a tanning salon, and asked me to lie down on the table. The laser portion was overwhelming at first, even though it wasn't my first time with a laser. I compare it to being lightly snapped with a rubber-band — not painful at first, but can get uncomfortable by the end.

This is not me, but I like to imagine I looked equally as glamorous while I was getting the treatment done.

Candice moved the laser across my face, starting with the right side of my forehead and then moving down to my chin and nose. Because I recently received laser hair removal, she steered clear of my upper lip. This portion took about two minutes.

She then applied a veil of cool gel to prepare my skin for IPL, which was absolutely painless. After that? A quick baby wipe removed the gel and then sunscreen was applied. I was ready to go in nine minutes flat.

The After-Effects

Immediately after the treatment, my skin was Glowing (that's right, I used a capital G). I looked like the poster child of health, with brightened skin, rosy cheeks, and an even complexion. These benefits continued well into the evening.

But by the time I woke the next morning, my skin looked the same as it had before the treatment. A long-lasting blemish on my chin remained intact, unable to be brought to the surface by the facial. As for blackheads? I would say a majority — but certainly not all — were gone.

Last Thoughts

I think this is treatment is wonderful if used one of two ways: Either as a one-stop-shop on the day of a big event, or as a regular treatment for ongoing issues like acne. It didn't exactly mimic the same benefits as a regular facial, so I wouldn't trade one for the other. I see Skin Laundry as a wonderful addition — not a complete replacement — to my regular skincare routine. At least it got me to break out a bit from my strict traditionalist routine.

Images: Courtesy Skin Laundry; Emily Siegel