Monday, July 27, 2015

L. Raphael's anti-pigmentation treatment
uses rare white truffles and a high-speed jet stream.
When face creams first started running into the hundreds of dollars, customers
may have initially done a double-take, but quickly got used to the idea of
ponying up serious cash in pursuit of younger, smoother skin. Will they do
the same for a facial? Until now, even the most high-end facials have
hovered in the mid triple digits, and those are by facialists such as Tracie
Martyn and Kate Somerville, whose clients reportedly have included Madonna,
Kate Winslet, Debra Messing, and Penelope Cruz. In fact, the average cost of
a facial in the U. S. is about $100, according to the latest research from
the International Spa Association. Given the norm, it's no surprise that
the $1,100 Oxy-Star Anti-Pigmentation Treatment at L. Raphael, a premium
skincare brand and chain of six spas around the world (including one at the
Four Seasons in New York and another in midtown Manhattan), is shaking up the
industry. Factor in the 20 percent tip that's standard for spa services,
and the bill ratchets up to more than $1,300. It's a 50-minute to-do
that's supposed to brighten the face and diminish acne, pigmentation and
pores, and L. Raphael founder Ronit Raphael, 49, says that the price is
relative. "It's an investment in yourself and you can't put a cost on
that," she says. According to Raphael, the Oxy-Star is the next best
thing to a facelift. Oyx-Star has appealed to movie stars, who book it before
red carpet appearances because of its immediate dramatic effect. Though
she's tight-lipped about which boldfacers have had it done, she did say that
Eva Longoria and Dita von Teese have visited an L. Raphael location within the
last year. The Israeli-born Raphael created the four-figure service almost
11 years ago when she launched the L. Raphael brand in Geneva with a
seven-story "Temple of Beauty" on the tony Rue du Rhone near Patek
Philippe (there are now three in Geneva, two in New York City, one in Cannes,
and a seventh opening in Kazakhstan in September). At the time, she was
running eight Ronit Raphael spas throughout Israel (there are now 12) and
getting a name for her deep cleaning and anti-aging facials. She was
approached by a local medical company that told her about a high-speed jet
stream machine that doctors were using on diabetics to help with faster
healing of scars and bruises. "They asked if I wanted to use it for
facials. I tried it and saw that it did wonders for the skin, and that's
how Oxy-Star started," she said. That so-called miraculous gadget is
what aestheticians use to apply most of the products in the treatment to the
face, neck and chest, and is supposed to amp up their potency. Besides the
machine itself, pricey and rare white truffles, which the brand claims help
block the production of dark spots and make for a radiant complexion, are the
main ingredient in Oxy-Star, and their extracts are in the ampoules, serum and
collagen and firming masks clients are sprayed, massaged and slathered with.
Both are why the facial is so expensive: the high-speed gadget is priced
upwards of $100,000, and the products themselves run the brand a few hundred
dollars for each service. The cost doesn't seem to deter takers. Every
L. Raphael location has two of the devices, which means getting an appointment
isn't easy since bookings fill up far in advance. A surprising 35
percent of Raphael's clients are men, who, she says, can't hide skin
damage and aging with makeup the way women can. The priciness of Oxy-Star
is an eccentricity, says Mia Kyricos, the chief brand officer for Spa Finder
Wellness 365, the world's largest network of spas. "Of course there are
exceptions, especially in urban markets, but for the most part you don't
have to pay so much for a facial that's just as effective," she said.
"That being said, I'm sure your skin will look fantastic, and it's fun
to say you did it. " This story originally appeared on Fortune More
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Street is a Gastronomic Hotspot When face creams first started running
into the hundreds of dollars, customers may have initially done a double-take,
but quickly got used to the idea of ponying up serious cash in pursuit of
younger, smoother skin. Will they do the same for a facial?

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