Is a Facial Worth the Fuss?

CAP Beauty: It’s All About You

The spa in the back of CAP Beauty in the West Village also takes a multibrand approach to its facials, but it focuses solely on natural products (that is, nothing synthetic). The vibe is rich hippie, with blush-colored duvets and feral-looking bouquets of seasonal flowers and female acoustic covers of Bruce Springsteen songs.

Cara, who was treating me, asked what I felt like my skin needed. “A really deep cleaning,” I told her.

She got to work cleansing my skin, getting rid of all my clogged pores (“These extractions are easy — I’m having a lot of fun,” she noted) and applied a few products from a line called Julisis, a biodynamic line that is influenced by the 16th-century alchemist Paracelsus. If it sounds esoteric, you’re right, but the products smelled like jasmine and orchid and melted into my skin.

Then the magic happened in the form of a protracted massage of my face, neck and shoulders. When she was done with me, I looked as if I had lost 10 pounds just in my face, or maybe had gotten some very subtle and expensive plastic surgery. Cheekbones emerged! Fine lines vanished! If I ever go to the Oscars or get to meet Oprah, I intend to get this facial first.

I sipped a vitamin E latte with Tocos (a rice bran), coconut butter, He Shou Wu (herbs) and hot water that Cara brought me with a sample of a moisturizer she recommended, Max and Me Sweet Serenity Rescue Balm. I bought some CAP Beauty house line bath salts and a mask from Wildcare made with coconut milk, clay and pineapple.


Ms. Benuska getting a facial.

Danny Ghitis for The New York Times

At $200 for the most basic facial (tip included, which eases the sting a little), it was an expensive afternoon, as indulgent as it was relaxing, but I left with a better face than I had come in with. If I could afford to get one of these each month, I gladly would, but for now I’ll save it for a special occasion.

Besides, I can accomplish a lot at home. In a follow-up email, Cara sent all of the products she used, others she thought I might like and a recipe for a face mask that I could blend at home with water or yogurt or apple cider vinegar. It seems that the salon facial and the at-home facial can — and should — peacefully coexist.

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