Skin Care

By Irene Fogarty

It’s hard to believe a man could understand women, their skin problems and the way they look at themselves as well as Erno Laszlo did. Or rather still does, as his legend continues today.

Ahead of his time, this Budapest doctor not only discovered but understood the true secret of skincare. He once said, “It is one part physiology, one part psychology, one part philosophy”.. And what are we all talking about today? …”Mind, body and soul” Exactly what Erno said almost 50 years before. The man was way ahead of his time.

From Hungary to Hollywood, Garbo to Jackie O, the list of Laszlo ladies is quite spectacular. The most memorable encounter is perhaps when Katherine Hepburn begged him to remover her freckles. As strong willed as Katherine herself, Erno refused, claiming they were an integral part of her beauty!

I could go on and on about the fairytale stories of unhappy princesses and numerous famous women who wrote to him about their problematic skin. But I’m actually here to write about the products! (Nonetheless the EL story is a rather fascinating one…Spielberg take note!)

When I walked into the Erno Laszlo office in Midtown and saw the plastic, black-labeled, see-through bottles of oil with that grunge-like sludge at the bottom, memories of my youth came flooding back. So this was the mysterious liquid that my older sister used to use. She was probably the first in Ireland to even know about EL products. And she swore by them. Now twenty years later, I can see why.

What’s different about Erno Laszlo? Well. First of all there are 6 o’ clocks. Six what? Instead of the usual dry, normal, oily skin types, Laszlo believed there are 6 skin types or rather, o’clocks that cover every type of skin. Dr. Laszlo great breakthrough was to harness the power of water. So he made formulas that maximize the skin’s ability to benefit from the cleansing and replenishing properties of water. So he developed a ritual of skin preparation which requires 30 splashes of water with comfortable warm water.

Performed twice a day, this ritual gives your skin a 24-hour cycle of continual, gentle conditioning and renewal. Getting back to the o’clocks, each one involves soap, (specially formulated for that skin type), toning and conditioning, moisturizing and protecting and finally a finishing step.

I’ve been doing this soap n’ splash ritual for the past 2 weeks and I see a difference. A big difference. My skin clocked in at the 11:30, (slightly dry skincare) ritual. I was sure I’d be very dry, but these products are so rich you really don’t need to overdo it. If you experience slight dryness, rarely experience pimple breakouts and often have oiliness in the t-zone when it’s humid, you’re an 11:30-er, like me. (If you’re confused about the time thing, don’t worry I’ll give you details at the end as to where you can get your all the info on your Laszlo clock. Biological clocks not included!!)

Splish Splash
Here’s a brief outline of the 11:30 ritual. There are 9 products altogether, but not all are used for the AM ritual.

Prep:
After your shower, put your hair up and fill the sink with warm, not too hot water.

Cleanse: Pour a dime sized drop of Active pHelityl Oil into palm and smooth over your face. Dip the Active pHelityl Soap in the water and gently rub the bar over your new oily face. Make a rich lather in hands and massage oil-soap combo for a few seconds.

Splash: Here’ the fun part. Splash 20 times in the same water. Empty sink. Slash another 10 times with hot running water. Blot with a soft towel.

Tone: Apply Light Conditioning Lotion to face using a cotton ball. Avoid eye area.

Eye Care: using ring finger gently pat pHelitone Eye Treatment on the bones above and below eyes avoiding lash lines. This cream is rich in anti-oxidants and has a deep orangey color so make sure you only use a tiny amount.

Moisturize/Protect: Smooth pHelityl Lotion SPF 15 (aha!) over face.

Finish: Almost done. Allow moisturizer to set, then apply Absolute Finish SPF 15 blending with fingertips.

Finally, for a real finished look, firmly press Duo-pHase Face Powder onto skin using a cotton ball. (I don’t use this at all. I like a natural look and since I have the SPF protection I’m good to go.)

Make the time! OK. I can hear you saying, “Yeah right, who’s got time for this o’clock business?” Well, my answer is simply “make the time!” At the end the day, how many hours have you spent watching crappy “reality shows” about who’ll be voted off the island, who’ll marry a bald-headed, unattractive father of 4, or who’ll win the hand of Joe Shmoe, etc., etc. Get your priorities straight. Your skin is a real reflection of you. And as Erno (or Ernest as I like to call him, as in Ernest Wilde) said “Beauty is not vanity – it’s a woman’s duty. A woman’s beauty is important equipment for prolonging the race.” Cos remember the skin doesn’t lie. And neither do EL products.

In addition to the 11:30 ritual, I’ve also been using another cream to target a much neglected area: the décolleté (how in God’s name do you pronounce this word?). Erno Laszlo’s Intensive Décolleté Cream, SPF 20 is magical. I put a tiny dime-sized amout after a shower and its so rich you can feel the difference this area is very delicate and one that needs more attention as we get older.

Time for Timeless
And talking of that dreaded word “aging”, indulge in EL’s latest Timeless Age Preventative Treatment Serum and you’ll really see a difference. Loaded with intensive fatty acids complex, vitamins B, C and E, this hypoallergenic, allergy/irritation tested treatment gives a smoother, youthful texture. I use it throughout he day and I’m amazed at the glow of my skin.

Then I saw here face. Now she’s a believer
Think I’m a biased EL fan? Well, I also gave the o’clock ritual and Timeless products to a total non-believer (she swore about another famous doctor, Dr. Salmon Perricone). As an oilier, 2 o’clocker, she did the splish-splash ritual for 5 days. And she’s converted… claiming her skin has never felt so clean, smooth and has a new tone to it.

Now’s the time
I could go on and on about these products, but I won’t. Instead let me give you the info you need to get clocked. Go to the new Erno Laszlo Insititute at Bergdorf Goodmans and they’ll go through your skin type and get you clocked in minutes (no pun intended). For a mere $75.00 you’ll get a complete trial kit that lasts a few weeks. This is really an excellent deal considering you can see a difference after 3 days. And the kit can last for weeks. Also, checkout Erno’s Laszlo’s website at http://www.neimanmarcus.com for all their latest Timeless products.

If all this isn’t enough to convince you, let me just finish with the fact that when Erno Laszlo died, he was in his late 70′s. Nobody believed it, he looked like he wasn’t a day over 50.

Enough said.

Originally published September 2003
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