By Jessa Moore

I view skin care with a mix of curiosity, dread, and a scientific detachment. I had a beautiful mother who considered lipstick to be a complete makeup kit, and have had such sensitive skin my whole life that I’ve developed an almost phobic fear of moisturizer. However, when I was offered the chance to go to Phyto Universe, I jumped at it.

I am a huge fan of Phyto products for hair, and thought this was a great opportunity to learn how to not only pamper my skin, but to care for it. You see, I am one of those women who genuinely dislikes the idea of Botox. I have friends who have been using it since they were twenty five, and the idea makes me cringe. I have a different plan. I want to see how taking care of my skin, eating well, limiting alcohol, stress, and wearing sunscreen works. Lest you think I am a paragon – my plan is, well, moderation.

Phyto Universe is utterly gorgeous in an otherworldly sort of way. Entering from the elevator, the first thing I could smell was grass. I stared ahead of me…and saw a wall of greenery. It’s amazing. I found out that it’s a rare, vertical garden containing over 9,000 plants. When I met Lilia, my facialist, she explained that I was smelling “oxygen.” I don’t care. I am already wafting away…Gone are my lofty ideas of what I’m going to “learn” about skincare. Even though Lilia was fascinating, clearly knew her stuff, and loves taking care of skin, I dozed off. I was instructed to be quiet and take a nap – which I promptly did, despite my best efforts. The steamy heat enveloped me and I simply drifted off.

The divine Lilia (as she is now to be called) did an expert job of evaluating my skin, and then re-evaluating as we went along. The extraction process, while not exactly painless, was thorough, and the facial massage left me glowing. I left without makeup and with aftercare instructions about how to best maintain my complexion, which was baby smooth. My questions were patiently answered. Phyto Universe is unique in that it’s both a hair and skin spa with a holistic approach to beauty. Phtyo believes in the power of the plant. In my mind, I am at the point where I would rather do that than Botox. In a couple years, who knows? But maintaining beauty in a peaceful, natural setting can never be a bad thing.  All the fabulous skin care products used on me were from Lierac, and I’m maintaining my post spa glow by using them at home.

Phyto Universe
715 Lexington Avenue @ 58th Street
New York, NY 10022

Lierac products available at Phyto Universe and

Originally published October 2010
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