By Lucianne Lewis

The Swiss have been horologists and confidants to the world’s elite for centuries, and with their strong connection to their “Beaute” obsessed French cousins it’s little wonder that this perfectionist nation is leading the way in premium anti-aging skin care. Luckily for us they have just arrived, discretely of course, here in Manhattan.

True to its Swiss roots L.Raphael, a pioneer in non-invasive oxygen treatments has remained neutral by simultaneously opening two treatment spas in close proximity to two of the most sought after hotels in Manhattan, one inside the Four Seasons and the other right next door to The Plaza.

Technology, well-being and product are three of the seven pillars of the spa L.Raphael Science of Beauty philosophy. Feeling the dehydrating and aging effects of a never-ending winter, I opted for the signature Oxy Star facial during my visit to the L.Raphael La Maison on 4 West 58th St.

In the lobby the antique European glass cabinets, faded French Aubusson rugs and Louis XIV sofas created a long established feel which fit perfectly with their new home in this timeless corner of New York.

The therapist guided me into a plain room where I changed into a quilted robe and slipped into a cocoon of sumptuous orange and cream bedding. The grey, industrial sized steam cleaner jolted to life signaling the start of my 50-minute treatment.

The therapist directed the thin powerful stream of icy oxygen across every inch of my face blasting away the debris from deep in the skin’s dermis layer, replacing it with a concoction of active anti-aging compounds. Feeling like a cross between a trip to the hygienist and having your head stuck in a Dyson air hand dryer, the 50-minute treatment wasn’t the most relaxing experience.

To calm the skin after it’s oxygen invasion the therapist performed a restoring massage before applying a thick collagen and algae mask for twenty minutes, that was intended to plump and hydrate the skin.

The oxygen spray was blown over my face once again to tighten pores and “wake up” the skin, this time my dermis and I were more prepared and as a result the experience was cooling and refreshingly pleasant.

The treatment ended with “the final enlightenment phase”- essentially an application of the L Raphael skincare products the therapist recommends you use at home. She opted for the tactfully named Strong anti-wrinkle cream. Ouch.

For the next few days my skin glowed, felt much more hydrated, so much so that I didn’t apply any makeup or product for two days. After ten days my skin still feels touchably soft and looks fresh, I would definitely recommend the L Raphael Oxy Star before a big event but as with most of the most desirable things on Fifth Avenue, if you have to ask the price… the Swiss will never tell.

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Originally published March 2014
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