Catherine Zeta-Jones Elizabeth Arden

Knocking on the Red Door

Monday, March 30, 2015 tgoandco

What do Nicki Minaj, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber have in common?

No, it is not the size of their wallets. They have all been knockin’ on the Red Door. What’s the Red Door? Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door Spa or just Red Door.  A hundred year old bastion of beauty and skin care, The Red Door has been around as a company since 1910 when Elizabeth Arden opened her first set of doors on Fifth Avenue in New York. Elizabeth Arden was truly a pioneer in skin care and believed in a balancing of nature and science to make one look beautiful. She started a make up line when women didn’t even wear cosmetics let alone own a business. She started offer quality services with scientifically proven ingredients that enhanced skin to make a person look radiant. In truth, she was one of the first women ever be featured on Time Magazine. She was such an advocate of women (encouraging early suffragettes to wear red lipstick to show strength) that one tended to think her company was all about women - leaving men knocking on the door. By the 1930’s, she was an icon and a household name — as much as Coke-Cola or Sears. I was jealous. I wanted to see what's behind the red door! Then I found out — I could. WHO KNEW? And just to clarify, Nicki Minaj, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber love Red Door so much, they each have perfumes, fragrances or colognes that are produced by Red Door. So are they regulars at one of the many Red Door locations? I venture to say yes. But will I like it?

So I go a knockin’ too. Is it just for women? Apparently not. I was a bit surprised by that. In fact, men have been knocking on the Red Door for some time — not just the Bieb. They have a full line of mens services including hair, facials, manicure/pedicures, waxing (ouch), massage services as well as something called the “Back Facial”. It was my time to check the place out. I had heard they just had a face-lift renovation. No, I didn’t book the Back Facial? My love handles don't need tightening. My face, that's another story.  I thought that was the most obvious place to start. Elizabeth is known for skin care. Lets see what she can do with this face. Maybe I’ll look like Justin when I leave.

The Gentleman’s Facial

I feel very much like I am going to see the holy grail or stepping over the threshold of the Great Pyramids in Giza. There aren’t many places that impress me or have this much mystique about it. I have been to spas before. This one has seemed beyond reach for some reason. I walked in the lobby. It is very bright and light. The doors aren't red but frosted glass. There are the signature red doors off to the side, but they are mostly for show and serve as a backdrop for display. The interior is very modern and uber clean. Products decorate the front. I am shown the entrance of the inner sanctum. Instantly the mood changes — I have crossed over to the other side. The new interior is subdued and woody but still very modern. There are dim lights and a sofa in a waiting area. They ask you to fill out a short questionnaire. It asks the basics like if you are allergic to anything that could cause a reaction. A long corridor takes you to a series of treatment rooms and the locker room to disrobe. I exchange my clothes and put on a very luxurious robe and flip flops. I go back to the waiting area where there are a variety of teas or water. It is all very civilized. Yes, there is background music but it’s not Enya.  Whatever it was, it instantly puts one at ease.

I hit the jackpot. My esthetician was Mirela Munteanu. She is the king pin and department lead at Red Door. From Europe, she speaks with a slight accent and her skin glows it's so healthy. There isn’t a wrinkle on it. I, on the other hand, have a few and I am looking a tad scruffy. She glides me into a treatment room and begins the procedure. I am lying on my back under a sheet as she examines my face under a huge magnifying glass.  She examines and probes each pore. I don’t even think my doctor has looked at my face that closely… or even a few lovers.  The results come in. I have dry skin around my eyes, a few black heads and plethora of clogged pores. The clogged pores are causing redness and discoloration giving my skin an uneven skin tone and texture.

Sitting on Hot Rocks

Did I mention I have a couple of hot rocks under my neck to help me to relax? They worked wonders as she starts to apply an enzyme solution to my skin. These enzymes help to take off a layer of dead skin and are less abrasive than a scrub. Enzymes help to lubricate the skin and protect against water loss in the skin cells. The more water retained by the skin cells, the more smooth and supple the skin will be and look. The enzymes also help to support the collagen retention in your skin to help the appearance seem tighter. Retaining collagen is essential in keeping skin's elastic nature. The serum/solution doesn’t burn or hurt. It tingles a little but is more refreshing than anything. It stays on for a while while she massages my face, neck and shoulders. I receive a lovely hand massage with another serum/lotion. My hands get wrapped in plastic and put into large oven mitts to accelerate the conditioning. She starts to unclog the pores and clear out the black heads. Ok… that part wasn’t fun. It’s like having your girl friend pop your pimples. You tolerate it but she is pressing on your nose. The results however are worth it. The results are particularly visible the next day and after.

Next, I get a second lotion applied to the face. It’s a hydrating serum that is slightly slick but absorbs into my skin. I start to look good. Yes, the little wrinkles and… ahem, crow’s feet, start to disappear.  My face looks really fresh and hydrated. The color is more even, bright and healthy. Yes. It glows. My oven mitts are removed. All of this takes time. It is not the slam dunk of washing one’s face and bolting out the door. It took just over an hour. I was relaxed. By the time I changed my clothes; I felt deeply relaxed, very zen and refreshed. It was a nice feeling. Did I feel the difference? Oh yes!  The results lasted quite a while.

Recommendations for Men’s Skin?

Mirela Munteanu informs me that men don’t have to do much in the way of skincare. Women use a lot more make up on their skin, so exfoliation is more important. Men, when they shave, are exfoliating. Taking off the dead skin layer helps to show the fresh skin that is radiant and pure. Soap, while it cleans, will dry skin. Also, dry skin looks pasty. It is like looking at one's skin through a dirty window. Remove the dry skin and you can see the beauty. Hydration, especially around the eyes, helps relieve the wrinkles and keeps the skin looking good. This areas is the thinnest and most fragile skin on the face. The area between the brow and around the nose is thicker, by contrast, is usually oily. The enzymes treatments help to control that oiliness and get rid of the oil build up. It assists with cleaning out the pores also. If pores are clogged, there is redness and puffiness. So the enzymes actually help to even out the skins tone, color and texture. Mirela suggests some products that one can get and do the same process at home. I have to admit, it’s nice to have someone do that for you. She also suggests the same hydrating lotion so the face will continue to glow. As the winter tends to dry out the skin, it is helpful to get facials done on a regular basis. If one tans, the hydrating is also important to keep skin moist. Keeping pore openings clear will assist with the evenness of tone. She recommends a enzyme cleanser that won’t dry out. Regular Facial are highly recommended if one is concerned about maintaining healthy, glowing skin. Remember, it is one's face. Mirela says some of her customers come in once a month. Others book an appointment when then get their hair cut. I have some friends that go once a quarter or at the end of each season. She recommends the massage as it is the most popular service for men. I recommend the facial. It is beyond beautiful and the results show up on your face.

Written by
Thom Olson for Halfstack

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