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Model: Carly M/Factor Women

The best facials in Chicago

Feel and look your best with one of these facials at some of Chicago's best spas


Fountain of Youth facial at Spa@theWit
There was a fleeting moment during my facial—when an herbal treatment made my face feel as if it had been rubbed raw with jalapeños—that I feared I’d walk out looking like Eric Stoltz in Mask. This was even though my aesthetician warned me that the paprika-based product, from Hungarian organic line Eminence and said to stimulate blood circulation, would produce a warming sensation akin to sunburn. Turns out I had nothing to worry about: The burning quickly died down and became quite pleasant, and the menthol, rose hip and aloe mask applied afterward soothed my tingly skin (while the awesome shoulder, arm and hand massage soothed my muscles). My winter-ravaged pores dug the hydrating and toning mask, this one with apricots and carrots. The fountain of youth? Maybe not, but my face glowed for hours afterward. —Laura Baginski

Green Science anti-aging facial with Green Science peel at Blueberry Moon
Let’s start at the end: My face looked firm, smooth, healthy and bright after this 60-minute treatment—a ginormous difference from the dry, uneven, slightly broken-out complexion I’d become accustomed to by mid-January (thanks, Chicago winter). The highlight of the service, which uses products from Aveda’s Green Science line and is administered by skin-care guru Tessa, is the application of the exfoliating peel—a clay-based mask that promises the smoothing results of a glycolic peel without the bad side effects (redness, swelling à la Samantha on Sex and the City). Mission accomplished. Subtle bells and whistles—lymphatic draining technique for the face, a back rub while masks are doing their magic, light therapy, a foot bath and scrub to kick off the treatment—make this a can’t-miss service. —Liz Plosser

Custom facial atLustre Skin Boutique
I’ve never wanted to lick my face during a facial before, but that’s exactly the urge I felt during my visit to this Bucktown spa. As aesthetician (and co-owner) Jennifer applied the berry detox firming peel (an all-natural product by Eminence), it smelled so good and jammy I wanted to taste it. Instead, I allowed the product to do its thing: deeply purify my pores and exfoliate the dead skin off my face. Because paprika is one of the ingredients in the peel, it did bring a little heat to my face, but then Jennifer applied a soothing grapefruit gel (it includes cooling peppermint). It was followed by light extraction and hydrating serum, then she massaged my face with a mango night cream. “I basically pumped your skin full of vitamins,” she said. It smelled like a Jamba Juice concoction, but the combination worked: By the end of the hour-long service, my face was supersoft and glowing. —Kevin Aeh

Brighten facial atexhale
If you’re looking for one of those relaxing facials that lulls you into a Zenlike trance, this treatment isn’t it. If, however, you don’t mind enduring a little burn, the payoff is a fresh-feeling face aglow with smooth, even skin. The facial started out relaxing enough with a cool cleanse and exfoliation. Then, just as aesthetician Lindsey had warned, “a little discomfort” set in. The sting from the fruit enzyme mask and peel isn’t excruciating—nothing you haven’t already endured in your teen Oxy Acne Wash days. And with a nice, cool moisturizing application to top off the treatment, you’ll forget that “discomfort” ever happened. —Martina Sheehan

Youth as We Know It facial at Bliss Spa

I’ve heard epic praise for Bliss’s age-defying facial, so the bar was set rather high when I walked into the shiny, celestially white space. The aesthetician slathered my face with everything from a mushroom enzyme peel to a moisturizing cocktail (rich with ingredients such as amino acids, fruit and soybean-seed extracts) to a collagen mask, with the goal of magically whisking away dead skin cells and filling in fine lines. With all this talk of brightening, plumping and toning, I was sure the relaxing bit would fall by the wayside. Not the case. In addition to wiping away the products with warm, eucalyptus-scented towels, the aesthetician spent generous amounts of time firmly massaging my feet, arms and scalp. The end result? I walked out feeling—and looking—blissfully rejuvenated. —Jessica Herman


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