Beauty

GODFREY’S GUIDE

My Detox at
a Clinical
Swiss
Spa Swarming
with Doctors

Ask Jean

Jean Godfrey-June is our beauty director, but her enthusiasms are many.

Nurse! Nurse! Rolling in mountains of perfectly ironed, edelweiss-white sheets, I clutched a nurse-on-call button—precisely like one you’d find in a hospital, but emblazoned, chicly, with a single, minimalist bright-green cross—as the sun glittered outside on Lake Geneva. I did not press the button but leapt up immediately to smooth on some hyaluronic acid from Dr. Barbara Sturm. Newly arrived at Clinique La Prairie (no relation to the cosmetics brand, but instead Europe’s ne plus ultra medical/wellness spa since the ’30s), I was giddy with the clinical, sternly, Germanic air, and the Sturm I’d packed definitely scratched the same itch. I followed it with some similarly physician-chic SPF 50—we were scheduled to have lunch outside.

Nurse! Nurse! Rolling in mountains of perfectly ironed, edelweiss-white sheets, I clutched a nurse-on-call button—precisely like one you’d find in a hospital, but emblazoned, chicly, with a single, minimalist bright-green cross—as the sun glittered outside on Lake Geneva. I did not press the button but leapt up immediately to smooth on some hyaluronic acid from Dr. Barbara Sturm. Newly arrived at Clinique La Prairie (no relation to the cosmetics brand, but instead Europe’s ne plus ultra

medical/wellness spa since the ’30s), I was giddy with the clinical, sternly, Germanic air, and the Sturm I’d packed definitely scratched the same itch. I followed it with some similarly physician-chic SPF 50—we were scheduled to have lunch outside.

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  1. The old-school European spa, where one might take water cures, dry out from months of rich-person indulgences, and soothe one’s nervous exhaustions, is at its best when melded with modernist medical facilities in the vein of Helmut Newton—and the pinnacle of its expression is, in fact, Clinique La Prairie. You can have cardiac surgery or a full face-lift, or you can slim down glamorously, aided by handsome trainers. You can get an epic Thai massage or what might well be the most meticulous facial on earth. The focus here is longevity—and there is perhaps no more luxurious or well-equipped place on earth to stare into that void.

  2. The surprise, though, was the detox. I imagined it would involve not eating much and perhaps some charcoal water or mildly laxative teas. But on my first night (after the jouncing in the pillows with the nurse button), the deep-teal-green spirulina dressing on the epic salad of every color and size of leaf was so delicious that it absolutely stopped me in my tracks. We sat outside watching the sun set over the lake, sipping mineral water, and trying to eavesdrop on the terrifying-looking Russian industrialist and his beautiful wife at the next table. She appeared to be following the detox program, as we were; he, hunched over what appeared to be a generous slab of ham, did not. The salad was followed by endless, ever more delicious courses, all vegan, all incredible-looking. We left the terrace beyond satisfied and absolutely stuffed.

    The surprise, though, was the detox. I imagined it would involve not eating much and perhaps some charcoal water or mildly laxative teas. But on my first night (after the jouncing in the pillows with the nurse button), the deep-teal-green spirulina dressing on the epic salad of every color and size of leaf was so delicious that it absolutely stopped me in my tracks. We sat outside watching the sun set over the lake, sipping mineral water, and trying to eavesdrop on the terrifying-looking

  3. Russian industrialist and his beautiful wife at the next table. She appeared to be following the detox program, as we were; he, hunched over what appeared to be a generous slab of ham, did not. The salad was followed by endless, ever more delicious courses, all vegan, all incredible-looking. We left the terrace beyond satisfied and absolutely stuffed.

  4. The next morning, after heckling the waiters into serving us a little coffee along with our exquisite china pots of detox tea, we tried two exercise classes—kick-your-ass, dripping-in-sweat exercise classes. (I had been expecting a few “European exercise class” sit-ups and leg lifts.) The trainers were gorgeous and unrelenting.

    Back in the room, we were exhausted enough to consider pressing our nurse button, but instead we did a bit of self-massage with the energizing black-pepper-and-rose-hip-infused G.Day oil. I’d brought it because there’s nothing like it if you’re feeling jet-lagged (or, in this case, overexercised), plus it’s also just the best scent—I like to wear it as perfume.

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  6. Reinvigorated (and smelling fantastic), we marched down to lunch: every sort of vegetable, beautifully cooked, in several courses, presented on the terrace. Again the Russian industrialist alternated red meat, carbs, cigarettes, and alcohol as his wife picked thoughtfully at her course of vegetarian curry with pickles. Clinique La Prairie is nonjudgmental: You pick your lane (tox, detox, raw, vegan, paleo, whatever your approach might be) and they support you.

  7. After lunch, we strolled underground through a futuristic corridor to the clinic for a battery of tests: heavy metals, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, oxidative stress. I turned out to be low in magnesium and iodine and too high in aluminum and silver. The doctor was full of practical advice on how to address these issues: Yes, magnesium lotions and baths can help (back in my room, I had a G.Nite bath ready to deploy, full of magnesium salts), but most people do better to combine them with an oral supplement. Cool it on the fancy sea salt and make sure your salt has extra iodine; eat more seaweed, too.

    Later in the afternoon I had both a Thai and a lymphatic-drainage massage, followed by an impromptu three minutes in a cryogenic chamber. I reconnected with my companion in the enormous, lazy oval of an indoor swimming pool and its attendant black marble hot tub.

  8. Our elaborate, multicourse dinner was somehow stealth-detox, but it was again impossible to perceive how the austerity had been disguised. The cheeseburger on our industrialist’s plate looked lonely and positively consumptive in comparison. We collapsed into bed that night after a face massage with cream made from alpine plants, and a stab at upping our magnesium with a G.Nite bath, which ensorcells with valerian root, magnesium salts, and a wild mixture of botanicals, salts, and essential oils. It smelled of sandalwood and lavender and put us straight to sleep (not that we needed much help).

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  1. The next day was more exercise, more delicious food, an amazing facial, a sunny run along the lake (Montreux contrasts a French Riviera–esque curving, palm-studded coastline against rugged, snow-capped mountains), and an incredibly informative session with a nutritionist, who formulated her recommendations in response to our nutritional tests from the day before. We toured the kitchen: The spice cabinet looked like an apothecary, with gigantic amber jars filled with organic herbs from all over the world, and the produce walk-in was just one of the prettiest sights you will ever see. There were chefs trained in every cuisine and style of eating, just as there were therapists trained in every style of bodywork and skin treatment, and doctors trained to test your hormones, and doctors trained to inject Botox. The place is tiny, beautiful, and super luxe, but it packs in just about every modality and support you could hope for in the pursuit of health, relaxation, and a long life.

    The next day was more exercise, more delicious food, an amazing facial, a sunny run along the lake (Montreux contrasts a French Riviera–esque curving, palm-studded coastline against rugged, snow-capped mountains), and an incredibly informative session with a nutritionist, who formulated her recommendations in response to our nutritional tests from the day before. We toured the kitchen: The spice cabinet looked like an apothecary, with gigantic amber jars filled with organic herbs from all over the world, and the produce walk-in was just one of the prettiest

  2. sights you will ever see. There were chefs trained in every cuisine and style of eating, just as there were therapists trained in every style of bodywork and skin treatment, and doctors trained to test your hormones, and doctors trained to inject Botox. The place is tiny, beautiful, and super luxe, but it packs in just about every modality and support you could hope for in the pursuit of health, relaxation, and a long life.

  3. If you’re looking for cacao ceremonies or crystal-healing sessions, that’s something you’re going to need to pack for yourself. But an utterly restorative, relaxing, recharging experience it is. We left several pounds lighter, glowing with health, detoxified within an inch of our lives, and feeling as if we might live forever.

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  5. Several nights later, we found ourselves in an ancient stone hut high on a Swiss glacier, packed like sardines into an odd, sweaty-despite-the-cold sort of group bunk bed. It was so deeply unglamorous that it was glamorous; to ice the cake, I slipped a little metallic-coral envelope out of my backpack and swiped a peel pad over my face. In the morning I cracked the thin sheet of ice on the outdoor bathtub to splash my face off, a sort of Wim Hof facial (there was no way I was jumping in, as one hardy-looking, obviously Swiss person had done the previous evening). The glow—reflected in a small cracked mirror affixed to the side of the hut—was epic. Detox, spirulina, facials, fresh Swiss air, exercise, GOOPGLOW, and icy water to the face: It just doesn’t get better.

LET’S GET CLINICAL

There are those who love the woo-woo, and those who love a white coat and a prescription. I vacillate wildly between the two. Here, the best of the brilliantly clean, immaculately clinical, and high-performance skin-care essentials in the goop clean beauty shop.

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