The Best Facials
The factors that take a facial from good to life-changing depend solely on personal preference (borderline medical-grade microdermabrasion vs. gentle hydrotherapy, for example). Nailing down the ideal treatment for your skin’s needs involves a bit of trial and error. To minimize error—and make the trial process a pleasurable one—we’ve corralled the best luxury spas, aestheticians, and straight-up dermatologist offices known to yield great results in a single visit. What’s more, many of our favorites bottle their star formulas (some have even launched entire skincare lines), making at-home upkeep significantly easier.
Natasa Bose1611 Montana Ave., 2nd Floor, Santa Monica | 310.918.3644
Natasa Bose's philosophy is pretty simple: Overall health and beautiful skin go hand-in-hand. This means that her famous custom-blended facials—a pH balancing and toning facial massage, followed by an oatmeal cranberry, carrot ginger, or egg honey mask—don't just better the skin, but aid in full-body wellbeing, too. As far as more inventive treatments go, there's lymphatic drainage, ultrasound, and facial toning, too.
Harold Lancer, M.D.440 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills | 310.278.8444
This is actually more dermatologist's office than spa, but the microdermabrasion treatment and hydrafacial (a gentle resurfacing treatment that boasts pretty extreme results), make it a regular upkeep go-to. Dr. Lancer is one of those doctors where less is more: The less is just powerful and effective. (It's arguably best expressed by his excellent and to-the-point product line.)
Francesca Paige9735 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills | 310.860.0898
Francesca “Frankie” Paige has quickly become a legend in Los Angeles for her no-nonsense, results-driven facials. There's no gimmick-y spa menu or ambient music, treatments are custom-built around the client's specific skin needs, and tend to err on the intense side. Frankie herself is always booked, so ask for Erika, who is just as great. Photograph courtesy of How You Glow
Shani DardenBeverly Hills | 310.745.3150
Shani Darden may work out of a beautifully appointed guest house in her backyard, but the niceties end there. Shani, who happens to be hilarious (and have amazing skin) is all business when it comes to results-driven facials, offering peels, extractions, microdermabrasion, and infrared lights that deliver against the price. Most recently, she developed her own resurfacing retinal serum—her clients seem to agree that it's nothing short of a miracle in a bottle.
Mila Moursi Skin CareBarneys, 9570 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills | 310.276.4400
Mila has been taking care of many high-profile LA women for decades, all of whom swear by her skin and body treatments. More specifically, it's her European facials (tack on a dry contouring session for a bit of extra lift), "face-changing" line of skincare products, and discretion that keep everyone coming back. While the flagship spa on Sunset Boulevard is worth an in-person visit, you can also book treatments at Barneys New York outposts in most major cities (besides Los Angeles, Mila Moursi is at Chicago and New York).
Alexandra Wagner1636 Abbot Kinney, Venice | 310.399.0123
Perched up above Abbot Kinney, this white-washed space feels more like a tree house than a spa. Wagner, who also moonlights as a painter, is chill and wonderful, meaning that an hour spent with her skilled hands is kind of like hanging with a friend. A recovering tanning junkie herself, Wagner is nothing short of a magician when it comes to banishing sunspots and UV damage. Product-wise, the focus here is on holistic and organic lines, supplemented by her own turmeric and plant stem cell serum.
Vanessa Hernandez9675 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills | 310.849.4452
Her laid-back personality and healing approach to skincare has made Vanessa Hernandez one of the most in-demand aestheticians in LA, so much so that she juggles clients in two locations (Beverly Hills, where she works in conjunction with two plastic surgeons, and the Pacific Palisades). The treatments on offer, though not too invasive, range from microdermabrasion to oxygen therapy to vitamin infusions to customized facials.
Ava M.D.2021 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica | 310.828.2282
Ava Shamban, M.D. (or, as her patients call her, Dr. Ava) is one of the most well-regarded dermatologists in the entertainment world. She's a regular on The Doctors, and the trusted skin guru for Extreme Makeover. Her practice is staffed with a team of accomplished dermatologists and Physician Assistants, who are all skilled in facials, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels. There are also super hardcore options like cosmetic lasers, botox injections, and extensive acne treatment programs—this spot is not a spa, it's the sort of place where they really clean out your pores. There's also a location in Beverly Hills.
Dayle BreaultVenice | 424.228.5117
Dayle Breault (aka The Goddess of Skin) has an obsession with natural skincare that was born out of her own struggles with acne. That said, acne is just one of many skin concerns she tackles: She (apparently) singlehandedly solved Cara Delevingne's issues with psoriasis and her three-part Epicuren mask visibly diminishes sun damage after a single session. Plus, her namesake product line offers the perfect balance between good-for-you ingredients and potency (the Bonafide scrub is a fan favorite). Call or email for an appointment, she sees clients in both NYC and LA.
Face Place8701 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood | 310.855.1150
Don't expect soft music and a gentle massage. Taking a more clinical approach to facials than a typical spa, the space is stark and clean, and the staff really knows what they're doing. The signature facial combines a round of extractions with a galvanizing treatment which promises to tighten and rejuvenate skin tissue. They also offer some pretty effective peels. There are also locations in New York City and London (Holburn and Marylebone).