I first read about famed French epidermologist Isabelle Bellis in the Vogue of beauty blogs, Into the Gloss. After learning about Isabelle’s emphasis on plant-based science, nutrition and healthy living, I just knew that she would be my beauty soulmate. I made an appointment with her back in mid-July for a November 3 time slot, so suffice to say – she is highly sought after. As my appointment happened to fall just days before my birthday, I figured a facial with Isabelle would be the perfect present to myself. And I was completely on point – best birthday gift ever.
From the moment I stepped into her Upper East Side penthouse apartment, I was in interior design heaven. It was cool, sleek and sophisticated, filled with dark grey walls and luxe details like fur throws and plush, velvet couches. She also had a small kitchenette filled with all sorts of curiosities (to make her magic potions, I suppose) like freshly cut fruits and dried herbs.
I feel compelled to note that Isabelle has the most unreal skin I have ever seen in my life. The picture above doesn’t even come close to doing her justice. Her skin is not only blemish-free and luminous, it is also extraordinarily taut and toned. Her soft, girlish voice and sweet demeanor cemented my girl crush and my resolve to continue seeing her as a regular (especially if it means I might have skin like hers someday).
While enjoying a freshly brewed cup of tea, I filled out an extremely thorough 3 page survey asking about my eating and exercise habits, skin concerns and health history. (“Katrina…I think you may eat a leetle bit too much red meat.” Guilty as charged!) After a quick chat about what I want to get out of the facial (improved skin tone and clarity, soothe my fall/winter dryness) – she began with a spritz of calming essential oils to set the tone. The facial itself lasts 2 hours long, but it was so wonderful and relaxing that the 120 minutes flew by very quickly. I don’t get facials regularly, so she definitely spent a lot more time on extractions than most. While extractions are always unpleasant, she made up for it by spending the rest of her time giving me a rigorous facial and eye massage with plant and flower essences that smelled like a variety of plants from pumpkins to freshly-picked flowers. She ended the session with a soothing mask to restore moisture to my wind-worn face and sent me home with some Joelle Ciocco products.
One important piece of advice I gleaned from Isabelle is that organic skincare doesn’t always mean more gentle or soothing. The widespread use of essential oils and alcohol in green beauty products can make sensitive skins even more prone to redness and / or dryness. While Isabelle loves the idea of organic skincare, she told me to make sure that there are little to no filler chemicals, even in the absence of scary ingredients like parabens or mineral oils. Some food for thought, particularly for green skincare enthusiasts.
The results? Immediately after the facial, my eye area was super taut and toned, as if I had gotten the best sleep of my life. And this morning when we woke up, my boyfriend exclaimed – “Whoa, your skin is so…clear!” From a guy who probably wouldn’t notice if I dyed my hair platinum blonde, I’ll take it.
Isabelle Bellis, 60 East 66th Street, (212) 966-3262 www.isabellebellis.com
[Image Credit: Isabelle Bellis]