My Kiehl’s Facial at Nordstrom’s

This past weekend I headed up to the North Shore to check out the new Nordstrom's that opened up in April at the Northshore Mall in Peabody. Nordstom's was one of my favorite stores when I lived in the New York metropolitan area, but it has only come to Massachusetts within the past year. At Nordstrom's, I received a facial from the counter manager at the Kiehl's counter. Kiehl's is one of those brands that I keep leaving and going back to. While I love their facial moisturizers, I have never found a cleanser that I liked. So I decided to get an expert opinion on just exactly which Kiehl's products would be good for my skin. And I learned that I have been misjudging the type of skin that I have.

David, the counter manager at Kiehl's, is also a licensed medical esthetician. When he invited me to have a half-hour complimentary express facial, it was an offer I couldn't refuse. I was impressed when he led me to the back of the cosmetics department to the facial room. I was expecting a mini-facial at the Kiehl's counter, but Nordstrom's has a spa/salon-quality facial room, complete with relaxing music, reclining chair, and steam machine. David assessed my skin and told me that it was dehydrated. I had always thought my skin was on the oily side, since I break out a lot. I admitted to over-exfoliating my skin in an attempt to keep my pores unclogged. Hence the dehydration. But I actually have normal-to-combination skin. He told me to exfoliate only once a week, and to use an oil-free or lightweight moisturizer. He also told me that I had some sun damage, but that my face has few lines and wrinkles. Basically, I have the skin of someone 8-10 years younger than my actual age (woo hoo!). David turned on the steam machine, and so began my facial.

My facial started with an application of the Centella Calming Facial Cleanser, ($28.50 for 8 oz.) from the Dermatologist Solutions line. It's a gentle, non-foaming lotion cleanser. It's like Cetaphil, but unlike the esteemed drugstore brand, the Centella cleanser took up all of the makeup, including foundation, that I was wearing that day. It left my face feeling comfortable and clean.

The next step was toner. David actually used the Ultra Facial Toner ($15), but I felt a slight tingling sensation. David had asked me before he started the facial to let him know if I felt any reactions to the products, as I would feel them before he saw anything. Sure enough, after I told him it was stinging, he could see that my face was a little red. So he recommended that I try the Calendula Herbal Extract Toner ($34.50 for 8 oz.) instead. It's alcohol-free and herbal-based. While purchasing it, I was shocked that a toner could cost over thirty dollars, but I bought it anyway because my skin is sensitive, and I do try to steer clear of toners that contain alcohol.

After he removed the toner, David applied Ultra-Moisturizing Buffing Cream ($14.50). It's a gentle, cream-based exfoliant with mild scrub particles. He paid particular attention to my nose, which was clogged with tiny comedones and blackheads. After removing it, he massaged my face with a non-comedogenic oil to replenish some of the moisture that's been lost due to my habit of over-exfoliating my skin.

Although David said my skin was dehydrated, and gave me the moisturizing facial, he recommended that I use lighter weight or oil-free moisturizers because my skin is actually normal-combination. For daytime, he recommended the Ultra Facial Moisturizer ($22.50 for 4 oz.). I chose to purchase the one without the SPF of 15, because I use a separate sunblock with an SPF of 45. I've used the UFM in the past and liked it, so I was happy to learn that it was just right for my skin.

For nighttime, David recommended that I use the heavier Sodium PCA Moisturizer ($25 for 4 oz.). It's oil-free, but it's a cream, richer in consistency than the UFM. I've also used this in the past and liked it, so I felt like I was being reunited with an old friend that I had lost contact with.

After my facial, I treated myself to a refreshing pomegranate iced tea from the eBar, the Nordstrom's coffee shop, to further relax and unwind. Refreshed and revived, I continued my day of shopping. Later that day, when I got a glimpse of myself in the mirror in the ladies' room, I was impressed at just how clean and glowing my complexion looked. In particular, my nose was clean of the tiny blackheads that clogged my pores. Not only did my skin look good, it felt good: comfortable and healthy. I have high hopes that my skin has been diagnosed for its proper skin type, and that I'll be using a regimen of products that are right for my skin type.

Nordstrom’s is using illustrations by fashion designer Ruben Toledo for their current ad campaigns, and I just had to share this image by him of a fabulous redhead shopping at the Nordstrom's on Massachusett's North Shore (note the nautical themes on her dress).

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