With Paris Fashion Week kicking off today, there will no doubt be a variety of incredible runway shows taking place in the City of Lights this week. Beyond that, if you're headed to Paris for a reason other than fashion week — either for a true vacation, or just to take in the scenery for a few days — Dior's spa is worthy of adding to your must-visit list.
Hidden inside one of the chicest hotels in Paris (Plaza Athénée) the Dior Institute is the only Dior spa in all of Europe. Since the designer first showed his inaugural collection at the hotel in 1947, there's been an intrinsic connection between Dior and the Plaza Athénée. Besides the glamour of entering the hotel's basement and being met with vintage black-and-white photos of Christian Dior (he frequently staged photoshoots there), a stunning pool and a clean, white space, the facial you'll get there is among of the best I've ever had. The Dior Institute also utlizes the brand's Prestige line (the most expensive, high-quality products from the brand, all of which harness the power of Dior's native Rose de Granville), which, if you're not willing to shell out say, $400 for a face cream, is an excellent way to experience the products with the added benefit of receiving a service.
When you first arrive, you'll be greeted with water, tea, and snacks in the elegant waiting room, balanced on a tray atop some of the label's most stunning fashion and beauty tomes. You'll also get to select your favorite scent from some of Dior's most famed fragrances, which the service will be scented with at the end through body lotions and perfume. The spa offers facials, body treatments, services for hands and feet, makeup application and of course, specialized treatments for men. Personally, I'm someone who doesn't like massages but loves a good facial, so it was obvious which service I wanted to try. Not so obvious? Which kind of facial — many of them were centered around anti-aging, which I'm not so concerned about. After consulting with the spa, they reccommeded the Dior Prestige Grand Facial treatment (220€ for 60 minutes).
I wasn't completely sure what to expect — I had only had a facial that focused on massaging once before, and it was extremely painful to say the least. Luckily, this service was the exact opposite. Prior to my appointment, I had to select one "zone" to focus the treatment on (you can also add multiple zones, for an extra charge). Of eyes, lips and jaw, I chose jaw based on the reccommendation of the esthetician. Lips and eyes are recommended more for those who want an anti-aging effect, while the jawline can be more of an overall skin refresher for people of any age.
First off, my esthetician used a device to measure my skin's levels, from moisture to elasticity, before reporting back on what it was I could improve on and what products I should use to get there. (My moisture levels were off the chart, but what I needed was brightness — and they reccommended the label's Light-and-White UV serum.) In addition to the normal facial routine of cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing and masking, the massage was incorporated.
The treatment was composed of a 45-minute facial massage all over the face before getting to the more specific zone I had selected: the jaw, which was massaged for 15 minutes. The massage portion of the facial was intense, I won't deny that, but it didn't hurt like my previous facial massage I had. In fact, it was extremely relaxing and I almost fell asleep during it once or twice. The product that was used most of all during the massage (La Creme, which was liberally massaged intro skin during that portion of the treatment) smelled amazing, too, and made my face incredibly glow-y and dewy.
When the facial was complete, my esthetician recomennded the products she thought I should use, before applying a light layer of Dior powder and lipgloss. The most incredible thing about the facial massage was that for three days after, I felt like my skin looked so good that I (someone who never strays from full-coverage foundation) didn't have to wear any foundation—just a little bit of concealer here and there. For me, that's never been the case after a facial. In fact, facials often usually have the oppositre effect on my skin, making it red and inflamed.
So, whether or not you make it to the extremely luxurious Dior Institute spa in Paris, perhaps a facial massage is the secret to glowing, makeup-free skin. When in the past I'd been sticking with laser facials of the Skin Laundry variety, I'll now be investing in massage-based facials for the ultimate glow.