Put your best face forward: Facials to look your holiday best

HydraSweep facial at Epi Center MedSpa. Photo: courtesy Epi CENTER medspa

Nature gives you the face you have at 20. Life shapes the face you have at 30. But at 50 you get the face you deserve.

— Coco Chanel

We dare contradict chanel and say we believe there are three core factors affecting appearance at every age: your natural features, your character emanating from within, and the appearance of your skin, which — genes aside — depends on how well you take care of it.

With this edition of our beauty quest, we aim to give readers a handful of options to help attain nearly flawless skin with the aid of the best professionals in the business. From the latest in microneedling to an LED laser, we’ve tried every high-tech treatment available to find those most effective to recommend.


We dove straight into the deep end of the fountain of youth, starting with one of the most powerful treatments on the market today: the Vampire Facial from Serenity MedSpa, which is celebrating an expansion with a recently opened new wing. The procedure uses a medical-grade automated microneedling pen to infuse skin with your own platelet-rich plasma taken from a centrifuged blood draw.

Microneedling is a popular trend, causing rejuvenating microinjuries to the skin that stimulate collagen and elastin production to tissue, grow new cells, and improve deep wrinkles. We noticed an immediate change in our most abhorred little lines within a day after the treatment. Five days later, we felt like we’d truly aged backward: Our mild pigmentation almost disappeared, and our skin was as plump and dewy weeks later as it was the first few days after the treatment (Serenity MedSpa, 126 Post St., 2nd Floor,


After such an intense, high-yield procedure, we opted for a calming luxury treatment to further rejuvenate our skin and relax our muscles. Nob Hill Spa truly hit the spot with their ReVerse anti-aging facial using Babor Re-Youth complex technology, which is said to retain and extend skin cell lifespan and reactivate the skin’s antiaging mechanisms. The aestheticians were especially skilled and used classic facial massages to safely bring circulation to the skin. We felt like we were on top of the world — and with views of San Francisco throughout the facility, we were very close (Nob Hill Spa, 1075 California Street, 415-345-2888,


Each facial does its share to perfect acne-prone skin, and Pure Radiance from Kayla Jeanne Aesthetics might just work overtime. By using diamond tip microdermabrasion to polish away dead skin cells and increase blood flow, the facial works to improve tone and texture.

Followed by LED light therapy and Intraceuticals oxygen, skin achieves a clearer tone, texture, and overall appearance. The treatment virtually dissolved old hyperpigmentation and stubborn acne scars. Just be sure to use sunblock — skin is sensitive for several days after treatment (Kayla Jeanne Aesthetics, 1905 Union Street, 415-370-6559,


Epi MedSpa was the first in the nation to offer medical treatments in a spa-like setting, and have been bringing revolutionary procedures to the forefront since 1998. One of their newest offerings (touted by the aesthetic guidebook New Beauty Magazine as one of the best in-office options), HydraFacial MD delivers immediate results with no downtime for all skin types. This core hydrating facial can be customized with add-ons concentrating on key concerns like wrinkle reduction, tightening, pigmentation, acne, and the back. What sets it apart is the Vortex-Fusion suction and delivery system used to resurface, remove debris, extract, and deliver potent serums deep within pores in only 30 minutes.

This gentle treatment didn’t leave a single mark, and we were ready to go out and about that night. We’d recommend this facial to anyone seeking a quick and efficient treatment, without downtime. Also, the HydraFacial MD infusion is a superior way to combat your biggest concerns and the drying effects of our city this time of year (Epi Center MedSpa, 450 Sutter Street, Suite 800, 415-362-4754,

There is a range of price points and experiences for these treatments. Should you choose to indulge in all, we recommend them in the order described here and waiting a week between each one. This will allow you to get the optimal outcome by applying beneficial serums to an exfoliated surface, thereby attaining a glowing complexion just in time for the holidays.


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Moanalani Jeffrey is the founder of her eponymous photography agency, writes a fashion and lifestyle blog, CliqueMJ, and can be reached through and followed on Instagram: @moanalanijeffrey. Valerie Demicheva is a branding strategist and culture journalist. Her work can be seen in the San Francisco Chronicle, WWD, and SF Weekly. Follow her beauty adventures on Instagram: @vanitymonger.