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I tried it: The Jason Wu facial at Caudalie


The Jason Wu for Caudalie Beauty Elixir and the Wu Diane Bag. Photo: Caudalie
The Jason Wu for Caudalie Beauty Elixir and the Wu Diane Bag. Photo: Caudalie

Next week, rockstar designer Jason Wu will be showing his 2017 collection at Fashion Week. But this week, he’s been all about creating catwalk-worthy skin—namely yours.

The designer now has a namesake facial at the brand-new Caudalie boutique in Manhattan’s Westfield World Trade Center shopping center, which Well+Good was the very first to try. And he’s collaborated with Caudalie on a limited-edition beauty product of the French antioxidant-savvy brand.

It’s a glass bottle of the Beauty Elixir ($49), a hydrating toner slash desk-friendly pick-me-up, which Wu’s adorned with a lacy print evocative of his spring ’16 looks and accessorized with a gold cap that mirrors the hardware of his cult-fave Diane Bag. “I wanted Jason to dress my Beauty Elixir,” says Mathilde Thomas, Caudalie’s founder and a friend of Wu’s. The two met when he became a regular at the Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa at The Plaza, and he fell hard for the Elixir, distributing it to models and makeup artists at his shows.

A model using the Caudalie Beauty Elixir. Photo: Caudalie
A model using the Beauty Elixir. Photo: Caudalie

During the facial, you’ll get tons of the Beauty Elixir (made with grape extracts, bitter orange, and mint) on your skin. It’s used as an amuse bouche to transition you from the street and its stresses to a supine position on the comfy facial bed, then to hydrate, tone, and hydrate again.

This all takes place in the small cabine (treatment room) at the back of the boutique, separated by glass doors and curtains, and where a photo of the vineyard on which Thomas and her family opened the first Caudalie spa 17 years ago blankets the wall. It’s where aesthetician Natacha Richard presides, her French accent lulling you into a state of calm that I wish could be bottled and precede every future skin-care event in my life.

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The Jason Wu Beauty Elixir Facial. Photo: Caudalie

The 50 minutes with Richard are devoted to boosting your glow by hydrating and “oxygenating” your skin (AKA depuffing it) with lots of lymphatic facial massage so you look like you slept a solid eight hours, five days in a row. The cleansing and treatment products are otherwise customized for your skin. (She used a glycolic-papaya mask on me for combination skin, for example.)

There are also the de rigeur steps of extractions and exfoliation, and global beauty influences, too. “We layer a lot of [products] and waters such as the Beauty Elixir and Grape Water,” says Thomas, who lived in Hong Kong for many years before moving to New York. “This is an inspiration from the Asian market.”

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My facial regimen. Photo: Melisse Gelula for Well+Good

A facial is the kind of product that can’t lie, and Thomas is confidently matter-of-fact about her treatment’s rather lofty objectives: “The skin’s vitality is restored and is radiantly beautiful.”

Well, I won’t argue with her. My redness was gone, as were my dark under-eye circles, and I felt great about the de-puffed, almost chiseled look I had around my cheekbones and jaw. I also went three days wearing just mascara and lip balm afterwards.

It launches more broadly at Caudalie spas on September 15, at the end of Fashion Week, when about half of New York City will need a restorative facial.

The service at the Plaza is 100 minutes for $325 and a 50-minute service at Caudalie Boutique Spas is $120.

Here’s the serious science behind vinotherapy (the use of grapes in skin-care products and spa treatments), why free radicals are no friend to your skin, and how to eat for glowing skin