…and we return to Italian beauty extravaganza part two: the facial
After days of obsessive pharmacy shopping, where I picture my credit card screaming bloody murder at me for over swiping, there was one last stop: I had to experience a legit Italian facial. Had to, no excuses, no exceptions… 100% necessary.
Choosing a spa was first world difficult, mostly because I was looking for something similar to what’s offered stateside and I needed solid reviews online because going into an establishment and risking no one understanding me was my nightmare. Don’t get it twisted, I’m totally cool with being out of my element in a foreign country but I want to be able to communicate my skin sensitivities so it doesn’t fall off on the table, okay?
What I noticed immediately in my search: unless you’re visiting a high-end hotel spa, many esthetics studios offered efficient facials.
By efficient I mean they weren’t fluffy extended treatments we’re used to here. You can find them at hotels, but these studios offered short, affordable facials focused on deep cleansing, extractions, massage, and you’re out the door. Proving that Europe has an entirely different view on skin health than Americans. I dig it, it makes it accessible to so many more people!
I found a luxe gem near the Spanish Steps, though
Alta Care Beauty Spa is located near the luxe shopping district surrounding the Spanish Steps. Thankfully on the other side of the piazza, once inside you hardly hear the sounds of tourism, and by the time you reach your treatment room it’s gone. An unassuming peaceful escape in the midst of Rome’s busy cobblestone streets.
Even though the spa is located in the epicenter of tourism it caters to both locals and travelers alike. If you look at the street view pic above you’ll notice the spa is inconspicuous, you kinda have to know what you’re looking for. When you’re on the sidewalk the window signage isn’t noticeable. You have to actually buzz in to enter, so no one can just walk right in and be disruptive. I felt like I was in a top secret spa club! Hahaha
Alta Care Beauty Spa is a French skincare company with a flagship in Rome, and their in-house line Dermastir is wonderful. Truly, I’ve loved everything I brought home and wish I had 10 jars of Zinc Caviar Mask.
In addition to being a spa, Alta Care is an esthetics training center. The girls providing facials aren’t students however, they’re instructors or work for Alta Care in some capacity in addition to being trained estheticians. We already know I’m smitten with European estheticians, like I’ll just sit giddily in admiration, hanging onto every beautifully accented word. My esthetician Lyudmila was wonderful, of course drop dead gorgeous with perfect skin, and thankfully laughed with me over my country ass version of Italian. Or at me, but I was hanging onto every euro-esthi word she said and could care less.
Remember Brad Pitt in Inglorious Bastards pretending to be Italian?
Yeah, that was me. Talk about embarrassing.
My skin was congested, hormonal, dry, dehydrated… it was a hot mess from travel, wine, and vacation overindulgences. Lyudmila instructed me to receive facials more often and not to skimp on extractions. I’m prone to redness and broken capillaries, she noted no steam would be used during treatment because of said delicate skin. It caught me off guard–she wasn’t wrong by any means. With all the facials I’ve had over the years I’ve never had anyone make that call, even myself with my skin. You guys have seen me steaming on IG stories! We never stop learning, over the years I’ve become more cautious in how I treat skin, and I’m already aware of over steaming delicate skin types. My experience with Lyudmila was a lightbulb moment:
maybe I should be even more cautious steaming sensitive skin
There were all kinds of layers going on my skin: a lush cream cleanser, zinc serums, exfoliants, hydrating treatments, my new fave zinc mask, a rubber modeling mask to calm after extractions. Getting a deep clean by removing blackheads is a priority here, more than I’m used to in the States. I was impressed by how much she removed without steam considering how dry my skin was. The high-frequency tool Alta Care uses is NO JOKE, it was the strongest I’ve experienced and it zapped my zits away overnight.
Afterwards, my skin was so plump with hydration! As sensitive as I am I still had redness post-extractions, even with products used to calm. Knowing my skin well, I expected this. You can slightly see where we extracted on my forehead, and obviously where my chin had blown up over the week.
FYI: The best way to get in touch with the spa is to purchase a voucher for the service you’d like first, then follow up either via email or Skype. I had better luck calling through Skype. I’m a planner and like booking in advance but they have several estheticians, I imagine booking a few days prior when you arrive in the city would work just as well.