Remember a couple posts back when I dropped by Washington for an internship interview (and a cheeky facial at Gressa Skin)? Well, I got to go back for the entire summer–the coldest summer I have ever experienced (I am a California girl after all).
Since my last trip was a rather whirlwind one, I wasn’t able to visit all the places I wanted to. So this time I booked a facial for myself with Jordan Samuel Skin weeks before I even arrived in the sleepless city.
My previous experiences with Jordan Samuel Skin were limited to a short stint with the Plié cleanser the summer of 2015 shortly after its release. I was very excited over its release as it was quite a unique formula in the green beauty world–a gel-to-oil-to-milk formula with no real counterparts perhaps besides Oskia’s well-loved Renaissance Cleanser.
Unfortunately at the time, I was overwhelmed with products, and although I loved the fruity scent and the sweet technology, I passed the cleanser onto my mother, who used it until the last squeeze.
Nevertheless, I had been eagerly planning my facial with Jordan. I loved that he was a former ballet dancer turned esthetician, with major training behind both disciplines (hello Pacific Northwest Ballet and Kate Somerville training). He is super sweet on social media, and when he started filming YouTube videos, I couldn’t help help but love him more.
I came in bare-faced the morning of Independence Day weekend per polite facial etiquette.
While most of the spas I’ve had the pleasure of facialing at in the past have had a menu of facials targeted towards particular skin concerns or desires, Jordan (much like Gressa Skin) offers one kind of facial that is customized to the client. As I described my skin, easily oily but often dehydrated, Jordan reaffirmed I was spot on (cue: fist pump).
Jordan started with a double cleanse using two rounds of his Plié cleanser. He used a very gentle massage followed by a warm wet towel to remove the product. I was reminded how absolutely lovely the cleanser smells (think fruity but not in a gross way) and feels and how absolutely heavenly it is to use a warm wet towel to remove a cleanser.
As Jordan cleansed my face, he graciously shared the process behind Plié. For his products prior to Plié–his mist, hydrate serum, and oil serum–he created them all in-house, all by hand. With Plié, he knew exactly what he wanted, the gel-to-oil technology, the fruit extracts–and he went to a lab with this list.
When it comes to manufacturing, what brands do, as far as I know as a consumer, fall into two camps. There are brands such as May Lindstrom, Laurel, and Gressa pride themselves on hand-pouring, hand-mixing (just take a look at their Instagrams). On the other hand, there are other brands who mysteriously utilize labs completely or partially. In short from what I gleamed from Jordan, it’s a back and forth process. You’ll go to the lab with what you want, they bring it back, you’ll want to tweak something a bit, like the texture or the scent, and so on.
After cleansing my face, Jordan exfoliated my face in a totally unique way. Typically, this would be where my esthetician would steam my face and then utilize a scrub or mask to physically exfoliate my face. Jordan’s reasoning for not steaming is that he feels that the combination of steam and acids can make the skins surface very irritated and very weak. Instead, he induces heat by using steam towels and even warm oil during the massage from time to time.
First, he applied a gel with aloe, cucumber, chamomile, and allantoin all over my face because the skin needs to be moist with a water soluble substance while using the ultrasonic tool. Then, he used ultrasonic exfoliation.
(I apologize for the extremely unflattering angle and Snapchat quality)
It sounded and felt like he was shaving my face, but what really was going on was that he was using a sort of wand vibrating very, very fast to liquefy the sebum in my pores. He would then scoop up the the liquefied sebum, wipe it off, and continue. It was super neat and kind of gross but in a cool way.
This way, he performed a very thorough “cleanse” that was also at the same time much gentler than a physically abrasive exfoliation, which has its place, but having just returned from a 10-day trip in a very humid China followed by an adjustment to working in Washington, it was exactly what my skin needed.
Here is where my memory becomes hazy (curse me for completing this post nearly a year later). In talking with Jordan afterwards, the what came next was an oil massage, a light round of extractions, and an acid peel. Somewhere towards the end was some LED light therapy (I think with red and blue lights) before Hydrate + Étoile + sunscreen.
The oil massage was done with his Étoile oil, which has a pretty nontrivial amount of cranberry oil, providing the subtlest scent and the perfect balance of omega 3 and 6.
During the massage, I bothered him about a wide range of topics, including:
What products he would carry in a boutique if he had one
Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator and Nutrient Day Cream, everything from rms beauty, and the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask, to name a few.
To test the efficacy of preservatives, brands don’t actually wait to see how long it takes until a product spoils–they do stress tests to mimic the effects.
Retinol and Vitamin A are not equal. He has a retinol product in the works, and he was telling me that it is hard balancing results you can see with gentleness. (Ed. note: his Étoile with Retinol was released April 2017)
I love it when brands are aware of what other brands are doing and even love products that are not their own and Jordan is no exception. We also talked briefly about other brands with inadequate experience. These days, there are a lot of brands founded by people from a non-skin (i.e. derm, esthetician) background and that’s great, but ideally we have a Tata Harper situation: she comes from an engineering background but has a lab of knowledgeable people. The bottom line: this is not a diss on brands without labs or estheticians, but the argument for esthetician-backed brands (check out Sarita’s post listing a couple of these) is that these people have seen, touched, and treated a wide variety of skin which provides some authority and comfort when they provide claims about their products.
After the massage, Jordan finished me off with some Hydrate serum, another application of the Étoile oil, and a sunblock he carries in his studio by Control Corrective.
He kindly gifted me his range after the facial 🙏 and I’ve repurchased Plié and Hydrate myself since. I actually ended up gifting Étoile to my teenage cousin and took charge of applying it to her and her little brother’s faces (much to their and their mother’s delight) that weekend.
I want to mention that the weekend following the facial, my skin did feel kind of ginger, as it does after a facial. However, in addition I felt like I had little hardened oil plugs on my cheeks–as in I felt like I had many ready pimples on my cheeks that I could easily remove (and easily removed with an exfoliant). Jordan mentioned that “the ultrasonic exfoliation can certainly help deep clean the skin, so it is not surprising that some congestion came to the surface to be removed. However what it wouldn’t do is re solidify sebum”, so probably “that could just be the way your skin reacted to treatment in general.”
The Facial, revisited
The week before I left Seattle, I booked another facial with Jordan. Again, something I loved in my first facial was that he didn’t follow some formulaic facial recipe. He saw how my skin was doing, and adjusted the facial accordingly. This time, we skipped the acid peel, did tons of lovely oil massage, and knowing my preference for the Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream (review here), brought his own and applied it as the last step.
He also used jade facial rollers, which were so nice and cooling. I have one of my own, but am most of the time (aka nearly all of the time) too lazy to spend the extra time for that.
tl;dr So! Would I go back again? Absolutely! Also, seeing as how I will be soon moving there permanently for a job, I hope to be going in for a facial every several months. Jordan’s products are solid, he’s well-versed in skin, he’s personable, and it’s a lot of fun chatting with him.
Have you had a facial with Jordan Samuel Skin? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts! If not, where/when/how was your last facial?
Disclaimer: While Jordan did gift me his range at the time of the first facial, I did pay for the facial myself both times. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not being compensated for my words.