I Got a 50-Minute Facial and Didn't Wear Foundation for Weeks


Byrdie / Cristina Cianci

It feels a bit vain to recount the number of compliments I’ve gotten about my skin over the past two weeks, so I’ll go ahead and skip that part and say this: I’m currently experiencing the best skin of my life, and it’s largely due to a 50-minute treatment I got at the Four Seasons spa in Beverly Hills.

That’s right—50 minutes. I can think of a lot of things I can do in 50 minutes, none of which result in me having skin rivaling that of a newborn. The life-changing facial in question is called the Fire and Ice Facial (insert Game of Thrones theme song), and it utilizes a mild peel and layers of moisture (hence the fire and ice). It sounds mysterious and magical, but it’s actually quite simple—and will totally give you glowing skin à la Lady Sansa. 

Nigma Talib, MD, skincare guru to stars like Kate Bosworth and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and author of Younger Skin Starts in the Gut, was the angel sent from above who conducted the facial, and I could immediately tell I was in good hands—mainly because her own skin was positively poreless and line-free (and hello, look at her client roster). If Bosworth entrusts her practically perfect skin to Dr. Talib, then Dr. Talib can pretty much do whatever she wants to my own complexion.

Keep reading for more about the Fire and Ice Facial—and how my skin looked after.

What Is the Fire and Ice Facial?

Simply put, the Fire and Ice Facial is an "intensive clinical treatment designed to resurface the skin rapidly and safely, reducing fine lines and wrinkles while smoothing, softening, and encouraging cellular renewal," says Trina Wood, the director of The Four Seasons Spa in Seattle, which also offers the treatment.

To be a bit more specific, it's a multi-step treatment that deeply cleanses the skin, utilizing a resurfacing mask, peel, serums, and moisturizers.

Potential Benefits of the Fire and Ice Facial

  • Resurfaces and rejuvenates skin
  • Reduces hyperpigmentation
  • Reduces wrinkles and fine lines
  • Promotes cell renewal

Before we get into what went down, let me brief you on why this facial is so good. According to a brand rep, the Fire and Ice Facial is designed to rapidly (and safely) resurface and rejuvenate the skin. It promises to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and reduce dark spots and hyperpigmentation, making this the ideal facial for blemish-prone skin types. "It's excellent for all skin types and ages and results in a complexion that is dramatically refined, with no downtime or peeling," notes Wood.

After I got the treatment, the compliments came pouring in (majorly positive side effect if you ask me). There was the PR woman from Lancôme, who asked me what I was wearing on my face because I was positively glowing. I said, “Nothing, just some sunscreen and primer!” fully realizing how annoying I sounded—like one of those people who says “drinking water” is their best beauty secret. Friends asked me what I had done to my face, almost accusingly, while strangers simply told me I had “really nice skin.” To all of them, I smiled and told them about the 50-minute, little-known, possibly Game of Thrones–inspired treatment.

Okay, I'm getting excited just writing about this, so let's get into the deets of the facial.

What to Expect from a Fire and Ice Facial

To start, Talib gently cleansed my skin (according to Wood, the facial actually utilizes a double-cleanse, with both a cleansing gel and an enzyme exfoliant used under steam). Next, Talib applied iS Clinical’s Intensive Resurfacing Masque, an exfoliating treatment made with botanical acids, retinol, and niacin, along with antioxidants and kaolin clay, meant to instantly smooth and brighten the skin. This was the “fire” part of the facial, and it indeed felt as such—I was delighted to feel a burning sensation spread across my face as time went by, and I cackled inwardly just picturing the baby skin that would emerge after this treatment. "This part can feel pretty intense (but in a good way!)," says Wood.

(I will also say this—you know you trust your facialist when you actually feel happy when your face starts burning during your treatment. If the same thing had happened at home, I would be screaming and dousing my face with cold water.) 

After the exfoliating masque came the “ice” part. Talib used the brand’s Rejuvenating Masque, which she painted on thickly to push the hydrating ingredients like aloe vera, rosemary extract, green tea extract, and hyaluronic acid deep into my skin.

This particular rejuvenating mask is also good for soothing redness and irritation, which makes it a perfect treatment after lasers or on sunburned skin.

And then I was done. That was it. I couldn’t believe how quick it was. I wanted Talib’s soothing hands back on my face, coaxing out dark spots and revealing soft, smooth skin. But no—the treatment was over. As I dejectedly got dressed, I glanced in the mirror. My skin looked nice, yes, but the treatment room was dark, and I couldn’t tell if there was really a difference. 

It wasn’t until I emerged like a butterfly from a cocoon that I realized what a major change had just occurred. My skin wasn’t terrible to begin with, I want to note. It’s oily, prone to blackheads, and sprinkled with freckles and the occasional dark spot. On a good day, it was passable; with Charlotte Tilbury’s Filmstar Bronze & Glow ($68) highlighter dusted on my cheekbones, it might even get a compliment or two.

However, after my in-and-out facial with Talib, my “okay” skin experienced a metamorphosis. It was smooth, even, and—dare I say—radiant. The kind of skin where you can’t stop looking at your own face in the mirror, like one of those vain people who does that (which is not me, obviously, except on, like, a really good lipstick day). 

Side Effects

Even though a peel is utilized, the products aren't overly harsh, so don't expect to be red for days after. While Wood notes there are really "no side effects," she does offer a recommendation for those coming in for a Fire and Ice treatment: "No products with retinol or acid five days before and after this treatment and no waxing prior to the treatment." Taking that step ensures skin looks supple post-facial.

The Final Takeaway

Even two weeks after I went in for the facial, my skin was still smooth and bright, though the effects had decreased somewhat—for example, I actually put on foundation a couple weekends after, but it felt more out of habit than anything else.

Though, sadly, both of the products used during my facial are professional quality (read: do not try at home), you can re-create the effects by using an exfoliating treatment, like iS Clinical’s Tri-Active Exfoliating Masque (see below) and following it with a hyper-hydrating and replenishing mask, like the brand’s Coolmint Revitalizing Masque.

And then there’s the little part about the price tag: It’s $235 at the Four Seasons, which is a bit cringe-worthy. However—if you’re saving up for a special treatment or the price doesn’t faze you, I wholeheartedly recommend it, because you will see a difference immediately. Plus, the swiftness of the treatment—have I mentioned it’s only 50 minutes?—makes it easy to incorporate into your busy workday. Now, where did that mirror of mine go…

You can try the Fire and Ice Facial at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. Or, search “Fire and Ice Facial iS Clinical” along with your city to see if it’s available near you.

Want more options? Check out some Byrdie-approved mask pairings below!

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