The most common questions I get are in regard to facial treatments—the best ones, the ones that yield the most visible results, and, unsurprisingly, the ones that won't cost half a month's rent. And while I can list of dozens that check off the first two, the third is harder to come by. Good, professionally administered skincare does often come at a cost. But it doesn't have to.
I discussed the topic with the other editors at Byrdie HQ (as well as a few of our favorite contributors) and we came up with a comprehensive list of the top skincare treatments you can still sample when you're less than flush. Each one is under $100 and works no matter what your skin type is. So without further ado—keep scrolling for the breakdown.
What it is: A 30-minute treatment customized to your skin’s needs, done by professional estheticians.
Where it is: Glowbar, 147 Duane St, New York, NY 10013, additional NY and CT locations
How much it costs: $65 for drop-in, $55 for members
Why we love it: "At $55 and 30-minutes, this is perfect for when your skin is feeling lackluster, but you don’t have the time or budget for a full-blown spa experience. Upon arrival, you take a quick quiz to asses your skin’s needs, and the treatments are completely customized to you thereafter. You can do anything from extractions, peels, dermaplaning, and more. You wash your own face at its custom face-washing station, which is fully stocked with tons of great cleansers. The treatments themselves are super efficient, so I can schedule midweek and not feel stressed about making the time for it." — Kelly Gallagher, former senior social media manager at Byrdie
2. Skin Laundry
What it is: A 15-minute laser and light treatment designed to deep-clean and tone your skin, and over time, the facial promises to improve acne, redness, unevenness, dullness, hyperpigmentation, photoaging.
Where it is: Various locations in CA, NY, AZ, Hong Kong, and London
How much it costs: $50
Why we love it: "The laser treatment at Skin Laundry. You're supposed to go back a few times to see results, but I thought my skin looked clearer and brighter after my first session. Plus, the space is airy and nice, and you can literally be in and out in under 30 minutes." — Faith Xue, former editorial director
3. BeautyRx Pop-Up Peel Bar
What it is: A 15-minute professional peel meant to reveal brighter, smoother, and healthier skin. Plus, after removing the dead, dull skin, the treatment promises to allow for the better absorption of the products you already own.
Where it is: Various locations in NY, CT, CA, AZ, IL, and TX
How much it costs: $50
Why we love it: "NYC Dermatologist Neil Schulz, MD, is one of the most hardcore champions of glycolic acid I've ever met (seriously—find you a bae who talks about you like Schulz talks about the skin-clearing, wrinkle-preventing wonders of glycolic acid). A glycolic peel in Schulz's office costs $225, but you can get a mini version at his pop-up peel bars around the country for just 50 bucks. The process involves an esthetician applying an intensely tingly AHA solution to your face, leaving it on for two minutes, and then wiping it up and following up with moisturizer and sunscreen. The peel gives you an instant glow (no pain, no redness, and no peeling) that would be perfect before a wedding, a formal event, or a night out where you know your ex is gonna be there looking wrinkly." — Amanda Montell, author and Byrdie contributor
4. Mario Badescu European Facial
What it is: The brand's 60-minute signature deep-cleaning treatment targets dullness and pore congestion to reveal radiant, revitalized skin.
Where it is: Mario Badescu Salon, 320 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022
How much it costs: $65
Why we love it: "Mario Badescu's European Facial is a super thorough, reliable, no-frills treatment that includes extractions, facial massage, and really wonderful products. It's relaxing and it'll make your skin glow—for just $65 dollars." — Hallie Gould, editorial director
5. Jade Rolling
What it is: A skincare tool made from cool, smooth jade meant to stimulate blood circulation and lymphatic drainage.
Where it is: Available at various locations, but we're especially partial to Shiffa's Jade Roller
How much it costs: $65
Why we love it: "My favorite facialist in New York, Ling Chan of Ling Skincare, gifted me a jade roller a few years ago, and I've been totally hooked ever since. Aside from the woo-woo connotations of rolling a crystal on your face—for which I was admittedly a sucker long before I moved to L.A.—the massaging action is totally unbeatable. It's one of my favorite morning rituals: I put some moisturizer on my face, and begin rolling the cool stone up and down. In addition to pushing the product deeper into my skin, the cool stone depuffs my eye bags, boosts circulation, and gently sculpts and tones my face all in one go. It's the quickest way to look like I just got a facial, and I love this little bit of luxury in my morning routine." — Victoria Hoff, head of content at Medly and former Byrdie managing editor
6. 111SKIN Mini Cryo Energizing Facial
What it is: This treatment utilizes a handheld device that works to concentrate air -250°F on targeted areas of the face to stimulate cell renewal for a recharged and reenergized complexion, according to the brand.
Where it is: The Fuel Stop NYC, 200 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019, and Miami
How much it costs: $45+
Why we love it: "'Freezing' your face in the name of youthfulness may seem a bit Walt Disney– or Austin Powers–esque, but ever one to be game for a treatment that promises fewer fine lines and more radiant skin, I couldn't sign myself up fast enough. The name of the treatment is a cryo facial, wherein a controlled stream of nitrogen (that registers at around -250°F) is applied to your face anywhere from five to 30 minutes. By doing this, your blood vessels constrict to heal redness and inflammation. It also boosts collagen, repairs dead skin cells, and tightens and firms the skin so fine lines appear less apparent. The first time I did it, I was in and out in about 10 minutes, and the ever-deepening fine line on my forehead practically disappeared for two weeks. My under-eye area was also much brighter and less sunken, and my skin glowed so much that I barely needed foundation. It's certainly not a long-lasting treatment, but if you have an event coming up, I highly recommend this flash facial that will only set you back about [$45] depending on how long of a session you book. And if you're worried about the temperature, know that it's actually incredibly soothing, safe, and feels more like butterfly kisses than frost bite." — Lindsey Metrus, director of commerce at People and Entertainment Weekly