In a crisp white room, sunlight flickered through the blinds as Kelly, my aesthetician, painted cool strokes of cleanser across my face. On the top floor of Ilo Day Spa in Georgetown, I thought I was in heaven.
The two floors below were bustling with activity—Ilo is a popular hair salon—but when I arrived for my Saturday-afternoon facial, I was whisked upstairs, where it was calmer. In a private bathroom, I changed into a strapless nightgown (dubbed a “cozy,” though the scratchy cotton was anything but), a robe, and slippers.
My monosyllabic answers to Kelly’s skin-care questions were the only thought required from me. I lay back on the massage table with my head in the clouds while Kelly gently rubbed in cleansing solution and exfoliating scrub. A steady blast of steam was combined with ultraviolet light, supposedly to fight bacteria in my pores. My face didn’t show any battle scars: When Kelly was finished, my skin felt smooth and dewy.
She capped off the $100 facial with a shoulder massage, which, while not the best, was relaxing enough. As I was leaving, she showed me the products she’d used and handed me a brochure with the products circled, so I didn’t feel compelled to buy them on the spot. She gave me some suggestions on moisturizing and exfoliating, so I could give myself a mini-facial at home—though it wouldn’t be as nice.