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Up on the 12th floor of the luxury building on Broadway, the noise of the big city fades away, 
and clients transcend into a world rooted in nature and simplicity. It may be located on the East Coast, but Pacific Touch has a holistic pulse on the shift in beauty and self-care, including a holistic facial. 
   Getting a facial at any spa can be relaxing, but a holistic facial encourages clients to be more mindful and do some self-reflection. 

   "The main thing that sets us apart from other facials, general facials, is that we are not just focused on what's going on your skin topically," said holistic esthetician Bella Sullivan.
   More than just probing about potential problematic skincare products used, holistic facial estheticians also discuss gut health, hormones, possible autoimmune conditions, and environmental factors.
   Sullivan says she can also feel her clients' energy. "It's really about someone's temperature," she said. I focus on feeling the client's energy when they come in—almost even through the intake form based on the language they're using and how eager they are to fill things out."
   Warm and authentic, Sullivan doesn't believe in shaming or lecturing clients about using potentially skin-harming products, not completely giving up gluten or dairy, or, dare we confess, picking a zit. What she will do is educate clients about the benefits of natural products and provide tips to better care for skin health. 

By Lauren Keating

Holistic Facials
Holistic Facials

"The holistic portion is that it's all-encompassing," she said. "Your skin health is giving us signs that there's something else going on. And we want to explore every possible piece." 

During a holistic facial, the esthetician starts with the most important step:  properly cleansing the skin. 
Most people cleanse with gel or foam cleanser, but she recommends oil cleansers. This prevents the skin from feeling tight and dry after cleansing, and products have to work harder to penetrate the skin.
   "When you put oil on oily skin or skin that has some excess oil, it's going to break down that excess without stripping you of all of the beneficial oil," she said. "Your skin isn't having to catch up on what your cleanser took away. It's left with some necessary cholesterol and fatty acids and lipids, your skin is happy."
   Exfoliating is the next step after cleansing. Pacific Touch uses enzymes because they are more gentle than chemical exfoliants, which dissolve the bonds that keep dead skin cells attached to the skin. Sullivan massages the skin but is mindful not to cause too much friction for those with inflamed or painful acne and instead lets the product do its job. Then comes extractions if the skin is ready for them. 
   Some people shy away from routine facials because the end of leaving red or feeling like the skin is worse. But at Pacific Touch, one of the main goals is to prevent and treat inflammation. Many clients walk away with glowing, fresh faces thanks to Pacific Touch products that are designed to help purge toxins and built-up bacteria.
How often should a client have a holistic facial? That all depends on their skin goals and the severity of acne or other skin conditions, Sullivan says. The average Pacific Touch client gets a service every four to six weeks.  
   This includes what Sullivan calls her "maintenance phase girls," clients who have their skin healed and are feeling confident in their skin. Those with more severe pore congestion might want to be treated every three weeks. 
The goal is for the client to get their skin to the point where they can come every six to eight weeks or even yearly. 
   Regular clients report having more hydrated skin, regulation in skin oil, feeling more comfortable without wearing makeup, and having less painful or frequent breakouts. Sullivan, formerly a makeup artist, recommends concealer from Kevin Aucoin as her personal favorite.
   After the facial, estheticians at Pacific Touch email clients detailing their care plans, which include routines for cleaners, moisturizers, and serums; how often they should change their pillowcases; and things to avoid (like hot yoga or gym towels). The email also includes PDFs to provide more information to clients. This includes recommended skincare products for the client. Clients can enter their makeup and hair care products to reveal if it has pore-clogging and toxic ingredients on its website. Even though a product is "clean" on the label, it doesn't mean it won't clog pores, like shea butter or coconut oil for acne-prone skin.

Integrative acne specialists offering personalized treatments for acne-prone skin, Information is also given for birth control that can aggravate acne in some women, as well as diet recommendations of acne-friendly foods and recommended supplements like omega-3s and zinc. Pacific Touch stresses the importance of diet and skin health, recommending clients increase fiber, limit sugars, try to eat plant-based meals, and drink more water. 
    Sullivan often refers clients to staff holistic nutritionist and hormonal specialist Diana Orchant. Clients receive a complimentary consultation and a discount on those services, including GI mapping to test gut bacteria to identify excess harmful bacteria like candida overgrowth, issues like SIBO, and hormonal testing called the DUTCH test for hormone balance. This holistic approach to care eliminates clients having to run around to multiple doctors and can more easily get to the root causes of their skin conditions. 
   This is important because skin health isn't just a superficial and vanity problem. There are underlying causes for skin conditions.
"I don't think I've ever seen a face of acne or any kind of skin condition that [the cause] wasn't coming from somewhere else," Sullivan said. 
   Clients are encouraged to manage stress and practice mindfulness, providing ideas for stress relief such as dancing, doing yoga, or having chamomile and green tea instead of coffee. Treating skin concerns may be as simple as switching laundry detergent or not leaning a hand on your face after using toxic cleaners to disinfect counters at work or home. It could mean eliminating products that include harsh ingredients that dehydrate the skin and go against working on skincare goals.

"Knowledge is power, right? I want you to feel empowered and to leave here like, 'wow, I learned something about my skin today that I can apply right now''," Sullivan said. "I've had people cry on my table because they're so distressed, and they leave here feeling a little bit more hopeful."

Pacific Touch
928 Broadway #1200, New York, NY

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