A definitive roundup of the facials, spas, and beauty treats to try this year, as recommended by The Violet Files contributor Fajer Fahad.
Written By Jess Basser Sanders
We at The Violet Files firmly believe in the power of the beauty routine. Whether that means religiously applying your five favorite face serums every morning, brushing your hair 100 times before bed, or making an annual trip to the hyperbaric chamber, we love hearing how you do you.
Take The Violet Files’ globe-trotting contributor and spa aficionado Fajer Fahad, whose latest regimen may involve indulging in Christophe Robin hair treatments while cleaning out her kitchen cabinets or flying to Dubai for a tooth-whitening session with the world’s most handsome dentist. Below, she shares notes on the spas and services she’s working into her routines this year—all of which might add some pizzazz to yours, too.
The treatment: The Moroccan Hammam at Harrods
What it is: A vigorous Moroccan-style steam and scrub in the heart of London.
Where to go: Urban Retreat at storied department store Harrods.
How it works: Fahad likens the spa’s hammam room to a marble palace. The steamy space includes areas for lounging as well as a number of semi-private treatment alcoves. All the therapists are Moroccan-trained Kessalas, so they have been schooled in the art of hammam in the country that does it best. First, you’ll be rubbed down with eucalyptus-scented black soap (which is made from black olives, hence its color), then sloughed down with a kessa glove for a rigorous scrub. Next, exfoliating and hydrating oils are applied and massaged in before you are rinsed off with bucket after bucket of warm water.
Why she loves it: “This is the closest thing you’re going to get to a [traditional hammam] in a European country,” enthuses Moroccan-spa veteran Fahad. urbanretreat.co.uk
The treatment: Hervé Herau Facial
What it is: A custom facial to target whatever ails you. Look forward to salon owner Herau’s signature massage-heavy technique, which has become something of a legend around the chicest arrondissements in Paris.
Where to go: The discrete Hervé Herau space in an apartment on Avenue Montaigne in Paris. With Natalie Portman and Carine Roitfeld as clients, a skincare line sold exclusively at Colette, and an impenetrable schedule (Fahad compares getting an appointment to scoring a reservation at a New York hot spot: “It’s kind of like Waverly Inn”).
How it works: After securing an appointment (usually a months-long wait), expect a tailor-made experience, sans steam or extractions, that is heavy on oils and Herau’s signature one-time-only (he won’t make the same thing twice) mixtures that address current skin concerns. And, of course, lots of facial massaging.
Why she loves it: According to Fahad, “He is focused on getting your skin to look its best without any makeup—to really have that inner glow come out.” herveherau.com
The treatment: Hydrafacial
What it is: A 30-minute, radiance-enhancing facial with no downtime and immediate results.
Where to go: JTav Clinical Skin Care in New York City.
How it works: After cleansing, a gentle chemical peel—personalized for skin type and concerns—is applied before a series of (painless!) extractions. The signature Vortex-Fusion machine is the crown jewel of the treatment: The patented tips exfoliate skin, creating a vortex-like effect to dislodge and remove impurities. Serums and creams are administered with the same machine, making for more efficient delivery and ultra-hydrated skin.
Why she loves it: “You come out glowing and looking like you’ve had a steam and a great workout,” says Fahad. “You look rejuvenated and can put makeup on right away.” Results are best for up to a week after the treatment, so ideally do this as part of your short-term red carpet, party, or wedding prep. jtavclinicalskincare.com
The treatment: Apa White Duo
What it is: Taking a beauty-focused approach to teeth whitening, the “disgustingly handsome” (Fahad’s words) dentist Dr. Michael Apa operates out of two practices in the United States and the Middle East, and sends his signature methods home with his Apa Beauty White Duo.
Where to go: Rosenthal Apa Group in New York City, Apa Aesthetic in Dubai, Apa Beauty from VIOLET GREY.
How it works: The White Duo is a two-step process that promises major results after only five days. Apply the whitening pen first for instant bleaching, then place the white film (which works over a longer period) over the top and leave for 90 minutes, repeating each day for the five-day period. Fahad visited Apa’s spa-like Dubai office for an in-office treatment and walked out with one of his whitening kits for upkeep.
Why she loves it: Professional-grade results at home, even for those with sensitive teeth. Chic packaging is an added, although greatly appreciated, bonus. apabeauty.com
The treatment: Christophe Robin Moisturizing Treatment
What it is: An ultra-moisturizing delight for the hair that combines two of Robin’s signature products—the Moisturizing Hair Oil with Lavender and the Lemon Cleansing Mask.
Where to go: The cult colorist’s Paris salon. If you can’t make it to France, your own bathtub.
How it works: In the salon, the stylist applies the lavender-scented oil and then the mask before wrapping hair in cellophane and sitting you under a warm dryer for thirty minutes. When your time is up, expect an indulgent scalp massage before the rinse. To replicate at home, Robin recommends brushing the oil through hair from roots to ends and letting it sit for a few hours (or even overnight). “The natural lipid ingredients need time to soak into your hair,” he notes. Then layer the mask on top, let sit for 10 to 20 minutes, and rinse, gradually adding more water and massaging the scalp until the product starts to foam.
Why she loves it: It’s all about the moisturizing power. After a steady diet of blowouts and curling irons, Fahad likes to treat her hair once a week (while cleaning her kitchen or exercising) for eternally healthy, shiny strands. “You can just throw your hair into a topknot and work out while it soaks in,” she says. christophe-robin.com