Visiting Reishi for the first time is like discovering a speakeasy. Inside sister spot Trim waxing salon, guests slide open a heavy wooden door and step into a hidden gem of natural serenity. The Wicker Park spa takes a Japanese wabi-sabi approach to skin care, embracing the beauty in imperfection. Holistic “root” facials ($75-$195) are entirely customized with Marie Veronique and Yon-Ka products, based on a lengthy lifestyle consultation form you fill out online before arriving. Techniques include facial cupping, which encourages collagen production and elasticity. “I’ve always been obsessed with skin care,” esthetician Ewelina Luczak says (and her porcelain skin proves it). “I can usually tell a lot about your lifestyle from your face, and cupping helps detoxify skin after winter.” She moves seven cups of varying size gently over your face and décolleté, using the smallest to plump the lips. Expect a detailed follow-up email from Luczak within a week with personalized skin care recommendations. 1629 N. Milwaukee; Reishibeauty.com
< Chicago makeup artist and beauty expert Jenny Patinkin recommends incorporating vitamin C into your skin care routine for preventative and corrective results. “Vitamin C is great to use all year long,” she says. “But in seasonal transitions — particularly from winter into spring — it helps brighten the complexion and fade dark spots, and the antioxidant power helps boost the skin’s defenses.” Oakbrook Terrace-based cosmetic physician Stanley Kovak agrees, and recommends a daily dose. He prefers a serum over a cream for better absorption: MyChelle’s new Perfect C PRO Serum ($52, available at Whole Foods or at Mychelle.com) is best used once a day in the morning, after cleansing. The professional strength formula contains 25 percent L-Ascorbic acid — the strongest and most active form of vitamin C.
Colorful art warms up the usually clinical medspa vibe at West Loop’s Vitahl Medical Aesthetics, which opened last year. Try the Laser Genesis treatment ($350) — it’s great for all skin types — to give winter skin a much-needed collagen boost. The gentle laser minimizes pores and fine lines while smoothing uneven texture. It will take a few sessions to see permanent results, but you’ll notice an immediate glow after a single treatment (plus, there’s no downtime). If you have a little more time, combine Laser Genesis with dermaplaning — a scalpel-based exfoliation treatment — followed by hydrating masks in a specialty treatment dubbed The Fountain ($375) that’s even more relaxing and results-oriented. 1135 W. Madison, (888) 381-7099; Vitahlchicago.com
If you’re on a time crunch, try a 15-minute laser and light facial ($65) at Skin Laundry inside Ulta’s Michigan Avenue store. The quick, painless facial is great regular maintenance for zapping dirt and bacteria while tightening and brightening skin — stop in weekly, biweekly or monthly (depending on your skin care needs and goals) for best results. For spring skin cleaning, opt for the new activated charcoal peel enhancement ($60). The 30-minute treatment deep cleans and exfoliates even more with the help of a thin carbon mask, which acts like a magnet to attract the laser to shatter and lift carbon particles, dead skin, dirt and debris. 430 N. Michigan, (312) 527-9045; Skinlaundry.com
“I love stocking and supporting local brands,” says Jennifer Duranski, founder of green boutique Lena Rose in Ravenswood. She fills the shelves with products by Ari Rose Body Care, bonnie, Kaike and more. La Bella Figura’s Clean Slate ($60) is a favorite. “It’s a rinsable cleansing balm that can double as a makeup remover and moisture mask,” Duranski says. The multitasking product is great for a Midwest climate in general, but to get skin ready for spring, add an exfoliant. The Gentle Enzyme Cleanser (above, $40) uses pineapple and papaya to give skin a rosy glow. Lena Rose also offers customized apothecary facials (starting at $65) using essential oils and natural botanicals with herbs and flowers grown on-site in a skin care garden. 4668 N. Manor, (872) 806-2552; Lenarosebeauty.com