Back in in the day, my college roommate introduced me to Georgette Klinger, a day spa before before the term “day spa” came into being. Georgette Klinger, an immigrant from what is now The Czech Republic, started her career by creating some simple facial skincare products in her kitchen. She opened her first “salon” in 1941 in New York. She believed in exercise and good nutrition, and she was a whizz at treating acne. Her salon became so popular and successful, there were two locations on Madison Avenue in New York alone, and 8 other locations in major cities throughout the U.S.
Photo via Flickr/matusiak
I was broke in college and graduate school, so my roommate Carol was kind enough to let me use the masks and some of the other products that she bought at Georgette Klinger. At some point, I must have come into some money because I started going there myself, from time to time, and the aestheticians at Klinger taught me how to take care of my skin. When I worked in advertising during the 1980s and 1990s, I was a frequent client. The salon was filled with Eastern European women who performed miraculous facials and massages. They were incredibly well-trained and skillful. Frankly, I had never found another day spa that did as good a job.
Although her daughter, Kathryn, took over the business for a while, it was, sadly, sold in 1988. Not sure if the company was sold yet again, but the Klinger Corporation, no longer owned by the Klinger family, went bankrupt in December 2007. Things had not been the same for a number of years. They gave up on Georgette Klinger’s eponymous line of skincare and makeup products, and replaced them with “designer” products. What a shame. I know you’re not supposed to keep makeup and skincare products beyond a few months, but for sentimental reasons, I have held on to a jar of moisturizer, a tube of the most incredible hand cream, and a tube of “eye foundation” — a precursor to eye primer. Since then, I have not been able to find an aesthetician who could do a facial like the women at Georgette Klinger…until today.
Several months ago, I bought a Groupon for a facial at M. Lekkakos, a local business in Wenham MA where I live. I had to use it by next week, so I called several days ago and set up an appointment for today.
Rulla did my facial, and it was the best facial I’ve had in more than 10 years. She started by putting on a peel made with alguronic acid, a marine ingredient, that made the peel smell kind of like lobster. Since I live on the coast and lobster is my favorite food, smelling like lobster is OK with me. In addition, I recently wrote a review of a serum with alguronic acid, Algenist Concentrated Reconstructing Serum, that I liked a lot, so I was happy to try a peel using that ingredient. She cleaned my skin thoroughly, cleaning out enlarged pores and blackheads, lancing a milia (whitehead) that’s been bugging me for ages. Basically, she did what you expect from a facial that, surprisingly, other aestheticians in the past told me they didn’t do.
In addition to the peel and mask, the facial also came with a face, neck, decolletage, hand, arm, feet, leg, and scalp massage as well. I asked her if she also did body massage, and she said no. I was shocked because that was just short of a full massage. Anyway, it was great! Unbelievably relaxing. The best facial I’ve had since Georgette Klinger by far, and that includes the facial I had at the Canyon Ranch day spa in Las Vegas.
She applied a moisturizer by Osmosis for Rosacea and Sensitive Skin after the facial to help my skin calm down. Because I tend to develop small blackheads on my cheekbones at the corner of my eyes, she applied and suggested I buy Thalgo Firming Eye Contour Gel instead of eye cream because she said eye cream is more likely to clog my pores. Hmm, I just bought a jar of Estée Lauder Resilience Lift Eye Cream a couple of weeks ago, and I still haven’t finished the OWN Lifting Eye Cream that I also like. She gave me a sample of the eye gel to try at home. I am eager to see how it performs. For summer, the gel might be a good choice.
I don’t remember what I paid for that Groupon, but whatever it was, it was an incredible bargain. Their regular facial is $100, and I think it is worth it because it lasts an hour and also includes an almost complete massage. I was so pleased that I booked my next facial when I was checking out. They gave me a discounted rate of $80 either for being a repeat customer or for giving them my email address. Whatever the reason for the discount, I say great! So in two months, I’ll be back again for a repeat performance.
If you live in or are planning to visit the North Shore of MA, consider booking a facial with Rulla at M. Lekkakos. I have nothing to gain by this recommendation other than sharing a great facial. If you do, let me know what you think.
M. Lekkakos, 154 Main St., Wenham MA, 978-468-9540, ask for Rulla
So, does anybody have any memories or stories about Georgette Klinger salons or products?
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