The Rescue Spa Facial: Plump, Positive Pink

Photo: Sarah Kunst

As a New Yorker, it’s possible to learn something new everyday.

We’re creatures of habit who also love the thrill of the new. We love our regular spots and routines (“I have the best coffee spot!” This is the only place to get a bagel!”) but we also love feeling like we’ve discovered something. It gives a sense of ownership in the same way that being a regular feels.

I’m a regular at ABCV, the Jean Georges vegetarian restaurant, on 19th street. I have a meeting there at least once a week. I’m often found in a particular corner facing the window in the café area. Over the past several months, I watched the storefront across the street “Rescue Spa” evolve. Until one day this winter, it was finally open! I leapt from my seat to run across the street and discover what had been behind the “Coming Soon” sign.

To my delight, it’s the second location of the much-loved and heralded Philadelphia establishment, Rescue Spa, owned by the facial legend, Danuta Mieloch. The first time I went in post ABCV coffee and Instagrammed a story there—DMs from every woman I know in Philly, exclaimed, “Lucky! Book an appointment now!”

THE VIBE: Urban-airy. It feels luxe but relaxed and not “fancy.” It’s comfortable and invites you to hang out a while, like the lobby of a nice hotel. As far as NYC spas go, the pricing is fair, not jarring. A splurge, but not a birthday-only kind of splurge. The product selection in front is well-edited–Biologique Recherché (the cornerstone of the Rescue Facial) products, a mix of European brands, powerhouse dermatological lines, with clean beauty mixed in as well. There’s a fragrance counter that feels Parisian-boutique-y. It offers enough to entice for a fun try-on but not so much to overwhelm. A lounge area is stocked with citrus and cucumber-infused water and teas. I’ve been several times for manis, a quick shop, and a facial—and Danuta is always there greeting clients and making sure everything is ship shape.

THE TALENT: Danuta Mieloch, owner and facialist extraordinaire. She’s 51 with the kind of skin you hope to have when you’re 51. She isn’t trying to be 25. She has an ageless glow of health.

THE MAIN EVENT: The facial. When I lie on the table and Danuta begins, the first thing I notice is how strong her hands are. I’ve never noticed that in a facial before. If there’s such thing as a deep tissue facial massage, Danuta does it.

“People are afraid to touch their faces, but touch is important,” Danuta explains. In the hands of a professional, facial massage helps with circulation and drainage of fluid. At home, touching your own skin can give you a sense of how you’re skin is doing—how does it feel? Dry, rough, reactive? Soft, supple? (Do it with clean skin and clean hands however!)

Because of my many years at SELF Magazine, I often think in sports metaphor. Danuta’s facial is like a workout. It’s very hands-on and physical. She is not precious about your face–there’s nothing tentative about her touch. She’s the boss. The double-cleanse is very thorough, the application of  the P50 (the signature acid product that exfoliates and brightens)–tingling and nasal-passage clearing, the massage strong, the extraction rigorous, the cool-down–hydrating, relaxing and peaceful.

A facial is like the gym. You might be a little sore tomorrow.- Danuta Mieloch

The Takeaway: “Plump, positive pink” is how Danuta describes the results of her facial and the effects of her secret weapon P50. (I would like to link to shop but it’s a very strong acid-based product with a variety of concentrations and formulations. Better to find out which one is right for your skin. Call Rescue Spa to discuss.)

“Positive pink” is the flush of increased circulation and blood flow–out with the old, in with the new–not irritated pink.

“Plump” is music to my ears. I’ve been dying for plumpness to earn some respect. As a chubby-cheeker my whole life, I’m glad that people are now finally coming around to the beauty of a pleasingly plump face and not only worshipping a high-cheekboned Western ideal. In addition to my natural hereditary plumpness, after my treatment my skin has an extra juiciness to it.

Danuta’s approach and method is written all over her own face. Now it radiates from mine. My skin looks like I want it to look—like a woman who loves herself and takes care of herself for no one else’s pleasure or standards but her own. You don’t need a facial to be that woman, but it’s nice to look in the mirror and see her beaming back at you.

Rescue Spa, 29 East 19th St., New York, NY, (866) 772-2766.