“Honey, I just had a $1,000 facial.”
That’s what I suggest my cousin Michele Roque Tarazi tell her husband about our spa day together at Neiman Marcus Westchester. She might want to tell him to sit down first — and then add quickly afterward that she’s just kidding (sort of).
The facial is courtesy of Lancer, the luxury skincare line founded by Harold Lancer, a Beverly Hills dermatologist to the stars (Victoria Beckham, Ellen DeGeneres, Kim Kardashian and Ryan Seacrest, among them) by way of rural Connecticut. (See related story.) Lancer brand ambassador Nancy Thomas had graciously invited us to stop by the counter after lunch at NMW’s Mariposa restaurant. At that time, an appointment has opened up with New York-based aesthetician Laurette Fournier for a facial in the store’s spa room. Are we interested?
I suggest that Michele — a busy hockey mom whose growing style and personal shopping business, You Can Do Better Than That, is based in Pelham Manor — have the facial while I take notes. We both enjoy the cucumber water and macarons provided by Neiman Marcus as well as chatting with the French-born, New York-based Laurette, who does facial demonstrations for Lancer on the East Coast at Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue as well as Neiman Marcus.
Each person’s skin is unique and so is the routine for nurturing even good skin like Michele’s. After removing her makeup, Laurette applies The Method: Polish — the first of the three-step approach that she says put Lancer on the map. This is an exfoliator to remove surface debris and oxygenate the skin. Next Laurette uses The Method: Cleanse to remove impurities and balance the skin’s pH levels.
The third step in The Method is Nourish, a moisturizer to boost oxygen and cell function and add a youthful glow. But we’re not there yet. Next comes the Caviar Lime Acid Peel, which despite the name is not made with fish eggs but with glycolic acid, caviar lime, pineapple and papaya to even the skin’s texture.
“I can smell the citrus,” a relaxed, dreamy Michele says. “I feel delicious.” Laurette then steams her face and massages it with Lancer’s new Omega Hydrating Oil, made with fermented argan, olive, shiunko and licorice oils, omega fatty acids, tumeric and a copper complex to give the skin a more youthful appearance and greater elasticity. This is also a wonderful product for the nails, Laurette says.
After applying the Radiance Awakening Mask Intense to Michele’s face, Laurette gives her neck, décolleté, arms and hands a massage with Lancer’s The Method: Body Polish while the mask sets for 15 to 20 minutes.
Then it’s time for The Method: Nourish — but wait: Michele instead has the Legacy Youth Treatment, which sells for $1,000 a jar and packs more than 30 ingredients — including saffron and sake and amino and hyaluronic acids into five complexes. Designed for women age 35 and up, Legacy is not for everyone and should be used after other Lancer products.
We are still contemplating the $1,000 price tag as Laurette applies the Eye Contour Lifting Cream with diamond powder and the Sheer Fluid Sun Field, a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30, and finishes with the Dani Glowing Skin Perfector, a lightweight cream named for Lancer’s wife.
Though the products use a wide range of plant extracts and are paraben-free, they are not 100 percent organic, Laurette says. Still, Michele’s skin looks fresh and scrupulously clean with a velvety texture and minimal pores. So much so that I return the next day for a facial of my own that uses slightly different products for my more mature skin, which nonetheless has good elasticity. Afterward, I feel as if my skin has been reborn — clean, baby-smooth and virtually pore-less — albeit with more of a matte finish than a glow.
At the counter, I try the Studio Light Flawless Concealer, which Laurette applies in medium, then light, to minimize my dark circles beautifully, and the Volume Enhancing Lip Serum, which plumps and softens my lips.
I feel like a thousand bucks.
HAVING SKIN IN THE ANTI-AGING GAME
It was a childhood accident that led Dr. Harold Lancer to a belief in restoring rather than altering skin and to the establishment of the Lancer skincare company and Dermatology Clinic in Beverly Hills, California, where he has been in practice for more than 30 years, treating some of the world’s most famous faces.
The son of Austrian immigrants — and of Connecticut — Lancer is a graduate of Brandeis University, earned his M.D. from the University of California, San Diego, and did his dermatology residency at Harvard Medical School. He completed a plastic surgery program at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Tel HaShomer, Israel, followed by clinics in London at St. John’s Institute of Dermatology. Board-certified in dermatology, he is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and is affiliated with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, both in Los Angeles.
Recently, he took time to answer a few questions for WAG about his approach to skincare:
What makes Lancer different from other skincare lines?
“The Lancer Skincare range aligns all disciplines of skin hygiene, skin health, skin beauty. The products feature original chemistry that is unlike anything else on the market.
“Most importantly, the biggest difference is the actual order in which skincare is actually performed, according to the Lancer Method. The steps are unique — exfoliating to start (and daily at that); then cleansing to follow, which not only engages a more thorough cleansing, but promotes the appearance of younger-looking skin; then moisturizing.”
Tell us about the childhood accident at your family’s Killingly, Connecticut, farmhouse that shaped your career in medicine.
“When I was 7 years old, I accidentally fell into a tub of near-boiling water, which resulted in 10 percent of my body being severely burned. A family practitioner in our farm town meticulously took care of my wounds daily, for weeks. Except for a small scar on my hip, you would never know I had been so badly burned. This early experience has certainly steered me toward my life’s work in dermatology. I became fascinated by skin — how it heals, how it ages, how it differs among people, how skincare has evolved — and I’ve made my name specializing in skin repair and healing.”
What’s the one big misconception people have about skincare?
“The biggest misconception is that skincare doesn’t matter, that a regular program is not important and the quality of the products doesn’t matter.
“Whenever I see a new patient, the first thing we do is get them on the Lancer Method and program. Having that at-home routine in place is going to be the foundation for everything else.”
Can you give us a sneak peek into a product you’re developing?
“What I can say is that we have some exciting things planned for this year, so please stay tuned.”
We have to ask: What makes a skin cream worth $1,000?
“The Lancer Legacy Youth Treatment is a culmination of my life’s work to date. It contains over 30 of the finest, sourced ingredients (including precious saffron extract, rare algae species and advanced peptides) that all make the product incredibly unique. Because of the level of ingredients, a complex formulation is critical to ensure stability and efficacy of the integrated ingredients.
“The result is a high-potency treatment offering the maximum payoff in anti-aging benefits. It’s the ultimate fuel for skin as it tackles environmental and time-related aging.”
For more, visit lancerskincare.com.