Published on January 20, 2018

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Photography by PHUONG NGUYEN

Mid-way through a facial at L. Raphael Spa in the Four Seasons Hotel in New York, Laura Donat, L.Raphael’s International Trainer and Head Therapist, turns on a sleek machine that looks kind of like a mini-car wash machine. It’s filled with a patent mix of pressurized oxygen and nutrients, and it’s going to hydrate the hell out of my face.

Welcome to an oxygen facial, you’re going to love it.

What is an oxygen facial?

According to Donat, it’s kind of like pressure-washing your face for tons of moisture. “It’s the delivery of pure oxygen through a high jet spray pressure (to reach the deepest layer of the skin) combined with active ingredients selected according to the skin type,” says Donat. “Oxygen provides the skin with a reservoir of energy it needs for proper cell function and it is an excellent catalyst for the active ingredients. Thanks to the pressure from the jet, it will also exfoliate gently and better penetrate the layers.”

And it feels as amazing as it sounds—kind of like a brisk, cooling rush of moisture lightly dancing on your face.

And what are the benefits of that little magical tool when swept on your face?

Well, the list is both long and impressive:

  • Increases circulation, which leads to an increase in collagen production
  • Calms skin
  • Gently exfoliates
  • Tightens pores
  • Evens skin tone
  • Immediately plumps and hydrates skin, leading to a natural glow

The tool is used only for about five minutes, and the results are immediate and impressive for both short- and long-term hydration, and the overall quality of your skin.

“Oxygen will also kill bacteria and bring down inflammation,” says celebrity facialist and one of the pioneers of oxygen facials, Joanna Vargas. “Overall it brings a great glow to the skin, which is so important with all the stress and pollution we subject it to.” Vargas is such a fan of oxygen that she uses it in every single treatment in her cult-favorite salons in New York and LA.

If you’re thinking, “Hey, I love this and want to recreate it at home tonight, give me answers, lady!” then hey, I’ve got both good and bad news.

Bad news: The technology and tools at spas like L. Raphael and Joanna Vargas are only available at professional salons. These advanced technologies can penetrate the deepest layers of your skin, where your cells need it the most. The results in any of these spots (along with the expert facialists working the tool) will be much more impressive and long-term.

But, good news: Technology for at-home treatments is catching up. While the machines and tools are best left to the experts, you can use a few masks that specialize in hydrating and plumping with oxygenated molecules. Dr. Brandt Oxygen Facial Flash Recovery Mask ($70) takes three minutes, and has something called “Liposome Encapsulated Oxygen” to brighten the appearance of skin and hydrate. Or DIY it: Vargas recommends massaging your skin for a natural increase in circulation and oxygen (remember when we chatted about that before?). She’s also a fan of at-home matcha tea masks, for their increased oxygenation benefits.

Read more about some amazing treatments:


De-Puff, Cool, and Tighten Your Face In Minutes With This Tool
This Is the Greatest (and Cheapest!) Thing You Can Do For Your Face

These Innovative Masks Work Magic While You Sleep

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