Between my affinity for fur coats, fancy cheese and good wine, it's always come as a bit of a shock to me that I wasn't born into the lap of luxury. I mean, I would be really good at being a rich person. Give me all the oysters and weird, expensive shoes, please!
But alas, such a life is not presently in the cards for me, and I must live the existence of a faux-cialite.
What is a faux-cialite, you may ask? Well, if Edie Sedgwick was a poor little rich girl, then I'm a rich little poor girl. I make due with not having millions and instead balance things out with eccentric style and glamorous taste. While I'm not going to be jetting to a private island anytime soon, I can at least fake like that's an option. And one of the best ways to impersonate the socialite lifestyle is to take care of your skin really, really well. I know people go on about rich-girl hair, but I want rich-girl skin.
Enter Erno Laszlo. The history of the brand begins in 1927, back when Erno himself used his skincare knowledge to heal Hungarian Princess Stephanie's acne. Fast-forward to 1939 when Erno opens his Institute on Fifth Avenue in New York, a hush-hush joint where appointments were impossible to get unless you were a member of the high society elite.
By 1952, a limited line of products became available at Saks, but only to those who had acquired a special membership card. As time went on, Erno developed a cult following of beautiful women who owed their gorgeous glows to him and his customized skin care regime. Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo and Audrey Hepburn were all serious devotees.
But this is 2016, and I am no high-society broad. Over the years, the Erno Laszlo brand grew to realize that it wasn't just the upper crust that deserved the best-of-the-best skincare. They understood that all consumers wanted to take care of their skin in a rigorous, intelligent manner, and so the company rebranded itself. The focus was put on skincare for all, while still maintaining the customized feel and intensive care that Erno held in such high regard during the mid 20th-century.
Two key parts of the line are how well-tailored the products are to all skin types, and the attention to detail in one's skincare routine. Whether you're on the Erno website (where you can take a quiz to find out which products will work for you), or at their New York Institute, where you can relax and enjoy 100% bespoke, customized treatments, it becomes very obvious that the Erno Laszlo brand takes skin very, very seriously. As Erno once famously said, "Beautiful skin requires commitment, not a miracle."
So let's look at the products themselves. With my very dry, sensitive skin, I was recommended the Phelytil Pre-Cleansing Oil and the pH-balancing Phelityl Cleansing Bar. I was already a big fan of the double-cleansing method, but Erno takes it a step further with what can sometimes seem like an over-the-top method (however, it yields beautiful results).
I start by smoothing and massaging the Pre-Cleansing Oil all over my face; it has a warm, light scent and the formula gently breaks down all my makeup, even thick mascara and heavy eyeliner. Then comes the part that Erno is really known for. I fill my sink with "comfortably" hot water (usually just warm) and begin swirling the Phelityl Cleansing Bar in the water, and then over my face. I start lathering up to break down the oil, and then the 30 Splash Technique begins: 20 splashes from the sink water to boost circulation to the skin and remove the dirty soap suds, and then 10 final splashes with clean running water to remove the rest of the residue.
Yes, it seems excessive, but it also feels very glamorous, and afterwards, my skin always feel cleaner than ever before. Not tight, not irritated, just perfectly cleansed and refreshed.
Then comes my favourite toner I've ever used, the Hydraphel Skin Supplement. For someone with dry skin, it has the loveliest texture thanks to panthenol and vitamin B. It glides on my skin and leaves it brightened, soft and silky, ready to absorb any serums or moisturizers.
Finally, the dreamy Hydraphel Intensive Night Cream. This jar is the cherry on top of the skincare sundae. In the palm of my hand, it has a heft to it that seems to make it say, "I'm important, and I'm here to help your skin." And you know it means business, because it comes with a tiny black spoon for scooping out product.
The cream itself is indulgent, with a barely-there scent that is soft and soothing and reminds me of something I would have found on my grandmother's vanity when I was a little girl. The cream is packed with hyaluronic acid, vitamins A, C and E and essential fatty acids. I massage it into my chest, up my neck and all over my face and see a soothed, glowing face looking back at me.
These products work together beautifully, like notes in an artfully assembled composition. Over the last month and a half I've only been using my Erno routine, and it's left my skin feeling and looking healthy, calm, bright and soft. Even when I'm exhausted, I take the time before bed to indulge in the products and do my elaborate splashes, and at the end of my customized, full-on faux-cialite routine, I am glowing like an uptown girl.
Thank you, Erno Laszlo, for letting me live vicariously through your beautiful potions. I can't recommend you enough.
- What products make you feel like a fancy-pants?
- Do you have any particularly elaborate skincare steps?