Best Skincare Miracle

Hela Spa
3209 M St. NW, (202) 333-4445
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
Hela Spa’s interior is lovely but unremarkable, decorated in the style of a soothing Scandinavian spa hidden inside pristinely new medical offices. Or possibly a spaceship. The prices may strike you as a bit high, but cost will suddenly become no object when you see your esthetician swan into the treatment room. Your esthetician’s skin is so poreless and luminescent it makes Gwyneth Paltrow’s face, in comparison, look like that of a Non-Famous, or someone who wantonly eats gluten and has never done a cleanse. You wonder if there’s dark magic at work in these offices, then you resolve to throw yourself on its altar. “Just give me that skin,” becomes your silent mantra. You settle in and the lights are lowered to a womb-like darkness. Potion after exotic-smelling potion is applied to your hopeful visage, then your skin is massaged and manipulated under the esthetician’s careful hands. More potions. More massaging. Your pores are gently extracted. Time passes in a fugue state of profound relaxation, until you walk out feeling like you’ve been to a therapy session, a massage, and maybe a quietly transcendent religious retreat. And later in the mirror you see a genuine miracle: Your face isn’t red or blotchy, as it is after more workaday facials. Your pores are nearly invisible. Your forehead glows as though you eat nothing but kale when in fact your last dozen meals have been carryout. In practical terms, this was the only treatment I’ve ever done after which my spouse actually commented on my improved appearance afterward. Worth every dollar and then some.

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