Skincare is arguably the most important part of self care. Your face bears the brunt of sun exposure, acne, windburn, and countless other stressors. While at-home D.I.Y. treatments are great for temporary relief, specialized spa-grade facials are best for deep cleansing, thorough moisturizing, and addressing blemishes. Starting at $150 in most metropolitan settings, they’re also impossibly expensive.
Jennifer Worley is changing that with Face Haus—the open-concept facial bar she launched in 2013 with friends and fellow Hollywood execs Karey Burke (President of ABC Entertainment) and Dawn Olmstead (President of UCP and Wilshire Studios). After opening five L.A. locations and one in Dallas over the course of six years, the single-service beauty brand unveils its first New York City outpost on Manhattan’s Upper East Side this week.
“Between the three of us, we have 14 kids, two of which are the same age,” the former VP of creative affairs at Radar Pictures says, referring to her founding partners. “We planned a first-facials themed 13th birthday party for them that just broke the bank.” Two months later, the teens were itching for another. “We were like, ‘Hell no!’” Worley exclaims. “Even we haven’t had facials since last year!” That moment raised a slew of questions for the busy working moms: Why are facials so expensive? Where’s the middle ground between doctors offices and high-end spas? Why is the process so drawn out? And, do the spas insist on clients undressing and putting on robes?
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The trio began their research with ease, affordability, and efficacy top of mind, conceiving Face Haus months later. “At that point, we needed a consulting physician, incredible estheticians, and product partnerships to make this happen,” Worley explains. In the days following, Olmstead was scheduled to visit her dermatologist of 20 years, Dr. Harold Lancer, the Beverly Hills physician known for treating the likes of Beyonc, J Lo , Oprah, and the Kardashians. As Worley remembers, Olmstead turned the one-on-one consultation into a pitch for their game-changing concept. “Coincidentally, the day before, [Lancer] was having a conversation with Maria Shriver who said, ‘Harold what you’re doing here is great,” Worley recounts. “‘But what are you doing for the people?’” In response, Dr. Lancer came on board to oversee Face Haus protocols and advise its treatments and products.
“If Drybar had a cool a cool cousin that gave facials, it would be us,” Worley says. Like its hair salon counterpart, Face Haus is democratizing outrageously expensive treatments. “We offer the same LED treatment, using the same machine as another salon in L.A.,” Worley says. “Ours is $75, theirs is $600.” Forgoing costly elements like scattered single-person rooms and bells and whistles like robes, candles, massages, Face Haus provides faster service and gives savings back to the customer. Like most busy people, Worley doesn’t want to lose her momentum during the day. “I want someone to focus on my skin and get the job done without compromising on quality,” she attests. “I also don’t want to be intimidated.”
With treatments that cater to the elderly, men with limited skincare routines, and acne-prone teens, Face Haus strives for approachability. “We want to draw in all the people who have historically not been included in the skincare world,” Worley says. “If you’re like my husband, who was washing his face with hand soap for years, spas can be scary.” Face Haus’s success in the Worley household (Jennifer’s 12-year-old son went into an L.A. location for globe treatments and oxygen blasts with four friends from his basketball team) isn’t isolated. “I was walking through our Studio City location one day and I saw Duff McKagan from Guns N’ Roses, an Orthodox Rabbi with his daughter, and a mom with her 16-year-old athlete son who had helmet acne,” Worley recalls. “They’re all getting a great facial here, but they’re also learning about skin health and what they can do at home.”
As gentle steam rolled onto my face while I reclined on a plush bed at Face Haus’s new 3rd Avenue location, my esthetician, Stephanie, was quick but dialed in. “What’s your daily routine? How often are you exfoliating?” she asked, gently wiping the coconut milk cleanser from my cheeks and replacing it with Eminence’s strawberry rhubarb hyaluronic acid serum. “You know, SPF creams and sunscreen only last for a few hours…” I didn’t. She suggested easy, everyday techniques for healthier skin, and suddenly my facial shed the connotation of silent judgement and a hefty price tag. It was simply about feeling good.
“Why should it just be a once-in-a-while indulgence?” Worley asks. With Face Haus reevaluating the ritual, something tells us it won’t be for much longer.