Photo: Courtesy of Farm Couture.For Hudson Valley, NY-based esthetician Catherine Ianelli, prepping for a client appointment involves more than just adjusting the spa table. Her signature treatment, the Farm Couture Facial, incorporates ingredients like goat’s milk, strawberries, pumpkin, tomatoes, and herbs from local farms.
Ianelli shops for the food once a week and tailors the facial to each customer’s skin type. "My philosophy is that whatever you can ingest, you can use on your face," she says. Those who can’t make it to her studio in Westchester can get the foodie-meets-beauty experience with her Farm Couture Face Whip, an intense moisturizer made with grape-seed and avocado oils, goat’s milk, and shea butter. I picked Ianelli's brain about the inspiration for her unique service plus her best tips for getting perfect skin at home.
How did you come up with the Farm Couture facial?
“I’ve always loved everything about farmers' markets, and I thought the slow food movement was really interesting. I was inspired by the farm-to-table idea and I thought why not bring that concept to facials? Natural skin care thing isn’t considered fashionable, so I really wanted to bring a bit of style, sex, and sophistication to it. I wanted to redefine it and shake things up.”
What steps are involved in a typical Farm Couture treatment?
“First, I start with a full consultation, then I cleanse the skin with a milk cleanser. I work with a lot of goat’s milk because it’s rich in lactic acid, which has an instant brightening effect on the skin. Next, I apply a cider toner and follow it with an aromatic steam. Then, I do what I call an herbal micro-emulsion. I map your face, then grind dry herbs and apply then onto the skin with honey. After that, I lay down cheesecloth that's set with a lavender-infused clay mask. It’s a double layer facial.”
I hate extractions — they hurt! Are they really necessary in a facial?
“If your skin is prepped properly with steam and a peel or an exfoliant, it shouldn’t be that way. You have to do [extractions] otherwise you’re just throwing stuff on your face. I do extractions in my facials, but I never use extractors because I think they’re barbaric and can be very damaging. It’ll never feel amazing, but it shouldn’t be that uncomfortable.”
Farm Couture Facial, $130 for 60 minutes, available at KD Studio, 914-456-6463 for appointments.
Photo: Courtesy of Farm Couture.How is your Face Whip moisturizer different from other creams out there?
“I didn’t want to do the traditional thing. My packaging shows a picture of my leg and I’m wearing a vintage dress. I’m effing with what’s expected. Also, I didn’t want to include ingredients with a crazy shelf life. The shelf life of Face Couture is one year from opening, not three or five years. I’ve had retailers complain about that, but I don’t think skin care should be sitting around. And I’m against fragrance in skin care. It makes zero sense to me.”
Do you only use natural and organic beauty products on your own skin?
“No, I work in a boutique that has a range of different lines. I get clients that want to go the more natural route and then there’s the customer that couldn't care less about the products she uses being natural. At the end of the day, it comes down to the result that you’re getting. I’m not strictly all-green everything. It just so happens that the Farm Couture facial is.”
What’s a great DIY skin tip?
“I do a lot of facial massage with oils, and I’ve been teaching my clients how to do it. I don’t care if they’re applying a cleanser or an eye cream, I tell people to spend time working product into their face. If you take a little bit of oil or your favorite moisturizer and slowly work it in using an upward motion, you’ll see a difference in the tone of your skin. Also, honey is great on the face. It sounds boring, but it works. Just buy honey from the health food store or farmers' market, add a little olive oil, then apply it to the face with your fingers or a small paintbrush. Leave it on for five to 20 minutes before you rinse. Honey is anti-bacterial, it’s great for acne, and it hydrates. It’s awesome.”
What’s the biggest mistake women make when it comes to skin?
“Women don’t exfoliate enough. I think sometimes people are afraid because they think their skin is sensitive, but it really isn’t. So many women aren’t aware of how amazing their skin is — they have low 'skin-esteem.' I recommend exfoliating up to four times a week. Use a physical one with granules, or you could use a chemical exfoliator, like glycolic acid. You could be using the most expensive product, but if your skin isn’t properly exfoliated, the product is going to sit on top of the skin or cause breakouts because of the dead skin that’s there. I find that once my clients start exfoliating, products are more effective and they get a glow as well.”
What else are we doing wrong?
“Women don’t really know how to put on eye cream. You need to apply it all the way to the temples — keep going. People are not applying eye cream there at all.”
What’s your must-have makeup product?
“I’m obsessed with tinted moisturizer. Everyone’s skin looks awesome and more glowy with a tinted moisturizer. They’re foolproof, quick, and easy. If you want more coverage, just apply concealer where you need it first.”
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Farm Couture Face Whip, $68, available at Farm Couture.