With all the Caligari-esque gadgetry that has appeared on the facial scene in the past few years, it's becoming harder and harder to choose a treatment, let alone a salon to administer it. But whether you opt for an old-world kneading or prefer light machinery scuttling across your cheeks, nothing can replace an expert's hands and judgment.
Yasmine Djerradine's "Remodeling" facial (30 East 60th Street; 588-1771) includes a nonaggressive peeling, "disencrustation" of clogged pores with a yeast mask, and application of a customized serum -- made from biotech ingredients like marine collagen and tissue extract. After the hour-and-a-half treatment ($180), your muscles may show a tendency to move of their own volition. But a few minutes of Samantha Stephens-like twitching in private is a small price to pay for Tabitha's skin.
Even in Giuliani's mopped-up metropolis, there's enough grime remaining in the air to settle into those pores every woman sees in the mirror as potholes. Alla Katkov at Miano Viel Salon and Spa (16 East 52nd Street, second floor; 980-3222) is like the emergency dry cleaner you hit after a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau splatters across the front of your new Calvin blouse: Her $45 "Zap-It" facial will blast that terrifying blemish to kingdom come without leaving the traditional post-extraction blotches. Katkov uses a high-frequency beam to kill the bacteria at the root of blemishes. The static sensation is not exactly pleasurable; it's enough to level a minor Vesuvius, which is then easily concealed with a dab of make-up.