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The Face Race

Finally, a $500 facial to go with your $600 haircut.

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Just when life was starting to seem affordable again—the ebbing of real-estate prices, JetBlue’s $59 fare from New York to Florida—along comes the $500 facial. “If you want to go and get your pores squeezed, you can get that for less,’’ admits Marius Morariu, a partner at the salon Tracie Martyn, which broke the $400 barrier about a year ago (as has the Christine Chin spa on the Lower East Side). “Sally [Hershberger] charges $600, and she’s just using scissors. We have a lot of equipment that costs thousands of dollars,” Morariu says, citing an electronic lifting machine and oxygen-tank spray. Cornelia Day Spa’s youth-prolonging gizmo is a machine that blasts the face with radio waves; it costs a minimum of $500 to tune in while receiving hand-and-foot massage. “It’s an investment,” insists Cornelia co-owner Rick Aidekman. “And considering the time and the cost to us, the price makes perfect sense. For some people, to have glowing skin would be worth $10,000.” For others, it’s worth about $40—and you’ll find those people at the Graceful Spa on West 14th Street. “In Hong Kong, even the state-of-the-art machinery isn’t so expensive now,” says owner Li Huang. “If you spend $500 each month on your facial, you might as well go to a plastic surgeon.”


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