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Visage Studio


Courtesy of Deborah Mills Thackrey

With all the beauty products that come flying across my desk begging to be tested, it’s no surprise that every now and again I have the dreaded complexion freak-out. Yes, I’ve been forewarned by nearly every aesthetician I’ve seen since I started writing about beauty to stop with the adventuresome product hopping. But alas, my love of the challenge (say, finding that do-it-all serum or the gentlest of alpha hydroxy acid face scrubs) has left me willing to swallow the hazards of the job.

On one of those said complexion freak-out days, I made a run for the newly opened Visage Studio, where skincare vet Denise Spanek recently moved her popular day spa from Burlingame to the Dogpatch. With its white walls, clean lines and sleek furnishings, Visage is a tranquil getaway—tucked away on an industrial strip—that feels very much like one of SF’s best-kept secrets. Even more impressive than Spanek’s cool loft-like space and offering of hard-to-find European products is her honest-to-goodness ability to deliver a serious dermal turnaround.

For my super-sensi skin, Spanek prescribed her signature oxygen facial, using an array of cleansers, creams and serums from Parisian line Anne Semonin, a Swiss-made line by Karin Herzog and Spanek’s own Air Repair formulas. The 90-minute treatment also included a neck and shoulder massage as well as a light steaming, all-over extractions, and a final acne serum application. I loved Spanek’s refreshing one-on-one approach (she has a single treatment room, gets to know each of her clients and books them mostly by-appointment only). But the real test is how I look—and feel—the morning after. Less than 24 hours later, I woke up feeling relaxed and instantly happy to see a calmer, brighter, clearer complexion.