Everyone wants the perfect skin.But what lengths would you go through to get it? The secret of celebrities like Penelope Cruz, Kate Upton and Gisele Bundchen is esthetician Christine Chin. Many people know Chin by her nickname “Mean Christine.” And her painful facials can pack a punch. But despite her “mean” reputation, clients wait up to 3 months for an appointment and travel from as far as China to see her.
We went to visit Chin at her discreet New York City spa. My first impressions were that she seemed nice. Chin explains that although her services may hurt, they have a purpose. And that most facials are relaxing but they do not actually solve the problem. She says that her facials are different. “We analyze your skin and if you have a problem we dig it up.”
She says some of the biggest mistakes people make are not applying sunscreen, leaving on makeup overnight and not using toner. “If you don’t use a toner, it’s like you tell your dentist I don’t use a toothbrush.”
Slowly, I began to see how she may have gotten her nickname. “I’m interested in cleaning skin, meaning all of my clients bleed,” Chin says. She compares her visits to any medical checkup. “If you don’t get a good cleanup, your teeth are going to have a lot of plaque. It is the same as skin.”
She says clients rave about her attention to detail. But the prices for her perfection are not cheap. A facial with “Mean Christine” is $250. And most of her appointments include other pricey services and recommended products from her own line.
I was nervous for our appointment but like a skin whisperer she identified the reasons for my problem areas and then she went to work. First, she used a diamond-tipped microdermabrasion wand. It cleans the skin with suction that feels like the lick of a cat’s tongue.And then she unveiled her painful secret weapon, a lancet. She uses this tool to cut and make extractions from the skin. I’m left feeling a bit pink and puffy but Chin promised, “Your skin will look nicer, dewy and clean for a long period of time.” I am hoping she is right. But I wonder if she is, would I be willing to pay for the pain in order to gain?
ABC News' David Miller and Arthur Niemynski contributed to this episode.