By Lindsay Taub of the Pacific Punch
Iâ€™ve had plenty of facials in my day. In LA, itâ€™s not uncommon to get referrals to estheticians who work out of their home or rent a room in a salon. In fact, those are the most coveted appointments, as these are the ones who donâ€™t need a salon for a stellar clientele, whose work and word-of-mouth recommendations keep them in business. So when I was invited to get a facial with a woman whom a friend of a friend said was simply â€œthe best â€“ sheâ€™s done Nicole Kidman,â€ I didnâ€™t hesitate when I learned that she was currently working out of a rented room in executive office space in Beverly Hills.
When I arrived, I was a little taken aback to be honest. The office space was unlike any corporate rentals Iâ€™d seen before with two receptionists operating a switchboard for all of the various businesses housed there, answering the phone for everything from a chemical company to law offices to tech consulting. I wondered how they knew which company to answer for from the incoming call number and then really didnâ€™t care. I just wanted my fabulous facial.
When Raisa â€œRhyaâ€ Ruder came to the reception area to get me, any concerns I had were immediately soothed. Average height, blond, fit, and the kind of beautiful that makes age questionable, her Russian accent was strong despite decades living in Los Angeles.Â She had a confident vibe about her as we walked to her rented room in the very corporate surroundings that made me feel like I was going in for a job interview for a position I didnâ€™t want. Inside the room, the typical massage table and facial equipment made it look less office-like, more spa-like. But this wasnâ€™t the frou frou, lather-me-with-products type of facial. It was apparent from the very moment she looked at my skin that this was not about relaxation, but rather skincare. Plain and simple. The skin treatment was as close as you can get to â€œmedicalâ€ without being in a dermatologistâ€™s office, although she does have a medical degree in nursing.
Raisa would make my skin look radiant, get rid of problem areas, and point out all the â€œlife livedâ€ on my face, as Raisa put it gently, all the while assuring me that she would of course take care of it. She believes our skin tells a story and treats every client not just by the products she puts on their face, but also gives recommendations for what they should be eating to treat skin from the inside as well. In my case, I need to add more Kale, Okra, and orange vegetables (Vitamin A) to my diet.
Raisaâ€™s passion for what she does came through immediately when she remembered growing up in Moscow, finding her mother and grandmother making â€œpotionsâ€ in the kitchen, which would then stock the refrigerator with jars of different colored solutions. To this day, Raisa has followed in their footsteps, making all of her own products. â€œWhy would I put something on someoneâ€™s face when I donâ€™t even know what the ingredient is?â€ she said. â€œTheyâ€™re all chemicals.â€ So instead, she concocts her own using family recipes from three generations of etheticians. Every single product used in her facial is 100 percent natural, using plants and vegetables and ingredients youâ€™d find in your local organic grocery store.
For example, the exfoliant she uses is made of brown sugar, water, baking soda, and cayenne pepper. Her facial cleanser is primarily egg whites with a few other goodies like lemon, and her special toner (that helps with age and sun spots) is made from lightly boiling parsley and dill in water. Her go-to eye makeup remover is peach oil, and some of her favorite masks contain banana. Raisa uses baking soda in many of her â€œpotionsâ€ for its alkalinity to balance the skinâ€™s pH. While sheâ€™d love to sell her products to clients, the three-week shelf life and need for refrigeration make it difficult. Does it make sense that the FDA will only approve facial products that contain chemical preservatives?
Raisaâ€™s best advice to her clients:
2)Â Â Â Avoid too much hot water and steam on or around your face which can break capillaries and cause skin to be red even under makeup.
3)Â Â Â Make your own natural products! Raisa has a book out with her recipes for home treatments: Babushka’s Beauty Secrets: Old World Tips for a Glamorous New You.
4)Â Â Â Unless youâ€™re actually in the sun or have just had a facial, facial sunblock (particularly those that contain zinc) isnâ€™t necessary, can clog pores, and even seep chemicals into the bone, studies by plastic surgeons have shown â€“ Raisa says, â€œIf youâ€™re going to be inside all day, just drink pineapple juice in the morning. That will be enough protection for your skin.â€
It was clear by the end of my facial that I had just stumbled upon one of LAâ€™s hidden gems. Raisa not only used some interesting facial tools that Iâ€™d never experienced before (some kind of vibrating scraper to exfoliate deeper and a cold ultrasonic tool that contours the facial muscles), she also colored my eyelashes and shaped my eyebrows. I walked out feeling like my face at least had undergone a major transformation for the better. And the first thing I bought at the grocery store? Pineapple juice, okra, and carrots.
While she is humble to name names, the signed headshots in her office are revealing â€“ in addition to treating Nicole Kidman, Raisa has worked on Madonna, Ryan Oâ€™Neal, Tyra Banks, and the â€œDancing with the Starsâ€ cast, to name a few. In fact, rumor has it she worked on someone pre-Oscars, which then created a fury of speculation that this person had gone under the knife. Sheâ€™s that good. In the intro to her book, she says, â€œOnce you become a Hollywood citizen, thereâ€™s no need to reveal your age.â€ And if Raisa is doing your facials, youâ€™ll certainly keep everyone guessingâ€¦
Weâ€™ll keep Punch readers posted on when Raisa moves to her new location and will be accepting new clients again. Until then, get the book and start cooking for your face!
***Lindsay Taub is an LA-based writer/media strategist with a passion for travel, photography, nature, adventure, and wine. She resides in LA with her pups and heads up the soon-to-be-launched Pacific Punch. Follow her on twitter @lindsaytaub58 and @ThePacificPunch. Email email@example.com***
Lindsay Taub is an LA-based writer/producer/media strategist with a passion for travel, photography, nature, adventure, and wine. She resides in LA with her pups and heads up the soon-to-be-launched Pacific Punch. Follow her on twitter @lindsaytaub58 and @ThePacificPunch. Learn more at www.lindsaytaub.com. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.