By Bailey Beckett
One need only look at Ronit Raphael to understand the beauty that is L. RAPHAEL, the skin care brand she began in 2005. Fifteen years later, it has grown into an international empire savored by the most demanding glamour aficionados. Now with a spa inside The Four Seasons Hotel New York (as well as the Spa Montage in Beverly Hills), she is setting her sights on the entire U.S. market, showing Americans the beauty that is her brand.
“From the beginning, I envisioned that L. RAPHAEL would go beyond the superficial approaches to skincare and beauty,” she says. “I want to enhance my guests’ self-esteem and build their confidence. By encouraging a way of living that promotes good health, well-being and joy, we help guests become their best selves. This holistic approach, which was a novelty when I founded L. RAPHAEL, has now become a commonly recognized practice in the skincare, spa and wellness industries.”
Raphael, who suffered from minor acne as a child, takes it personally. A chemical peel when she was 18 left her face with second degree burns, spurring her to find a regimen and product to repair her visage. She found her way to Professor Meir Shinitzky and Dr. Raphael Gumener, who created a patented LEC-40 lipid complex and partnered with her to create the L. RAPHAEL Genève skin care retreat on Geneva’s Rue du Rhone. Out of that came the L. RAPHAEL brand and beauty spas around the world, which started in the glamorous Hotel Martinez in Cannes, South of France. Raphael, whose clients come from around the world, shared with New York Lifestyles her passion, philosophy and tips for the best skin care.
What does your brand stand for?
We listen to our clients beauty needs, issues and only then will we work with them to implement the best beauty program possible that is tailored to their needs. Then, at the heart of L. RAPHAEL, is the Science of Beauty, our commitment to scientific research and advanced technology using oxygen, ultrasound, anti-gravity therapies and proprietary ingredient formulations of the highest quality. We believe in a holistic approach to beauty based on the brand’s Seven Foundations of Beauty, which is based on an integrated wellness lifestyle that incorporates medicine, nutrition, physical activity, age-management, aesthetics, stress management and play/leisure time.
Who is your customer?
Our guests are from around the world and are of all age groups—from teens to 80+. Many of our guests begin coming when they’re teenagers to find a solution to their acne problem or because they have body image issues. We also have guests who come to us to repair their skin as a result of damage done beyond the usual aging process. Damaged skin can’t be fixed overnight, but with time and dedication, the results are impressive in delivering lifted, tightened and glowing skin. To achieve such results, we need to work on three different layers of the skin using dedicated technology to focus on pigmentation, exercise the face muscles, rebuild collagen and provide deep hydration.
What is the most important thing you should do in taking care of your skin?
Ensure that your skin is perfectly cleaned and hydrated and use only creams and serums that are scientifically proven to be safe and results driven. We often hear about protecting the skin against UV rays—and it’s essential—but we also need to help the skin protect itself from the pollution and other aggressors. When this is not done correctly, our skin can develop too much sebum which causes acne and dilated pores. Also, when the skin is not hydrated enough, cells cannot regenerate as efficiently which leads to premature aging of the skin.
What are things people can do to avoid skin damage?
Consistently follow a healthy routine, drink plenty of water, avoid too much sun, smoking, alcohol, and get enough rest—it’s during sleep that skin cells regenerate.
What are some myths about skin care?
There are miracles and quick fixes. You can’t stop the aging process, but you can help manage aging with a healthy lifestyle, using quality, scientifically proven products and getting safe, effective treatments that are tailored to your skin’s needs.
What is unique to your spa in the Four Seasons?
L. RAPHAEL Four Seasons is unique in that it combines the advanced technology typically found in skin clinics within a traditional spa space that also has a hair salon. It centralizes all your beauty needs with tailor made programs conveniently in one luxuriously relaxing place.
What are the differences in how Americans take care of their skin vs. your international clients?
I would say the lack of time. L. RAPHAEL beauty therapists have an unparalleled training to ensure that they optimize guests’ valuable time. Beauty needs are more or less the same worldwide, but the time commitment can vary much. It’s not unusual for us to have three therapists working with one guest at the same time to ensure expectations are met within their limited timeframe.
What are the best products for winter?
For winter, L. RAPHAEL’s Ultimate skincare line provides a boost of ultra-rich hydration with three types of ceramides. Naturally found in the cell structure of the skin, ceramides restore and strengthen the skin’s protective barrier to improve moisture retention. The Ultimate line also contains plant extracts and minerals that increase collagen production to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. L. RAPHAEL’s Ultimate Day Cream and Ultimate Night Cream are two favorites for keeping skin in radiant condition throughout the winter.
Tell us more about your signature products.
This is always a difficult choice because we customize our treatments to respond to the needs and desired results of our guests. Just about everyone needs a moisturizing boost at one time or another. For this, I recommend our Oxy Cure C treatment. The vitamin C acts as antioxidant for an anti-aging effect—it will also smooth, hydrate and brighten the skin. Our patented LEC 40 formulation helps active ingredients penetrate deeper in the skin cells for a more effective and lasting result. The chamomile and arnica sooth the skin and the oxygen spray drains, stimulates blood flow, removes dead cells and provides an oxygen boost to regenerate skin cells. Another signature treatment is the Oxy Star, which uses white truffle that helps eliminate dark pigmentation due to aging allowing for younger, flawless looking skin. For home care, I recommend our Perfection Eye Cream that moisturizes, nourishes, tightens, lifts, smooths and has an immediate brightening effect which captures the light on the eyes.
You are famous for the Diamond facial. Tell us how it works.
The Diamond Powder Mask originated from an exclusive collaboration with Chopard for the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. Diamond Powder is exceptional for gently exfoliating the skin which enables all the active ingredients to be that much more effective. It is also incredibly effective for unifying and brightening skin tone.
What is the best lesson you’ve learned in working in skin care?
There is no quick fix or miracle cream. It takes time and dedication to manage the normal effects of aging and optimize your skin to look your very best. I’ve been in this industry for 35 years and I also know that for each problem there is a solution, it just needs to be adapted to a routine and then maintained. There is no quick fix.
For more information on Ronit Raphael, visit fourseasons.com/newyork/spa.