Health: Eye of the Beholder

Valmont consultant agnès teffaud stares intently at what appear to be aerial photographs of a barren desert landscape. Studying the dry cracks and fissures running this way and that among dunes and craters, she comments intermittently: "Not so bad," "Needs some work there," "Quite dull indeed."

Teffaud’s remarks refer not to satellite images of Afghanistan, but rather to ultra-magnified snapshots of my face, taken at the Valmont spa in Verbier, Switzerland, by a revolutionary machine called the Electronic Eye. Created last year by Swiss skin-care company Valmont, the Eye utilizes an array of oddly shaped attachments to measure your skin’s radiance, wrinkles, elasticity, oil secretion, and hydration. A specialist such as Teffaud then analyzes the data and photographs to develop a personalized skin-care regimen.

Antiaging innovations like the Electronic Eye have been a fundamental part of Valmont since the 1985 debut of the company’s original cellular skin-care line. The brand’s current product ranges include the Elixir des Glaciers line ($240 to $500), which incorporates natural materials such as springwater from the Pennine Alps that is especially high in skin-nourishing minerals; problem-specific Nature by Valmont products ($86 to $210); and, introduced last year, Prime Generation ($180 to $215). Prime Generation products are updates of the company’s original skin-care recipe and incorporate a cocktail of liposome-encapsulated RNA, fully intact cell DNA, and peptides. Valmont claims that combining the three components helps increase skin-cell production, which decreases as we age.

Valmont sells its products through third-party retailers and a handful of Valmont spas, including facilities in Hong Kong and Taipei, which at press time were to open in November. Like Valmont products, the new spas adhere to the strict quality standards—and tastes—of company president Didier Guillon. "I was so tired of walking into spas filled with Buddha heads, bamboo reeds, and New Age music," says Guillon, who eschews mystical decor in his spas in favor of a more straightforward style. "Give me some jazz—give me the Rolling Stones!"

Leather couches and low coffee tables populated with art books furnish the waiting room at Valmont’s spa in Verbier. In addition to the Switzerland location, plus Hong Kong and Taipei, the company operates stand-alone spas in Montreal and Barcelona, as well as facilities within such hotels as Le Meurice in Paris and Les Airelles Hôtel de Charme in Courchevel, France. Spa menus typically include four signature rituals, nine treatments targeting specific problem areas, and the intensive Elixir des Glaciers face and body treatment. If you cannot decide what to sign up for, the all-seeing Electronic Eye will select your treatment for you.

After scrutinizing the photographs of my face, Teffaud recommends the 90-minute Vitality of Glaciers energy ritual ($255). The treatment utilizes Nature by Valmont and Prime Generation products, which Teffaud expertly massages into my face and neck before applying a medical-grade regenerating collagen mask.

Following the treatment, my skin feels hydrated—not oily—and appears vibrant and clean. "You look as if you have just returned from a hike to a glacier!" Teffaud exclaims. A definite improvement from the desert.

Valmont, +41.21.804.6100, www.evalmont.com

Photo by Didi Lotze
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