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ModVellum

Trendsetting Skincare

  • ModVellum
    1626 Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94123 (Map)
    +1 415.310.7354

The aesthetic team at ModVellum, which translates roughly from Latin as “fashionable skin,” can give you a million reasons why caring for your visage is just as important as, say, fine-tuning your eating habits or staying up to date on the latest gadgetry.

ModVellum prides itself on cutting-edge technology and thinking outside the box, but proper skincare shouldn’t simply be a fad or exercise in the acquisition of fun gadgets and nifty potions. It should be a way of life.

This comfy Union Street skincare studio is the perfect go-to for urban sophisticates who are looking for state-of-the-art services from aesthetic prodigies who can talk shop on everything from why chirally correct products are fantastic for your pores to the joys of biodegradable, ecologically correct sponge technology.

And, in the words of owner and founder Rachel Tolve, “We have the intuitive ability to determine if a product will work for a client based on the constitution of the product.”

In other words, the therapists at ModVellum are oozing with product ingredient knowledge and off-label use, and frequently assess ingredients in any given product for their efficacy in treating certain conditions. For instance, “a well-known exfoliant has anti-fungal properties, so we test it on athlete’s foot and it works.”

ModVellum’s inimitable selection of products bridges the gap between the best in cosmetic science and the high-tech direction that skincare is zooming rapidly into.

To top it all off, the product lines that ModVellum utilizes for all services aren’t just technologically primed to combat stuff like hyperpigmentation and unsightly age lines; they’re also organic, vegan, biodegradable, and ecologically friendly. Most of the lines are devoid of yucky fillers like artificial preservatives and fragrances, to boot.

Cruelty-free products like Sircuit Skin Cosmeceuticals are chirally correct (meaning that the troublesome, inflammatory components of skincare molecules are removed so that you get the optimal benefits from the ingredients). 100 Percent Pure is another organic, vegan line that retails at ModVellum, containing a base of 83 percent vitamin E oil and natural pigment and fragrance.

“We test and reject stuff all the time,” says Tolve. “We stay away from snake-oil skincare or home-laser devices that don’t work. If something works for us, we bring it in.”

All skincare treatments are conducted on the BioMat, an FDA-approved medical device that delivers infrared rays and negative ions into the body to relieve pain, improve the functioning of the immune system, and reduce stress and fatigue.

While many will opt for the signature Vespa facial — which includes a thorough facial cleansing, exfoliation with enzymes, and a soothing cherry shea butter mask to help with inflammation — at $50 a pop for ModVellum virgins, the variety of services here is impressively dizzying.

Waxing services run the gamut and are appended with humorous titles, such as “Crack Is Whack” and “From Hippie to Hipster.” But it’s the medical-grade peels that tend to have ModVellum’s phones ringing off the virtual hook.

Most of the peels include metabolic retinol derivatives, which effectively penetrate into the deepest layers of the skin to reverse skin conditions like hyperpigmentation or acne scarring. Tolve and the other aestheticians always ensure that skin is suitably prepped weeks in advance of a peel (this usually means no waxing and eliminating certain product ingredients from your repertoire) and educating people on the wonders that a peel can work.

“Most people go and get a facial, not really understanding what it does,” Tolve says. “It’s not their fault; it’s the fault of the industry. A regular facial without a peel is not going to lighten pigmentation … nor can it even begin to treat acne of certain depths.”

Thus, a peel at ModVellum is customarily accompanied by a thorough treatment protocol that includes plenty of detailed aftercare that helps clients get the results they want.

Tolve’s most common advice to her clients is to fix dehydration, especially considering that even clients who experience oiliness tend to be lacking in water.

“Many clients lack enough water in the skin and they are getting terrible results from just about everything they use,” she says.

Tolve puts most of her clients on a product with D20, a heavy water molecule that slowly evaporates off the skin and helps to repel radiation.

After two peels and plenty of product education from Tolve, I came away from ModVellum armed with a brand-new arsenal of products to help combat post-peel inflammation and keep my skin on a sustained track towards improvement.

While most peels leave my skin looking and feeling botched and flaky, Tolve’s expert touch and meticulous instructions (i.e., lots of sunscreen, absolutely no picking, more than eight glasses of water imbibed per day, etc.) made my dewiness last well into the ensuing weeks.