By Sue Pascoe
Most women and some men in Pacific Palisades have had facials, if only for a special life celebration. But few have had a Harisienne treatment, because up until about a year ago, those facials were available only in Japan and France.
Maria Iorillo, an aesthetician who works for Oasis Palisades (16704 Bollinger Dr.), is one of only five in the United States who has been trained in the technique.
“I read about the procedure in a trade magazine three years ago,” said Iorillo, a Palisades native. “I wondered why it wasn’t done more often here.”
She explained that the face and scalp have 31 types of striated muscles and the Harisienne treatment works individually on each of them, causing the muscles to relax. The result is a more youthful-looking, uplifted expression without surgery or injections.
By using small, smooth tools about the size of a pen, Iorillo first stimulates the muscles, then gently exfoliates the skin—which she says helps with the lymphatic system. The result is almost like a deep, soothing massage, specifically meant for the face.
There are no extractions or microabrasions, but the overall result is noticeable. “It gives the skin a more youthful appearance,”said Iorillo, who added that it’s not uncommon for people to thank her after receiving the first one. “They walk out and you can tell they’re thinking about it. But a day later I get a call and they book a second Harisienne treatment.”
Iorillo grew up in the Palisades, attending Marquez, Paul Revere and Palisades High School, before finishing at the Westover boarding school in Connecticut. She attended the University of San Francisco, graduating with a fine arts degree in 1996.
When Iorillo moved to New York City in 2000, she wanted to work for a skin-care company in sales, but wound up working for a recruiting company that specialized in placing people in advertising.
Then came the terrorist attacks on September 11, prompting Iorillo to set aside her career in New York and move back to California.
“Never in a million years would I have ever thought I’d end up back in the Palisades,” Iorillo said. But her roots were here, and her mom Sally had owned the popular toy store, Palisades Playthings, on Swarthmore.
Iorillo attended an aesthetician school in Granada Hills, and when she received her license in 2004, she started working for Burke-Williams. She left the popular day spa in 2015 to join Oasis Palisades on Marquez Avenue.
“Burke-Williams was good to me,” Iorillo said. “It was awesome and alot of fun.” But after 10 years at the same place, “I wanted to work where I could be more creative and innovative.” For example, she said, “I could have never used jade rollers on a face there. It was more about the experience at Burke-Williams.”
At Oasis, which is owned and operated by Toni Balfour and Stephanie Kanan, it’s more about the treatment.
Iorillo, who now has a 7-year-old son, Alex, said her path to learning the Harisienne facial was complicated. She began by contacting the magazine that had published the article, but was told there was no training in the United States. Harisienne, which means Parisian girl, was developed by a Japanese woman who trained in Paris.
On a whim, Iorillo left her contact information with people at the magazine. Shortly after that, she attended a beauty convention in Long Beach where there was a demonstration of the Harisienne facial. “Everyone beelined to the woman doing it,” Iorillo said, but aestheticians were told they’d have to get the training abroad.
Soon after that show, Iorillo was contacted and told the technique would be taught at a private home in Studio City to a select few, and would she be interested. “Yes,” was her immediate answer.
“It was January 2016 and was the first training in the United States,” Iorillo said. “It was interesting because we learned the process through a Japanese translator.”
With the proper circulation, the skin plumps, and with relaxation the texture of the skin is improved. “This is an alternative for the person who doesn’t want Botox or a filler,” Iorillo said.
If you have had those procedures, Iorillo may not be able to do this technique. She will ask beforehand. Additionally, there is a new “face-lifting” procedure called threading and the Harisienne technique is not meant for someone who has just completed that.
This treatment is a holistic way of taking years off your face, Iorillo explained, and “is a targeted treatment for the face, for people who have a career that takes a lot of their time. The more one does this technique, the more one sees results.”
After she has done the left side of your face, ask to look in a mirror, because the difference between the two sides is noticeable.