I Tried Cate Blanchett's "Penis Facial" and This Is What Happened (Guest Column)
Bravo's 'Odd Man Out' star Jill Kargman samples the New York craze of injecting cloned baby foreskin that has stars texting: "Penis me, please!"
When I was in my 20s, children called me Snow White. In my 40s, I feel like the withered crone who poisoned her. And in the absence of a Death Becomes Her youth serum, we women do cray shit to stay young. I've heard of bird-poo cream, sheep's placenta tonic and pedicures where you put your paws in a bowl teeming with fish that chow the dead skin off your heels. If you don't believe me, Google (if you dare), but make sure it's before lunch. In Hollywood, where women are put out to pasture when they can no longer birth a child with a weird name, stars scramble to embrace the latest skin-care craze — and the newest may surprise even the most ardent beauty blog devotees.
Cate Blanchett's casual revelation of her "penis facials" has caused a global gasp, with some people horrified, while others coveting her luminous skin add their names to the waitlist. If I could pick one star to make a Silence of the Lambs suit out of her skin, it would be Ms. Blanchett. In the recent issue of Vogue Australia, the Oscar winner confessed that she and fellow Ocean's 8 castmember Sandra Bullock go to the famed Georgia Louise Atelier in New York City for a state-of-the-art facial that "smells like sperm." Now the phones are ringing off the hook, even though for all they know it could be a jizz mask.
I was given a gift certificate to the spa for my 40th birthday and was excited to see where clients whose talent and dermis I admire, like Emma Stone, Christy Turlington and Amy Schumer, get their glow. And BTW, the aforementioned Bullock is #goals in her 50s and crazily does not look a day over 41½. As crow's feet marched across my eye sockets and my forehead looked like Freddy Krueger dragged his razor claw across it, it was time to take my routine by the balls. So to speak.
I initially got Georgia's signature bespoke experience, which changed the way I thought about facials. Rather than masochistic zit poppage, I skipped out looking like I just swallowed radium, beaming from within. People randomly asked what I'd been slathering on or if I drank camel amounts of water. (P.S. I tried that, but my edamame-size bladder made it a difficult lifestyle choice.) The difference between Georgia and people who steam 'n' squeeze is that instead of Romanian torture tactics that leave your skin looking like it belongs in a Domino's Pizza box, Georgia harnesses the latest technology.
Take what I call the Bell's Palsy Machine. As you may know, this condition (also called idiopathic facial paralysis) renders half your face like Droopy dog. His name says it all: heavy naso-labial folds and zero muscle tone. When some Bell's palsy patients began experimental treatments, electronic stimulation was used to zap the sagging side and jolt the muscles back into action. The treatment was so effective that the once-drooping side was higher and more lifted than the normal side. Lightbulb! The creators realized they could utilize this tech in the beauty world for toning and lifting the face. Georgia also uses infrared lights to stimulate collagen, microneedling to get deep below the surface, and ice-cold wands that shrink the pores. But none has caused the stir of Cate's dick facials.
I grilled Georgia on WTF this was when I saw the Cate commotion and … drumroll … got my very own dick facial! Before you run to find a toothbrush and a bucket, let me say I did not get stranger sperm mashed in my pores. Originally, years ago, there was a stem cell dealer from a Long Island lab who would extract his wares from sliced circumcision flaps. Naturally I pictured a scalpel-toting mohel with a briefcase full of little baby schwantz-tops. But apparently said broker was merely way before his time, as the market for discarded baby weentops has exploded.
Korea has obliterated Paris as the undisputed beauty capital of the world, and Georgia now has a purveyor there. It's hard to get foreskins in New York, she explains; in Korea they take the circumcision tops, clone the stem cells and make them into serum.
After my skin was cleansed, Georgia applied a thin coat of numbing cream, followed by trichloroacetic acid, best known for rendering SJP's face beet-hued on Sex and the City. The acid makes the skin raw so the stem cells can penetrate deeper, kick-starting rejuvenation. Georgia jams the serum in with 12 titanium needles, and seals it in with a thick, soothing mask that rubberizes and peels off. Et voila! My skin was luminous. It may sound even more insane than Demi Moore's leech therapy or Katie Holmes letting snails crawl across her face, but the shit works. Some of the superstars who are devoted to Georgia's couture skin care text her after a trip or illness, desperate for their brightness back: "Penis me, please!" Now I get it: My husband, Harry, didn't know about the treatment and said, "Wow, you look really good!" So I guess for this restored Snow White, instead of the apple emoji, I'll take the eggplant.
This story first appeared in the April 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.