Coming back from Australia was a scary thing. My flight on Qantas was perhaps the worst I've had in years. My personal entertainment screen didn't work (along with half the other passengers), the food was inedible (I didn't think you could screw up fruit but I guess it happens) and there were kids - screaming, undisciplined children - running up and down the aisle for hours. With this nightmare of a homecoming, I needed a facial almost right away (not to mention the 20-hour flight really did a number on my skin).

I remember a reader had recommended Mario Badescu a few weeks back, and I've always been curious about their one and only spa here in New York City, so I booked a treatment. When I arrived at the salon in midtown, I was taken aback with its no frills attitude. It was more like a doctor's office than a spa, somewhat reassuring me that they mean business. Also interesting were the signed photos of celebrities in the waiting room. Everyone from Jennifer Aniston to Sara Jessica Parker comes here for treatments. In a sense, this is reassuring. But then I already knew Mario has a long list of celebrities.

Waiting, I got to learn the story of Mario Badescu. He actually lived in the building upstairs, giving facials from his apartment through word-of-mouth and eventually opening treatment rooms on the main level. The salon has been open for more than 40 years (established 1967) and the two treatment rooms are now 36. Mario Badescu is also one of the oldest brands to be botanically based. Not much has changed with the line.

My aesthetician was phenomenal, treating my face delicately and attentively, and every facial is customized at the salon. She spent time addressing blackheads and sun spots (my favorite was their custom vitamin c mask with "secret" ingredients. Although they wouldn't reveal the "secret," the mask was cold and refreshing on my face, and the scent of vitamin c was overwhelmingly pleasant). I was so impressed that I had to get my hands on the Vitamin C Serum.

Although the Vitamin C is primarily ascorbic acid (only 7.5%), there were other ingredients here that made me give it a thumbs up. Cucumber extract is a prominent ingredient and, not only soothing, it has a high amount of amino and organic acids that are beneficial to the skin. It's also great as an agent to tighten skin and regulate moisture. There's also ginseng (panax ginseng root), which help reduce wrinkles, increase production of collagen and help treat scars. There's also some lavender oil extract in the mix (one of my favorite scents). I like this combination and I can see how others would too, considering its aim is to reduce discoloration and keep the mug looking young. It will be a matter of time before I see results but I can stick with this for a while as I am confident I will have favorable results (and if the Vitamin C mask is any indication the products are just as moving, then I'm sold).

Ingredients: Propylene Glycol,Ascorbic Acid,Cucumber (Cucumis Sativus Fruit) Extract,Ginseng (Panax Ginseng Root) Extract,Aloe Vera Gel,Collagen,Hyaluronic Acid,Lavender Oil