There are fertile chicken eggs incubating at the Giovanna-Jutta skin-care salon, and some customers go out wearing them.
Nobody's claiming that egg on your face will regenerate worn-out cells, though the treatment does smack of the Swiss-born "live cell" therapy in which clients receive live animal cells to stimulate their own cell renewal.
But Jutta Mertens contends that a masque of chicken embryo mixed with moisturizer gives the skin a freshness that lasts for several weeks.
This and other uncommon cosmetic treatments are the sort of things to face or not to face at the Melrose Place salon that Mertens and her partner, Giovanna Coffey, opened recently.
For conservatives, they offer traditional facials. But their hearts belong to natural beauty treatments taken one step beyond. Or backward, depending on the viewpoint.
Graduates of Aida Grey's Beverly Hills salon, with other training at Elizabeth Arden in Europe (for Coffey) and German skin-care clinics (for Mertens), both women say they're returning to the ancients in order to modernize beauty treatments.
"The more natural that skin-care products become, the closer they are to the ancient Chinese, Greek, Roman ways," Coffey says in explaining why she and Mertens use live embryos along with essential oils, extracts of flowers, plants, vegetables and liquid vitamins as part of facial treatments.
With their back-to-basics beliefs, they don't like to see women wear a lot of makeup. They seldom use powder after facials because it is too drying and blots out what they call the dewy look.
Instead, they suggest a moisturizer mixed with sun block.
"The worst mistake women in Los Angeles make is exposing their skin to the sun," Mertens says. "We think women should put on sun screen every day, before they put on anything else."
For another twist on skin-care treatments, Lucien Aubert uses a Twistometer and a Dermodiag, machines he developed, as well as computers to develop his Biotherm skin-care products. Aubert, based in Monaco, has doctorates in biology and biochemistry, and his product line goes beyond basics to include everything from elastin promoters to "wrinkle reducers" at intensive levels.
Aubert says he uses the Twistometer to record elasticity and firmness of the skin; the Dermodiag to record moisture content.
One of his most basic tools is a computer based on NASA space-lab equipment, he says. NASA uses it to make topographical maps of the moon. Aubert uses it to make topographical maps of the skin so that he can measure the effectiveness of his anti-wrinkle and anti-sagging ingredients.
"The creams soften wrinkles and restore firmness about 50%," he claims.
Aubert is less interested in younger skin. "At age 20, you need a cleanser, moisturizer, sun protector and no more," he states.
He seems to prefer the challenge of age.
"At 30 to 35 you need something to resist wrinkles and at 45 something to fight loss of firmness."
In search of an aging but wrinkle-free face, Aubert suggests face peels as long as they're not chemically based. "Have the peel in winter so the newly exposed skin won't be subject to strong sun," he suggests.
Aubert contends that the age-old friction between the worlds of cosmetology and dermatology is changing along with skin-care products themselves. For him the proof came in the mail, with an invitation to present his findings at a UCLA conference for skin doctors. Aubert's Biotherm products are available at Robinson's.