Inside the Manhattan spa. Photo courtesy of Christine Chin.

I've been hearing about esthetician Christine Chin -- and her celebrity followers -- for years. Curious to discover what all the fuss was about, I made the trek down to her Lower East Side Manhattan spa for a facial. (Plot Spoiler: I don't end up getting one).

When the woman who is known as "Mean Christine" walked into the room, I was surprised to see someone friendly and soft-spoken. She said my skin was "one of the best [she's] ever seen," and I told her I credit genetics, not smoking, and vampire-esque shunning of sunlight.

Perhaps it's only clients who break the skin "rules" that see her sassy side.

The next two things that Christine said were somewhat revolutionary:

1. Recession Tip: Choose microdermabrasion over a facial. (Assuming you can't spring for both). Why? A facial is just masks and moisturizers unless you have a need for extractions. If you're a person who, like me, deals more with uneven skin than blackheads, microdermabrasion will do more for you. The result? Even with my super-sensitive skin, microderm on the lightest setting left me even and smooth--no redness.

2. Toner really is important. The first thing I was asked when the magnifying glass switched on: "Do you use toner?" I had always skipped the stuff--it just seemed so unnecessary. But Chin explained that this extra step helps smooth away rough spots and exfoliate skin, so it's worth adding back into my arsenal.

Thanks, Christine!