I Bathed in a Vat of Red Wine and Here's What Happened to My Skin

🛀 + 🍷 = ???

Like any grown-ass female, I love wine. And I love baths. And I love drinking wine in the bath. Any combination of those two activities is my idea of a dream Saturday night ("adulthood" is a lot different than I thought it would be), so when I heard about NYC-based spa Aire Ancient Bath's "Red Wine Experience," I knew I had to test it out.

The treatment—which consists of a 30-minute soak followed by an hour-long grape seed oil massage—apparently delivers anti-aging antioxidants while also purifying and toning your skin. Not one to turn down an opportunity to improve my skin, I figured, "wine not?"

I know what you're thinking: How can bathing in wine be good for your complexion, when drinking wine is so bad for your skin? A depressing quick refresher courtesy Dr. Shereene Idriss of Wexler Dermatology: "Drinking wine is dehydrating. It makes your skin look ruddy, and on top of that, alcohol is obviously a toxin, so your liver can't clear out all the other toxins in your body, and things accumulate and it shows in your skin." But apparently putting wine *on* your skin is totally different.

Resveratrol, which is the stuff that gives wine its antioxidant properties (you know, the stuff that makes vino marginally healthy), has actually become a buzzy new ingredient in the beauty world. "In theory, when resveratrol is applied topically, it's supposed to help with your skin by increasing elasticity and vascular circulation," says Dr. Idriss. Now, for the kill-joy moment: "But the verdict is still to be determined whether it works or not...Resveratrol has to be formulated correctly in order to penetrate the skin."

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

Aire's "Wine Experience" sadly isn't quite the same as pouring a box-o-wine into your tub and letting yourself soak. (Hence the hefty price tag!) "We had to figure out a way to formulate it so that people could soak in it for 30 minutes and get all of the benefits, but not get the dehydration or other issues from the alcohol," says Aire communications consultant Silvia Barnett.

The formula, which took two years to create, uses an alcohol-free concentrate made from *extra strong* grapes from the Matarromera winery in Spain. They have a super high antioxidant capacity—even more so than vitamins C and E, according to Aire—and help neutralize free radicals. They also help protect your skin, thereby avoiding the oxidation of collagen and elastin fibers.

Even with all of these amazing promises, I was still a little skeptical. All I could picture was a traumatic "Violet, you're turning Violet, Violet!" Willy Wonka moment and having to throw my merlot-dyed bikini in the garbage. But when I stepped into the wine room, all my concerns went down the Ancient European stone drain.

It was like I had been transported from Lower Manhattan to the Loire Valley. The walls were decorated with vintage wooden wine boxes, and faux vines with plastic grapes hung from the ceiling. As I lowered myself into the Venetian tub (it was imported from Italy—I asked), the spout turned on and the entire tub started to fill with dark, red wine-water. It smelled, looked, and felt like the real thing. I couldn't bring myself to taste it after I'd been marinating in it, but I did submerge my entire face into it, which felt straight-up amazing. I will say, though, having a bathtub full of wine and a glass full of water felt really backwards, considering my usual routine.

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, the masseuse brought me a cheese plate and gave me a scalp massage. The only thing that could've possibly improved the experience would have been if someone hand-fed me grapes like I was an actual Greek goddess. [Editor's Note: Aire, you should really consider adding this feature into the experience.] The grape seed oil massage was just as heavenly as the bath, and when I finally left the spa after three blissful hours, I was a zenned-out, jelly-like version of my former self.

"When I finally left the spa after three blissful hours, I was a zenned-out, jelly-like version of my former self."

Was it the most luxurious, relaxing spa treatment I've ever had? Yes.

Did it make my skin look smoother and more radiant than ever? Ehhhh...kind of.

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

My skin did feel fabulous for the rest of the day and I'm pretty sure I had a soft glow for a couple of hours—but unfortunately my wrinkles and cellulite did not magically disappear during my 30-minute soak. Which, apparently, is to be expected. "There are no published studies that support that soaking in red wine improves the quality of the skin," says Dermatologist Dr. Lisa Airan. "The spa treatment is glamorous, but unlikely to provide long term benefits."

Science, shmience. As I laid in the wine-filled tub and had my scalp massaged by what felt like *15* hands at once, I didn't care whether or not the bath had any long-term effects on my skin. It was the most relaxing experience of my entire life, and I genuinely could have laid there forever. If I'm ever reincarnated, I seriously hope it's as beef bourguignon.

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