When the daily grind is taking its toll, the results are written all over your face – but could a facial give you the physical and mental boost required? IoD members and staff put three options to the test
What Urban Detox Facial (men only), Paul Edmonds, London
No matter how clean living you try to be, the city takes its toll on you. London, with its non-stop traffic and fumes, muck and grime, leaves even the healthiest in need of a proper detox. So it was that I stepped into Paul Edmonds’ discreet and stylish Knightsbridge salon and was shown into the backroom for its new men-only detox facial, one designed with the renewed fashion for beards in mind.
This was the first facial I’ve ever had – and long overdue, since I suffer from very dry skin that no amount of moisturising can ever quite overcome. So I was unprepared for the pre-treatment rituals, which included sticking my head into a dark tube while the camera snapped illuminated close-ups of my pores that made me look like something out of The X-Files.
Having determined that my face was both dry and sensitive, as well as exhibiting too many broken capillaries, my therapist began the treatment with a steaming process and pigment powder vitamin C mask, brushed along the beard line to really get to the skin beneath.
Then came the unpleasant part – the extractions – which felt like a flashback to teenage years squeezing spots in front of the mirror. This was followed by a second mask, containing both lactic and salicylic acid, from Eminence Organics. I was told it might feel “minty”. It did – more Trebor Extra Strong than delicate After Eight on my now completely opened pores. While the mask was doing its invigorating work, the therapist applied a much-needed neck and shoulder massage.
By now I felt fresh and ready to face London’s bustling streets again. But a 10-minute turn under the ultra-blue LED light almost had me dropping off to sleep. Had I taken up the offer for a further 10 minutes, I’m sure it would’ve done. But work called and, with a quick moisturising for the lips and eyes and some all-important UVF for sun protection, I was back to the bustle, feeling as good as new.
Founder, Tropics of Tea
What My Kinda Skin Facial, Spread Eagle Hotel & Spa, West Sussex
My usual way of recharging is to go to the cinema or play polo – but I’ll now be adding regular facials to my routine. Entering the Spread Eagle Spa, I couldn’t help but feel relaxed, with mellow music playing in the background and citrus-infused drinking water to hydrate me before commencing treatment.
My facial involved an analysis of my skin before a deep cleanse, tone and moisture with products made in England by Temple Spa (they can also be purchased via the company’s website). A favourite was the facemask called Quench, and the cleanser Way To Go, which were mild and didn’t aggravate my sensitive skin.
There was also an arm, shoulder and scalp massage during the deep-cleansing – relaxing and not too vigorous. I’d 100 per cent recommend this to businesspeople as it’s virtually impossible to leave a facial feeling stressed. At the end of a 45-minute session I almost didn’t want to return to the real world – so I refused to do any work for the rest of the day.
Oni Oviri is a member of IoD London
Therapist and tutor, Bath Holistic
What ESPA Advanced Enzyme Facial, The Royal Crescent, Bath
My five-star experience began when I was led into the newly refurbished spa area and given a glass of cucumber and mint-infused filtered water, before being robed and slippered. The spa uses ESPA natural products, tailored to the customer’s needs, including a scent test to select the one you’re most drawn to.
The Advanced Enzyme Facial is a fairly involved procedure, including a mechanical deep brush cleanse (strangely relaxing) and an intense Enzyme Peel containing pumpkin extract that deeply exfoliates to remove dead skin cells. The most unique aspect was the massage using ice cold, smooth rose quartz crystals: a bit chilly initially, but deeply relaxing once they warmed up.
The equivalent of pressing ‘control, alt, delete’ on a laptop, this facial was perfect for easing my stressed skin, especially after it had been battered at a festival all weekend. Facials are the ideal alternative for those among us who are not comfortable with body massage and need to feel completely relaxed without self-consciousness.
Celia Stewart is a member of IoD South West
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