Getting a proper facial just isn’t very British is it.
And I mean a proper facial, not just a random one in a random spa in a random hotel that you randomly thought you’d have because you’re in a hotel with a spa and isn’t that the sort of thing you’re supposed to do.
I mean a facial with someone who is only one step down from a dermatologist, who has seen all skins of all types for years and years and who can often suggest inexpensive tweaks to your skin regime that will solve – or at least alleviate – whatever’s bugging you about that visage of yours. Maybe you don’t even know what’s wrong. Maybe you just want to stop looking so puffy, knackered and baggy. (I make no judgment, just speaking from personal experience.)
But, like I said, it’s not very British. Deep down we think it’s probably all nonsense – that a better idea is to give our faces a scrub with some Pear’s Soap and a flannel and hope for the best.
But perhaps we could re-think this, and maybe consider going for a proper facial, but in a very British way (i.e only once or twice a year).
I have only ever had two proper facials. One was at the Skin Health Spa in Marylebone. I went to see them when I was 23 and fantastically depressed about that particular bout of acne. That was less of a facial and more of a hardcore course of glycolic facial wash and skin peels – but it certainly worked.
And the other proper facial I’ve had was just now, with Mandy Oxley Swan, who does a lot of work with Balance Me skin care (who in turn, are doing some work with ME right now, so sent me off for a facial).
Proper facialists have the faint air of a really good GP about them, mentally taking in the whole you in order to work out what’s going on in your face. She slayed me with her diagnosis that some facialists will perform “extraction” (i.e. squeeing spots) in order to look like they’re doing something. I knew it!!!!!!! She double-slayed me with her “yeah right, get real” face when I told her I needed to stop drinking, especially white wine. This woman is realistic.
No one facial will change your face forever, but Mandy sent me off with a simple skin regime using mostly Balance Me products but also recommending a Ren tonic exfoliator ; the Pixi Glow Tonic I have raved about in the past started irritating my skin, (my hero products ALWAYS inevitably turn against me), and the REN tonic is much more mild but will also work to dissolve those tiny cysts.
The point is that a good facialist ought to be a little bit like a good GP or dentist for your skin, setting you off down a path of skin health, requiring only annual or bi-annual check-ups.
Mandy is based in Stoke Newington, for any North Londoners. I think I have a discount code but I am working in a cafe today and haven’t got it with me. I will double check when I get back and add it if I have it. PROFESH AT ALL TIMESZ.
Pamela Marshall at Mortar and Milk is in Fulham and comes highly recommended to me by my friend Madeleine who really knows about such things. Pamela is very booked up but I am advised by Madeleine that one ought to simply get on the list and wait one’s turn.
How about you? Are you very un-British and have a brilliant facialist that you can recommend? Please leave a comment below in the handy box.
The full list of products recommended to me at the end of my facial were:
Rose Otto Face Oil – to combat some redness I have around my nose (nice). This also smells uh-mazing. Get the Rose Otto Body wash if you just fancy a treat and don’t need any redness-combatting.
Pure Skin Face Wash – to cleanse without irritating; I had always assumed I didn’t have sensitive skin but I think that sometimes my breakouts are an expression of sensitivity.
Balancing Face Moisturiser – to moisturise without clogging pores (I use this in the morning and the Rose oil in the evening)
And here again is the REN exfoliating tonic, which I am using to smooth out tiny cysts
Try Debbie Thomas in Chelsea. I live in New York City but have not had a facial that tops their DNA laser facials. They are the perfect mix of pampering and hard core technology/gadget facials.
Brilliant; I am buyng two of the REN products pronto – one for me and one for my teenage daughter. Thank you for the frank write-up. I haven’t facialled in a while, as just a bit broke,but when I can afford to treat myselfl I go for an Environ facial which is pretty amazing. Also v keen to try out the FaceGym place on the Kings Road to iron out all my wrinkles👵🏻
I love facials but am never sure whether having the odd one is worth it- in my head, it’s something you need to do every month at least or you may as well not bother. Is that right though?
I’ve had great facials from https://www.su-man.com/facials/ She used to do them in Crouch End but from the website it looks as if it’s now only central London (and I suspect more expensive as well).
I also really like https://www.vaishaly.com/ (great threading as well and much nicer than having to sit in the middle of a department store getting your tache threaded).
Becky Crisp @wildspiritnaturally in Richmond is just AWESOME. There is nothing she doesn’t know about skin and creates a bespoke treatment for you using only organic and natural products. She has a lovely soothing manner too, her voice is one of those that soothes you almost to sleep as she massages and smooths your skin to look like a glowy goddess! Her website is http://Www.wildspiritnaturally.com – she is moving to Stroud in October so will also be doing facials in the Cotswolds too i believe?
Sarah Deller says
I went to Pfeffer Sal ahead of my wedding (based near Great Portland St); very luxurious service and use lovely natural products, however the effects wore off quickly fro me.
My acne has flared up again recently so I’ve given Paul Edmonds (Knightsbridge) a try (found through shameless Instagram influencer stalking…) and it seems to be working; it’s less of a luxurious experience and more about the medical (slightly judgey side of things), they use Skinceuticals products which seem to be less natural but more effective…
Teresa Tarmey on Holland Road. I see Agata there, and she’s amazing. It’s an hour’s journey for me and utterly worth it. You pay for time rather than a specific treatment and she analyses your skin and gives you a mix of treatments to suit what you need (e.g. I had some IPL for spider veins and some clearlift to tighten). It’s not a gentle, pampering spa treatment but it’s definitely effective.
sarah clery says
Agata at Teresa Tarmey is who I go to see. She is pretty hard core X
Help I have a desperately crinkly neck and (only) 41… surely this can’t be happening… Will regular facials help me? Or can someone recommend a treatment that will actually work?
Caroline Hirons is an advocate of taking it to the tits, i.e. the products you use on your face (cleanser, serum, moisturiser, wherever should go down your neck too to the décolleté. My 56 year old neck looks no worse than my 56 year old coupon.
No you cant reverse wrinkles but to stop any further damage stay out of the sun in strong heat wear a hat in the sun – a wide one! and always always use a high protection sunscreen. If you happen to be a smoker Stop. Also try This Works products. Use a neck cream at night to hydrate and keep tbe skin supple. Have found This Works night creams really good for skin.
Jenny Harding – of Dynasty Products, google her, based in the City near Liverpool st, not that relaxing but what she doesn’t know about skin ( all types and colours) ain’t worth knowing !
My skin is always pretty good (I don’t do anything or eat a very good diet- it just is) but I thought this guardian article was v interesting. My sister has adult acne and I swear it DOMINATES her life…
I know this sounds really pretentious but since going to Florence a few years in a row and purchasing Rose Tonic Water from Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy (probably the oldest pharmacy in the world. Those monks knew a thing or two! ) my skin looks really fresh and glowing. By the way I am 64. Checkout http://www.smnovella.com
I think they may have a branch in London? Also the packaging is lovely if you like your products in pretty bottles.
Lisa F says
I do as I lived in France for years where I also regularly saw a Dermo (who always recommended Avene or La Roche Posay). Now I rely on an amazing woman in Space NK in Bath who saved my skin which was FREAKING OUT. I went in to get some Eve Lom TLC and she said – Nah, you want this. And got me on Darphin Intral serum which has bloody transformed my skin. I now just go and see her and say ´Mila help me’. She’s a bloody goddess and isn’t 22. Not that there is anything wrong with being 22… So peeps in South West, go see Mila. She is awesome at diagnosing skin dramas.
Hi. I’ve always been a bit dubious about facials. Partly because the expertise is so often low and partly I know I’m being sold product. However, six months ago I went to Kate Kerr Salon, based at the Meridien hotel just up from the Tate, because my horrid rosacea was making me v sad. I saw Michelle who was knowledgeable and no nonsense and diagnosed my skin. I was doing *everything* wrong. It was a very expensive experience but very very worth it. They use ZO (Dr Zein Obagi) products which are v expensive. Now that I understand the principles that work for my poor rosacea-suffering skin, I’ve been able to use her advice to swap some of the crippling £££ ZO products for cheaper versions so h no problems.
So I’m sum, a proper facial with a specialist is worth it to tackle skin problems that just, y’know, harsh your mellow on s daily basis
What I would really like to know is who can tell you (unbiased) what products your face needs serums and things like that and potions all super confusing….
Su-Man Hsu is extraordinary. Now she’s left her Crouch End base for at W in Leicester Square and The Sanderson you need a small mortgage for her treatment but it is an absolute investment in your skin. I’ve been seeing her regularly for about 6 years and she’s halted my sun damaged skin from further unnecessary ageing. Her small range of excellent products support the treatment while you’re saving for the next one. As a trained and successful dancer with a thorough knowledge of eastern practices (acupressure, acupuncture, reiki etc) she has an innate understanding of how all one’s physical and emotional issues show in our faces and skin. I’ve been having facials for 30 years but never met anyone like her. One of her treatments is worth 10 of less intuitive and experienced practitioners.
Sarah clery says
I have used her products , they are lovely . Have you watched her face massage tutorial on YouTube ? Ido it everyday . Her voice is so soothing . Lucky you to have been to see her . X
Treated myself years ago to an Eve Lom facial, which … I probably didn’t need, and produced a massive breakout immediately afterwards (don’t go on holiday/to a party less than a week afterwards) and was all v weird in an un-British way (is she SUPPOSED to massage that far down my chest when it’s a facial? EEEEK) but I did find the lyphatic drainage element is something I have done again and again, on me, husband, friends and dog. Dog especially delighted by it, oddly.
Excited by Stroud and Bath reccs above, thank you!
Alas, I don’t live in London anymore, which is where all the best facialists hang, it would seem. I have had two truly outstanding facials. One with the actual Eve Lom. It was the day after my grandpa died, she put her hands on my shoulders, asked me what was wrong and I did some big crying. She made me drink a cup of herbal tea, then she did some incredible hands on shit and left me to sleep for 20 mins in a lovely soft blanket. AND Nigella Lawson was waiting to go in after me. The best of times, the worst of times for sure.
The other person who I would love to see again is Anastasia Achilleos, a long time ago before she was super famous. She actually changed the shape of my head with her lymphatic draining. Honestly, my cheekbones had cheekbones. She also almost broke my nose trying to do an extraction on a blocked pore, but I’d forgive her anything. For a few days I had the face that Snapchat filters were made of.