Five of the Best: Winter Facials in LondonBy Sarah Rodrigues
Spring … everything feels all fresh and new and dewy – except, that is, for your skin, which is suffering from winter pallor and dehydration. Certain facials are particularly well suited to the winter months, because they heighten your skin’s sensitivity immediately post-treatment, which means that sunshine and UV rays are best avoided – plus, all of that restorative and regeneration action can take place well in time for the longer, lighter evenings. Try one of these before we say goodbye to winter.
Best For: Ageing, fine lines, acne scarring, sun damage and pigmentation.
What is it: After a numbing cream is applied to the face, thousands of tiny pinpricks are introduced into the top layer of your skin to send it into just enough of a state of alarm to kickstart its repair responses. The tiny punctures also create direct channels for the peptides and growth factors to enter the skin, stimulating collagen production and hydration.
Downtime: Expect redness (like sunburn) for a good few hours afterwards; the intensity will depend on how sensitive your skin is. Once that calms down, your skin will probably feel quite tight, itchy and dry for a couple of days as it renews (think about how a scab feels itchy as it heals).
Aftercare: Your pores will be open and skin particularly receptive in the days following the treatment, so cleanse thoroughly (with a gentle cleanser). Avoid fragrances, AHAs and retinol and opt for nourishing serums containing Vitamin C and E. Don’t forget an SPF – your skin will be even more sensitive than usual.
Results: My skin felt firmer and more hydrated and youthful, as well as looking radiant, with a more even tone and tighter pores.
Where: ClinicBe – priced at £175 per session or £473.00 for a package of three sessions (which is highly recommended for optimum results).
Best For: Suitable for normal, oily and dry skin, this treatment is the ideal boost for winter skin; it smooths and brightens, as well as diminishing fine lines and tightening pores.
What is it: Banish thoughts of SATC’s Samantha, with her post-peel, red-raw face – this is a much milder form of a chemical peel, which uses Glycolic Acid (in either a 15% or 30% strength) to lift dead skin cells and stimulate collagen production. It tingles a little as it dissolves the dead skin, but the sensation isn’t painful or unpleasant.
Downtime: Nope – this treatment, which takes just over an hour including consultation, can be slotted neatly into a long lunch break and you’ll be back in the office with nothing more than slightly rosy cheeks.
Aftercare: Avoid makeup, unless it’s mineral makeup, for the next 12 hours and wear an actual SPF, not just an SPF-containing moisturiser.
Results: You glow, girl. My skin looked clear and healthy, with pores, lines and pigmentation all visibly minimised. It felt smooth and plump under my fingertip when cleansing and moisturising, too.
Where: Bianca Estelle Aesthetics – priced at £100 per session or £500 for a course of six treatments.
Best For: If you’re prone to breakouts and congestion, if your skin looks dull or if you live in a high-pollution area.
What is it: It’s a six stage process, starting with a detoxifying lymphatic facial massage and cleansing. Spiral tip technology then performs exfoliation and extraction, reaching deep into the skin to deposit antioxidants and hyaluronic acid, as well as stimulating collagen production. A glycolic and salicylic solution acts as a gente peel, removing old skin cells to reveal a brighter complexion. Red and infrared LED is then used to calm the skin and further stimulate collagen production.
Downtime: You may have a bit of pinkness afterwards but nothing drastic. Personally, I’d be more likely to need downtime after examining the contents of the extraction/vacuum cup. Yep, apparently this is what some clients like to do. PASS!!!
Aftercare: Avoid makeup for the next 24 hours and don’t resume your regular cleansing routine until the following day. Try, if you can, to avoid high-pollution areas like bars and trains – tonight’s a good night to hang out on your sofa.
Results: My skin looked smooth and plump immediately after the treatment but the glow really kicked in a few days later when all of those new skin cells rose to the surface. It was exactly the boost my skin needed.
Best For: Suitable for all ages and skin types, this treatment will boost a complexion that’s tired, dull and lacking in radiance. It’s great for before an event or when you really need to glow – rumour has it that this is a fave of the Victoria’s Secret models prior to a show. Well, if it’s good enough for them …
What is it: A threefold treatment that starts with two deep exfoliation treatments, which remove dead skin cells, as well as providing hydration and luminosity. Finally, laser genesis stimulates collagen production and plumps, renews and brightens skin, diminishing fine lines in the process – the perfect winter skin pick-me-up.
Downtime: The treatment feels really gentle, with little more than a warm sensation from the laser. You may experience a tiny bit of pinkness for a few hours afterwards but other than that, the results are instant and the downtime, nonexistent – again, making it a great treatment to have before an event.
Aftercare: One of the reasons why this facial is particularly well suited to the winter months is because you’re best to have avoided sun exposure for 6 weeks beforehand – and the same caution should be applied to the weeks following. Using a Vitamin C serum will help to prolong the effects of the glow.
Results: Short lived but immediate – this treatment creates a radiant look with results still visible after a course of treatments. More permanent effects may be experienced after a course of treatments.
Where: The Private Clinic of Harley Street, priced at £250.
Best For: All skin types and anyone who’s keen to harness the benefits of something that’s relatively new to the beauty and wellness market, but which has been shown to have fantastic repair and rejuvenation qualities. Equally effective on acne as on ageing or dryness, the popularity of cannabis oil looks set to keep growing over the next few years.
What is it: The products used are from Australian brand MGC Derma, which is stocked at Harvey Nichols (the first UK department store to stock a cannabis-infused skincare brand last year) and starts with a CBD stem cells dermabrasion scrub, followed by a firming and anti-ageing mask. Next up, a hyaluronic and stem cells serum and finally, a beautifully nourishing moisturiser. Steam and extraction is also included, if desired.
Downtime: Absolutely none at all – although the treatment is very relaxing, so you may want to just take some downtime anyway!
Aftercare: None necessary – although I was taken enough with the products to head to Harvey Nichols and buy a selection to use at home, meaning that my bank balance may be in need of some TLC, if not my skin.
Results: My skin felt incredibly soft and smooth, with several people commenting, over the next few days, on my ‘radiance.’
Where: Live True London Vauxhall, £85 for a 75-minute facial.