Health & Grooming | Chronicles of a Spa Junkie

Spa Junkie at… Duo

Does ‘you plus us’ equal success for our undercover columnist?

Spa Junkie at… Duo

Image: Jay Yeo

February 11 2012
Spa Junkie

Part: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Spa Junkie is sampling the treatments at Duo, a health and beauty studio in west London.

The beautician assesses my skin, which is suffering from the usual environmental-related dryness (too many long hauls, air conditioning, excessive heating). At Duo they use Pevonia Botanica, a spa-only line based on marine and botanical ingredients.

The brand didn’t make the world’s most favourable impression on me the last time I tried it. However, as we all know, it’s incredibly subjective and what doesn’t work for me may work for others. What is objectively likeable is the fact that the line is 100 per cent natural, containing no artificial fragrances or colourings. (I always research products and their toxicity levels on the Environmental Working Group’s website before trying out any new facial treatments.)

Today, I opt for the line’s Prescriptive facial, an all-rounder cleanse-and-nourish treatment that takes about an hour. Irish Tatler voted it “best facial” in 2010, so I'm hoping I’ll emerge looking more like I’ve hiked across the Emerald Isle than slogged down the Fulham Road. My facialist uses a lovely-smelling, light and creamy cleanser for combination skin, followed by the Clarigel exfoliating cleanser, which has little beads that roll gently over your skin, whipping off dead skin and debris.

A light steam and a few extractions are followed by an application of my favourite of the products – the serum, made with a high concentration of propolis, a resinous substance collected by bees from the buds of trees. “It’s sourced from the Jura mountains in France. It’s antibacterial and helps to decongest skin that has been exposed to as many flights as you have taken recently. It’s also excellent for strengthening the skin,” the facialist explains as she applies moisturiser. The facial, in tandem with my post-workout glow, has left my skin looking plumper and decidedly fresher than it did a few hours ago.

Before I leave, Neville gives me an overview of the three-stage fitness plan he’ll be implementing for me over the coming weeks, should I decide to up sticks and start utilising the facility and the Bio Signature method.

The plan focuses on kinetic strength and conditioning. Once I have completed a short period (two to three weeks) of basic conditioning to trim down the excess fat, we’ll focus on muscle hypertrophy, or strength training, concentrating on my postural muscles (three sets of 12 reps for each). About this time, I’ll also be starting a nutrition programme that will include supplements to help get me into tip-top shape. Neville suggests D3 Excellence, which contains vitamin D to support bone and immune health; Estrodetox, which contains phytonutrients that provide protection for the body’s tissues to help combat destructive free radicals; and UberZinc, a supplement to restore zinc levels, which will primarily help me maintain a healthy immune system.

If I do come back, my next visit will also include a consultation with the dietician, who will devise a diet to support my training; the osteopath for a pre-fashion-week massage; and another facial to keep my pores as tight as my glutes.


The under-one-roof inclusion of gym, beauty, diet and osteopathy offered by Duo takes the wellness concept to a new level. The opening hours are long and late (6am-10pm), allowing you time to squeeze in a facial, workout and massage before your breakfast meeting or after a tiring day at the office. What is unique is that there is no costly membership fee, which makes being fabulous all the more possible for those who have not yet cultivated their beauty hierarchy.

Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, treatments and accommodation.