February 10 2012
The new year brought a new me – though not quite the version I hoped for. Christmas (over)indulgences, another birthday and lifestyle changes now leave me reflecting on a slightly spotty, blotchy, tired face. I haven’t had a facial in a while, and I certainly need one. But what, and where?
Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t want to “confuse” my skin with new-to-me, chemical-laden unguents – I’m feeling sensitive enough already. And then I remember Eve Lom, whose philosophy I really like; it’s about simplicity, with natural-based products that don’t overload but deeply cleanse and rebalance the skin.
On the day, I am faced with a damp and chilly Brighton. The Treatment Rooms, the city’s largest beauty salon and day spa, have a great reputation, and offer the Eve Lom Full Facial. A friendly receptionist gives me herbal tea and the obligatory health form. I put on a brown waffle-cotton robe in the smart changing room and am shown into the therapy suite by Lori, who, I’m thrilled to see, has great skin. She studies my face, asks pertinent questions, and then I lie under a duvet while she applies the renowned Eve Lom cleanser (which, made of chamomile, eucalyptus oil and cocoa butter, among other ingredients, smells divine – like everything during this session).
This is followed by a slightly mummifying hot paraffin wax mask, which, says Lori, opens pores and aids the extractions (spot-and-blackhead squeezing) that follow. A heavenly half-hour of lymphatic drainage and massage to face, neck, chest, arms and back encourage decongestion, and feel terrific (Lori has a great touch and gauges just how much chat I like – not much). A camphor-based rescue mask then feels like a breath of fresh air, and is removed with a hot chamomile cloth, to be replaced by an ice compress that shocks me back to life and closes pores.
Light-headed, I slob out with herbal tea and water in the relaxation room – think Sanderson-style white curtains and low lighting. I emerge mole-like into a drizzly day at the seaside. But I study myself in the mirror before I leave and yes, I’ve become the full spa cliché once again: relaxed, revitalised and with a healthy glow.