Arrive in Hong Kong and the buzz is tangible. With so much fast-paced high living it is perhaps inevitable that foot massages are available on numerous street corners to assuage aching tendons, and that the spas in the hotels are gently lit worlds of relaxation, offering serious anti-ageing and destressing treatments.
None more so than The Oriental Spa in the Landmark Mandarin Oriental. It was here, while undergoing the spa’s exclusive Intensive Rejuvenating Body Treatment (from HK$2,250, about £186), that I discovered a range of skincare products called Clínica Ivo Pitanguy (pictured), which did wonders for my dehydrated skin. The high-potency creams contain detoxifying joazeiro bark, papaya and acai extracts, and healing Amazonian balm and white blackberry, which penetrated, revitalised and remodelled my body. The treatment was more intense than previous ones I have had – indeed, it was a two-hour session – but I could almost feel the creams and gels working their magic.
We began with a full-body exfoliation, using the Exfoliating Formula (£78), a mix of anti-ageing and detoxifying joazeiro bark, papaya extract and powdered shell that removed dead skin cells and buffed and polished what remained, leaving skin smoother and less puffy. A gel was then applied to my legs (Legs Beauty Formula, £116) – a real pick-me-up after my long flight. Containing potent Amazonian guarana, it reduced water retention, especially around my ankles. Next up, the Revitalizing Formula (£136), with quinoa extract and vitamins, was massaged into my skin. For me, however, the true miracle worker was the Firming Formula (£163), with centella asiatica extract, white blackberry and vitamin P. Gauze was placed on top to augment absorption of the cream and by the time I was unwrapped, I felt smooth, svelte and uplifted in all senses.
Upon later investigation – for these wonderful products had to be tracked down – I found that this line of restorative creams was developed by one of the world’s most famous plastic surgeons, Professor Ivo Pitanguy, who has been instrumental in his native Brazil in broadening the reach of plastic surgery beyond the elite to those in need in poorer parts of the country. After setting up the first hand-surgery clinic in Rio de Janeiro and managing a burns unit and a reconstructive-surgery department, he went on to found, in 1963, the prestigious Ivo Pitanguy Clinic, which specialises in cutting-edge aesthetic treatments and cosmetic surgery.
It was from here, with Pitanguy’s daughter Gisela at the helm of the clinic’s cosmetic practices, that this line of beauty products was launched, consistent with Pitanguy’s philosophy of creating wider access to technologies that repair and enhance skin. And boy, these creams do just that.