I’ve slightly lost faith in Harley Street, which I feel has become rather too populated by rejuvenation clinics better known for their marketing leaflets than their stellar reputations. But PhiClinic is a welcome find that seems to be trying to redress the balance. Alongside assorted cosmetic surgery procedures are advanced-technology, non-invasive superfacials that promise to improve skin tone, revive plumpness, reduce thread veins and pigmentation discolouration, and tone and tighten. Their Phi 360 superfacial is what I’m most interested in trying out.
A Phi aesthetician leads me along the corridor past stark, white clinical rooms filled with lasers and high-tech equipment. Phi is not for those interested in a spa-pampering day, that’s for sure.
The 90-minute treatment starts with a simple cleanse and then microdermabrasion, where a thin suction pipe is moved back and forth and up and down my skin to remove dead skin cells, promote cell renewal and create a more even skin tone. It’s uncomfortable, but not painful.
Further debris at a deeper dermal level is then removed during the Hydrafacial, during which a machine is used for lymphatic drainage, combined with vacuum technology for deep cleansing, extraction and exfoliation – sucking impurities from inside the pores. Again, while it’s not exactly relaxing, it doesn’t hurt in the least. Afterwards SkinCeuticals creams that are rich in hyaluronic acid, vitamins and antioxidants leave my skin feeling super hydrated.
Skin prepped and with very little discomfort so far, it’s time for the main event: a trio of handheld lasers called the VBeam, the RevLite and the Emerge.
The VBeam starts the light show; it’s used to target redness such as thread veins and pigmentation discolouration – for those who like a nightly tipple or two, this is the one for you. The long beam of pulsating light is moved around my face and targets problem areas to break down pigmentation in the damaged cells. On a pain level I would say it is a four out of 10, not pleasant, but certainly bearable.
Next up is one of my favourites: Q Switch, the technology behind the RevLite laser, which works on lines and wrinkles by delivering heat deep into the dermis to stimulate collagen. It’s wonderfully pain-free.
Onto the last of the three lasers: Emerge, a non-ablative fractional laser for resurfacing. As the handheld laser moves over my skin, it feels like my face is being dragged along tarmac – it is short-lived, thank heavens.
A cooling, hydrating B5 gel is then gently applied, a welcome antidote to the heat of my skin. After it has been left to soak in for a few minutes, my face is placed under a full mask of LED light for 15 minutes to help the healing process. The therapist leaves the room and I shut my eyes; the warm light on my face makes me dream of the Bahamas.
The therapist returns and applies a moisturiser with sunscreen, to protect my now ultra-sensitive skin from sunlight. I’m also told not to go in the sun for a couple of weeks. The finale is the Oxygenetix Breathable Foundation to help with the production of collagen and elastin and to tint my skin so it doesn’t appear so red. Still, as my therapist walks me out, my face is a rosy shade of pink.
The Bottom Line
I’ve had several laser treatments in the past that were on a par with medieval torture, but apart from a few moments of serious discomfort, Phi 360 is very bearable. The slightly raw feeling and red tinge subsided after 24 hours and each day (for a few days after that) I saw an improvement in my skin, which became less red, more radiant and with fewer blemishes, discoloured spots and fine lines.
Spa Junkie is the founder of FaceGym. She pays for all her own travel, accommodation and therapies. Follow her on Instagram @spajunkiechronicles.