That’s an attractive look above isn’t it The pic was taken mid way through my Anne Semonin Age Defying Cryotherapy Super Facial at the new Michaeljohn beauty and medispa in London’s Belgravia. As soon as I heard this used something called ‘Express Radiance Ice Cubes’ my spider sense for the bonkers was tingling and a quick begging phone call later I was off for a pamper – an 85 minute pamper.
Now the fact that a facial could last this long confused me, surely, you can only cleanse, tone and moisturise one face for so long, but I was not yet au fait with the litany of toys facialist Jimena had at her disposal. In fact so many things were rubbed on, whipped off and pressed onto my skin during my treatment I can’t tell you exactly what was done (it’s very hard to write notes with cotton wool pads on your eyes), but here are the bits that stuck in my mind…
If you’re having a scrub, go Gommage : Exfoliation is where you scrub the skin, gommage however uses a cream which dries and is rubbed off taking dead skin with it. ‘It’s the reason French women have amazing skin, it’s an old technique and it’s kinder and better for the skin,’ says Jimena.
Electricity opens pores: The phrase ‘it’s only going to feel like a little electric shock’ is not normally one I welcome in my life – but it gets results. After the first ‘buzz/tingle’ it wasn’t unpleasant and that, and a liberal application of steam meant Jimena had a great time extracting blackheads shortly afterwards. Is it weird that I was seriously jealous? I love extracting blackheads.
Anne Semonin products smell REALLY good. They’re scented with essential oils and are probably the nicest smelling products I’ve ever had used on me in a facial.
Beauty is bonkers: At the point I asked Jimena to take the photo above I was wearing a cloth mask on which algae had been painted with a paint brush. Cotton wool pads on my eyes meant I couldn’t see and I was wrapped in a blanket and wearing heated hand mittens and booties. Sometimes words fail me.
And finally the ice cubes – I was expecting actual ice cubes. They aren’t – they’re just little square pads with a cold gel on them which kind of disappointed me. This was my second ice-related disappointment recently. I recently read a tip in a US magazine that said if you sucked on an ice cube it would instantly increase circulation to your face and give you a glow – I tried it, it didn’t. It just makes your tongue numb.
Still, the proof as to whether the facial had worked is not in the feel but in the look – and wow, I glowed. My skin had that gorgeous ‘my botox is full effect’ shininess that personally I love and my blackheads had gone, squeezed off into the ether. Despite this there were no nasty red marks on my skin and everything just looked plump, dewy and healthy. The next day my skin wasn’t producing oil like something a Ewing would stab someone in the back for – unlike with many facials – and it’s taken a month for my blackheads to start to return (oops, probably time to start using the mysterious Clearasil face wash more regularly).
The best thing about the facial though was Columbian born Jimena; completely honest beauty therapists are a rarity and she’s one of them. She told me what would work on my skin (IPL apparently) and what wasn’t worth me spending money on – in fact, she said she personally wouldn’t have recommended this facial for me as my skin needs more hydration and less toning than this facial provides. If I look this good after a facial she doesn’t recommend I’d love to see what happens if I had the one she did think would suit me.
She’s also like a little dervish and has a firm hand on your skin which I like in a therapist. I had to stop having microdermabrasion at my local salon as the new girl there used a super light touch and I actually find that creepy.
So, if you’re looking for a new salon in London, give the Michaeljohn Medispa a try. It’s not where the hairdressers is (if you know your swanky London salons) but at 8 Motcomb Street close to Knightsbridge. The Anne Semion Cryotherapy Super Facial is also available in other salons nationwide and you can buy the Exfoliating Mask and Express Radiance Ice Cubes for home use if you so wish. Visit www.annesemonin.com to find out more.