It’s that time of year when the sun’s spring rays catch your face in the hallway mirror - and you realise that over the course of the winter months you appear to have turned into a vampire.
Or at least I do. My skin has a dusty, grey quality to it, there are deep crevices under my eyes and the furrows in my brow seem to have been etched just that little bit deeper.
Action is required. A facial. One that is going to strip away the winter months, and reveal a fresh, zingy complexion. Within reason, of course. After all, I’m no spring chicken.
If you’re one of those people who likes a strokey facial with lots of bells and smells and artistically scattered rose petals, then the Hydrafacial is probably not for you. For a start, Medicetics don’t really do pampering. No fluffy goose down duvets or scented candles here. They’re doctors, they do results. There is a bed, a towel and a lot of machines.
In fact, as facials go, this is one of the most clinical I’ve ever had. There’s some very nice hands-on stuff at the beginning, but otherwise it’s down to the machine to do the elbow work.
Which, as it turns out, is no bad thing. First up is the lymphatic drainage using vacuum suction. It feels like tiny fish kisses: rather nice and a bit tickly. Then there’s some light microdermabrasion, to lift and remove dead skin cells, followed by a glycolic and salicylic solution to loosen impurities, blackheads and other unpleasantries.
Extractions are carried out using vortex suction (much less painful than traditional extractions), and then an active concentration of vitamins, antioxidants, hyaluronic acids and the like is mechanically infused into the skin.
Finally, the piece de resistance: 20 minutes of phototherapy clinically proven to accelerate the body’s own natural healing process (Sarah Chapman also uses one of these).
It helps with lines and wrinkles, uneven pigmentation and sun damage - basically all the problems that tend to afflict older skin. And while that’s happening, you get a nice hand and arm massage.
The results are not immediately apparent. Sure, my skin looks pink and healthy, and the darkness around my eyes is less pronounced. But otherwise I just look like I’ve been for a run.
It’s over the next couple of days that the results really start to kick in. My skin feels soft and well-nourished. It has a pleasing alabaster quality to it. Basically, I look like my face hasn’t a care in the world.
Both my children and my husband comment on how well I look, which is ironic because I feel like death, having come down with some vile bug that’s going around.
My morning face in particular is much less gruesome: smoother, brighter and altogether less vampiric. It also takes less makeup to feel presentable, and I’m not having to re-apply moisturiser two or three times a day because my skin is feeling tight. I imagine that two or three treatments would yield optimum results - and I shall definitely be going back for more.
If you’re not in the market for fish kisses, Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask provides an excellent at-home alternative for stressed-out, life-weary skin. At first I was sceptical: I don’t like clay-based masks because they have a habit of leaving my skin looking and feeling like old parchment; but this is different.
She’s combined Spanish clay with sweet almond and rosehip oil to create a mask that purifies without desiccating. It also smells gorgeous, owing to the addition of frangipani flower extract.
It goes on smoothly and easily, sits comfortably on the skin and then washes off quickly and easily with a warm flannel. Divine.
If it’s fabulousness in a finger-click you want, get your hands on Chanel’s reformulated CC cream, which re-launches this weekend. It is very, very good - by far the best I’ve ever tried, actually. I rarely become addicted to a product, being essentially a bit flighty when it comes to cosmetics, but this one has really held my attention.
It has just the right combination of consistency, coverage and luminosity, and it’s perfect for spring. I’ve been using it in conjunction with their Factor 50 hydrating sunblock (which is also amazing, light and fragrant and with none of that whitish residue you sometimes get from sunblocks). The two together will probably see you through well into summer.
Finally, I must just give a quick shout-out to the fabulous Braiding Bar in Selfridges. I was in there with my daughter (aged 11) and a friend the other day, trying to prevent them from purchasing their own weight in Jelly Beans, when one of them spotted it. It’s like a blow-dry bar, only for braids . After much squealing, the girls chose their styles - and it was a triumph: fabulously fun Rita Ora style on-trend hair, and so much better than anything my fumbling hands could achieve.