Sometimes in life one is lucky enough to gather a pearl, garner a small piece of info that you feel obliged, forced even, to share with others. It is one’s civic duty I suppose, to spread the word, plus a little love and kindness. And when the source of this little nugget was the Oscar-winning makeup artist Jenny Shircore , I think it would be rude not to share this anywhere else, but here.
“Imogen?” she asked me one sunny afternoon on a film set in Spain, as I sparked up another cigarette and squinted. “Do you ever have facials?”
Now this is the sort of conversation that could go two ways. Either, one of the world's top makeup artists was about to comment on the fine, pore-free clarity of my skin. Or, she thinks I am a friend in need.
“Well…” I exhaled.
“Madonna recommended this…” She began.
That was enough to send me scurrying back into the makeup truck to scrabble about for my handbag and rootle out a pen and a piece of paper. Recommended by Madonna AND Jenny Shircore! This was going to be good.
“What did Madonna recommend?” I panted.
I was all ears, eyes, pen poised because whatever you think of Madge and her music and her fondness for snogging younger chaps: the woman looks bloody marvellous. If I could throw that many shapes in my mid-fifties and still rock a corset I’d be chuffed. So anything that she thinks is good, I am going to note down.
Fast forward two months and I find myself in the sort of flat off Park Lane where posh gentlemen keep glamorous women they like to visit at all hours of the day and night. It is terribly smart and portered and super respectable. I am horizontal on a terry-clad flat bed with my face being creamed and unctioned by the very brilliant Sharon Oldham. A facialist so glamorous and bespoke and recommended it is almost impossible to get an appointment with her. Based in London and Leicestershire, she travels up and down the country for private sessions, which you have to book months in advance.
But you can see why. What Sharon doesn’t know about skin, isn’t worth knowing. She used to work for Intraceuticals, the world’s leading oxygen skincare specialist, for six years, flying all over the world teaching others how to use the products. She has treated most of the planet’s great, good and the really rather beautiful. And now me!
I had her deluxe Skinsense facial which was an hour and a half of massage, manual lymphatic drainage, shiatsu, craniosacral therapy and Reiki healing; all performed in combination with Intraceuticals creams and serums and an oxygen machine which helps push the already very effective products deeper into the skin.
And it was quite an experience. I am not one for a long lie down while someone rubs a bit of cream into my cheek. In fact, it irritates the knockers off me. But this, with this, I couldn’t move. I am not sure if it was the Reiki, which I really did feel as a warm wave rushing through my body. Or if it was the lymphatic drainage that detoxed the whole of my hungover face? Or if it was the simple knowledge that, according to Madge and Jenny, I was absolutely in the right hands.
All I know is that when I left I looked marvellous. The fine lines around my eyes were significantly better. The puffy, wine-face I arrived with, with bags and jowls – the full Bagpuss look – has been deflated like a party balloon. And the general dry tightness of my skin had gone, it was buffed and shiny and baby’s bummed within an inch of its life. It was good. Very good. And it lasted for about three to four days.
Sharon offers a course of these facials and I am pretty sure if one was to do them, every month or so, that she could make a significant difference. But even as a one off, for a wedding or an important day/night out, it would give you ‘the glow,’ or indeed the ‘gloss.’
After all, what is good enough for Madonna, it most certainly good enough for me.