Imogen Edwards-Jones hopes to impress her mother with how well she looks - but will an oxygen facial do the trick?

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There are, it has to be said, many disadvantages of having parents who live abroad. There’s no handy childcare on tap, no granny to do the school run, no one else to rustle up the perfect Book Day costume, no one to cadge a fiver off and if you want a 45-minute moan it costs you over £17.50 a pop. But perhaps one of the more annoying things of having a mother who doesn’t see you very often is that when you turn up on the doorstep after six months or so apart, they inspect you MUCH more closely.

A very close friend of mine sees her mother almost every day. One or the other pops round on an almost 24 hourly basis. As a result, her mother’s seen her hungover, overweight, with greasy hair, in need of a leg-wax, a hair-dye and her tache-off on more occasions than either of them care to remember. She could turn up in a pink velour onesie looking like a Tombliboo belching brownies out of the side of her mouth for all her mother cares. For much like husbands and really crap wallpaper, if you see something often enough you cease to notice its flaws. However, visit your mother twice a year and the stakes suddenly become a whole lot higher.

So it was in pursuit of impressing my mother that I cast aside my general hatred of all things facial and booked myself into the QMS Medicosmetics  flagship skincare spa, just behind Peter Jones off Sloane Square. It was reassuringly stark and white and medicinal-looking and Silvia, the woman who greeted me, wore white with matching white shoes and was clearly channelling her inner nurse. This was obviously going to be little bit more than a rub down with some cream and, I have to say, I like that in a treatment.

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I’d chosen the Oxygen Facial for maximum plumping, buffing make-me-look-better-please-God-right–now effect. Silvia furnished me with some operational white towelling and got to work. She cleansed and toned and moisturised using products from the QMS range; medical grade skincare products that originated in Germany from clinical research into the critical role of collagen in skin regeneration. She then applied and removed a dermabrasion gel to annihilate all the dead skin before applying a mask.

Now I have popped on a few masks in my time but this was extraordinary. Firstly it went over my eyes and I did have the option of covering my mouth, leaving only the two small nostril holes to breathe through, but I declined. Secondly the mask is freezing cold when applied and then it sets hard on your face in a matter of minutes. It is supposed to promote youth and wellness, but it peels off whole, leaving you to confront the sagging, bagging shell of your own open-pored face, which is enough to make anyone feel rather elderly and unwell indeed.

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Next came the science bit, which was around 20 minutes of lying there while Silvia blew a small tube of pure oxygen at my face. This was to promote circulation and help all the unctuous lotions and potions absorb into my face. I left the place looking shiny and pink and like I had been to bed at 10pm for at least the last week. Result!

So was my mother impressed when I stepped off the plane? Was she bowled over by my beauty?

“Darling! You look thin!” she said. I mentally punched the air (thank God for Amelia Freer). Ten points. “And um, well,” she added. ‘Um, well’ is about as good as it was going to get. ‘Um, well’ is genius, I have to say, for someone who’d just flown with a seven-year-old and a three-year-old with one of those two-Cokes-and-bag-of-salt-and-vinegar hangovers (don’t tell Amelia) that force you to pop into a petrol station at 6.45 in the morning.

“Um, well,” is fabulous. Another ten points for that. “Thank you,” I smiled ever-so graciously. “You look pretty good yourself.”

Contact  QMS Medicosmetics  on 0207 730 8090 and at 43 Cadogan Gardens, London, SW3 2TB. A QMS Oxygen Facial is £145 for 90 minutes.