The facial 'workout': FaceGym
Who knew working out wasn't just for the body? FaceGym specialises in giving the muscles in your face a wake up call, massaging and moulding them into action, much like a training session at the gym. "There are 40+ muscles in the face which need working out exactly like the muscles in the body. If these muscles aren't strengthened they will begin to sag," says founder Inge Theron. "Our facial workouts tone, tighten and sculpt your facial muscles following the same method as a body workout," she continues. Even the staff at FaceGym are dressed in workout gear...
When I walked into my treatment room at Selfridges (they now also have a stand-alone store on the Kings Road, too), my facialist sort of scared the life out of me when she told me the treatment felt like your face is being "lightly whipped and slapped". Hmm... I swallowed my fears and lay down on the bed, ready to feel the burn.
The treatment (a Signature Electrical Workout), I have to assure you, is actually not painful in any way. It's strenuous and active, with deep pressure and sharp movements, but it doesn't hurt at all. If anything, it just wakes you up!
As well as the massaging techniques my therapist used, there is also a section of the treatment dedicated to stimulating muscles with an electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) device. The device emits electrical waves to stimulate, sculpt and contour. You can really see the difference in a mirror when only one side of your face has been done. Everything just looks lifted and plumped, with dullness diminished.
I would definitely recommend FaceGym for a treatment to try prior to a big event or party - you can see the difference in your face immediately. It's like a mini, temporary face lift.
The costs £90 for 40 minutes.
The weekly 15-minute laser: Skin Laundry
The brain child of Yen Reis, an Asia native who moved to Los Angeles and struggled to find an effective yet quick laser face treatment, Skin Laundry is designed to give your skin a weekly deep clean - and it only takes 15 minutes per appointment.
Treatments involve two main steps: the YAG laser and the IPL (intense pulsed light). Skin Laundry have found that using the two together proves the most successful and beneficial to skin. The first step - which feels a little like needles lightly prickling your skin - vaporises the dirt and excess sebum from the pores while the IPL is totally painless; it's basically a series of flashing lights pressed onto the skin which work to help fade acne scars. Benefits of the 15 minute appointments are said to include a reduction in pigmentation and a boost in collagen.
In the interest of transparency and honesty, I have to reveal I was not a fan of Skin Laundry immediately after my first appointment. I found the first step - the YAG laser - incredibly uncomfortable. However, when I got home and looked in the mirror, I vowed to carry on with the treatments. My skin definitely had a glow, and my pores already looked smaller and less 'blackheady'. Besides, the more you have it done, the less dirt the laser has to vaporise, and hence, the less uncomfortable it becomes (my skin was clearly very clogged at the beginning!)
My second and third treatments were far less uncomfortable, and I continued to see results afterwards, even receiving compliments on my complexion in the days following each facial.
Skin Laundry is not cheap. At £60 for 15 minutes, it can seem a bit of a shock to your bank balance. But when you put it into perspective and consider the price of alternative laser treatments, you realise how thrifty these appointments actually are. Also, each new customer receives their first facial free, which is kind of amazing.
Every time I have gone to the Skin Laundry counter (which is in Liberty, BTW), their appointment schedules are always totally jam-packed and their treatment rooms always occupied. While a reminder to book early, this also acts as a testament to how impressed UK beauty junkies are with this new wonder-facial.
The glow-enhancing light facial: Cowshed Detox & Brighten ExpressLED facial
Light-based facials are excellent, as previously discussed. But what about light-based treatments that also incorporate other more traditional features? Now we're really sold.
Cowshed's original 15 minute light therapy facial has been improved even further, with a longer, glow-enhancing treatment now introduced at the brand's much-loved salons. At 45 minutes, it's an extended version of the original, ideal for those not in a rush and looking for a more relaxed feel.
My facialist first matched me with the appropriate SkinCeuticals products to use throughout the treatment, and gave my skin a thorough cleanse and clean before using a mild acid on my face. I then sat under the yellow light lamp for 15 minutes for the next part of the treatment. This actually helps to make the most of the skincare that's just been used as skin is put into a better state of repair and is more able to absorb products. The facial then finishes with a mask and lymphatic massage.
I found the treatment to be a great mix of relaxation and vigour and also thought the product-to-light portions of the facial were at a good ratio. This is a great option if you'd like to give light therapy a go but prefer to keep firmly within the vicinity of a 'normal' facial treatment. Skin leaves with a glow and clean, fresh feeling.
The Cowshed Detox & Brighten ExpressLED facial costs £75 for 45 minutes. .
The at-home treatment: Neutrogena's Acne Mask
There's been an influx of light-based gadgets hitting the beauty desk lately, many of which can be used at home. One of the ones that has been getting the most chatter in the industry (and on Instagram!) is Neutrogeuna's Light Therapy Acne Mask, which delivers red and blue LED wavelengths deep enough into the skin to help clear acne.
The mask is recommended for mild to moderate acne sufferers. I am lucky enough to only suffer with the occasional crop of spots and blackheads, so I made sure to try the mask during such a period. The great thing about this type of 'facial' is that you can use it anywhere (well - anywhere you won't be judged for wearing a bright pink mask on your face). Be it at your deskside or at home in bed, it's ultra convenient and only takes 10 minutes per treatment. A single activator - which comes with the mask - offers 30 10-minute treatments and can be replaced afterwards.
I think the mask is a really great idea and at only £39.99, it's definitely worth trying for acne-sufferers. I'm not sure I used the device for long enough to see a massive difference, but I think with continued use it could really make a difference to blemishes and scarring, hence aiding in overall confidence.
I know that Gregory, the beauty assistant on our team, loves the mask:[ id="BQf4nsyDr7F"]