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Archive for the ‘Spas’ Category

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If there’s an ideal day to indulge in a spa treatment, then I vote for Sunday. It is when most of us unwind before gearing up for the dreaded working week and after the hectic Saturday I had had cleaning and prepping for a dinner party, I had definitely played my cards right with booking a facial with Re:SPA at London’s Canary Wharf.

During the week Canary Wharf is a busy business district, home to some of the biggest financial corporations and frantically crawling with the suited and booted but away from the frenzy, a sanctuary of peace and relaxation exists. This is Re:SPA, located within the Reebok Sports Club inside One Canada Square, the second tallest skyscraper in the country.

It’s late morning when I squeeze into a lift (and suck my stomach in) with a bunch of gym bunnies ready to hit the treadmill. While they sprinted off to the high-tech machinery of Reebok’s epic gym, I trotted up to reception looking like a pretentious z-list celebrity wearing my sunglasses.  The truth is, I had such terrible dark circles under my eyes from three hours sleep from the night before (a case of some guests overstaying their welcome past 1am combined with heart burn – waaaaa!).

Re:SPA has a tempting range of beauty treatments, complementary therapies, sports rehabilitation and massages on offer. There are eight treatment rooms, an express treatment bar, as well as a relaxation area, which apart from the occasional rumble from the Jubilee line, is a blissful corner to hide away in. Nothing but the finest products are used in their treatments which include Guinot, Aromatherapy Associates and Murad.

I had chosen Guinot’s exclusive Hydradermie 2 Facial, which I knew nothing about. The word ‘hydra’ leapt out and I figured this would be perfect for my dehydrated skin. It’s only when my therapist Ellie explained in detail that she would be using roller electrodes on my face that I shifted a little uneasily in my seat.

We then had a brief chat about my skin concerns, my daily routine and what products I use before I was left alone to disrobe and pop myself under the soft, luxurious towels. Ellie returned shortly after but before she could begin the treatment, scrutinised my skin closely. She confirmed my skin was dehydrated in places, mostly the forehead and at the sides. The forehead may have something to do with the fact my fringe covers it thus me missing that area in my skincare routine.


The Hydradermie 2 Facial goes beyond where most facials stop. Its purpose is to make skin youthful and radiant, from the very first treatment. The fun starts with the skin being cleansed to remove any make-up and creams. I turned up slap-free, which made Ellie’s job quick and easy.

A second cleanse follows before the skin is exfoliated. So far, it’s like a typical facial. Then the Guinot machine is switched on and I’m told I may hear a faint buzzing sound as Ellie performs a ‘double ionisation’ whereby negative and positive charges from the rollers rapidly penetrate the epidermis with ionised treatment ingredients to remove impurities and toxins. Actually I don’t feel a thing yet the rollers gently kneading my skin is very relaxing and therapeutic.

The next part of the treatment is a familiar one: the extraction. It’s the least comfortable part yet immensely satisfying (particularly for the therapist) as blackheads are removed. Fortunately this part didn’t hurt a great deal.

Once the impurities had been expelled, Ellie took the massaging rollers up a few notches and swept them across the face to oxygenate and boost cells. This brightens the complexion by stimulating skin cell oxygenation and microcirculation. The sound of the current is like a mosquito buzzing around and even though it’s a high frequency, it doesn’t hurt at all.

Finally a massage follows, with a mask to cool things down. I’m left feeling utterly in awe of how relaxing the Hydradermie 2 Facial is and crucially, the end result. My face instantly looked brighter and more radiant, and I was proud to spend the rest of the day out and about without a splodge of make-up on. Two weeks on and my skin has never looked so good.

It’s a deep-cleansing treatment suitable for all skin types and is customised accordingly whether you’re dehydrated, mature, oily, sensitive or pigmented. If you’re nervous about having a reaction to facials from past bad experiences or getting married and want to look your absolute best, you needn’t have any fears with the Hydradermie.

Unlike other facials which use products, Guinot’s Hydradermie 2 Faicla largely depends on the effective and penetrating rollers and only those experienced beauty therapists who have been rigorously trained are qualified to carry out these facials. Make-up artist Daniel Sandler is a fan and I think I am one too. I wouldn’t think twice about booking this treatment again especially ahead of a special occasion.

Guinot’s Hydradermie 2 Facial costs £84 for non-members and £80 for members, and lasts one hour and 10 minutes. For more information on this and other treatments at Re:SPA or to make a booking, visit

*I was a guest at Re:SPA and received the treatment as complimentary.

Clarins Skin Spa


posted by on Clarins, Spas

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Last week I did what any sane woman would do: I took a day off and went to Thorpe Park. Swarm, SAW, Nemesis Inferno and Stealth, I tackled all these bad boys but it’s Stealth, which shoots from 0-80 mph in 1.3 seconds that gave me a sore shoulder. Of course I have learned my lesson. I’m planning a trip for Fright Night in October…

So with a stiff neck and sore shoulder, I was armed and ready for a body massage at Clarins’ Skin Spa the following day. Clarins has a sterling reputation for skin care and make-up and I’ve heard the same about its spa which boasts an impressive list of face and body treatments for women AND men.

My nearest Clarins Skin Spa is in Fenwicks, at north London’s Brent Cross shopping centre. It’s located in the basement with the rest of the beauty counters, tucked in between the Ralph Lauren bedding and (probably my favourite department) kitchenware.

I had a taste of a shoulder massage at Clarins’ recent autumn/winter launch a few weeks ago which literally opened my eyes to the point of teeth-clenching as the therapist took great pleasure in popping all the knots in my shoulders. That’s when the horrible reality sunk in that Clarins isn’t all smiles in red and white uniforms – they’re brutally skilled and that’s what I’ve been looking for.

I do love massages over facials, I feel like I can take care of my face relatively well but areas like my back are best left to the professionals.  Besides, it’s a chance to switch off and have some ‘me’ time.


So as I was saying, on Tuesday night I parked bang outside the doors of Fenwicks (seriously pleased with my parking spot for this one) and I made my way to the Clarins’ Skin Spa. I met my therapist, Lisa who prescribed the Rebalancing Massage with Relax Essential Oils (£55) on the accounts of sitting at the computer all day at work.

It is a deep, full body massage to release long-standing knots and tensions within the deeper muscle layers, using a bespoke sequence of slower movements and pressure point techniques. To add to the mix, a blend of essential oils containing Basil, Camomile and Petit Grain are used. It lasts approximately one hour and 25 minutes which includes a 15 minute consultation.

My concerns were a priority and crucial to creating an almost bespoke massage. I knew my shoulders were the main problem area as well as my lower back sometimes. Lisa just knew…like a killer instinct…and I was immediately comfortable in putting my trust in her. Some find massages intrusive because of the nature of it. At Clarins I was made to feel completely at ease.

After our talk, I was led to a treatment room which was small yet cosy. A locker is provided for personal belongings. I disrobed and had to pop on some fetching paper knickers. Don’t you just love them?

When I was ready, Lisa popped back into the room and explained what my treatment would involve, beginning with the front and then rolling over for the back.

I was then asked to choose two large areas and one small area to be massaged so I opted for my back (obviously), my arms and my feet. Some like to have their face and legs done.

Lisa placed a cooling eye mask over my peepers and covered my feet in ‘warm booties’. Great Odin’s raven! They were hot towels which were wrapped around my feet but I really loved how they felt. It’s so easy to neglect your feet considering how many hours we spend standing on them.

The entire body is covered but it’s the particular areas of choices which your therapist concentrates on. Having my arms massaged, in particular my fingers and the soles of my feet, had me floating on air not to mention the floral aroma of the oils that enveloped me. It’s when Lisa got to grips with my shoulders that the pain hit me hard. I’m being truthful here, it hurt like crazy but nothing could have prepared me for the hardcore work on my hip-bone area. I’m just glad I was faced down on the towel for my tears to be absorbed. And I didn’t yell or scream either. That’s how much of a trooper I am.

You are free to request more pressure or less if you’re a wuss. I wanted to be relieved of the knots and tension so I was happy for Lisa to go to town. She was extremely thorough with her expertly skilled handy work. I also learned for the first time how much tension I have in my right arm. That makes perfect sense since I am right-handed.

Unfortunately this won’t change any time soon. I am always going to have these pains with the nature of my job and while I’m making attempts to introduce exercise to alleviate my problems, I have come round to the idea of having a massage regularly is a necessity and not self-indulgence. It would be silly not to. My nearest spa is practically on my doorstep. Well alright, less than 10 minutes by car but I don’t have to traipse for hours into town. The real icing on the cake, however is I had an incredible massage and it’s one I can be blissfully happy to have again. It was my first one for quite some time which might explain why parts of it were painful. I also think the price is very reasonable for a treatment that lasts over an hour. Lisa, I’m definitely coming back to you in six weeks…

If this massage has piqued your interest or you would like to find out what else Clarins offers, a detailed list is available here. You can also search for your nearest Clarins Skin Spa.

*I was a guest of Clarins