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posted by on Spa, Spas

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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.

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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 www.respalondon.co.uk.

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

posted by on The Body Shop

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Argan oil is a very big deal. It’s also an extremely precious oil. Not only because it’s been used for centuries in protecting and nourishing skin and hair, but because the argan tree only thrives naturally in the foothills of the Atlas mountains of Morocco and it takes a colossal amount of argan nuts to make a small bottle of oil.  I forget how many but it is A LOT. You will never find 100% pure argan oil in shops (it will cost too much for a start) and organic, natural argan oil is a bit whiffy too.

I know everyone and their mother has been jumping on the argan oil bandwagon but the Body Shop is an exception with their new Wild Argan Oil* Bath and Bodycare range. I would go as far as to say it’s my favourite from them. And I know I said this about Honeymania and the Gingerbread one but honestly, this one is the bomb.

There are a eight products in the collection and I’m sure you’ll want them all:

♥ Body Butter (200ml/£13)
♥ The Radiant Oil (150ml/£14)
♥ Bubbling Bath (250ml/£8)
♥ Rough Scrub (200ml/£13)
♥ Body Lotion  (250ml/£8)
♥ Shower Gel (250ml/£4)
♥ Miracle Solid Oil (50g/£8)
♥ Solid Oil Lips (20g/£4)

I got my hands on the Radiant Oil, the Body Butter, the Rough Scrub and the Miracle Solid Oil. The Radiant Oil is one I’ve been reaching for frequently, spraying it on my legs to give them a nice sheen but not in a shiny way. This is a dry oil that leaves skin looking silky and not a greasy residue so you can rest assured it won’t stain or absorb your clothes, or that you will have to wait an hour for it to dry.

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The Rough Scrub defines a proper body scrub. It’s wonderfully gritty to polish the skin from head to toe and the Body Butter’s reputation needs no further explanation. The Miracle Solid Oil is a clever pot of goodness, perfect for smoothing onto extra dry areas like the elbows or heels. And everything smells beautiful. I’m not sure how to describe the scent of cosmetic argan oil – it’s not strong but it’s distinctive and won’t disappoint.

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Once again the Body Shop’s commitment to the  Community Fair Trade programme is at the heart of the Wild Argan Oil collection, this time with Targanine,  a local cooperative created by women, for women to help find buyers for their oil and to help the industry develop in a positive way. Targanine is the Body Shop’s 26th Community Fair Trade partner as well.

Every sale of a Wild Argan Oil product directly empowers local Berber women, allowing them the ability and independence to provide for their families with a stable income while Targanine invests in social projects such as schools for children and adult learning, crèches and doctors’ visits to name but a few.

On holiday last year in Morocco I visited a Berber community and saw how the ladies make argan oil. Each stage of the long and arduous process they commit themselves to is traditionally done by hand and with absolute perfection from picking the fruits that have fallen from the argan tree, drying them, smashing the pulps open to extract the nuts before they are ground and pressed from which the oil is expelled from. This doesn’t include the time it takes for the fruit to be harvested. Also not a single bad nut will make it to the end – they can’t afford to contaminate the oil with a dud one.Tedious, manual, painstakingly slow. I will never take argan oil for granted when it’s made with such dedication, love and care.

The Body Shop’s range has had me reminiscing about my trip so I found my photos of how argan oil is made and thought I’d share them with you:

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Wild Argan Oil is love. It’s a wonderfully enticing range and is a little bit of hammam heaven in your bathroom. Now I want to go back to Morocco.

The Wild Argan Oil collection from the Body Shop is out now nationwide and online.