You would think that for somebody as openly keen on skincare that I would have had a facial before now. Yet this is just the latest seemingly normal adult experience that I seem to have skipped whilst growing up; things always got in the way. I finally bit the bullet and booked a dermalogica facial and entered the salon full of excitement. Dermalogica is the best isn't it? That's what they say. Therefore it had to be Dermalogica. I fill out the pre-assessment forms and handed them over stifling an urge to just shout "Do whatever you want, just fix me!" I smile instead and follow her in to the treatment room.
There are flamingoes everywhere. That makes sense, this place is called Flamingo Beauty after all. It somehow perfectly borders kitsch and class and instantly I feel relaxed. My therapist, Rachael, explains how the treatment will work and leaves me to strip down as far as I want and climb in to the bed. It's heated. I may very well fall asleep here.
She returns and we begin. Let's do this I think. Please don't laugh. I have a habit of laughing in awkward situations. It's a nervous tick and I usually end up grinning like a Cheshire Cat because of it, the last time this happened I was in the middle of a massage lying on my back grinning like a lunatic with a cloth over my eyes. Please don't laugh!
It begins. We start - I assume - with cleanser. Layers upon layers are wiped on and wiped off. Hot cloth. Warm hands. Hot cloth. Oily substance? I'm trying very hard to just enjoy the process without over analysing. I can tell by the movement of her hands and the areas she focuses on that Rachael has identified my problem areas. It is comforting to know that she uses the same motions and pressures as I do when applying products. She gets stuck in. My nose, chin and forehead are the focus. A mix of being too dry, using too much oil and just general scabbiness. Yes girl, get in there! By this time the steam has been turned on and a bright ring light is shining through the cotton pads on my eyes. She is examining me looking and feeling for the flaws within my skin. It's an odd feeling. We put so much time and effort in to hiding our flaws; knowing that a total stranger was inches from my face gazing in to my skin and feeling around it ready to squeeze the dirt and gunk from my pores was an odd one. I focus on breathing in the steam. I wish I could see what's going on. I have this image of tiny little white worms spiralling out of the holes in my skin. I can feel her digging in and wiggling about to free them from their pourous prisons. I can feel the extractor gliding across my skin and the satisfaction is immense. Don't stop! I want her to squeeze every inch of my face. She applies a foam and moves on to a different area. I think of Dr Pimple Popper videos and wonder if that's what is happening. The light turns off and she moves on to the next stage in the treatment. I'm slightly disappointed it's over so quickly.
After the heat from the steam and hot cloths the next mask is delightfully chilled. She applies a thick layer and then begins massaging my face, neck and shoulders. I wonder if there's such a thing as a full body massage that includes a facial. I would 100% do that. You'd need about two hours and a tag team though. Am I breathing? She has worked her way down my arms and it feels like she is literally pulling all the tension out through my hands and fingers. Everybody needs a massage like this. I'm going to start offering this to everyone. I am tempted to roll over and just let her carry on. I wonder if it is good or bad etiquette to shift my position to allow her to get a better reach. I have an itch. Oh my god my nose is so soft! All that poking and squeezing paid off. More of the creamy mask is applied as my skin has literally sucked it all up like a thirsty dog. I'm am not surprised. No seriously, am I breathing? At this point she leaves me for a few minutes just to lie and relax. If I wasn't so intently focussed on remembering every second I could have fallen asleep. I become very aware that I haven't moved in nearly an hour and let out a massive stretch. Ooh legs! I suddenly remember that my legs exist and that I had completely forgotten about them, how could I forget my legs?! I'm giggling away to myself as Rachael comes back in to the room.
She begins the final stages of the treatment. The layers are beginning to feel more familiar on my skin as we get in to serums and moisturisers. Wipe on. Wipe off. Hot cloth. Warm hands. She is like a Mr Miyagi of skin care. How has this been an hour? I feel like no time has passed. I don't want it to end but it does. She gives me a comforting tap and tells me to take my time getting dressed and to have some water to rehydrate.
I look in the mirror and laugh at my sideways hair. I look like I've just had an all night long tumble with a rugby team rather than just laid down in complete stillness for an hour. I don't want to leave but I make my way out softer, happier, more relaxed, and in dire need of a coffee and some cake. Thankfully there's a coffee shop next door. Yeah… I could definitely get used to this.