Friday 31 October 2014

Fave Friday: Bliss Fully Loaded Facial

My first tale of luxurious London here: I have spent a few days there this week and I had spare "fun" money thanks to the extra exam board work this year, so I decided to have this facial. I read Jenny's excellent review of it a few years ago and was inspired.

I've had a few facials in the past, most recently at the spa in the hotel I stayed at in Rome. That one used La Prairie products and was also very luxurious, but in general I find that the more luxurious the spa, the less confident I feel about being there. Bliss was not like that, for some reason, in spite of being very fancy. The receptionist was very welcoming, the robe was not too small, the towels felt extra-fluffy, there was complimentary lemon toffee popcorn and a variety of tea and my facialist was very friendly and put me completely at ease.

Little things made a big difference, like there being a little set of steps to help me get into the bed, which was heated underneath while a fan blew over my face - a good combination. The facialist began with a cleanse and a few questions, since I had drawn a blank trying to explain what I wanted my facial to achieve on the questionnaire...better skin? Serenity and relaxation? Was it a trick question?

She asked me some questions about my routine which went something like this:
Her: What do you cleanse with?
Me: When I've been wearing make up I use a cream cleanser; I prefer a wash-off one but I don't think it's right for my skin
Her: No, it can be quite drying. And what about when you haven't been wearing make up?
[Note: usually at least 6 days out of 7]
Me: Um...water
Her: (laughing) Mm hmm.

There was a similar conversation in which I said my skin gets a bit sensitive in the sun and she managed to get me to point out that this might be because I don't wear a daily SPF. Clever.

So, the facial commenced. What do you know? - I was the perfect candidate for an add-on! It was a collagen mask with light therapy. I already had an answer prepared for this occasion - "I'd rather spend the money on products" - but it must have been the lighting or something in the air because I went for it after all. It consisted of her laying what felt like plastic strips over my face with a cooling liquid underneath, leaving it to work for a while while she gave me a hand, arm and neck massage, and then shining light onto my face through it. I am not sure what the light did but the mask felt incredible.

Then I think there was something warming applied to open up my pores and my face was wrapped briefly in a hot towel to get ready for the extractions. I've never had a facial with extractions before and they hurt a bit more than I was expecting, particularly around the nose, but the facialist was quite clever and did the nose a bit at a time. When she was working on the right side of my face it made me sneeze, which she explained was due to pressure on my sinuses. I wonder if that is why plucking my eyebrows makes me sneeze?

I lost track of what happened after that: there were more products, hot towels and facial smoothings than I could count. A hair mask was applied with a scalp massage; there were several more things done to my face and there must have been another mask because she also found time to rub my feet. Almost the last thing was the application of pure vitamins with a blast of pure oxygen all over my face, which felt really wonderful in spite of sounding a bit jargony. I think I fell asleep at least twice during the process which I took to be a good sign, because I wasn't really tired so I must have been very relaxed.

It all came to an end much too quickly. I couldn't believe that 100 minutes had passed (perhaps I was asleep for longer than I thought) but I had to admit that my skin looked incredible, particularly my poor abused nose, which looked as though it had been air brushed. She had had to go quite hard in some place during the extraction, which she explained was a lot to do with me not washing my face properly, and she had found me a rinse-off cleanser for my skin type which she'd left for me upstairs, along with a gentle rose exfoliator and a serum (I bought the first two but the serum was three figures and, although I had decided to push the boat out, I didn't want to sink it).

In spite of all the extraction work, though, there was no redness. I did notice in the bathroom mirror after I had showered (Bliss products in the shower, of course) that the process had served to highlight tiny flaws in my skin that I can't normally see, but that can only be a good thing: it makes me want to take better care of my skin.

The changing room was awesome. As well as the products there was a sauna (next time I will go early enough to take advantage of it, I think) and a great hair dryer and straightener; deodorant, body cream and scrub, combs, cotton wool, all that good stuff. Very impressive. I picked up a new shower gel upstairs when I went to pay for my treatment and chosen products, and when I walked out I felt like a million dollars, thus proving it to be a bargain.

I'll definitely be back for another. Must start putting the pennies aside now.

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