Rebecca has written about how she uses beauty treatments (when I ‘deign’ to send them her way) as a substitute for physical contact, the weirdo! I suppose I’m the opposite – I like getting my hair cut, or a massage, or a facial because of the results, but I don’t particularly enjoy the process because I find being touched by strangers mildly disconcerting and I’m not very good at small talk.
Also with any kind of treatment it’s always wise to manage expectations – a facial is not going to give you a new face, it’ll just make the one you have look a bit more glowy and feel a bit softer. A massage might banish those knots in your shoulders for a few hours, but once you’re slumped at your desk it’s quite likely they’ll return. I really appreciate it when the person giving the treatment is honest about what you can expect from it.
This is why I enjoyed my speedy 15-minute facial at the Elemis counter in John Lewis so much. I was testing out the new Royal Rose Facial - part of a trio of regal treatments launched by the cult Brit brand to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. As well as the Royal Rose Facial, there’s a King of Facials for chaps and the Royal Rose Hand Treatment, all of which use products that contain ingredients that would be found in a traditional English country garden.
The 15-minute version of the facial costs £20 and I was slightly disconcerted to find takes place on the shop floor (eek, public!), while the 30-minute treatment (£45) happens in the fancy, tranquil Elemis Spa Pod. My qualms about having my face, in all its make-up free, rosacea-covered glory, exposed in the middle of John Lewis’ beauty floor on Oxford Street were immediately quelled when I saw that the treatment actually takes place behind a discreet little screen and once it all began it was surprisingly easy to zone out.
The 30 minute version of the Royal Rose facial happens in the Elemis Spa Pod
But what I meant to say two paragraphs ago was that my therapist, Louise, was refreshingly honest about what the facial would deliver. She told me what I’d already suspected – that no facial on earth will get rid of the thousands of tiny little red broken veins that cover my face. Oh well. She did recommend products that would minimize the chances of more appearing (and I KNOW I shouldn’t drink red wine, or eat spicy food, or basically have any fun and that would help too, but quite frankly that’s not going to happen. Foundation it is then!) And she explained that this particular facial used products that would gently clean my skin of London grub so it would look and feel healthier and fresher. I’m down with that.
She cleaned off all my make-up and tactfully scrubbed my grubby face, then used one of my all-time favourite products evereverever – Gentle Rose Exfoliating Gel – which smells like Turkish Delight, is pale pink and so unbelievably soft and friendly on sensitive skin. Various other toners and masks containing Queen Anne’s Lace, Chamomile, Rosemary and Thyme (just like the show!) were applied and removed, lulling me into a happy, drowsy place.
The Elemis Royal Rose facial uses products that contain Rosemary and Thyme...
When the eye pads came off, I felt really rather bouncy and my skin, although terrifyingly naked, looked clean, smooth and moisturized. No, I did not have a new face, but I liked the one I have a whole lot more and for that, Elemis, I am grateful.
The Elemis Royal Therapies are available at John Lewis, Debenhams and Harvey Nichols stores nationwide and Elemis spas and salons. Enquiries: 0117 316 1888 and elemis.com