It's gonna get sappy up in here.
A couple of weeks ago I went to Fenwick on Bond Street to try the Omorovicza Refining and Purifying facial. The Hungarian spa brand has built up a cult following for its products, which utilise the miraculous skin-improving properties of the mineral-rich mud found in the natural springs around Budapest. A couple of patents and a healthy dose of luxury (gold is one of the ingredients in their famed Gold Rescue Cream) mean these are some of the most luxurious products I’ve tried.
Wish I was here! Omorovicza's hometown, Budapest
There’s a world-famous Omorovicza spa in Budapest but the nearest you can get to that experience in the UK at the moment is the treatment room in Fenwick, which is just off the main beauty hall on the ground floor. I got comfy on a soft, warm water-filled mattress, swaddled in the ubiquitous white fluffy towels and then the therapist started the treatment.
After thoroughly cleansing my skin, the therapist applied the two-phase Copper Peel, which felt quite tingly on the skin but not in a bad way. The Copper paste purifies the skin while Lactic Acid munches away at all the dead skin cells (I imagine it working a little like Pac Man) which results in a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles, which I don’t really have yet, so it just made my skin feel really nice and smooth.
Omorovicza's Copper Peel
And then came the exciting bit – a proper Hungarian facial massage. It was like the therapist had 100 fingers, not 10 as she rapidly drummed them all over my face in a repetitive, rhythmic manner. I felt like a cartoon character with my features flying in different directions – a unique experience and not unpleasant in its rigour.
Apparently the version I had was a modernised interpretation of the traditional Hungarian technique (goodness knows what the original would have been like) and the idea is that all that pummelling accelerates the blood flow which improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the skin tissue, as well as stimulating lymphatic draining, banishing excess fluid and toxins and reducing puffiness. There was lots of lovely massage for my neck, shoulders, hands and arms too.
Now here’s a thing about beauty treatments: I know they’re supposed to be incredibly relaxing with their dim lighting, soothing music and massage, but I just Can’t. Switch. Off. Is it just me? Even with the most luxurious treatment and skilled facialist in the world, I’m always slightly on edge, my mind buzzing with an endless to-do list of chores to remember. And this got me thinking (yes, while I was lying on the treatment bed, stubbornly refusing to switch off and instead composing this feature in my head); where do I feel relaxed?
At first I was thinking ‘on the beach’ or ‘in the back garden’ and then I realised it’s not where I am that’s relaxing, it’s what I’m doing: reading. It’s as simple as that – wherever I am, no matter how crowded or chaotic (think a panic attack-inducing Central Line carriage during rush hour), with a book I can completely switch off and immerse myself in a world of words.
After my spectacular Omorovicza facial and massage, my skin did look great – soft and fresh and healthy (the drumming stimulates the muscles and connective tissue too) and the knots in my shoulders had gone, but my brain was still buzzing. Give me a nice gruesome murder mystery and the therapy would be complete.
Now I know treatments like this aren’t exactly cheap, but I’d definitely recommend them as shamelessly decadent gifts; after trying a particularly impressive facial or massage for work, I’ve often gone on to club together with friends to buy the same treatment as a birthday present or with my brother for a Mother’s Day treat. Giving someone an experience that they wouldn’t be able to justify getting themselves is great. And actually, if I had birthday money or a bonus (hi Rebecca!) to spend, I would definitely have this facial again (and attempt to switch my brain to ‘silent’ next time.)
The Omorovicza Refining & Purifying Facial at Fenwick is £85 (redeemable on products) for 60 minutes. Contact Jan on 020 7629 9161 to book an appointment. Fenwick, 63 New Bond Street, London W1J 6
Tell me, where or when do you feel completely, utterly relaxed?