Let’s face it

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Put on a fresh face for spring by indulging in a spa or salon facial. Ann Cordell explains what’s involved

“Regular facials at a reputed salon will keep skin looking bright”

Those who indulge in regular facials swear by the benefits, but a word of warning before choosing a salon – it is best to get a personal recommendation, because a bad or inexperienced esthetician can do more harm than good. Yet regular facials at a reputed salon will keep skin looking bright and moist, as well as helping deal with recurring problems such as acne.

Most facials are a combination of deep cleansing, exfoliating and hydrating and should include an analysis of the skin beforehand to assess its condition and determine skin type. The skin is first thoroughly cleansed to rid it of all traces of make-up and impurities. Then comes a gentle exfoliation to remove dead skin cells. A relaxing yet energizing facial massage which stimulates circulation is the best part of the process. It will often be either preceded or followed by extraction if necessary, often using steam to open pores to help aid the process. It is an uncomfortable process, but not unbearable, and best left in the hands of an expert. A variety of treatment masks will be followed by the application of the correct creams for face, neck and eyes. Neck and chest should receive the same attention as the face during a salon facial, as they should at home.

img4513Most salons stick to one brand of facial, but the salon attached to fragrance boutique and cosmetics shop Senteurs d’Ailleurs on the Place Stephanie in Brussels offers customers a choice of treatments developed by three different product brands – Dermalogica, La Mer and Eve Lom. Treatment rooms are spotless, with fresh linen, towels and robes – there can be few things worse than being offered a grubby robe worn by the previous customer, sadly the case in many a salon.

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The Dermalogica face treatment comes with the company’s trademark skin analysis and the skincare therapist talks the customer through every stage of the treatment. Customers can opt for either a 60 minute or 90 minute facial and there are lots of add-ons available. From €85 for a 60 minute facial which includes massage, the treatments are also available for men.

The esthetician doesn’t talk at all during the 60 minute La Mer revitalizing facial, and extraction is against the principles of the brand. At €105, it includes a therapeutic hand and arm massage during the face mask. The 90 minute ultimate facial starts with reflexology massage of the feet which adds to a sense of relaxation and well-being.

Customers choosing the Eve Lom 60 ultimate cleanse (€95) will experience the brand’s hot cloth method to cleanse skin and a hot paraffin wax mask followed by extraction before the application of treatment products. A 90 minute signature facial includes half an hour of lymphatic drainage and massage.

Full body treatments for all brands are also available, as are other treatments such as waxing, tinting, manicure, pedicure and makeup.