16 In Beauty/ Wellness

Results-driven facials and the Opera LED mask

Finding a good facialist is like finding a good anything… pure trial and error.   Finding a good doctor, finding a good hairdresser, finding a good pair of jeans, or finding a good sushi bar all require first-hand experience.   Of course I can narrow down the field somewhat by reading reviews or going on personal recommendations, but ultimately, I have to test-drive everything myself to see if they meet my exacting standards.  My first facial ever was given to me by Marcia Kilgore herself at the first Bliss Spa in NY.  I’ve not lowered my standards since!  No matter what city or country I’ve lived in, I’ve done extensive due diligence to find the best facialist for me.

Facials and massages are the two things I’m a real pain in the arse about.  If they aren’t extremely effective, then they are a waste of my very rare free time. For instance, if I have booked a deep tissue sports massage and some novice masseuse is giving me a garden-variety gentle massage, I’ll say, “Sorry, this is definitely not a sports massage, which is what I booked.  Let’s just stop now; I can’t afford to lie here and be irritated for the full 60 minutes.”   Time is even more precious to me than money, and I don’t waste either.  I’m the same about a facial.  If I make child care arrangements, battle London traffic to get to an appointment, and spend 60 to 90 minutes with my face in someone else’s hands, it had BETTER be good.  I want to see glowing skin for the next week, not just have a vaguely pleasant aromatherapy kind of experience.  I need results.

I’ve had a birthday tradition with myself since I turned 30.  Every year, I buy myself a course of facials (they’re cheaper if you buy a course of treatments rather than individual ones) to be used as and when my skin needs it over the course of the next year.  If my skin looks good then I feel good, so it is a worthwhile investment for me (I had terrible breakouts when I was younger, so my skincare obsession stems from that).  Last year for my birthday, I bought myself a series of micro-needling treatments, which I meant to blog about but somehow forgot!  I found a superb Japanese facialist (Kiko) who did amazing work on my skin; she was well worth the cost of my treatment.  Mind you, it wasn’t just the micro needling that was great, it was HER.  It was her knowledge and understanding of what my skin could and couldn’t handle during different seasons of the year.   It was which size needles she chose, and how she changed them over the course of the treatment.   (Just in case you don’t know what micro needling is, it is a cylindrical roller with tiny needles on the surface which are rolled over your face to cause mild ‘trauma’ to the skin.  Your body’s repair response then encourages collagen and elastin production to heal the area around the punctures and thus make you look fabulous.  In fancy micro needling, the needles are hollow tubes where oxygen from a machine is forced into the surface of the skin as well.  The size and depth of the needles increase with the length of the course of treatment).  Kiko has since moved out of London so I’ve been looking for another facialist.

As luck would have it, a West London clinic called Bodyvie contacted me during my birthday month (August) to review one of their signature facials.  Bodyvie’s signature facials were developed by Dr Andrew Weber, who oversees the clinic and performs the more intensive treatments like botox or mole removal.  I made my appointment for an evening because I prefer not to put on any makeup afterwards so the facial goodness can continue working its magic overnight!  Here is the four step treatment that I had: 1) Microdermabrasion 2) Skin Repair and Treatment Mask 3) Vitamin cocktail application and 4) Opera LED mask.

After a brief chat with my facialist (mine was Paula Bravo Laura, she was absolutely brilliant) about my skin’s issues, we decided to use some calming treatments for my eczema and some good radiance-boosting ones for my ageing skin.  We agreed I needed some really intensive microdermabrasion in step 1 and the clay mask in step 2 to get the end-of-summer junk out of my pores.  She rightly noted during my treatment that my chin and jawline were particularly congested (I get breakouts there from drinking too much coffee), so she spent a long time working on that part of my face.  I think microdermabrasion is one of the best things you can possibly do for your skin; it is worth every penny.  I can always see and feel the difference in my skin for over a week after the treatment.  The treatment mask in step 2 was a cooling clay mask specifically formulated for older skin.  Step 3 was the application of liquid vitamins on my skin.  Microdermabrasion really primes the skin to absorb moisture and nutrients, so I was happy to have some goodness slathered on top.  I had a very slight stinging sensation (as my skin is super sensitive) but it settled down after a minute.  The piece de resistance was step 4, the Opera LED mask.

Opera LED mask

Now this is where I, a VERY seasoned and knowledgable facial person, FREAKED OUT.  I know all about the benefits of the LED mask… the red and infrared lights are meant to stimulate collagen and penetrate into the skin to rejuvenate, repair, and increase circulation.  I need all the rejuvenation! I need all the repair! I want this treatment desperately!  To protect your eyes from the strong LED lights, they seal a patch over each eye before putting the mask over your face. The problem is, I’m seriously claustrophobic. On a scale of one to ten, sealing a patch over each eye freaked me out to about an eight.  I know this might seem extreme if you’re not claustrophobic, but to me I felt like I was totally out of control and may be buried alive :-).  I asked Paula how long this would last, expecting her to say 4 minutes or something, since I had already had quite a long luxurious facial treatment.  I had decided 5 minutes was my absolute claustrophobia limit.  She said half an hour.  Despite needing all the rejuvenation and all the repair desperately, I said, “You know what?  I can’t do this.  I really can’t.  I’m just too claustrophobic.  Can you take these patches off?”   To her credit, Paula was super understanding, took them off, and suggested something else over my eyes. To be honest, I don’t even remember what, but it was something easily removable (not sealed) and it didn’t freak me out because I felt like I could remove them quickly and run out of the room if necessary (can you imagine what I’m like on an airplane?).  Once I had calmed down from my claustrophobic freakout, the Opera mask was lowered onto my face and neck.  Paula stayed with me for a few minutes to make sure I was going to be able to deal with it.  I focused on my breathing, reminded myself how safe I was, and eventually Paula left the room while my red Opera LED light treatment worked its magic.  She came to check on me several times to make sure I was ok.  Thirty minutes passed quickly and OMG did my skin look incredible afterwards.  I did get all the rejuvenation and all the repair!  My skin looked plump, fresh, dewy and healthy for days after my treatment.  Despite my claustrophobia, I swear, I’d have this weekly if I could afford it!  Now that I’ve seen the results, I’m going to do my usual birthday gift of booking a course of treatments for myself.

The Opera LED mask being lowered down to the face (gulp)

I can wholeheartedly recommend micro needling, micro dermabrasion, Opera LED mask treatment, oxygen facials and all sorts of  facial things, but what I would recommend the most is just going to the hassle of trial and error, and finding yourself your very own Paula!  I really believe that a good facial is less about the actual procedure and more about the person performing it. I have had very disappointing facials (and massages) at big, famous flagship spas and salons.  The location is irrelevant, the person working on you is key.  I imagine having a doctor in charge of this clinic, explains why the staff is so well trained.  It isn’t just a spa, it is a medical clinic.  I’d definitely like to go and try some other treatments at Bodyvie after such a good experience.  I promise to report back!

A selfie a few days post treatment; focus on my skin rather than my expression (eye roll).

Thank you to Bodyvie for the excellent complimentary facial.

Linking to: notdressedaslamb

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

You Might Also Like

16 Comments

  • Reply
    Abby@Midlifecrisisnut
    September 17, 2017 at 3:44 PM

    I will say out loud Lisa: I soooooo envy you right now! The closest I get to any of these treatments is by looking at your pictures 😉 OK, I have my Black Rose mask from Sisley and my glycolic peel from Claudalie but that’s where my beauty regime ends. I’ve been a regular at the Red Door Spa in London (one of my favorite places in London) but since we moved to France I totally abandoned. I miss that sooooo much! It’s sad really that I got to the point where I physically can’t even go places. I just don’t have the energy anymore. But hopefully that will change. And the LED mask, I’d be scared too. Even though I’m not too claustrophobic I’m just afraid that that sort of treatments would burn my face and then what 😉 I always wanted to try fillers, I know they do them here in Paris at Filorga but I’m scared to look like not myself afterwards. Anyways, I’m still not giving up hope for my day at the spa at Le Meurice. Sending you lots of love! xx Abby

    • Reply
      Lisa
      September 17, 2017 at 6:32 PM

      A spa day at Le Meurice sounds like a super idea… I forget which range of products they use there; I’ll have to look that up. Your skin looks amazing, so whatever you are doing it sure is working. Sending love to you, angel xx

  • Reply
    Jamie
    September 17, 2017 at 4:08 PM

    Can’t wait to see your results in person! See u soon! XO

    • Reply
      Lisa
      September 17, 2017 at 6:32 PM

      So looking forward to it! xx

  • Reply
    mithraballesteros
    September 17, 2017 at 4:19 PM

    Aren’t you a brave astronaut, pushing the envelope on skincare for your audience. Seriously, I loved this post. Very informative. And having just been with you, I’m motivated to be better because you actually glow.

    • Reply
      Lisa
      September 17, 2017 at 6:34 PM

      Oh, thanks so much, Mithra. The things I do in the name of vanity! I confront my deepest fears for a shot at fewer wrinkles. I’d rather be in a pit of snakes than in a claustrophobic situation! xx

  • Reply
    RetroChicMama
    September 17, 2017 at 6:07 PM

    Anything you say about skin treatments is gospel to me Lisa. You know more about this stuff than anyone I know! Having a facial is so low on my self care list it hardly ranks a mention. I get bored & fidgety & have never been bowled over by the end result.
    Since we talked about this & micro needling I’ve been sitting up & taking notice. Thanks for all this valuable information, keep it coming please. I need all the help I can get these days xx

    • Reply
      Lisa
      September 17, 2017 at 6:41 PM

      I think I’ll make it a goal of mine to get you a facial by the end of the year :-D. I’ve definitely had a few facials at big fancy salons that left me very disappointed and underwhelmed. I do a lot at home myself but I can’t do some of the treatments (microdermabrasion especially) that require proper equipment. When I find a good person for facials, I’m very loyal. xx

  • Reply
    LA CONTESSA
    September 17, 2017 at 6:54 PM

    I AGREE with YOU and I was just at MY FACIAL GAL.SHE IS POLISH and I LOVE HER!
    YOU MY DEAR ARE RADIATING!!!!!!!!
    Love the atmosphere as well………….
    I think ALYSON of STYLE FOREVER had that KIKI in her First book………..NO?
    XX

    • Reply
      Lisa
      September 17, 2017 at 8:06 PM

      It is life-changing to have a good facialist! I’m so glad you have one too. Thank you, Elizabeth.
      Yes, I think you’re right! xx

  • Reply
    Jean
    September 17, 2017 at 6:55 PM

    Ok, now I know what I want to do when I come back to London!

    • Reply
      Lisa
      September 17, 2017 at 8:04 PM

      Yes indeed! Bodyvie really knows their stuff. xx

  • Reply
    melissa williams
    September 17, 2017 at 7:08 PM

    Bodyvie. I want to go to there. Omg- are we like brain twinsies right now- both of us mentioning Marcia Kilgore in the same week? Of course- I haven’t ever gotten a facial from her- My GOD woman- how fabulous are you? I think it speaks volumes that you were able to control your claustrophobia for an anti-aging treatment. I totally get that. My favorite line in this post?” Let’s just stop now; I can’t afford to lie here and be irritated for the full 60 minutes.” LOL! I have so many questions about skin cell turn over- the chemical kind vs. the physical kind. A lot of conflicting info out there- though I suspect that it has more to do with what each individual persons skin needs- which points to your recommendation of finding a good person. This is such an excellent post Lisa. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
    ~Melissa xx
    https://freshairandfalselashes.com

    • Reply
      Lisa
      September 17, 2017 at 8:11 PM

      I want to take a free day, go to Bodyvie, and have a really comprehensive consultation and see what other treatments are suggested. I wish you could come too!

      It was reading YOUR post where you mentioned Madame Kilgore that I remembered it was Marcia who gave me my first facial, so that is when I put that in MY post! You totes jogged my memory while I was writing this one. I can’t do an MRI for actual medical information because of claustrophobia, but I will brave it for a beauty treatment, hahaha. I’m pleased you liked this Melissa xx

  • Reply
    Ann
    September 21, 2017 at 10:05 AM

    Lisa, your post is timely, since I’ve GOT to do something for my aging skin. It’s such a confusing topic, since I’ve only had facial treatments on vacations and not as part of a self-care lifestyle. It’s time to find a good facialist. Thanks for the serious nudge.

    BTW, your complexion is absolutely gorgeous! Your own skin self-care is quite evident.

    • Reply
      Lisa
      September 23, 2017 at 8:29 PM

      Thank you so much, Ann. Buying a course of treatments with someone you really trust and who knows how to deal with your skin is a worthwhile investment. Let me know how you get on! xx

    Enter your comments

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.