London is home to some of the best beauty treatments in the world, but which ones are actually worth your hard earned cash? From kneading, needling and cupping to high-tech topicals and glow-giving lasers, we round-up the capital's most sought after facial treatments for beautiful skin.
With celebrity faciliasts, and luxury spas all making our tried & tested list, these are the ones guaranteed to give you that glow...
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Expect amazing results with a signature facials
FaceGym Signature Hands
Why we love it: Think of it as circuit training for your complexion. Just like a regular gym workout, there’s a warm-up, some cardio, strength-training and a cool down. Your ‘trainer’ starts by gently kneading around your jawline and ears to loosen you up, before whipping your muscles into shape with high-speed knuckling and stroking motions. The pressure is cranked up during the strengthening phase (don’t be surprised if you get an entire forearm in your face) and it finishes with a refreshing jade roller to calm down any post-workout redness. Not exactly a relaxing treatment, but expect a firmer, plumped-up face.
How long: 35 minutes
Where: FaceGym studios across London
Kichi Signature Facial
Why we love it: Ex-model Natasha Clancy is the skin specialist Poppy Delevingne, Iris Law and Sienna Miller go to when they want to look radiant on the red carpet. Kichi, the skincare brand she founded is built on her love of Asian ingredients and South Korean tech. Her facial combines deep hydro cleansing, to suck out dirt and pollutants, medical grade radio-frequency and gentle baby micro-needling to stimulate collagen production and improve your skin’s natural elasticity. The radio frequency heats skin using a massage tool to trigger collagen production and the tiny channels created from the micro-needling are then pumped with a vitamin infusion. That’s followed with 15 minutes under a LED light, while you listen to sound therapy to leave you feeling deeply relaxed. Skin looks plumped, fines lines appear smoother and the jawline visibly sculpted. The best bit is the contouring continues over the next few weeks as your collagen is rebooted and into action.
How long: 1hour 15mins
Where: Kichi, 14 Hanover Square, London
A List favourite skin specialist Natasha Clancy
The Bradden Method
Why we love it: Cosmetic acupuncturist Sarah Bradden starts every appointment with a tongue diagnosis, so she can understand what’s going on with your body on any given day. Her Method is a highly bespoke (and in demand) needling treatment that comes with a side of LED light therapy, activated oxygen (administered via nasal cannula), facial massage, reflexology and reiki. “It gives you that fullness of face,” explains Sarah. “The needles remind our muscles what they’re supposed to be doing. I can make cheekbones pop and it gives skin that glow we all crave.” Sarah doesn’t disclose her client list, but she tells us: “I just had somebody in for the Emmys. Before a big red carpet, I recommend two treatments in the week leading up to the event.”
How long: 90 minutes
Where: Hershesons, Belgravia
Pinpoint Wellness Treatment by Ada Ooi
Why we love it: Facialist and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, Ada Ooi, who is booked by the likes of Rooney Mara, Ellie Golding, Emma Mackey and Lily Allen, can hone in on parts of the face and target specific lines and wrinkles with her bespoke treatment. “With frown lines, I start with a massage to relax the muscles around the forehead and eye area and then I use cupping to stretch out wrinkles. After that, I ‘surround the dragon’,” - this is where the area gets hemmed in by a zig-zagging line of needles. As long as the wrinkle in question isn’t deep-set, Ada insists she can lift it away. “And with nasolabial folds, I gua cha to alleviate the masseter (chewing muscle) so it’s not weighing down the cheek and folding over the mouth. Then I needle around the line and switch on a microcurrent machine to tone up the skin. A fine line can quickly become a faint shadow,” she says.
How long: As long as it takes
Where: 001 Skincare, Harley Street
Costs: from £500
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Head to the Bulgari Spa to try the Augustinus Bader Facial
Augustinus Bader Facial
The Augustinus Bader Facial (one of Victoria Beckham's favourite brands) is a streamlined, highly effective version of The Method Augustinus Bader, a bespoke, science-backed treatment that combines Professor Bader’s award-winning skincare technology, TFC8®, with customised fascia massage to stimulate cell rejuvenation and ancient Gua Sha tool massage to reshape and lift up the contour of the face. Skin is thoroughly double cleansed in preparation for application of formulas developed to activate skin stem cells and boost the skin’s natural repair cycles. Signature manual and tool massage techniques enhance circulation and hydration, for optimal product absorption and delivery of key actives, followed by the exclusive detoxifying and ultrasmoothing mask ritual for immediate calming and glowing effects, whilst also enjoying an activating scalp massage using the famed Augustinus Bader hair oil. Available only within the luxurious environment of The Bulgari Spa.
How long it takes: 90 minutes
Where: Bulgari Hotel London, 171 Knightsbridge
Mortar & Milk Consultation with Bespoke Skin Treatment
Why we love it: Pamela Marshall, a clinical aesthetician and co-founder of Mortar & Milk, says she strives to bestow skin with a ‘juicy thickness’: “We’ve got to have lines, I don’t understand not having them - it’s about expression. Yes I can microneedle someone with deep perioral lines and eventually I can make them 75-80% better. But very often, if I just get them using the right skincare and treatments - they don’t need to go to that extreme.” First timers at Mortar & Milk can expect an hour long lifestyle assessment. And as well as microneedling, Pamela’s facials comprise mesotherapy, LED light therapy and clinical skincare. “When it comes to topicals, I use products with a low molecular weight and PH, such as Neostrata and Exuviance - so they can actually pass the stratum corneum - no high street brand can, they just deal in dead skin cells. But when you pass the stratum corneum, you can actually change skin for the better and build collagen and elastin. I would say 95% of clients who come in saying they’re trying to delay Botox, don’t go on to have it.”
How long: 2 hours
Where: Mortar & Milk, Spitalfields
Pietro Simon Endospheres Eva Express
Why we love it: Pietro Simone, a skincare expert and brand founder who has clinics in London, New York and LA, has a refreshingly progressive approach to ageing: “The face is not just about skin, it’s also down to diet and lifestyle. The aesthetic markers I’m striving for are texture, tone and plumpness.” His treatments incorporate several different technologies but he’s a big advocate for endosphere therapy, where a roller with small silicone spheres generates low frequency vibrations. “It gives an incredible, natural result. It’s not commonly used on the face, more often it’s a body treatment - but it stimulates muscles to give shape and definition, and it works on the lymphatic system, enhancing blood and oxygen circulation.” We also highly recommend Pietro’s Signature Organic Cotton Thread method - the most innocuous form of exfoliation, but your skin feels brand new after.
How long: 90 minutes
Where: Pietro Simon Clinic, The Flemings Mayfair Hotel
Su-Man Skin Reborn Sculpting Facial
Why we love it: Su-Man’s ‘skin sculpting’ technique (based on shiatsu massage) delivers an ‘instant face lift’ effect. Before her residency at the ritzy W Hotel, Su-man was known as London’s best-kept beauty secret and saw a small circle of clients in a studio at the foot of her garden. Now her regulars include the likes of Freida Pinto and Anne Hathaway. Su-man’s no-nonsense approach to skincare includes the most efficient (and painless) extractions, as well as a relentless massage technique (each stroke is repeated 36 times in accordance with the Chinese belief that the number six is lucky). It completely lives up to the hype. Skin looks clearer, brighter and tighter.
How long: 60 minutes
Where: Away Spa, W Hotel, Leicester Square