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How I fell back in love with my skincare routine

A visit to The HVN in Knightsbridge reset how I feel about my skin


Young woman at home© Getty
Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
January 19, 2024
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As someone who writes about beauty for a living, it feels like career suicide to admit that I’ve been lazy with my skincare routine lately.

While I’ve always diligently cleansed and used an acid toner, a serum and a moisturiser each night, recently I haven’t been in the mood and at the most have been removing my makeup and half-heartedly patting on moisturiser.

However, a trip to west London's most luxurious wellness hotspot changed that.

seating area in spa© bussweh
The HVN is a super calming space

Last weekend I paid a visit to The HVN in Knightsbridge, expecting to treat myself to a blissful massage, but this heavenly space is so much more than your usual spa – and it completely reset my approach to skincare.

From the moment I walked into the ultra-zen space, complete with minimalist concrete walls and a super soft green carpet, I knew I was set to be transported far from London's busy streets. The HVN brings the outside in with, circadian lighting, woodland aromatics and bird song playing throughout the space, all known to reduce stress.

So far, so wellness. But far from being woo-woo, The HVN's treatments are all supported by science, and each client begins their visit with a consultation with a medical professional.

My consultation with nurse practitioner Carrie saw me undergo a full body scan which measured my weight, body fat and every part of my body, with the idea that The HVN would prescribe treatments to address any concerns, via an osteopath, a nutritionist, and aestheticians, then a second scan post-treatments would see how they had impacted my body. It's a long-term approach rather than the quick fixes which often don't deliver results.

The HVN corridors© bussweh
The HVN brings the outside in

Next up, Carrie performed a skin analysis using a machine that showed all the different layers of my skin. The scan revealed damage and signs of ageing on and beneath the surface of the skin, to help create a bespoke treatment plan.

The analysis assessed wrinkles, texture, pores, red and brown spots, UV damage, and as a lifelong sun worshipper I certainly fretted about what the scan would show – but I was pleasantly surprised!

consultation room in the spa
I had a consultation ahead of my treatments

My skin age showed me to be 29, five years younger than I am, and the texture analysis said my skin texture is really good, with Carrie explaining that my use of glycolic acid is likely to thank for this.

READ: I’ve been a Beauty Editor for 25 years and these are the products I will be repeat buying in 2024 

As I mentioned, I'd lost interest in my skincare routine – it hadn't been giving me the immediate glow I'm after, but the skin analysis proved my products are working and reignited my passion for applying my nightly lotions and potions. Sure, I might not be seeing results each day, but over time it's clearly paying off.

Selfie of Mel in a robe
I fell in love with skincare routine again

After the two super-scientific scans, it was time for me to embrace The HVN's relaxation offering in the Cocoon Room, featuring the UK's only Hydro Bed, a warm water mattress that cradles your body at the optimum temperature of 38 degrees, instantly relaxing tight, tired, aching muscles and joints.

Indeed, as soon as I lay down I found myself fighting to stay awake so I could enjoy every minute of The Cocoon Ritual, a restorative and rejuvenating full body massage.

The Hydrobed at The HVN© bussweh
The Hydrobed at The HVN

My therapist Sonia had magic hands, with a feather-light touch that still eased out any tension. My favourite element of the Hydro Bed was the fact that she could massage my shoulders without me having to move, thanks to the pliable nature of the water bed – this also means pregnancy massage can take place on it, without the client having to turn over.

Post-treatment, I floated out of The HVN in a blissful haze, excited to not only revel in my new zen state, but to put the expert intel I'd received into practice.

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