I’m a big fan of a facial but can only justify forking out for the pleasure of having nice oils massaged into my skin once in a blue moon.
So when I saw the words “free facial” in a Domestic Sluttery newsletter, I was in there quicker than you can open a hyperlink.
It was only after I booked that I realised this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill cleanse, tone and moisturise deal. I had made plans to have my face zapped with a scary-sounding laser.
After some nervous research I decided to man up and off I went to the new Skin Laundry outlet at Harvey Nichols in Leeds. On arrival, I filled in various medical forms and disclaimers, before being whisked off upstairs by my technician who explained the method on the way to the treatment rooms.
The clinic, which started in LA (where else can you get that California glow?), promises to leave skin deep-cleaned “every time”. It boasts no down-time and claims to improve the skin’s smoothness, evenness and radiance over time.
I was told a laser would be passed over my face twice – “it might prickle, but won’t hurt” – before a short round of intense pulse light therapy (IPL), which might feel a bit “warm”.
Once in the room, she cleansed my skin – leaving my eye make-up and lipstick on – and gave me goggles to protect my eyes.
I barely noticed the laser during a test patch on my forehead so on she went, passing it over my forehead and on to my cheeks. It felt a bit unpleasant, akin to rapid-fire splatters of hot oil being splashed on your face, but was entirely bearable, though the “completely normal” burning smell of dirt being vaporised from my pores was a little gross.
It wasn’t until the laser hit my old nose piercing and I shouted “ow ow OW!” that she had to pause, noting that she hadn’t noticed it and the laser shouldn’t have gone over it.
We resumed, me with sweaty palms, for the remainder of the laser treatment, which probably only amounted to three or four minutes.
She then applied a cooling gel – similar to that used in an ultrasound – before pressing the IPL wand on to my skin in short and very bright bursts, a process which took about a minute.
My skin was then toned and moisturised and that was that. I was handed a mirror to assess the results – my skin looked bright and shiny, particularly my nose, which has always been congested and so bore the brunt of the discomfort.
There was no redness and I was told I could reapply make-up and go about my day, though I was advised to stay away from saunas and steam rooms for a couple of days – naturally, a major problem.
That evening I applied a hydrating sheet mask and the following morning, I noticed my skin felt a little tight after cleansing. But overall, my complexion looks more even and bright and a few people have remarked, unprompted, that my skin looks good today.
At £60 a pop, it’s unlikely to be a regular occurrence. And there’s still something disconcertingly sci-fi about using a laser on something as important as the skin on your face. But the results were noticeable and as an occasional deep-clean, I am broadly on board.
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