The In-depth Facial

So much more than a 'massage-assisted nap', says Emily Cronin


By Emily Cronin

When I book a facial, I’m not looking for a massage-assisted nap. I’m after effectiveness. Proof. A visible improvement to my skin. Forget the relaxation—bring on the extractions.

When a friend raved about an Environ facial through an entire lunch date, it sounded like just the sort of science-based, results-driven treatment that tough customers like me have long dreamt of discovering. With celebrity fans including Elle Macpherson and Naomi Watts, I travelled to the Skin3 Clinic in Swiss Cottage, London to try the treatment out.



Environ trainer Faye greeted me at the door to the clinically white space, recently opened as the International Institute for Anti-Ageing first skincare salon. She guided me through a questionnaire about my skincare regimen and whisked me into a small room for the first stage of my facial: a Visia skin camera scan.

This involved sitting in front of a vaguely ophthalmological-looking contraption and submitting to the most detailed photograph of my skin ever taken. Faye guided me through the analysis (percentage of skin coverage by wrinkles, spots and invisible sun damage), then shared a sobering projection of how my skin might appear in five years if I continued following my wicked skincare ways.

After this sobering and, I admit, engrossing look at my skin, we moved to a more spa-like room for the facial itself. Faye pre-cleansed, removed dead skin with a hydroxy acid exfoliator (no ablative exfoliators here), cleansed again, and then applied the Environ moisturiser, using an ultrasonic wand to help the cream penetrate ‘up to 4,000 times deeper’ into the skin than it would by mere application.

Next up was the moment in the Environ facial you’re most likely to have heard about before: the plasticising masque. ‘Are you claustrophobic?’ Faye asked, taking my answer (negative) as the signal to apply a thick gloop of nutrient-rich skincare goodness over my entire face, including eyes and mouth. Ultrasound probes pulsed a gentle, imperceptible electrical current (called iontophoresis) through the masque.

Ten minutes later, Faye peeled off the by-now plasticky masque to reveal my plumper, thoroughly cleansed and moisturised face. I left Skin3 with a bag of vitamin-rich Environ products to try at home.

But the real proof of the facial’s effectiveness didn’t come down to whiz-bang treatment theatrics, a multi-step skincare programme or a follow-up with the Visia scanner.

Rather, it was a matter of colleague reaction.

‘Emily, what did you do to your skin?’ my deskmate asks me the morning after my facial. ‘You’re positively dewy.’

Who wouldn’t want results like that?

Environ Active Vitamin Facial, £75 at Skin3, London, NW6 4EL. Enq: 020 7328 1291. Environ treatments are also available nationwide, click here to find your nearest...

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