Having been so openly devoted to Neal's Yard Remedies, I was invited to try a facial treatment in their Marylebone High Street store. Oh boy! Now, I admit this is a little bit of a new experience for me but let me tell you straight up it's definitely something I will continue to do.
(This is actually the lovely Covent Garden flagship store.
Even though each store is lovely, this one just looks prettiest)
Let me set the scene. I woke up the day before my appointment feeling fine and spritely, to be blighted an hour later with the coldest of colds. Suddenly, as I was going about my day, my head filled up, my eyes filled up, my nose rather rapidly unfilled. I was compelled to spend the rest of the day moping back and forth to the kitchen with a constant need for hot cups of tea and bed. I was pretty worried that this might impede my enjoyment of my facial the next day but Good God! I wasn't going to miss this! And so the following afternoon, feeling even more cloudy-headed and bunged up, I plodded my way to Marylebone High Street.
Stepping into a branch of Neal's Yard is already one of my favourite pass times and on this occasion, like every other, the welcome was instant and the atmosphere relaxed. As usual at NYR, I was offered green tea (LOVE that) and as usual I accepted - a little cup of their detox tea (recommended) made a good start to the experience!
My facial treatment was with Chiara Simonelli who is absolutely lovely. The treatment is holistic and so takes into account lifestyle and the health of the rest of the body. This helps to tailor the treatment to meet your own specific needs. So the products used, the techniques employed and the recommendations made afterwards will all help to get you looking and feeling your best.
After discussing my own skin and general health, Chiara selected a range of products best suited to me to begin the facial. These were Lavender Cleanser, a gentle, suits all formula to remove make up. Lavender Water, to tone and freshen. Orange Flower Facial Polish, which is actually for drier skin but is again very gentle and still suitable for other skin types. My skin is OK, 'normal' I guess but still a little oily on T-zone, a little dry on cheeks, with some pesky fine lines beginning around the eyes. This was definitely the most luxurious cleanse I've ever had! And I will add that thankfully my eye make up was still intact - relief was felt at the prospect of not having to walk back to Oxford Street entirely make up free!!
Chiara massaged in the cleanser, including my shoulders and neck, then removed it carefully with a warm cloth. The toner was then applied with cotton pads and the cooling, freshening sensation of this was so relaxing yet energising. By the time it came to the facial polish I gave up trying to pay attention and gave in to the dreamy sensations occurring about my face! I was careful to note the other products after the treatment so I can still tell you what happened next!
So then, the Wild Rose Beauty Balm, massaged all over face, neck and shoulders. This is a bit of a cult product with impressive versatility and something I have come across before (in discussion of the Trilogy Everything Balm which seems to get mentioned in every post some how!!??) This balm smells simply gorgeous, is incredibly nourishing and extremely restorative in its properties with rosehip, hemp, geranium and rosemary seed oils. Incidentally, the rosemary was very good in helping ease my laboured and snuffly breathing so I was already beginning to feel better for this reason alone!
Next up, White Tea Enriching Facial Mask, which is another very nourishing product, suitable for dry and sensitive skin but with powerful antioxidant effects helping to improve fine lines. Whilst this mask was setting to work, Chiara gave my arms and hands a massage which was wonderful and, although not something I expected to have great relevance in a facial treatment, I could feel it really making a difference in releasing tension, improving the posture of my shoulders and easing me into an even deeper sense of relaxation, which surely shows on the face!
The main facial massage was using the Rose Facial Oil. In my sorry state of Coldness I could really feel this working to further ease my congestion and as Chiara expertly pummelled and smoothed and tapped my face, neck and shoulders (a lot on the neck - felt incredible) I not only completely forgot I was ill but felt good and alive and awakened!
What followed after this was the White Tea Eye Gel for those pesky fine lines, Mahonia Clear Skin Gel for a mountainous spot I failed to mention and finishing with my favourite, the Frankincense Hydrating Cream.
Sitting up, sipping water, I was a amazed that an expertly-given facial could also be the most indulgent cure for a cold! I felt great! My sinuses felt clear! And my face was glowing, the tone visibly improved! And I tell you what, I have never really properly appreciated the meaning of those words before because I have never really seen much improvement to the tone of my skin. Sure, lots of people have said my skin looks clear, looks good etc. but as everyone has their hang-ups mine is often a lack of tone. And I have certainly used products that have given a healthier look to my skin. But this is different. If my face could have a six-pack, then here it was. It just looked in better shape, the muscles underneath just more toned. After all, the face is a group of muscles that need supporting and strengthening. Massage can give you that.
And I guess that this is the difference between sitting at home and having a go yourself or having someone taking time and care to do it for you. You get a much better result because you get a much better, deeper massage. And you can't beat that, which is why I will definitely be booking myself in for more!
Neals Yard Remedies have a range of therapies and treatments, at various stores across the country. See the website for details of your nearest.
I had the holistic facial treatment with Chiara Simonelli at Marylebone High Street store.