30-minute facial in Dubai

Nyree Barrett attempts to fix her complexion from the inside out

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A mall department store feels like an odd place to go for a facial – it’s not somewhere I instantly associate with relaxation. Thankfully, the facial by Swiss skincare specialist In&Out is held in a small (and surprisingly relaxing) treatment room tucked at the back of Paris Gallery at Dubai Festival City.

When I first arrive at the brand’s high-tech-looking white booth, I’m plopped down in front of a Mac to fill out a skin diagnosis quiz. The two-minute procedure asks me about everything from my skin type to whether I get headaches, stress or stomach pains. Why? Well, In&Out, as its name suggests, believes that to improve the quality of your skin you need to also fix problems inside your body. The brand doesn’t just sell potions and creams, but also offers supplements for everything from anti-bloating to anti-stress, drawing knowledge from both Western and Chinese medicine.

Next up, the helpful therapist shows me my skin through a digital microscope, my pores blazing on the Mac’s monitor. It highlights that my skin is genuinely combination (the areas around my nose are slick with oil, while those around my cheeks are dry). It also reveals the early signs of pigmentation underneath my mask of freckles. I’m left wondering why more expensive facials don’t offer this revealing, insightful service.

Now, armed with an infallible diagnosis of my skin type, the therapist leads me into the treatment room. The facial involves application of the products (as well as a wonderful hand massage), although there is no extraction or steam process – to be fair, we didn’t really expect it from a free facial. The brand sees this as a chance to showcase its products, but it is also a pretty decent half-hour of pampering that beats what I’ve experienced at some five-star hotels.

During the treatment I sample nine of the brand’s products: highlights are facial oil with beech tree extract and plenty of other secret ingredients, a zingy eucalyptus scrub, and a very soothing mask with Vitamin A, C and E and hyaluronic acid. The products smell and feel wonderful. I learn they were created when French plastic surgeon Marianne Prevot discovered Chinese medicine’s nutritional supplements, and decided to come up with a range that combined these elements with essential oils and her scientific background.

I’d recommend this facial to anyone who’s ready to invest in a new skincare regime. For starters, it’s free, so you have nothing to lose, and these products are some of the nicest I’ve come across in a while. I now rank them alongside big-hitters Dermalogica and Elemis – and that’s a big call.

The 30-minute In&Out facial is free; just call in advance to book. Products range from Dhs280 to Dhs1,430. Paris Gallery, Dubai Festival City (04 375 0550)

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