Tried & tested

Vineetha Menon is smothered in seaweed and pearls at the Hilton Dubai


The Hilton Jumeirah has just replaced its existing hydrating facial with this seawater pearl treatment from Phytomer, which claims to be the ultimate moisturising bath for the skin. It’s a big claim, so naturally I’m keen to know what the fuss is about.

The process starts with a relaxing back massage, which is bliss. I’m then asked to flip onto my stomach and lie against a strip of seaweed that runs the length of my back, which will apparently help me sweat toxins. This feels icy cold at first, but then, strangely, I feel a bubbling sensation before the seaweed starts to feel warm against my skin (though not enough to make me sweat). While I focus on all of that, my lovely therapist, Maurie, begins to measure, mix, stir and analyse ingredients such as marine crystals, protein enzymes and red seaweed (she tells me all about the different seaweeds – red, blue and brown – which each come from a different layer of the sea. Who knew?).

It’s now time to focus on my face, which is first carefully cleansed and then softly exfoliated, almost like I’m the prize family china. She then prepares some marine crystals that have been treated with protein to form seawater pearls or, as Maurie puts it, the ‘heart of the sea’.

She tops off this concoction with red seaweed that begins as powder, but mixes with water to form a gel-like substance. She massages my face with this mix, with the pearls supposedly ‘bursting’ on my skin.

After this there’s more seaweed: this time the good stuff is slathered on my face as a mask. While it dries, my hands and scalp are massaged, which almost makes me nod off. The only bit I don’t love about the process is that the seaweed texture and vague scent of moist mud doesn’t feel luxurious, but then if it works, who cares?

Once everything is cleaned off, I expect to look in the mirror and see nothing radically different, but I really do seem to glow. Even in the moody, dim light of the treatment room there’s a soft shine on my face. Instant result: check. Youthful radiance: check. Silly, happy smile on my face: check. I’m glad to finally be surprised by a facial, and in a good way.

The Phytomer Seawater Pearl Ritual costs Dhs420 for 60 minutes. Available at various locations, including The Spa at Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort (04 318 2406)

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