Whether you’re sun-battered, ageing, spotty or just plain knackered, we all need a bit of facial TLC once in a while. But while that’s all well and good, we draw the line at splashing cash on a quick spritz and a dollop of cream. Here, Time Out exfoliates and reveals the truth that lies beneath…
Futuresse Caviar De-luxe facial
Dhs660 for 120 minutes, The Health Club and Spa (04 405 2441), Shangri-La Dubai.
Face facts: It was quite hard for Time Out to describe this treatment, namely because after five minutes we had succumbed to a deep slumber that would have rivaled Shrek after a night on the town. But the initial five minutes of ‘awake time’ were pretty spectacular, particularly as Neny, our therapist, slathered pure caviar (without a hint of fish smell) on our face with such gusto that we assumed it was going out of fashion. But it wasn’t all a bed of roses, champers and bellini’s. We were brought back to life with the brightest of bright lights (almost clinical) and a utensil that wouldn’t have looked out of place in 1996 horror flick, The Dentist, before Neny started the ‘extraction process’ – something that sounds as distressing as it really is. In short, our face was pricked and poked until we could sleep no more and while we accept this is routine practice, we were left praying for some more caviar sludge to come our way.
Verdict: We were left with a wholesome glow and for a solid 120 minutes its value for money, but there were definite peaks and troughs in the relaxation stakes.
Peyot Collagen Facial
Dhs250 for 40 minutes, Akaru Spa (04 282 8578), The Aviation Club.
Face facts: We were quite excited about having pure collagen (with all its wrinkle banishing kudos) slathered on our sun battered face. So much so that we even brought our camera for the classic ‘before and after’ shot. While we lay there for 40 minutes (shivering from the gale force AC), we were told that it’s perfect for a quick boost before hitting the town and continues to work after the facial … apparently. As we trotted back to the changing room, ready to get snap happy, it became apparent that we had not morphed into Sienna Miller. Lines weren’t visibly plumped and we didn’t feel particularly Zen-like. Perhaps it was down to the Arctic temperatures, but we were suitably disappointed and needless to say our much-anticipated ‘after’ shot just didn’t cut the mustard.
Verdict: Probably better on mature skin (Time Out is a mere 26 years), but as a treatment we were left with just a furrowed brow.
Skin Renewal Clarity Treatment
Dhs450 per session for 30 minutes, Kaya Skin Clinic (04 349 8982), Town Centre Mall.
Face facts: The waiting room at the Kaya Skin Clinic is everything you’d hope a spa to be; from the neutral shades to the pristine décor, it oozes calm. But it’s not a spa, it’s a clinic, so don’t be lulled into a false sense of security that you’ll get a mere tickle and primp. Time Out opted for the Skin Renewal Clarity Treatment – the latest technique to grace the clinic. Flickering candles, panpipes and the dulcet tones of a therapist are exchanged for bright lights, silence and a qualified dermatologist – complete with stethoscope (?) – muttering ‘Do a patch test’ to the nurse. While it wasn’t that relaxing (the mask stings a little), we were happy to exchange all the former, in the hope that our skin would magically transform. And it nearly did. There was a certain glow that remained for a few days, but after that, nothing much to report, really.
Verdict: Worth it for a quick boost before a special occasion, but long-term, mildly disappointing.
Natura Bisse Diamond Facial
Dhs1,150 for 100 minutes, Spa (04 701 1111) Intercontinental Dubai Festival City.
Face facts: ‘During the treatment frozen DNA designed to increase cryogenic effects will be massaged onto the face,’ promises the spa menu. Wow, we had no idea what that meant, but it sounded like we were entering a new galaxy, not a treatment room. Already, the Natura Bisse Diamond Facial had a lot to prove, because Time Out is no fan of empty promises. But as Anchen, our impressively qualified (she hails from South Africa’s revered Potchefstroom Academie) therapist started slathering a host of lotions and potions on, we learnt the meaning of ‘cryogenic’. The process (including a hot and cold Mexican mineral stone foot massage) lulls the mind and body into such a state of wellbeing that you could be in space. Skin is visibly smoother, plumper and Time Out has spent the past week batting away comments such as, ‘Your skin looks amazing’, ‘Aren’t you Sienna Miller?’. Well, maybe not the latter, but it’s certainly ironed out a few furrows.
Verdict: Despite the price tag, its undeniable value for money, particularly for pre-wedding preparation.
Anne Semonin Facial Cryo-Therapy Age Defying Facial with Eye Brilliance
Dhs 595 for 90 minutes, Amara Spa (04 602 1660), Park Hyatt Dubai.
Face facts: We arrived a wreck: one too many club reviews had left our skin dryer than a thirsty prune and our eyes with such big bags they deserved their own neon ‘Heavy load’ warning sticker. As we flopped down the steps to the Park Hyatt’s lavish spa retreat we weren’t sure a face rub would be able to save us from such dehydrated depths. Last thing we heard, facials were all about faces, but this wasn’t so with the new Anne Semonin Treatment. After washing our feet outside, the friendly therapist began a facial that came complete with arm wash, hand and neck massage and ambient soundtrack. She exfoliated the skin with a fishy-smelling shell and seaweed scrub, before waking us up with a jolt by applying the treatment’s USP – the exclusive ‘Cryo-Therapy’ ice cubes. Formulated using marine spring water, extracts of evening primrose oil and red micro-algae, they are applied to ‘skin needs that really needs an extra boost’. Refreshing, invigorating and frightening at the same time, our newly perky face didn’t know what had melted all over it.
Verdict: Great for any late night revellers in search of salvation, but be prepared for a wake up call with those ice cubes.