I Tried London's Weirdest Facial—and It Was Epic

I'd heard rumblings about The Face Place's Signature Treatment within London's beauty editor circles, with experts claiming it was the one thing that managed to kick their skin into gear. Hailing from Hollywood, the iconic treatment counts Sofia Coppola, Anne Hathaway, Emma Stone and Emma Watson in its fan base, and in recent years, it finally hit UK shores. First, it popped up on the spa menu at Holborn's Rosewood Hotel (the fanciest hotel ever, FYI) and then at the super-cool concept store Alex Eagle, where a trendy little treatment room was installed in the basement. That's where I found myself on a rather grim wintry evening, desperately looking for a solution to my dull, lifeless skin. And that it was—and then some.

Face Place spa space at Alex Eagle Studios
Alex Eagle

What to Expect From the Signature Treatment

So this facial (which costs around $183 for 70 minutes) may be over 45 years old, but it still feels super futuristic, thanks to technologies and ingredients that have come to the forefront of skincare once more.

First, pads soaked in antibacterial yucca root are placed over the skin under a cone-shaped heating mask, which opens pores, turns sebum to liquid (delightful) and preps skin for my favorite bit of any facial—the extractions. They come next, and thankfully, the therapist uses a signature rolling technique to squeeze all the crap from the pores, meaning there's no painful pinching and no crazy red marks, but you still get that satisfying skin clarity at the end of it. (NB: If all this talk of extractions has you in the mood to sort your own blackheads out, I urge you to read our guide on how to get rid of spots first.)

Next comes a potent vitamin C and zinc solution, which is swiped on with cotton pads. If you're not clued in to the power of this incredible vitamin, take it from me: It's the best thing for brightening skin. It helps regenerate tissues and stimulate collagen production (hello, bouncy cheeks) and is a brilliant antioxidant, so it's definitely the sort of backup you want in your skincare arsenal. Zinc, on the other hand, scouts out inflammation (enemy number one for skin) and calms it down, imparting more of a glow in its wake.

Now, it's my duty to mention here that although I use vitamin C every single day (my favorite is the Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily Booster With Pure Vitamin C, $76), even my skin wasn't prepared for just how powerful this formula was. Straight after the treatment, my neck came up in a few hive-like blotches that, just as the therapist promised, went down in about half an hour. They weren't itchy or anything like that, thankfully. But my advice would be to build up your tolerance to vitamin C at home first—this $6 product is a good place to start.

Shannon Peter in facial mask at the Face Place spa by Alex Eagle
Shannon Peter

The final step of the treatment is the galvanic mask, which was definitely the weirdest part. Basically, the therapist wraps your face in cotton wool and places a leather mask over the top (pictured above) that looks sinister and alarming. And, I guess, the experience was. The mask is hooked up to a machine that pulses the face with galvanic currents to firm and lift skin as well as stimulate cell renewal—another term for inducing one hell of a glow. The currents feel like they hit your teeth and make your whole mouth taste metallic, which isn't particularly pleasant, but it doesn't last long.

The Final Takeaway

Besides the small blotches on my neck, my skin emerged from the mask looking pretty spectacular, if I can say so myself. It was shiny and sheeny in all the right places and had the sort of healthy rosy glow you'd be hard-pressed to re-create with even the best blush. It isn't cheap, but if your skin is in need of a complete overhaul, I'd really recommend it.

Up next: The facial massage technique that could change the shape of your face.

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