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

Crazy looking masks yield crazy good results.

Close up of a woman's face

 Andreas Kuehn / Getty Images

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 Is the Face Place Signature Treatment?

According to Antonio Silla, co-owner of The Face Place West Hollywood, the Signature Treatment has been around for almost 50 years. So it has a serious pedigree. It's also a pretty serious treatment, combining extractions with galvanic current, which helps key ingredients to better penetrate into the skin.

What Is Galvanic Current?

Galvanic current is a low-level current that flows in one direction, similar to the electricity from a battery.

"There are two core segments to the treatment: skilled manual extractions that treat every pore on the face and the application of galvanic current, to introduce a proprietary solution of vitamin C and anti-inflammatory zinc," says Silva. "When you combine this solution with galvanic current you regenerate, stimulate, and nourish skin cells at the deepest level. This rigorous detoxification process is like going to the gym for your skin."

Benefits of the Face Place Signature Treatment

• Glowing skin

• Tightened pores

• Smoother fine lines

• Greater elasticity

The Signature Treatment is, at its core, a facial—so skin will be noticeably smoother after. But, beyond that, the technology involved means skin will be tight and glowy, without any pain or downtime. "You will notice how exceptionally clean and rejuvenated your skin looks and feels after the first treatment," says Silla. "A combination of treatments will tighten pores, firm skin tissue, smooth fine lines, and improve skin’s elasticity."

What to Expect from the Face Place Signature Treatment

While this facial (which costs around $150) may be several decades old, 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.

Aftercare

The best way to preserve all the goodness of the Signature Treatment is to avoid doing too much, post-treatment. "After the treatment, we suggest you wait 24 hours before strenuous physical activity to avoid sweating out the vitamin and mineral solution that was just introduced into the facial tissues," says Silla.

And to really reap all the benefits, you'll want to make the treatment part of a routine. Silla sys that "the best results will be achieved with consistent, regular treatments. We recommend starting with weekly treatments for four weeks followed by a maintenance program every two weeks."

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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