My skin frequently suffers from congestion, which I partly blame on living in polluted London. While clay masks are great for drawing out any impurities in my skin, I couldn’t help but feel that it was time for a much deeper cleanse. I’d heard about the Hydrafacial before, so when I was invited to visit the Bellecell Clinic to test out the Hydrafacial, I jumped at the chance.
The Bellecell Clinic is nestled a few minutes walk away from leafy St. James’s Park, and is tucked away underground. It’s white, polished interior feels a little bit like a luxurious, spacious igloo, and I was greeted with delicious vegan treats and some samples of Skinade – a collagen-boosting drink.
A few minutes later and I was whisked to a room to talk to my facialist about my skin concerns and about the treatment. I learned that the Hydrafacial uses a machine with several different heads to perform 6 different steps: a deep cleanse, an exfoliation, a peel, lymphatic drainage, LED, and finally locking in all the moisture with the last step. Because it uses a machine, there’s no need for and physical facial massage at all – the machine does it all. It’s essentially the only facial you will ever need, because it involves 6 different treatments, which you’d usually pay a lot for individually at other salons.
We started out with the deep cleanse, using the machine to essentially suck all the impurities (aka dirt, dead skin cells, grime and blocked pores) out of my skin. It felt gentle and slightly tingly, and my therapist worked her way around my face, with a particular focus around my nose, chin and forehead – the areas where most people get the most congestion. Along with the physical suction, the machine head was filled with a salycitic acid solution, a gentle chemical renowned for eating up dead skin cells and unblocking pores. At the end of this stage, my skin felt really tingly, fresh and like it had been thoroughly cleansed.
The second step was an exfoliation using glutamine in the machine head, which is pushed into the skin. Glutamine acts like a pac man, mopping up any remaining dead skin cells and dirt in the deeper layers of the skin. My skin began to feel really tingly at this point, in a good way. The third step was the peel, using a 7% glycolic and salycitic acid peel in a new machine head which pushes the solution into the skin, leaving it on for a couple of minutes. The difference between this kind of glycolic peel and other glycolic peels that you can buy in the shops and use at home is that this one doesn’t have any buffer. This means it’s much stronger, and much more effective. My skin was feeling pretty tingly at this point, but there was no burning sensation or heat at all to my relief. Then, it was washed off with a cleanser leaving me feeling as fresh as a daisy. The peel can be completely tailored to the individual, ranging from 7%, 15% and 30%, for skin suffering from acne or a lot of congestion.
I didn’t have the fourth or fifth steps because I was having the Express facial, but my facialist explained them to me. In the full Hydrafacial, the fourth step is a lymphatic drainage, using a unique machine head to apply pressure suction in direction of the lymph flow to manually massage and drain lymph nodes. This can help improve circulation, detoxify, tone and firm the skin, plus I am told it is super relaxing! Then, an LED light is directed over the face for several minutes, which is also tailored to the individual. A red light stimulates the collagen in the skin, helping to plump and firm. Blue light is great for tackling acne and improving skin clarity, while yellow light helps fights redness.
The final step is to put back into the skin all of the moisture and hydration. The machine head pushes a peptide solution into the skin, leaving it feeling plump, hydrated and thoroughly moisturised. When I took a look in the mirror after my facial, I was glowing! My pores could barely be seen, and any redness had vanished. I still had a few old spots left but my facialist told me that it would take a few days for everything to settle and then my new. She showed me the container of the Hydrafacial machine, where all the dirt, pores and sebum had collected. It was a yellowy, liquid solution filled with tiny black dots and pieces of dirt…I was shocked that this had all come out from my skin!
A few days later, and my skin was definitely glowing and looking baby-fresh. My spots had cleared up, and I was feeling confident enough to leave the house without any makeup on. If you live in London, this is the facial for you!
Where: 21 Arlington Street, St. James’s, London SW1A 1RN
How much: £160