Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Lift Me Up

Lift Me Up..

Have you ever wondered how celebrities achieve that essential red carpet glow? The kind of beaming, luminescent loveliness that speaks of luxury, not to mention those elusive eight hours of beauty sleep we rarely seem to be able to clock up with our increasingly frantic lifestyles. Of course, a fabulous make-up artist and great genes are both major contributors (as are a celebrity photographer and photoshop), but in truth, beauty on the outside starts on the inside. Our skin is not only our largest organ, it is the best accessory we have. While pore-less, taught skin and a blemish-free complexion can knock years off your aesthetic age, skin that is poorly looked after, can have the converse effect.

I've always been a devotee of holistic beauty. Frankly, injectables make me shudder, so the prospect of botox and fillers is quite frightening, given some of the bizarre, puffy and often distorted faces we see (Kylie Minogue, Joan Rivers, Melanie Griffith, Sharon Osbourne, Katie Price and Jocelyn Wildenstein to name just a few).

Injectables are simply quick fixes, necessitating regular top ups to maintain the faux-youthful aesthetic effects. Why be a dermatologist's pin cushion when you could save yourself the pain and cost by putting in a little leg work. A healthy diet, moderate exercise, plenty of water and heaps of beauty sleep remain the best course of action for the long term maintenance of beautiful, youthful skin. In addition, not smoking and ensuring you wear an SPF of at least 15 on a daily basis, will ensure your skin remains free from free radical and photo damage.

How you choose to look after your skin is up to you, but my advice would be to adopt a gentler approach to maintaining your natural beauty for the long term. I've had many professional facials over the years, at the hands of some of the world's leading experts, and with the sole exception of one phenomenal microdermabrasion treatment at The Refinery, my favourite facials have always been the ones of the aromatherapy, acupressure and lymphatic drainage variety. The Bliss Triple Oxygen Facial, John Tsagaris' He Mu Facial (mind-blowing acupuncture), Karen Herzog Peel & Plump Facial and Yon Ka Men's Facial (insanely relaxing and glow enhancing) have all rated very highly with me.

With this in mind, I was thrilled when I heard that from 15th May, Antonia Burrell, the hot new facialist in town, will be launching the exclusive Antonia Burrell Natural Corrective Lift Facial at Urban Retreat in Harrods. Timed to coincide with the launch of her eponymous Antonia Burrell Skincare collection, it is the perfect opportunity to book yourself in for a little one-on-one TLC. With over 18 years of industry experience, you couldn't be in more capable hands.

Acknowledged by many as the ultimate in urban spa destinations, Urban Retreat spans in excess of 22,000ft (including 32 treatment rooms), making it one of the largest purpose-built salons in the world (well it is in Harrods after all, we'd expect nothing less).

The facial is bespoke and luxurious, catering to the skin concerns of each individual client. A stress-busting, holistic affair, it promises to iron away wrinkles, lift the facial muscles and leave you with a pore-less porcelain complexion (yes please). All I can say is, if Antonia's skin is anything to go by, then I'm converted. It is always advisable to check out the expert who is treating you. Just as I'd be wary of visiting a hair stylist with awful hair, or a make-up artist with poorly applied make-up, when seeking the ultimate facialist, I'd recommend looking at their skin. As you can see from the photo at the top, Antonia doesn't have any lines to speak of, nor does she have blemishes. Her skin is as taut as a baby's, and she has an ethereal glow. This is all indicative that the lady with the healing hands practices what she preaches. A woman of integrity, who has clearly mastered her craft.

The treatment includes a whopping forty-eight unique muscle movements, designed to visibly lift and tone, while lymphatic drainage techniques are incorporated to minimise puffiness, sculpt the cheekbones, detoxify the skin and boost skin clarity. So advanced is this treatment, that is has been formally accredited by one of the industry's top awarding bodies, and is now taught on the post-graduate short course curriculum at The London College of Fashion (not just a pretty face).

Whether you book in for the facial in May and want to use her product line at home to maintain the age-defying results, or can't make it to the spa and want to buy into Antonia's expertise, the products (pictured above) are available to purchase from Urban Retreat and the Beautique website. I tested the Natural Glow Cleansing Oil yesterday, after a bout of late-night blogging, and have to say, I woke up for a Press event this morning with the glowing skin I had in my early 20's (I'm 29).

Packed full of pure plant extracts such as line-erasing sesame oil, uplifting citrus oils, calming lavender and antibacterial tea tree oil, the first thing that hits you about this product is the divine aroma, it smells delicious and not at all synthetic. Devoid of skin nasties such as parabens and SLS, you can use this daily without fear of any adverse effect on your health or the environment. The sleek black glass packaging has a luxurious feel, not only protecting the precious oils from sun exposure (potentially degrading the oils), but also enhancing the appearance of your bathroom. To get the best from your cleansing routine, it's best to follow Antonia's expert tips:

  1. Using your ring and middle fingers, start from the centre of the chin and working outwards and upwards onto the cheeks massage using small, circular movements.
  2. Working inwards against the lines and wrinkles, massage around the eyes, focusing on the socket. Do this 12 times.
  3. Massage the forehead using your middle fingers with small circular motions. Work up towards the hairline.
  4. To finish, use light, tapping movements all over the face with your middle finger and ring finger. Feel the tension melt away. Spend a minute on each step, then wipe away cleanser with a washcloth or muslin.

Complete your skincare ritual by spritzing the Forest Dew Skin Tonic on some cotton pads, and wipe gently over the face to balance refresh and hydrate. To enhance the soothing effects of lavender flower water and cucumber extracts, try keeping this product in the fridge.

Natural Corrective Face Lift Facial - £120 for 90mins
Natural Glow Cleansing Oil - £43.40
Forest Dew Skin Tonic - £38.85





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