Yesterday, I embarked on what is now The Most Girly Thing I Have Done To Date, and definitely on the way to getting another thing crossed off THE LIST in my earlier posts – being a spa day…
The biggest surprise was that I actually really enjoyed it.
Anyone who knows me at all well knows that I’m not really one for pampering at all -with the exception of long baths, which is a guilty pleasure, usually involving a book and hot drink. However, I have slowly been adopting routines to look after myself a bit more as I creep closer to 30. By looking after myself a bit more, I don’t just mean physically, although that’s certainly a part of it, but mind and soul as well. Part of this includes making sure I have a bit of time to myself occasionally, and take a break and wind down. I’ve always been someone who’s on the go ALL the time, and if my calendar is anything to go by at the moment there’s no sign of that changing anytime soon! So a chance to kill multiple birds with one stone would be welcomed with open arms.
So in the spirit of adventure and all that, I took advantage of The Relaxation Den’s kind invite via their Twitter offer (if you want to know what they do then go and follow them @RelaxationDen) and booked myself in for their free skin scan service and also my freebie. Based on Ecclesall Road, they have recently celebrated their 2nd birthday, with a party and ‘Butler in the Buff”, which I’m told all went down really well, so have had sometime to settle into their surroundings and the business.
As usual, I got there a little early, and stepped from the bustle of approaching rush-hour traffic of Ecclesall Road into a calm, cool and serene room. The lady behind the counter was on the phone trying to fit someone in to their seemingly busy schedule with difficulty, which was quite reassuring to me, as a complete newbie to all of this, as if somewhere is popular, then it tends to be good…
This gave me a chance to look around the reception area, which was clean and cosy – comfy brown sofas, and neutral walls adding to the atmosphere, and making my wait a very pleasant one. A clear cabinet containing products was against the wall, but not made in any way to stand out or have attention drawn to it.
I was then greeted by and booked in by Kerry, who explained she’d be seeing to me for the day, and promptly gave me a form to fill in with contact info etc, which I duly dotted and crossed whilst she finished preparing the room. All credit goes to Kerry as she managed to put a rather trepidatious me at ease within three minutes with her calm and professional manner. Upon her return she explained exactly what would happen and what she was going to do for me without either using a lot terms and assuming that I was an old hand at this, or without being patronising. I understood what was happening, andwas quite happy to be shown upstairs to the Skin Scan.
The upstairs had a similar feel to downstairs, no clutter, and neutral colours adorning the walls and wooden floors. The skin scanner sat with two chairs towards the rear of the room, and before jumping in, Kerry asked me to tell her about my skin – what I felt about it, any specific concerns and whether I do a lot of things outdoors, what products do I use etc, which I happily stated. We then proceeded onto the scan – which involved sticking my head underneath the hood of the machine, and showing different areas of my face to Kerry, whilst being seriously illuminated by UV light, allowing Kerry to see underneath the skin. After telling me that on the whole my skin was pretty healthy, She then proceeded to talk me through what she could see, and possible reasons for this, these things being predominantly pigmentation spots, caused by UV exposure, oiliness, and dehydration (which is not the same as dryness). After this she asked me to look in the mirror, and point out the things I was able to see on there.
The first thing that sprang out and quite shocked me, was the amount of pigmentation – which looked like cheetah spots all over my face. Being pale, I do tend to wear sunscreen on bright days, but probably high enough SPF, if I’m honest, and not everyday. Kerry then expained what this meant, as well as how to improve it and prevent it getting worse in the future. The second thing I spotted was the white speckles on my nose, forehead and left cheek brow – which was oil. again knowing that I have combination skin, which has been more oily since getting back into the city, this wasn’t a vast surprise to me. The final thing was my ‘zombie eyes’ – the area under my eyes especially and spreading out onto my cheeks was dark and looked really sunken. Kerry then explained that this was the dehydration she had seen, which was especially prevalent there.
Kerry then told me she’d use this information to prepare my facial – personalising it to the information she had gathered, from both looking at my skin, and from the things we had talked about. I was then taken back downstairs, and left to prepare in the room we would be using, which was darkened and candlelit, with soft instrumental music. I was asked to remove my top, to prevent anything spilling on there and climb onto the heated massage table.
Being someone who gets warm quickly, I wasn’t sure that a heated bed would be necessary, as the room itself was the perfect temperature, however, once I was in and under the blanket, I immediately felt the heat hit my back, after a long day at work, and was extremely grateful!
Kerry then came back in, wrapped my hair (which I apologise now, as it was not in the best state!) in a towel, and after outlining what how she was going to approach things began.
Having never had anything like this I had no real idea what to expect, however a few minutes in, I didn’t really care – I just let myself actually relax a bit, and let Kerry do her thing – which was LOVELY. IT seemed like layer after layer of “stuff” went on, and the really inquisitive part of me would have liked an explanation of what’s and why’s, that part of me was very quiet – which was an amazing change!
The facial included a neck, face and scalp massage as well (again I apologise for the state of my hair! Since moving back to sheffield the water has caused havoc with it – leaving me with either really lank hair which requires gunk in it to try and salvage it – as was the case that day, or I end up with squeaky clean anime flyaway hair at the other extreme… but that’s a blog for another day!), and knowing a bit about massage, I know that it was done really well, and that really rare event of my head actually quietening itself to silence actually happened for once, which is always an amazing experience for me..
After Kerry was done, she explained what she had done and used during the facial, and why, and we also talked about changes I should consider making to my routines going forward – including using an exfoliant, and the best type to consider, suggesting the one she had used that day – which was as hard sell as it got, which was really good, and as a result am a lot more likely to consider the product, being a stubborn sod who instantly rebels against a hard sell, and the biggie for me, being upping my SPF and ensuring that I use it a lot more than at the moment – which is an easy fix. She also advised me to avoid toner that contained any forms of alcohol, as this would dehydrate my skin, and cause more oil to be produced as a response, which is a fair comment, and to make sure that I moisturise to get as much moisture in as possible. I was then left alone to sort myself out (and reluctantly get out of the lovely warm bed!) and head back out to the reception area, where Kerry and her colleagues who popped in and out were more than happy to make general conversation. Kerry also explained which treatment she had customised for me (being the Dermologica Prescription Facial) and gave me a price list for the the place, which having had a cheeky scout around, is pretty reasonable for what is offered.
Overall, I have to say that I was very impressed. The only thing that *might* have made it better (and this is very personal to me and my brain) was to be told what each application during the facial was for, although I am a little 50/50 over this, as it would sate my curiosity, but would detract from the atmosphere they work hard to produce and definitely wouldn’t be right for everyone.The big pluses were the atmosphere and environment of The Relaxation Den itself, Kerry’s manner and rapport, and the lack of hard sell of products, despite being a Dermologica UK specialist centre. The treatment itself was absolutely lush, and I went away feeling very relaxed, and definitely intending to return when money allows.
Thanks to all there for the wonderful welcome and making my adventures a little easier… Hope to see you all soon. 🙂