Cleanse, exfoliate, tone, moisturise and apply sunscreen. Most of us have our daily skin care regimen down to a T (for T zone), but there are times when you just need a bit of extra help from the professionals. That’s why we headed to the Intercontinental’s I-Spa to inject a little life back into our dull, post-winter skin and here’s what we found.
The Treatment: Youth Intensive Facial
Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes
If you’re going to trust any kind of skin care product, go with a brand that’s backed by science and research. At I-Spa, they’ve opted for Parisian brand Sothys, which was founded over 70 years ago by medical biologist Dr. Hotz. These days, scientists collaborate with universities and laboratories to formulate products that combine technology and well-being — one of which has resulted in the Youth Intensive Treatment at I-Spa. The facial includes a total of six products from this line for exfoliation, lifting and dermo-filling. Here, core ingredients such as saffron, sophora, and peptides claim to help slow down the ageing process while stimulating skin cell regeneration. The products felt light on the skin and held a delicate scent, nothing too overpowering. I was asked to allow the product to fully absorb into the skin even after the treatment was complete, and I was pleasantly surprised by how dewy and refreshed my face felt for the rest of the day.
One of the things that can be a little bothersome, even before you set foot in the treatment room, are the forms you need to fill in. At I-Spa, this consisted of a very short consultation form and instead, the therapist spent more time with me to ask about my current skincare routine and possible sensitive areas. She also gave a detailed explanation about the treatment products, procedure and expected results. It was good to know that not only was I was in safe, knowledgable hands, but that the treatment procedure was geared towards my preferences and skin condition. The execution of the double serum face massage was also incredibly effective with firm yet relaxing massage movements throughout.
The spa décor is pared back and simple, with a marble design that looks refined but slightly dated. However, I forgot this as soon as I entered the dimly-lit rooms, which are spacious and feel calming just the same. Each private spa suite comes with its own sauna, steam shower, whirlpool bathtub and massage facilities to enable a full-on luxury spa experience. For further wellness, the gym is open 24 hours and a large outdoor swimming pool offers a terrace, while the infinity spa pools show off a stunning view overlooking Victoria Harbour.
I entered the private spa suite after sipping a warm cup of mint tea, so it felt like the perfect temperature as I disrobed, though I was maybe a tiny bit too warm as I slipped under the cashmere blanket. But as my body temperature dropped during the treatment, I was extremely grateful for it in the end.
After cleansing of the face and neck was complete, a two-step exfoliation process ensued with light pinching movements, which is said to better prepare the skin for absorption. Warm mitts were used in removing lotions and pastes, which not only felt great but also ensured the skin was completely clean. The facial then moved on to toning, before a simultaneously relaxing and invigorating face massage was performed. My therapist’s movements were firm yet thoughtful, as she lifted and contoured the skin around key areas such as the forehead, around eyes and lips, and the neck and décolletage. More youth modelling followed, along with a short massage on the neck and nape, too.
During the face mask elements of the treatment, my therapist kindly explained when she was going to cover my face or would gently tap to indicate her next movements. Experience, I’m sure, told her that some may feel sensitive when certain areas (especially around the eyes) are treated. I rested assured as I was in competent hands, and I drifted off naturally during a scalp massage. It was only when the finishing touches, with serum and moisturiser, were applied that I finally awoke and thanked her for skilled application.
Feeling fresh-faced, I returned to the the real world and was immediately complemented for my glowing skin. “That’ll be the facial”, I told them, but when I think back to my experience, it most definitely was more than that. The Youth Intensive Treatment at I-Spa, with optional quick nap, is the “facial workout” that your face needs as much as your body requires the gym.