LUV - Look, I don’t know a lot about skin. I’m not a botanist. But I do know that while my skin generally looks like the surface of a cup of milky tea that’s been left to stand for slightly too long, there are days when it looks as though I’ve ordered too much pepperoni. Then deep-fried the pepperoni with some old cheese and thrown the whole greasy mess onto the face of someone with bad skin.
On those days, I take my face to the experts.
The experts live in a place called the spa, which is the cleanest, whitest place in all the land - like a Fortress of Solitude for Aryans - where everyone speaks in whispers. A woman will appear and introduce herself, and I will instantly forget her name because she’ll suddenly be one millimetre from my face, tutting things like:
* “Your skin is very congested” - this means that my face is bubbling with pus.
* “You’ve some age damage there” - this means that I am very ancient.
* “I can see someone enjoyed the summer” - this means that I am made of mahogany, and also that the woman is a cow.
Whatever the diagnosis, I must whip my top off (so really it’s like any trip to the dentist), lie on a couch and close my eyes.
There follows a lovely, langorous sensory dream.
Cold things are swept soothingly across my face, then hot, cleansing things are pressed against it, then a series of oils (citrusy and acrid, floral and exotic) are massaged into it. Then the extractions begin. This is where my pimples, whiteheads, blackheads and basically any raised bump on my face - including my nose - are squeezed with archaeological diligence and absolute, merciless disregard for the human pain threshold.
After turning my head precisely 37.5 degrees to the left the woman leaves me alone in the dark with a steam machine gently puh-puh-puhing onto me. Finally she returns to give me a swooningly blissful face and neck massage for exactly not long enough to be properly relaxing, and I’m done.
Apart from slightly clearer, redder skin and a slightly emptier, sadder wallet, the actual benefits of a facial elude me. However I will return in a couple of months because I know what I’m like. I don’t drink enough water, I’ll pretty much do anything if someone says it makes me look rested, and I’m always putting too much pepperoni on my face.
Incidentally, I am talking about spa facials here and not the other kind of facial. Although the other kind may also work wonders on your skin. Who can say?
Oh. don’t answer that.
- Robyn Wilder
HAT - I’m not sure if I’m actually qualified to HAT on facials. I think I had a facial. I underwent 60 minutes of agony, and then left the premises with several gouges across my face, which took ten days to fade away. Did I have a facial? Or was I a Saw VI research project? For the purposes of this, let’s assume it was the former.
(As with most of my life mistakes, this was a result of Groupon)
It went like this:
[My mind and I enter the room together. We first lie the wrong way round on the bed, only to have The Facialiser point out that there’s a reason all the blood is rushing to my head and my mind and I are idiots.]
[The lights are turned off. For maximum sensory deprivation, some cotton pads are placed over my eyes. ]
[A vacuum starts. It sounds like a Henry. The sound of shoddy hoovering begins - that sound when you’re trying to hoover up something that’s clearly too big to fit, because you can’t be bothered to bend down and pick it up. In this case, the oversized item in question sounds like MASSIVE ROCKS]
My mind: Shit.
[The vacuum comes closer]
My mind: Seriously - shit.
[It is indeed MASSIVE ROCKS stuck in the hoover. I know this because these are now being scraped across my face. Repeatedly. Again. And Again. And Again.]
My mind: FUCKINGGROUPOOOOOOOOON
Time passes. It may be three hours. It is more likely three minutes.
[Facialiser leaves the room. The previously bland panpipe CD suddenly turns it up a notch with a bizarre panpipe version of the Star Spangled Banner]
My mind: She’s gone. Where has she gone? I’ve had some dreadful reaction. I probably look like a salted slug, my skin bubbling, having a horrible reaction with whatever gunk she just slapped on my face. I’m pretty sure I’m bleeding rivers of blood. Oh, the burn, the burn. She’s obviously gone to call a supervisor. And an ambulance. And a lawyer.
Yeah, she’s going to need a fucking lawyer.
[Facialiser returns to the room. Still she is silent, apparently unwilling to talk about the rivers of blood. A massage begins. It is awful - as if my shoulders have tried to steal her boyfriend, and she is here to exact revenge. And it involves aromatherapy]
My mind: What’s that smell? Sandalwood? Huh. Suddenly I feel quite angry. Kind of… punchy. Why am I so angry? Fucking world. I hate the world.
(Sandalwood = the olfactory soundtrack - smelltrack? - to my teenage life. I was a BIG fan of oil burners. And incense. And pretty much anything you could get in the Guildford head shop)
[Facialiser leaves the room with a finality that suggests she’s done, leaving my mind and I to lie there, in shock, in pain, but not, as it turns out, in rivers of blood.]
My mind: What. The Fuck. Just Happened.
FADE TO BLACK
I do not understand you people that have facials.
- Susi Weaser