Amidst the hustle and bustle of London’s tourist hub, Oxford Street, behind the sleek-white Elemis counter at Debenhams, awaits transcendence and skin rejuvenation…and all in less than an hour. A beacon of hope for  busy urbanites that crave a balanced beauty regime, but lack the time to achieve it, Elemis’s new Skin Lounge promises to revive skin in as little as 30 minutes, offering a treatment menu catering to all skin types. When time is tight, but your skin can’t wait for attention, a half an hour facial at the Skin Lounge is a speedy treatment with lasting — not to mention radiant — effects. Now who couldn’t use a quiet mid-day escape (a break from shopping or “lunch” away from the office, perhaps) of pampering and healing?

Should you be one who questions the necessity of facials, think of it as a tune up: not something you do daily, but something you should do regularly in order to maintain the well-being of your skin. Truthfully, most of us don’t understand our own skin needs — I didn’t completely when I first sat down for my appointment at the Skin Lounge. But as I learned that day, the advice of a pro can be the difference between looking your age or 5+ years older.

My appointment starts with the Elemis therapist questioning my skin care regime and daily life routines to better understand my skin. Soon after this came the life-changer: a visit to the Elemis SkinLab pre Skin Lounge. Here, experts analyze the surface of your skin, breaking it down into six photographs with varying filters.


Having come straight from a meeting, my makeup was still on for the photo, yet, the SkinLab camera and computer saw right through my façade. Elisha, my Elemis therapist explained, “There will be six images on the screen, and it’s going to break it down into UV exposure, wrinkles, fine lines, texture of the skin. It’s also going to look at your pores and pickup if you have open pores.” Sure enough, there were all the imperfections I had hid beneath my cosmetic mask, and like that, the mystery of my skin was revealed.

Elisha shares her findings: “The blue dots are dehydration. Yellow is where it is picking up oil. The skin is dehydrated and rather than producing water because it can’t, it will produce oil. That is what the skin does naturally. To remedy this, she recommends exfoliating “because when there is oil on the skin, it means the pore is slightly open, that’s when you can get blocked pores. We call them comedones, but they’re actually black heads.” Taking notes yet?


Next comes the diagnosis. Through a combination of the face scan and lifestyle analysis, the computer prints out a slip with the recommended products for a complete custom skin regime. If good skin is a priority to you, this little slip of paper is priceless. Elisha explains, “It’s like going to the doctors and this is your prescription.” For Elemis, she shares, its all about building a relationship with clients; through the face scan, customers learn what areas to target for both the short and long term and are given the product knowledge to help restore and retain the skin’s youth.

After my skins needs have been assessed and I’ve gathered up all of Elisha expert tips, I’m invited to slip into the Skin Lounge room and relax in the Intelligent Massage Chair as my therapist prepares my Revive and Refresh treatment, a purifying and rebalancing facial.

A fan of the subtle tropical fruit scent of the products, the standout during the treatment was the Papaya Enzyme Peel, which Elisha dabbed onto my entire face and left it on for 15 minutes. As she explains, this peel helps restore the skin’s glow and is a smart option for those with sensitive skin, as often exfoliators can irritate. Instead of relying on scrubbing, the enzymes from the papaya fruit in this peel actually eats away at the dead skin cells.


The treatment ends on a note of relaxation with a mask and a stone massage. “One stone is equal to 10 hands,” says my therapist, as she kneads the tension out of neck with the heated stones, the mask already on my face, hard at work drawing out the pollution and makeup residue deep within my skin. And as the toning cloth revealed, the city’s grit has found quite a little nest in my skin; the cloth was stained grey with the dirt extracted by the mask.

Second last on the agenda is prepping and suiting up my skin for its return to the city streets, not to mention find a way to protect it from the hot beaming sun warming the sidewalks out there. But first, time to take care of the damage already done. If sunspots or age spots be amongst one of your target areas, the brand’s new Advanced Brightening Even Tone Serum is a must. “It lightens the pigmentation, after 28 days you’re going to see a slight change in pigmentation, and in 56 days you’re going to see drastic results,” says Elisha, as she applies it to my face. “But be sure to still use SPF or age spots will continue to darken.”


With the summer sun upon us, preventative care is as important as regular tune ups at the spa, especially if “regular” to you is more like every few months. I left the Skin Lounge with a moisturizer and an SPF on my face, and learned that it is best to avoid moisturizers with SPF already in them. “We never put them together for two reasons,” says Elisha about the line. The SPF can affect our active bases in our moisturizers. Not only that, your SPF is meant to sit on your skin and your moisturizer is meant to go into your skin.”

The proof is in the pudding they say, and the proof that one’s skin needs as much attention as one’s body does in order to stay healthy jumps out at clients of the Skin Lounge. Besides, when pampering becomes nothing more than a quick 30 minutes out of your day, how can you not add regular visits to the Skin Lounge by Elemis to your beauty routine? It’s elementary my dear.

Published May 31, 2014