This was the facial that changed my life.
“You feel your skin isn’t the same as it was 10 years ago?” said Isabella with a laugh. “You are having a battle with your skin, thinking if you fight hard enough it will become something it isn’t: accept it and be kind to it.”
It’s true – since my teens, I’ve been imagining the day I wake up to find my skin has miraculously re-created itself: impurities gone, spots and blotches a thing of the past and pin-prick clear pores. And most treatments help you believe it, with therapists implying that if only you used their product religiously, you would have the skin of your dreams.
If only there were more Isabellas. Not least, because she gave me an hour of blissful spoiling, lying flat, not having to think about a thing (an evening off from toddler and newborn mummy duties); but, mainly, because she delivered the news – with Polish directness that I couldn’t ignore – that I should accept my skin and stop wasting time thinking it might become something it’s not.
I arrived 25 minutes early at the Grace Belgravia for my QMS Activator Treatment. My initial thought was to see if I could pull the appointment forward; lots to do, always lots to do. Instead, I did something this mother of two hardly ever does: I lay flat for half an hour without doing a thing. Bliss.
Isabella performed the QMS Activator Treatment: cleansing, extraction and face mask, plus a bundle of notes-to-self not to over-stimulate with exfoliator, and to lather on the pollution-proof Epi-Gen serum.
A month later, I went back for more QMS magic – this time to the magical Liberty for an Urban Repair treatment. Often, when you have a facial, you leave filled with good intentions and then quickly slip back into old habits, so I was determined to get a better school report this time (“taught and dry on surface” was Isabella’s resumen).
“I find it hard to believe there’s only one word for skin,” said the porcelain-cheeked Rowen. “You have skin on your face, neck, armpits, legs… and they’re completely different.”
“Lots of people have your type of skin,” she added. “You have to remember that we live in London, so it’s impossible to be blemish-free, but do try and avoid chocolate and dairy as they’re bad for active skin.” I may pretend I didn’t hear that last snippet…
The good news is my skin is no longer taught and dry – thanks to the QMS night collagen and Epi-Gen serum – but I need to exfoliate more. “Start with 3 times a week and build up to 5”, not with an abrasive exfoliator, with a fluid which dissolves the dead skin cells.
I tell myself (and believe it) that it’s more important than ever to book treatments when you have children. It’s the unique combination of sleep deprivation, dehydration from breast-feeding and having less time to follow a proper routine – often I barely manage to brush teeth before a little monster starts demanding something.
So, having a magic night serum to slather on in the wee hours, an anti-pulution serum to battle the London air, and some words of reason to stop me starting a civil war in the mirror, quite frankly, goes a long way.