After a long winter, with a serious lack of sun and too many ice blasts, your skin is probably in the need of some TLC. And you can’t beat the mood-boosting powers of a glow-enhancing facial.
Luckily, London is home to some of the best facialists in the beauty industry, with treatments to suit every budget and skin concern. So where to go? Below, we’ve rounded up the best in town — and we’ve tried and tested each and every one. You’re welcome.
The one to have if you don’t want Botox: EMFACE at Young LDN
Botox isn’t for everyone — for a multitude of reasons — so perhaps EMFACE could be a happy halfway house if you feel like you want some heavier duty assistance in banishing signs of ageing. Non-invasive but noticeably tightening and firming, it’s one of the most in-demand treatments in the capital. It works to lift and improve muscle tone by using radiofrequency and high-intensity electromagnetic stimulation via pads that are strategically places on cheekbones and the forehead. It’s intense, a touch umcomfortable but never painful. Results (and the compliments from friends, colleagues and passersby) are immediate but, pleasingly, continue to improve from three months after the final treatment. The facial that keeps on giving.
Price: One-off EMFACE session for 35 minutes (£575), One -off session with face mask, LED therapy and gua sha massage for 60 mins (£650), a recommended course of four sessions is also available.
Where: 228 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2RH
The pampering one: Royal Fern at The Lanesborough Club & Spa
Sometimes you don’t want to be painfully zapped, tweaked or lasered. Instead, you might be screaming out for a soothing, comforting yet effective facial to calm stressed out complexions (and minds). The Lanesborough’s spa collaboration with plant-based skincare brand Royal Fern, formulated by world-renowned dermatologist Dr. Timm Golueke, is a pleasing addition to London’s facial offerings. The end result is a sculpted, lifted and radiant face (yes, please) — and the journey to get your new glow is utter bliss. Combining heavenly lymphatic massage with powerful microcurrents and EMS technology (all pain-free) and the collagen-boosting power of the Royal Fern products, chances are you’ll fall asleep and emerge as if reborn. If you can, choose the 90-minute treatment which includes a neck, shoulder and scalp massage. Recover from the calming coma in the Lanesborough’s relaxation room with tea and snacks for as long as is acceptable — it’s one of the best spas in London and leaving always feels like a wrench.
Price: The Signature Royal Fern Treatment is available for 60 minutes (£190) and 90 minutes (£250).
Where: The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner, London SW1X 7TA
The one for sensitive skin: Extreme Recharge 360-Degree Ceremony at Harrods
For anyone with sensitive skin, a facial comes with the possibility that you’ll end up looking like a toad in the mating season. The good news is that EviDenS de Beauté, a French take on Japanese beauty routine, is great for sensitive skin. When we tried it, we worked out that in the course of the Ceremony – aka facial – the nice therapist used no fewer than 15 products, including two masks. Normally that would lead to hives, but hours on, the glow was still there.
The facial is all hands-on, which is heavenly, and not only includes a cleanse, exfoliate, steam and facial massage but the blissful elements of a head massage. NB. this isn’t one to have after your blow-dry – with the emphasis on pressure points on the scalp. There’s also a shoulder massage to iron out the knotty bits and you get some work done on the arms and hands. Is there anything more relaxing than a hand massage? Oh and a fleeting touch on the feet, so you get the top to toe sensation. It’s relaxing – you’ll be in the arms of Morpheus – it’s intensely moisturising and the massage irons out tension in the face and neck. Lots to like, and the products are very good too.
Price: 80 mins, £180, 50 minute bespoke, £130
Where: Fifth Floor, 87-135 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7XL
The bespoke one: Katie England Skin
Katie is an angel and a pleasure to spend time with. She won’t subject you to any complicated beauty jargon or judgement on your rather ad-hoc cleansing regimen (unless skincare geekery is what you’re after), but rather, Katie listens — actually listens — to your concerns and goals, then tailors her facials to you. What follows is results-driven but also an hour (or two, if you’re feeling flush) of uninterrupted bliss.
Katie has recently taken up residency inside a beautifully converted prison cell (yes, you read that correctly), which once held women like the Suffragettes and Vivienne Westwood in her anarchist days, at Covent Garden’s NoMad hotel. With over a decade’s experience, Katie is that rare find: established but approachable and without a three month-long waiting list (at the moment). Katie leans heavily on lymphatic drainage massage and buccal techniques (inner mouth massage) to stimulate the muscles, encourage oxygen flow and to lift and sculpt. It’s the holy grail of relaxation and results — even her extraction method is painless. Opt for either The Bespoke (1 hour and 15 minutes, £250) which does what it says on the tin and is unique for each client or, for a treat, the BYONIK bespoke which combines her signature facial with the results of a pulse-triggered laser (90 minutes, £450). Go quickly: she gets booked up fast.
Price: starting at £180 for an express bespoke facial.
Where: NoMad Hotel, 28 Bow St, London WC2E 7AW
The baby face: Kichi
What is it: These days in the beauty industry, it’s rare that something is so good that it gets you giddy and becomes a cult treatment. That’s why we’re still so hyped about Natasha Clancy’s Baby Face Laser Facial. Iris Law, Sienna Miller and Olivia Wilde are just some of her celebrity disciples who now won’t do a red carpet event without having had one in advance.
Founder of skincare brand and Mayfair-based aesthetic clinic, Kichi, Clancy uses an advanced thulium laser to create tiny micro-channels in the skin, before flooding it with a cocktail of highly potent antioxidants, which get to work deep within the inner layers of the skin and help to supercharge collagen production that continues well beyond the treatment. There’s no downtime and you’ll see an immediate result, but here’s the best bit: you’ll then reach peak glowyness over the course of the next seven to 10 days, when your skin will feel, well, yes, baby soft to the touch. It really is the gift that keeps on giving.
Price: £350 with Natasha or £250 with a medical facialist.
Where: 14, Hanover House, Hanover Square, W1S 1HN
The MOT for your face: Pfeffer Sal
What is it: Tucked away on a pretty cobbled mews in the heart of London's Fitzrovia, Pfeffer Sal is where beauty editors go for a full blown skin MOT. First timers are encouraged to opt for the Welcome Essential facial which begins with a 20-minute in-depth skin analysis involving scans that can pick up everything from sun damage to pigmentation and inflammation — don't be too alarmed, a therapist will talk you through everything and offer advice for future-proofing your skin. The facial itself includes a double cleanse, extractions, resurfacing, a face-lifting massage, sonophoresis (ultrasound) to help penetrate a custom mix of vitamins deep into skin, as well as a tailored treatment mask and LED session.
Price: £245 for the Welcome Essential facial (100 minutes).
Where: The Stables, 10B Warren Mews, Fitzrovia, London W1T 6BY
The glow up: 111SKIN at Bvlgari Spa
What is it: If it’s radiance you’re after, look no further than 111SKIN’s Black Diamond Facial that it offers exclusively at the fancy Bvlgari Spa in Knightsbridge. The treatment incorporates the use of cosmeceutical technology and clinically-led formulas, enhanced by a Derma Pen, which creates micro channels on the skin for deep penetration. Designed to promote collagen production it improves skin’s elasticity, as well as pore size and volume. The treatment also has the bonus of reducing signs of sun damage and scarring. Basically it’s an amazing all-rounder for rejuvenation and luminosity.
Price: £550 for 90 minutes.
Where: Bvlgari Hotel London, 171 Knightsbridge London, SW7 1DW
The innovative one: Pietro Simone
What is it: Your skin needs Pietro Simone in its life, trust us. The Italian celebrity facialist is a beauty buff’s best kept secret, who has conveniently opened a new clinic at Flemings Mayfair Hotel. What sets Simone’s facials apart from any other treatment are his signature organic cotton thread exfoliation method and powerful dry massage technique, designed to promote lymphatic drainage and give your face a deep tissue massage. The results are, frankly, jaw-dropping.
Price: £395 with Pietro for The Introductory Facial (90 minutes).
Where: Flemings Mayfair Hotel, 7-12 Half Moon St, Mayfair, London W1J 7BH
The laser one: Skin Laundry
What is it: Californian-brand Skin Laundry is on a mission to take laser facials mainstream, having opened three one-stop shop clinics in the UK. The signature laser facials use a YAG laser which penetrates deep into the skin to address conditions like pigmentation, redness and to help stimulate collagen production. Laser therapy can be used to treat acne-prone skin by helping to reduce inflammation and target breakout-causing bacteria. Plus, it only takes 15 minutes, and there’s zero downtime, so you can zap and go.
Price: £250 for first Signature Laser facial (15 minutes).
Where: 9 Newburgh St, Carnaby, London W1F 7RL
The lifting one: Renée Lapino
Skin guru Renée Lapino offers holistic and medical facials in her clinic above Neville Salon in Belgravia. Treatments can be highly tailored to each client’s skin concerns on the day and incorporates radio frequency technology to lift, tighten and brighten the skin. Expect a deep cleanse, extractions, exfoliation, LED light therapy and potent professional grade skincare products to deeply nourish the complexion. Hop in the Body Ballancer suit while you’re at it for a full-body lymphatic drainage massage to promote detoxification and extra healing (£65 for one hour).
Price: £350 for the Bright and Tight facial (70 minutes).
Where: 5 Pont Street, Belgravia, SW1X 9EJ
The A-list go to: Debbie Thomas
What is it: Debbie Thomas is the go-to facialist for the likes of Dua Lipa and Jourdan Dunn. Best known for her DNA signature facial treatments which combine laser, radio frequency and a host of other powerful technologies to transform complexions. Well worth the investment.
Price: price on request.
Where: D.Thomas Clinic, 25 Walton Street, Chelsea, SW3 2HU
The oxygen one: Su-Man
What is it: Listen up folks, superfacialist Su-Man, who is renowned in the city for her cult Skin Reborn facial, now offers a brand new treatment - and it promises ultimate dewiness. The new Advanced Oxygen Facial (available from April 15) combines her signature shiatsu movement technique and oxygen therapy to help penetrate active ingredients into the deeper layers of the skin.
Price: £300 for the Advanced Oxygen Facial (75 minutes).
Where: Away Spa, W London Leicester Square, 10 Wardour Street, London W1D 6QF
The gadget-led one: Tarryn Bespoke Skincare
What: Tarryn Warren has over 15 years of experience in the skincare industry, and offers her Signature Bespoke Facial at her Kensington clinic where she combines the use of nanocurrent technology, radio-frequency tightening, microneedling and Oxygeneo to nourish skin from a cellular level. Facials also include exfoliation, deep pore cleaning, massage, vitamin infusions and LED light therapy. Enjoy it all while in the Body Ballancer, a wearable lymphatic drainage massage suit that detoxifies the body.
Price: £245 for the Signature Bespoke Facial (75 minutes).
Where: 58-60 Kensington Church St, London W8 4DB
The one with needles: 001 Skincare
What is it: Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner Ada Ooi delivers highly personalised facials that are tailored to your skin's needs on the day. Each begins with a TCM symptom diagnosis, followed by her signature modern gua sha massage and acupuncture on the face, body and ears, to address both internal and external wellbeing.
Price: price on request for the Pinpoint Wellness Treatment (60 minutes).
Where: 5 Upper Wimpole Street, Marylebone, London, W1G 6BP
The workout for your face: FaceGym
What is it: Trainers, rather than therapists, perform the cult "workouts" at FaceGym, which is set up like a gym studio — you even store your stuff in a locker while you get pampered. The workouts are designed to stimulate the more than 40 muscles in your face using an electronic device that emits mild, yet forceful waves into your skin to sculpt and tone. The trainer then performs some vigorous pummelling, knuckling and "whipping strokes" with their hands on your face to contour further. You'll notice an immediate difference.
Price: £90 for the Signature Sculpt (35 minutes).
Where: various London locations
The holistic one: re:lax Skin Studio
What is it: Over in East London, a bespoke facial with Katie (founder of re:lax) starts with a consultation and typically involves various massage techniques, including buccal (internal), connective tissue massage, manual lymphatic drainage, gua sha, as well as high frequency and LED light therapy to revive your skin. Treatments are accompanied by a head, neck and shoulder massage and foot reflexology for utter relaxation. Cosmetic acupuncture is also offered at an additional cost.
âPrice: £89 for the re:lax bespoke facial (60 minutes).
Where: Where Unit 29, Gossamer Gardens, The Oval, E2 9FN