A little google of Vaishaly Patel’s eponymous clinic on Paddington Street was enough to leave me quaking in my battered French Soles. The reviews suggested that I would be greeted by someone with unbelievable expertise and, potentially, an ego to match. There is little more scary than a beautician with attitude. I was also concerned that the clientele was so darn famous. Those famous sorts are so good at looking after themselves and never choose wine over water or Gossip Girl over the gym. I am no such creature.
To get in the salon you need to buzz a buzzer. Really. On entering, I met my facialist. Stephanie was her name. She was tall, blonde, French. She was also, it transpired, equal parts knowledge and friendliness.
Once downstairs, I couldn’t really back out. I am rather glad I didn’t. A little like baring yourself to a waxer, once I had accepted that Stephanie was going to see me in the worst light possible (a halo of white synthesised daylight – the horror), I zoned out and let her work.
The facial consisted of analysis (the worst part of any treatment, I despise a running commentary on my foibles), microdermabrasion (more painful then you’d imagine), blackhead clearance (Stephanie told me this is essential and ought to be a part of every facial), massage (heavenly, my mind floated out of my pillaged face), and a whole lot of advice.
Stephanie dispensed skin wisdom as freely as effleurage, and I felt these were universally useful:
1) Everyone can have good skin. In France particularly, it is expected that you should improve on and invest in your skin. Facials aren’t considered an indulgence but a part of maintenance of the body. They are also beneficial for clear/dry skin as the combination of massage and treatment will push moisture deeper into the skin.
2) The idea that facials make you ‘break out’ only holds true if you aren’t looking after your skin properly – toxins will come to the surface during a facial, so the break outs after treatment are the expulsion of these.
3) If you have a spot try to leave it for as long as you can and, when there is a white head, pop the tip with a sterilised needle and press gently around the the spot to eliminate the contents.
4) Gentle daily exfoliation is fine but use a granular scrub weekly, and a face mask for your skin type, between facials.
5) Use a product until you’ve finished the pot – that is when you will really know if it works for you. However, if you use something which immediately reacts badly on your skin, always stop.
Back in my Soles and dressed, I told Stephanie she was extraordinarily good at her job. She told me that Vaishaly’s team are all hand-picked and don’t apply via CV, so this level of expertise is commonplace in the salon.
As the proof is in the complexion, I feel you should know that mine is now smooth and shining with health, after a little post-facial wobble. It almost looks like I chose water and the gym last night.