Su-Man Hsu does not want you to fall asleep during her facial. On the contrary, the effect of her facial is ridiculously enlivening for both skin and mind. For a woman whose facial is a reflection of her life, this is rather apt. Before I can tell you anything about the treatment, I have to tell you about Su-Man – nobody else could give a facial like this.
Hailing from a small Taiwanese town, Su-Man was studying when she decided to become a ballerina in her 20s. With characteristic determination, she earned a role as a principal dancer and learned shiatsu and pilates as a way to maintain her body. Once retired, Su-Man decided to fuse what she’d learnt in different spheres and create a facial harnessing the powers of all three. Her efforts have been rewarded with an army of prominent followers: Juliette Binoche, Frieda Pinto and Anne Hathaway eagerly snap up facials and dance/pilates sessions with Su-man.
I suppose you want to hear about the facial I had with her at the W Hotel. Well, it started with machinery – namely, a microscopic glance at my skin. From then on, it was hands-on with a steam, cleanse, extraction, exfoliation and much, much massage with a difference: Su-Man brings her experience to every element. Dance occurs throughout; her fingers danced over my face repeating each stroke 36 times in accordance with Chinese principles. The Shiatsu is also a big part of the treatment and the very firm strokes she administered on my hairline, face, neck and even inside my ears bordered on painful (but I bore it due to Su-Man’s assertion that getting the blood pumping through the muscles and to the skin was vital).
Su-Man’s general advice for caring for skin? She doesn’t advocate cotton pads (‘a waste, just put the toner on with your hands then add serum to bind in the moisture’), unsurprisingly prescribes massage to address many skin woes, believes exercise – and dance in particular – contributes to the healthy appearance of the skin, and told me it was vital to tackle tension in the jaw and neck.
When she showed me my reflection in a hand mirror I was quite surprised to see the marked difference – a rudely healthy complexion looked back at me. I immediately joined Binoche and co in my love for Su-Man. If you see her, you will most likely, too, but fret not if you can’t – she is releasing 6 products that she promised me have a little of her essence in. And as I found out, a little of little Su-Man goes a long way.