Treatment review: Cold & Flu Facial, Michaeljohn

Why we wanted to review it

The Cold and Flu facial sounded like a brilliant idea when all around us, people are coughing and sneezing. Could a facial really help us look and feel fabulous again when laid low with a horrid bug?

What products did they use?

Ann Semonin

What happened before the treatment.

Arriving at the Michaeljohn Beauty & Medispa flagship salon on Albermarle Street, W1 is very much a Mayfair experience with its grand black marbled entrance, huge vase of lilies on the reception desk and immense glittering chandeliers.

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I sat in the reception area of the hair salon before being met by my therapist Hayley who led me downstairs to the suite of treatment rooms, dropping my coat and bag with the coat check lady on the way.

In the treatment room I was given a supplement tablet containing zinc, Echinacea, omega 3 and vitamins D & C – all associated with boosting the immune system. Then I was asked to take my top off and lie down. The massage bed was contoured and comfortable and I very snug wrapped in blankets and towels. The lighting was low and the colours very muted so it was easy to close my eyes and relax very quickly.

Describe the treatment

The very first thing that Hayley did was hold her hands over my face and ask to me to take three slow and deep breaths. Her hands were covered in eucalyptus and tea tree oils – both known for their antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic properties. Inhaling deeply and slowly really made me start to relax and let go, so it was doubly powerful. This process was repeated several times throughout the facial and was a really lovely touch.

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After cleansing, Haley directed the steamer onto my face while she massaged my hands and lower arms with oil before putting a giant heated glove on to my hand and then repeating the same process on the other side. These stayed on – and stayed hot – for the rest of the treatment.  Next came the extraction, the deepest and most thorough that I have ever had. It was mildly painful and Hayley did ask if it was too much but as I pointed out, if you have been through childbirth, you can take a little blackhead extraction.

Hayley painted the beautifully textured cream face pack on and then stood behind me to do a really lovely strong massage on my neck and shoulders which felt wonderful and must be amazing when the muscles are really tight when laid low with a virus.

Hayley then took off the mask, smoothed warm oil over my face and began a facial massage designed to target blocked sinuses. Lastly a serum and moisturiser were applied and the treatment was completed.

The massage bed was eased into a semi upright position and I was left to come round in my own time. I was then handed a glass cup of delicious lemon and ginger tea with manuka honey.

How did you look/feel afterwards?

I felt very relaxed and my skin looked glowing.  I asked whether I should put on make-up and Hayley said that foundation and BB creams can clog the skin after a treatment, so she applied mineral makeup with a brush. This is light enough to let the skin breathe but still gives some coverage. Perfect!

Who would like this treatment?

Anyone with the aches, pains and dull complexion of a winter cold could not fail to feel revived by this facial. Hayley told me that it has also proved very effective for hayfever sufferers and those who have recently done a lot of flying.

Price and duration

£85 for 75 minutes

Where you can have the treatment?

Michaeljohn Beauty & Medispa:
25 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4HU
8 Motcomb Street, SW1X 8JU

Spa trends 2014

The Good Spa Spies have been out in force, reviewing and inspecting over 70 spas in the UK during the last year plus some spas in India, California, The Maldives, The Seychelles, Cyprus and Vancouver. We have been scrubbed, buffed, polished and shone, all in the name of research of course! We found some interesting new trends in the spa world.

Wellness events

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Several spas are now offering lifestyle consultations where you focus on key ways to improve your health. Some offer consultations with complementary therapists, a nurse or a dietician. This is a trend we predict will see more as we are hit by the double whammy of a crumbling health system and a rapidly retreating retirement age. We all have to take more responsibility for our own health. Disease prevention and supporting recovery after illness are important programmes that spas can develop.  Some spas also offer follow up sessions so you can go back to do a refresher course. Great for boosting one’s flagging willpower

Specialist ‘cures’

We used to ‘take the waters’ at a spa as a cure for almost anything; gout, indigestion even TB. Now spas are offering focused spa package to help with problems as diverse as insomnia, stress, weight loss and the menopause. And they are using activities like power walking, dance, meditation, mindfulness and even singing to help you manage symptoms.

Social Spa-ing

Social Spa!

We have noticed a trend towards using spas to meet up with friends and family. A spa day together gives everyone time to relax, and gossip and do that ‘kinship keeping’ that our modern lifestyle prevents. And now that spas have become mainstream, men are no longer shy about spending the day in a robe. Summer Spy recently found herself sharing a sauna with a group of about eight men who had booked a spa day together.

Visible results

Advances in skincare technology (especially nutri-cosmeticals and multifunctional products) have meant that many treatments now provide visible results. That’s important because spa goers are looking for noticeable results. We all want to know that the money we are investing pays off, and if we can see the difference, we will buy again.

Signature massages

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Massage is the single most popular treatment at most spas. In the past you choose a style of massage… Swedish, Aromatherapy, Thai and the like. Now, therapists are combining various aspects of massage styles. And sometimes they even throw in some reflexology and pressure point work as well. In skilled hands this is great tailor-making of a massage to suit your needs.

Fast Spa-ing

Of course mostly we want to go to a spa and have a ‘slow’ day. Spend all day in a robe just drifting from treatment to treatment, read a page or two of a not very demanding book, have a gentle swim and come out all calm and collected. But sometimes life does not let us find the time to be slow, so spas have started offering shorter treatments that can easily be fitted into lunchtime or an evening. A thirty minute neck massage may be just what you need to get you through to the end of the week, or a mini facial may give you enough of a glow to be able to face that evening out.

Seasonal treatments

Bright and cheerful ‘spring’ packages that include the use of enlivening aromatherapy oils like sweet orange to banish winter blues. Body polishes and pedicures make for perfect summer spa days. Autumn packages may include treatments that help boost the immune system such as lymphatic drainage or Traditional Chinese Medicine. Winter packages often include warming treatments using hot stones and warm foot soaks, followed by Korean plum tea to warm you inside.

Post treatment treats to boost the blood sugar

You know how tiring it is lying down for an hour or so while someone pummels and pushes you. One trend we love is the offering of tasty and healthy snacks along with the post-treatment herbal tea. We have had frozen grapes (very refreshing) chopped fruits (very healthy), Indian style crackers (spicy), hummus and breadsticks (great if the hunger pangs are getting noticeably noisy)  and  a glass of champagne with a raspberry sorbet added to it (our favourite of course).

Warm towels or robes

robes

This is a treat we really appreciate. Therapists have been known to hang our robe on a radiator so it is toasty warm when the treatment is finished. One Spa Spy was offered a warm towel to put round her neck after a particularly effective neck massage. This goes very well with under-floor heating in the changing areas, but is obviously much cheaper than ripping up the flooring to install heating and any spa could offer this nice touch.

Couples rooms for er… non couples

There was a very strange Victorian law in the UK which forbad the use of couples rooms in spas. What did those naughty Victorians get up to we wonder! When it was revoked a few years ago spas went all out to create couples rooms which are great for a romantic time with your partner. But we have noticed a tendency to use them for friends who have booked a spa day together. No problem with that of course if you want to have your treatment with your pal and you are asked. But more than one spy spa has been automatically booked in without being asked. You may not want even your best pal to hear the fat being pummelled on our thighs. So spas please ask first!