Spa review: oxygen facial in London
Pure air and oxygen in Covent Garden - Adrienne Wyper tried it out
People often describe having a facial as feeling as though they're in a cocoon. Well, for this facial at the One Aldwych Health Club I was literally in a bubble: an inflatable igloo pumped full of oxygen.
The igloo is more formally known as the Natura Bissé Bubble Pure Air, and had its international premiere at the 2009 Oscars. It's pumped full of 99.5% oxygen, so I breathed deeply to fill my lungs with something other than London traffic fumes.
The Spanish company of Natura Bissé, used for all treatments at One Aldwych, bases its range on the principle of introducing oxygen into the skin. Its products contain hydrogen peroxide. which may sound alarmingly like bleach, but once the molecules penetrate the epidermis, they're transformed into water and oxygen, supplying moisture and vitality.
Also key to the products is Living Water, harvested from the green-blue algae spirulina, which contains high levels of amino acids, sugars and trace elements such as copper, manganese, potassium and zinc, which help to improve the skin's firmness and elasticity.
My therapist, Tatiana, unzipped the igloo and left me to get undressed. The bed was heated, which was very relaxing initially, but I had to ask for the heat to be turned down later as it was a warm afternoon. The white walls of the igloo glowed gently and the relaxing instrumental music had a bass line a little like a heartbeat - very reassuring and soothing.
Once my face was cleansed, a soothing, refreshing toner was spritzed on. A 'glyco-peel' followed, designed to remove the dead skin cells and reveal fresher skin beneath. This produced a cool tingling sensation. While this was working Tatiana expertly massaged my shoulders, neck, arms and hands, plus my legs and feet.
Once the mask was removed an Oxygen Finishing mask was applied, which contains Living Water. It's a decongestant mask that helps to unclog pores and soothe the skin. Next it was time for Oxygen Complex serum with high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and an exclusive 'Oxy-Flow' molecule which provides oxygen to the skin, while cleansing it by helping to remove carbon dioxide. The last step was an oxygen cream, to add a final burst of moisturisation.
I gradually came back to the 'real world' and stroked my skin: so smooth!
Out of the igloo, I sipped a glass of water with orange slices and Tatiana handed me a mirror. I could see my face's pigmentation was more even and my skin looked very fresh. She recommended products to use, noting them in a routine, and gave me a couple of samples.
When I stepped outside on to the busy London streets with my newly purified skin I felt newly aware of the dirt in the air around me - but relaxed enough not to worry about it!
Find out more
One Aldwych's Health Club is on the lower ground floor at 1 Aldwych, London WC2B 4BZ. For treatment selections and reservations, call 020 7300 0600 or visit the website.
Facials cost from £50, and all use the Natura Bissé range of products.