Where the A-Listers go for a Facial

On a quiet road in Maida Vale, A-Listers step out of their chauffeured cars and discretely into an unobtrusive clinic for beauty treatments. The Skin Culturist has been in this spot for over 18 years, so it’s no new kid on the block, and the fact that the clientele is so high profile speaks volumes.

I’m no A-Lister, but the welcome I receive is just as warm as I imagine it would be for Gwyneth Paltrow (n.b. I picked her randomly, I don’t know if she is an actual client!). The surroundings are bright and colourful and as all beauty clinics should, it smells wonderful. I’m here for a bespoke facial, but before that can begin my skin is photographed so that it can be analysed. It’s not the nicest thing having multiple versions of yourself wearing a towelling turban staring out of a large screen, but I’m here to find out if my skincare regime is sufficient and if there are any major areas of concern. The images look at things like pigmentation (this is probably the scariest photo of all!) and it shows a terrifying glimpse of what your face would be like if you didn’t use sun protection. Factor 50 all the way for me. Other images show pores, dryness, wrinkles and any acne issues. My therapist, Rindia, reassures me that there are no major issues with my skin, aside from what you might expect as a woman of a certain fine vintage. This helps her plan what I need from my facial and thus informed, we head downstairs to the treatment room.

Once I’m cocooned on the comfiest bed and swathed in towels, Rindia tells me she’s going to do a deep cleanse. While I’m pretty good with my own skincare regime at home (and yes, I double-cleanse… on some days), living in London, travelling on the tube, feeling the heat, and possibly drinking more wine than I should, mean my pores need some help.  She cleanses (an oil cleanser first and then a creamy one) and applies an enzyme mask that smells deliciously of hot cross buns, and starts to work with her nimble fingers. There is no doubt about it, Rindia is a massage goddess.  She works the products deep into my skin while steaming my face, and it’s heavenly. Getting out all the knots in my neck and shoulders and gently pulling and pushing my face, there is not one pore untouched. I don’t need to go into the details of the extraction process, in case you’re eating, but after this is complete a strawberry-scented mask is applied to my face, neck and decolletage and the real work begins. I don’t know how long I am there for as I drift off, but it is an intense facial massage like I’ve never had before. Rindia does say I should feel free to let her know if it’s too strong, but I like the feeling of muscles being really worked, and while I grimace internally a couple of times, it makes me realise how much tension I hold in my jaw and how much I need this. She even works around the eye socket, which is intense, but she tells me afterwards this can really help with the pesky hay fever symptoms I’ve been really suffering from.  She also puts gloves on and massages from the inside of the mouth too. A lot of what she does is lymphatic drainage so the benefits will be apparent in the days to come; it flushes out impurities, and improves  any signs of water retention or puffiness. As she helps me up to a seated position on the bed she drops in a quick back massage too, which is lovely as it gives me the chance to return to some sort of full consciousness! My face looks visibly lifted and my eyes clearer. I’m going to make like an A-Lister and come back here on a regular basis. The kind of celeb who gets the bus everywhere…

The Skin Culturist offers the highest standard services and state-of-the-art medical grade aesthetic treatments, as well as bespoke traditional skincare. Facials start from £170 for an hour.

5-6 Clarendon Terrace, W9 1BZ, theskinculturist.co.uk, 0207 266 2127