As I settled down to fill out my questionnaire at the Cherry Woods Skin Clinic, I knew it was the real sh*t. I had come to her studio based in idyllic Richmond to try out her signature 'Bloom' anti-ageing facial in the hopes that she could help my skin turn back time - a process which, as I'd recently learned, is important to start in your mid-20s. The questionnaire quizzed me on things such as 'How many portions of fruit and vegetables do you eat a week?', 'What's your alcohol intake?' and 'What's your skincare routine?' - questions any facial aficionado knows are the secret to a top-notch treatment. See, whatever you put on that questionnaire will influence what your skin is treated with. I told Cherry that I was prone to dry skin, and so that was taken into account during my facial.
Started from the bottom now we here
The first slightly weird touch came right at the start, when Cherry asked me to remove my shoes and socks before I got onto the bed. Obviously I need to remove my shoes, I thought. But socks? I must have misheard. Turns out I hadn't: after my socks were removed, Cherry told me that she's also trained in reflexology, which is the idea that points on the feet are inherently linked with the rest of your body. Reflexology can be used as tension relief and to treat illnesses, so it made sense that Cherry wanted to start here.
After my feet were soaked with hot towels, Cherry applied Vitamin A and C to my face. These active ingredients help to repair sun damage, scar tissue and pigmentation. Next up came a product called Colostrum, and this is where the facial got interesting: Colostrum is a pre-milk substance, often called 'first milk', and is produced by mammals in late pregnancy. This pre-milk is great for new cell growth and stimulating the collagen in your face - the stuff that keeps your skin youthful and wrinkle-free.
The Dream Machine
Next up came what I have fondly dubbed The Dream Machine, but is officially known as the Ionzyme® DF ll Machine. This used low frequency 'sonophoresis', a process that helps the Colostrum to absorb deep into your skin 4000x more effectively. In order to do this, Cherry's machine pumped soundwaves through my skin, which I couldn't feel, but I could definitely hear. As the product was massaged into my skin, I began to hear a high-pitched sound that would get worse around my jawline. In all honesty, it felt a little nuts.
Next came some pain - but don't worry, it was only minor. Cherry had asked if I had any problem areas on my face. I had said that my jawline seemed particularly troublesome - I had had a few spots coming up recently and the skin was quite bumpy. Cherry said that this could be down to the fact that that is an often-ignored spot when taking off makeup, and is probably affected by the hot weather, too. Before I knew it I had my eyes being protected from a bright light as Cherry went to work on the affected area, squeezing away at these lumps and eliminating them in the process. Ouch. But despite the pain I could also feel that this facial was already going to be crazy effective.
Environ lactic acid was then applied to my face, along with a gentle steam that was infused with chamomile tea which was strange at first and then deeply relaxing to the point that sleep was imminent. From hot to cold, the steam was switched with an electrical cryonic device was used to "ice up" my skin. Cryonics are usually used as a preservation technique, sometimes on bodies in an attempt to maintain them after death, but in my case it helped with the preservation of my skin, tightening, reducing inflammation and helping to prevent a post-facial breakout.
Apply some pressure
Now it was time to apply some pressure. Cherry gave me a "pressure release" face, neck and shoulder massage which only relaxed me further, so much so that when the massage was over I just wasn't ready to get up and leave. The massage was followed up with a lifting botanical mask, then all the products were removed with hot towels and a medical grade botanical sun protection applied. Then I was done. Cherry gave me advice on how to look after my skin going forward, signalling the end of the facial, but I couldn't bring myself to haul my lazing body up off the bed just yet. I laid there with warm towels over my feet and my eyes shut long after Cherry had left the room, and when I did eventually leave my hair was sticking up all over the place but I didn't care - I was zen AF.
Sometimes when you get a massage, it can feel like a load of products are being slapped onto your face with no real purpose. But with Cherry, you know that every single thing has a purpose, every product has an end goal for your skin. She talks you through the products and their purpose for being in the facial as she goes, so you're never in the dark about what's being applied. The change in my skin was more noticeable than I was expecting - I even had compliments on its glow! The troublesome patch around my jawline cleared up within a few days, and my skin is still feeling incredibly soft and well moisturised, even a week after the treatment. This is the power of a truly good, professional facial.
If you'd like to book in with Cherry for one of her badass facials, click here!
What facials would you recommend? Let us know! @sofeminineUK
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