Beauty bi­ble

Why the Skin Matters MOT is the treat­ment by which all oth­ers should be judged

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - NEWS - Lisa Arm­strong

Lisa Arm­strong on the ul­ti­mate fa­cial

FA­CIALS GET A BAD rap these days. Over­worked ther­a­pists with vault­ing sales tar­gets re­sult in cus­tomers feel­ing short-changed on their £100 (and the rest) in­vest­ment. ‘ You shouldn’t leave your treat­ment with a long list of prod­ucts to buy but very lit­tle in the way of hard facts,’ says Joanne Evans.

Jo’s be­spoke ‘Skin Matters’ MOT fa­cial is ex­pen­sive, although her (not so) ba­sic is sim­i­larly priced to oth­ers. But be­cause it ’s al­ways use­ful to have a bench­mark to mea­sure oth­ers against, here’s an idea of what she pro­vides – and what you should ex­pect from oth­ers. Pig­men­ta­tion? She’ll zap it with IPL (in­tense pulsed light ther­apy). She’s also way more ef­fec­tive than Lady Mac­beth at out­ing those damn spots and can’t un­der­stand why most ther­a­pists to­day are so re­luc­tant to do ex­trac­tions. ‘If you’re prop­erly trained, it shouldn’t cause any trauma to the skin,’ she says. Mas­sage (face, shoul­ders and feet)? Tick. Der­mabra­sion? Tick. Vi­ta­min in­fu­sions, peels (if you want them), ul­tra­sound, steam­ing, thread veins, hair re­moval? Tick, tick, tick… She’s the an­tithe­sis of the namby-pamby fa­cial where they slap on a suc­ces­sion of gunky creams and ask you about your hol­i­days.

Un­less you have a spe­cific prob­lem such as acne, your fa­cial­ist shouldn’t try to flog you a pack­age of six treat­ments. Or do a hard sell on the creams they use. Jo works across four dif­fer­ent lines, in­clud­ing En­v­i­ron. And if you want her to rec­om­mend cheaper prod­ucts to use at home, she’ll do that too (she likes The Or­di­nary, Ce­taphil and Boots No7). Ask nicely and she’ll also tell you which brands she con­sid­ers rip-offs or overly chem­i­cal. I can’t re­peat them here be­cause they might kill her. Suf­fice to say, they’re not prod­ucts I rate ei­ther so you won’t see them on these pages.

She favours Foreo elec­tronic cleansers over ones with bris­tles, be­liev­ing them gen­tler and more hy­gienic, and says there are only five es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ents for healthy skin: pep­tides, hyaluronic acid, vi­ta­mins A and D, and a plant-de­rived growth stim­u­lant. She rec­om­mends sup­ple­ments where nec­es­sary (coen­zyme Q10, vi­ta­mins C, D and B12), and will ste er your skin through break­outs and menopause (she firmly holds that skin qual­ity can im­prove with age). If sleep’s a prob­lem, she sug­gests get­ting your hor­mones looked at (‘When pro­ges­terone and testos­terone are out of kil­ter, you’ll con­stantly wake in the night ’). She’ll tell you when you’re over-cleans­ing, over­mois­tur­is­ing, over Bo­tox­ing. And she has trained two ther­a­pists, who’ve been work­ing with her for 10 years, so there are other op­tions.

And if trips to Lon­don sound too high­main­te­nance, here are some guide­lines for mak­ing fa­cials work for you: avoid the one-size-fits-all ap­proach. If your fa­cial­ist starts to trot out plat­i­tudes that you know don’t ap­ply to your skin,you can, in the nicest way pos­si­ble, chal­lenge them with a ‘re­ally?’ or, ‘I’ve tried that…’ Once they see you’re in­formed and en­gaged, they may raise their per­sonal bar. Ask them for gen­eral ad­vice – it’s a good test of their holis­tic knowl­edge and an in­di­ca­tion of whether you’re on the same page. ‘For many clients, this is about more than the me­chan­ics of look­ing af­ter their skin,’ says Joanne. ‘It’s a psy­cho­log­i­cal un­load­ing.’

It’s an­noy­ing she can’t be in 20 places at the same time. But there’s al­ways her web­site, plus an app via which you can com­mu­ni­cate with her di­rectly. Not the same as hands on, but a start. Clas­sic fa­cial, 90 min­utes, £165; Skin Matters MOT, from £380; skin-matters. co.uk. The app is 99p from Ap­ple

Jo doesn’t just slap on gunky creams and ask about your hol­i­days

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