Feel relaxed, rejuvenated and revived after a gorgeous facial.
Words Carolyn Enting. Header photography Josh Griggs
The best kind of facial is the one that not only leaves your skin looking radiant but your spirit feeling rejuvenated too. That can be a challenge to find in an industry heaving with spa therapies promising to make you look younger, supported by a mind-boggling number of products they try to push onto you at the end of your treatment. The record number of products I was once recommended to buy after a facial was 12 – I’m not kidding. The therapist had them all lined up on the counter ready for me when I went to pay. Aside from the fact that together they totalled over $1200, when would I ever have time to apply that many products at home? And do we really need that number of products? Of course we don’t. Plus, the facial itself was not at all relaxing because the therapist had to apply and then strip 12 products on and off my face within the time slot allocated. Instead of walking out with glowing hydrated skin, as per the promise, my face was beetroot red and my mood best described as irritated.
Since that time I’ve been super cautious of facials but there are two methodologies I gladly endorse – a Margaret Hema or MV Organic Facial. Both have been developed independently by smart women who have a short bullshit meter for the beauty industry and have successfully gone out on their own to not only develop facial massage methodologies but a range of products that foster beautiful skin.
The Margaret Hema way
Wellington-based Margaret Hema believes in treating skin like beautiful fabric. She doesn’t believe in scrubbing the face with exfoliants. Instead, the active manuka honey UMF 15+ in her leave-on mask acts as a gentle exfoliant, which, when gently removed with a hot flannel, removes any dead skin cells. Using a mixture of ingredients – honey, extra virgin avocado oil, kiwifruit seed oil, certified organic totarol and flax oil – the Margaret Hema Holistic Facial revitalises, replenishes and renews.
Her facial massage technique is heavenly as well as unique (which she has also passed on to Auckland-based practitioner Seonaid Lyons) and blends together deep massage, acupressure and lymphatic drainage. The skin is left hydrated, nourished, replenished and glowing. Plus, your inner spirit is glowing too.
Hema handpicked Lyons to mentor, and awarded her with a Diploma in the Margaret Hema facial technique and skincare philosophy, and she became the Auckland Margaret Hema representative in 2010.
MV Organic Skincare
Similarly Sharon McGlinchey, founder of MV Organic Skincare in Australia, shares the Hema philosophy of honesty and integrity, and has passed on the facial technique she has developed by training a handful of Master MV facialists (Milly Hart at Auckland’s Tonic Room is the only Master MV facialist in New Zealand).
The MV Organic Facial treatment is a healing and rhythmical skin and body healing experience. Not only does it improve the condition and appearance of your skin, it also provides a sense of inner calm. Using a nurturing touch, combined with her oil and clay formulas, to bring a deep state of relaxation and inner stillness to the mind and body. You almost float out the room.
Whether applying a cleansing oil or facial oil to the skin, make massaging the oil into your face with your fingers a daily ritual. First, take the time to inhale the oil’s beautiful scent. Margaret Hema Millennium Face and Body Oil contains organic New Zealand Pacific Blue lavender – heavenly. Then press/pat the oil into the skin before giving your face a massage using upward circular motions – starting from the neck up over the jawline to the cheekbones; around the wide outer-eye area, following the nose, then eyebrows in full circles; and smaller circular motions across the forehead up to the hairline. The effect of doing this daily will improve muscle tone and firmness as well as circulation.
MV Organic Skincare’s Signature Mineral Mask helps to soothe, strengthen and refine the skin. McGlinchey has made it easy by providing a box set for the mask that includes a bowl for mixing and a brush to apply this superfine French white clay (kaolin) mask to the skin. The mask also refines pores and increases cellular oxygenation. For best results use once or twice weekly after cleansing and always remove before completely dry. First, use the brush to mix 2 teaspoons to a smooth consistency with spring or filter water. Apply to the face and neck with the brush and relax for 7-10 minutes. While the mask is still slightly damp, remove with warm water and a muslin or face cloth.
If you have a gua sha crystal facial tool, you can give yourself a gua sha facial massage. It is important to apply a facial oil or moisturiser to enable the tool to glide over your skin easily without pulling. As author Juliette Thornbury details in her new book The Crystal Fix: Healing Crystals For The Modern Home (see more page 18), gua sha is an ancient Chinese healing practice used to increase the blood flow, release toxins from the skin and reduce inflammation. It works by releasing tension in the muscles while breaking up any stagnant energy to promote healing and rejuvenation. The tools used are often made from stones believed to contain anti-ageing properties, such as rose quartz or jade.
Meet the skin gurus
Facialists ‘by appointment only’:
Gua sha facial massage
Gua sha is an ancient Chinese healing practice that is used to increase the blood flow, release toxins from the skin and reduce inflammation. Learn how to carry out this technique at home