I was lucky enough to receive a gift-card to the tune of one free Fabulous Facial, thanks to the good folk at Flare Communications (did I forget? I love them too!). It’s a new treatment at Hong Kong’s Bliss Spa (set to replace their Best Of Skintentions facial) so there weren’t many details available about the procedure – but even when you’re heading all the way to Kowloon for a facial you know nothing about, the thought of the Bliss brownie buffet at the other side is enough to make it worthwhile!
The Fabulous Facial is intended as more of a maintenance facial than some of Bliss Spa’s more luxurious ‘special occasion’ type treatments. Your technician will take a close look at your skin, focus on your problem areas amongst the general basic facial routine and chuck some massage action in the mix too. The products used are from Bliss’ ‘Fabulous’ range, including their best-selling Fabulous Foaming Face Wash cleanser and exfoliator, Fabulous Face Lotion (with SPF 15) and the lightweight Fabulous Every Day Eye Cream; if you want, you can also opt for some more targeted add-ons, like eye treatments or masks.I had a lovely bubbly Bliss technician called Annie (much preferable to the po-faced whispering sorts you get at some joints) and as expected, my strawberry nose was deemed the focus of the session (strawberry like because it’s studded with big blackheads like a strawberry is studded with black seeds). This meant most of my hour was spent on… dun dun DUN… extraction.
If extraction ain’t hurting, it’s probably not being done right. I had to start doing breathing exercises (God knows how I’m ever going to get through labour!) to cope with the pain! I liked that my pores were opened up with hot towels, as opposed to the steam machines that make me feel like I can’t breathe, in addition to the searing pain of the extraction in the first place, and Annie was sympathetic to my plight but battled on – even finding blackheads behind my ears! [Gross.]
The rest of the facial was fairly standard – cleansing, toning, moisturising, a cooling eye mask – but all done with Bliss’ signature products, which means they smell gorgeous, work gently but effectively and are more than a few cuts above your average. What some may feel the treatment is missing is a really intense, deeply moisturising face mask (often left on during a massage or, in the case of my local, whilst the beautician goes off to watch TVB soaps in a room next-door). Whilst I did miss the sensation of a thick cream sitting on my face, I actually didn’t notice much difference in results come the end of the Fabulous Facial so perhaps these heavy-duty masks are overrated in the first place!
And the massage more than makes up for it! Most of the time, you’ll get a perfunctory rub of the head, neck and shoulders, but the Fabulous Facial goes above and beyond the call of duty. You get the usual head, neck and shoulders stuff – and very nice it is too – plus the back, arms, hands, legs and feet. And it’s all done with the skill of a masseuse as opposed to a beautician who’s given her boyfriend a few back rubs. Annie was really brilliant here – she had a light soothing touch, applied just the right amount of pressure and my arms, hands, legs and feet in particular felt really light and limber by the end. Even when she was applying products, it felt like she was massaging my face and it was amazing how fabulous I felt all-over after just a facial!
I also really have to mention the spa experience itself. I’m not going to bang on about why I love the whole concept of Bliss Spa itself (see here if you want that essay) but I loved the room I was in. As opposed to a dim, dark air-conned to the hilt space with Enya-esque plinky-plonks dripping in the background, I was in a light airy room with an amazing view of the harbour (not that I got to see much of it) and bright sunlight streaming through the window, with proper songs happening in the background instead – Nina Simone, Dean Martin and various acoustic singer-songwriter types are much preferable to panpipes and wind-chimes in my book! Getting to bask in that just-right heat was so absolutely relaxing and wonderful – better than the beach I reckon, with no worry of sunburn (and sand in your pants) to prey on your mind either!
As ever, I finished things up with the brownie buffet – a few may even have found their way into my pocket for the journey back (and lasted as far as the dressing room, nom) – and, as ever, I was sad to leave.
The immediate effects from the Fabulous Facial were, to be honest, fine rather than fabulous. My skin did look brighter but post-extraction, my throbbing nose was obviously giving Rudolph’s a run for his money. You’re recommended not to wash your face for at least five hours afterwards or apply other make-up and products; I followed this advice and I’m glad I did so, because the next day, the results were truly fabulous! When I emerged after only four hours sleep the next morning, I was honestly taken aback. My complexion was noticeably smoother, softer, brighter and glowing. Niggly blemishes had practically disappeared, my nose had calmed down and my blackheads had abated, even my trademark under-eye bags were lighter and less pronounced – effects that were still noticeable up to a week afterwards. It was basically as if someone had pressed a refresh button on my face.
So yes, the Fabulous Facial lives up to its name and yes, it lives up to everything I love about Bliss Spa too. Long may life continue to be Bliss-ful!
Fabulous Facial, $870 for 60 mins, Bliss Spa, W Hotel, 1 Austin Road, West Kowloon Station, 3717 2797