The Good Glamour guide to spas, facials, massage treatments and general fabulousness.
Some days, being a beauty blogger feels like nothing more than sitting around in saggy-bum leggings with a muesli face-pack on, hunched over my laptop, whistling into the geranium-and-rose-petal-scented wind. Other days, my cup overruns with special and gorgeous treats. Like today. I have been invited to sample Oskia’s Renaissance luxury face & body treatment. I purr the words: ‘rrrrenaisssance luuuxury face and body trrrreatment’. It cheers me up no end, I can tell you.
In order to properly prepare myself for the experience I drive to Covent Garden and then attempt to park. After being honked at by a taxi driver for slowing down in the middle of the road to try to decipher the byzantine parking restriction signs, a couple of close shaves with Boris bikes and an obligatory altercation over a space (I won!) I arrive at the Oskia Spa utterly and thoroughly stressed OUT.
I am a tad dubious about getting a full body massage in a beauty salon. In general, beauticians are not necessarily well versed in the dark arts of flesh pummelling. So I’m expecting a nice facial with a bit of a leg rub on the side. And having had a force ten massage only last week with the remarkable Ros Tonello (more about her later), I have a pretty high benchmark to measure this treatment up to.
My first impression of Oskia therapist Holly seems to confirm my prejudice. Her porcelain-doll face is undoubtedly an excellent advertisement for the beauty products she’ll be using. But she’s such a tiny little thing I doubt that she can have more strength in her hands than a sparrow. “Do you like your massage to be gentle or strong?” Holly asks. “Strong” I reply, decisively.
First impressions are often deceptive.
The body massage is administered using the intriguing Oskia Rose de Mai massage candle. At first I didn’t really understand the concept but now I totally get it. As the candle burns it melts the massage oil that is then applied hot. It feels goood. At the same time, the room is filled with the fragrance of roses.
After Holly has steamrollered my back and shoulders FLAT she starts working in to the ghastly knots that I have nurtured beneath my shoulder blades through years of keyboard banging. She then grasps the scruff of my neck in her vice-like fingers until my head nearly falls off. What I love about a proper massage is the exquisite coalescence of pain and pleasure. As one half of my brain screams ‘Urgh – get off!’ the other half cries ‘Yesss – do it more!’
Her expert kneading continues into my hips, legs, feet, arms – front and back, so that by the time we get to the facial part of the affair I am semi-comatose. Which is as it should be. I can vaguely relate memories of being swabbed with virtually the entire kitchen cabinet of Oskia potions: cleanser; toner; exfoliator; each one applied with a gentle massaging and removed with a hot cloth; each one more heavenly than the last.
The coup-de-grace of this beauty banquet is the application of the Oskia Renaissance mask. This goes on like some kind of velvet honey, is packed with a fruit cocktail of AHAs and liposomes and stuff and smells like daybreak on a desert island. Whilst the mask does its work, Holly gets back to releasing the tension in my neck and shoulders with soothing strokes. I lie there and think about… nothing… except how I want this moment to go on and on forever and ever and ever and ever. And you know what? It almost feels as though it does. I have reached that joyful nirvana where the past and the future simply cease to exist.
After forever another hot cloth is lovingly applied, moisturiser is smoothed on and, finally, a finishing glaze of Get Up & Glow – like a cherry on a cake of bliss.
Pampering like this is, in my opinion, truly life-enhancing. We may not be able to afford it every week but if you are getting married, or divorced, or you just love yourself enough, here is an indulgence worth investing in.
I float gently back to the car and the traffic and the drizzly London night, feeling fabulous, looking luscious and smelling sublime. Aaaaah, monsieur sweary cyclist with no lights and no helmet, hello… please, you go first. I insist.