You guys have every right to feel cheated here. On two counts in fact. Firstly, Scin isn't even in SW6, it's a trendy day spa on Great Portland St (also branches in Notting Hill and Liverpool apparently!) near where I work. Secondly, I am not the beauty buff of this outfit. I will gladly hand over that mantle to Sarah. I hadn't even had a facial before. Yep... it shocked the beauty therapist too. At the grand old age of 23 I have never ever had a facial, and it was high time that changed... all in the name of research, and grabbing a good review, of course!
Don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm some ugly troll who lives under a rock, or that I have no concern over my appearance whatsoever. It's just my focus has always been on the clothes. As long as I'm clean (I am clean most of the time, promise!), well dressed, and have applied a splash of mascara and the obligatory concealer on, I've generally been happy with the results. But when one of my many coupon website subscriptions offered me the chance of a facial at Scin, a really luxurious looking little place on the same road as my office, I leapt at the chance to see what the fuss was about.
And boy, what a thing I have been missing.
I am a total convert.
In fact, I fear my new love for beauty treatments is going to send me bankrupt. There are facials, massages, manis, pedis, threadings, extensions... a whole plethora of fun little treats for me to try and that will (hopefully - I'll let you know how it goes) leave me feeling relaxed, and that little bit more beautiful.
So back to Scin. I walked in to what looks like an ordinary one floor hair or nails salon. There's loads of bright white, fabulous designer wallpaper in sandy shades, and trendy damask print, and a gorgeous smell that just sets you right at ease, and reassures you of the quality of the treatment. Now, I work in marketing, so I know all these little tricks. But, so far, so good. If they've got all these little details right, you'd hope the service would be right up there too. And, hey, I'm a complete sucker for aesthetics, and I think the guys at Scin got it bang on.
I was quickly led down into the lower-ground floor. A dimly-lit warren of corridors with plus carpet and more of that gorgeous scent (I wanted to find out what it was, but there wasn't a candle in sight). The waiting area is just a little nook really, but the sofas were really comfy and there was loads of current magazines to browse. Not that I had to wait long. My beauty therapist was along promptly and I was shown into a gorgeous little treatment room.
I quickly outed myself as a facial virgin and the lady could not have been sweeter. She immediately asked if I'd rather enjoy the treatment in silence, or whether I wanted her to briefly talk through the steps as she was going along. In the name of education, I chose the latter, and I'm glad I did. She was completely unobtrusive, just quickly outlining what she was applying and what benefit it would have, each time she switched product. I'm sure it's a skill all (good) beauty therapists hone. But she had just the right level of engagement: a friendly chat as we entered the room and I got ready, and again as she ushered me out of the room at the end, plus the odd well-placed compliment throughout. Lady - I know I don't have "simply gorgeous eyelashes" but after a long, hard week at work, that totally made my day!!
But what did I think of the treatment? After a Thursday night out on the tiles with my workmates (why do I do this to myself? I work in a cruel, cruel industry) I'm afraid my skin was pretty shocking. It was dry, there were pimples, it felt tired. I came out looking and feeling totally rejuvenated. I'd heard horror stories of therapists attacking pimples like they were lurking cockroaches, but despite the state of my skin, the "squeezing" part of the ceremony was barely less relaxing than the rest, and after a quick inspection I think she really did get most of the yuck right out. At the end my skin felt hydrated, beautifully peachy and soft, with that gorgeous dewy sheen that I think looks so much healthier than the matt finish foundation provides. Most of my pimples had been raised to the surface (I'm told this is normal, and part of the extraction process) and by this morning had actually disappeared. Best of all, I felt totally relaxed and pampered, and I think this is half the point, the reason why people get so hooked. The fact that you can take an hour to yourself, at the end of a long arduous week, at an urban oasis in the middle of a hectic city, is just pure, self-indulgent bliss.
Will I be going back? I'd love to, and certainly will once I get a payrise. I got a fantastic deal, and I loved my treatment, I'm still not sure I could justify it to myself at the full whack of around £60. But, if you've got that kind of money spare, and are looking for a luxuriously self-indulgent hour of bliss in trendy (yet relaxing) surroundings, PLEASE do treat yourself.
220 Great Portland St, London
Nearest tube: Great Portland St
Treatment: 1 hour Murad facial
All photos: London Beauty Review