Oxygen Facial treatment
Oxygen therapy. Photo: Helen Nezdropa
Call me cynical (and many do), but to my mind the facial is the beauty equivalent of a reiki healing. The cleansing of pores is right up there with the cleansing of aura for believability and general effectiveness. Indeed, I harbour a theory that people flock to facials because it's a way to legitimise a face massage, which, as anyone who's honest will tell you, is the best part of the routine.
So it was with a serious raise of my judgmental eyebrow (it's the right one) and a large amount of suspicion that I went ahead and had what is known as an "oxygen facial". It goes by the stage name of Intraceuticals Infusion and uses "therapeutic-grade oxygen" and hydrolic acid to deliver "specialised active serums" to my skin in order to make it look younger, plumper, better.
Apparently Justin Timberlake has said it makes his skin "look dope" - and why would a former 'N Sync band member, now successfully making the transition from singer to serious actor, lie?
When I arrived at the salon I was greeted by a woman with luminous skin and, in the name of reconnaissance, I asked, "Have you had this done?"
"Oh yes!" she replied, explaining that when she arrived home the day she had it her flatmates demanded to know why she looked so good. Satisfied with this rigorous research, I flopped myself down on the bed, while the beautician apologised that she could not tuck me in as it was too hot. It was at this point I remembered the other thing people love about facials: sleeping on the job.
The process began with a cleansing of my skin and then a fine mist of serum was sprayed onto my face. This was followed by the application of pressurised oxygen, which felt not unlike that vacuum thing the dentist uses to suck up your saliva, only on my face. (Apologies if you're eating.) It was with some self-consciousness that I noted the beautician was concentrating on the lines around my mouth and eyes. She followed this by massaging a hydrating gel onto my skin to bind in moisture, and then she slathered another moisturiser on top of that while gently informing me that my skin was seriously dry. But, she reassuringly added, my skin loved what she just did and "drank it in", which felt akin to when the reiki dude tells you, "It's fine now, I lifted your aura out of that murky green to a vibrant sunrise - lucky."
When I returned to work with my goodie bag of at-home facial care (see The Tools, right) I felt rested but really no different. However, over the course of the following week I noticed my skin tone was more even, which could be due to any number of new serums I've had on my face. Then again, that could be my combative chi talking, so I'll exhale and confess that it probably worked.
Approximate cost of an Intraceuticals oxygen facial is $120. Visit intraceuticals.com for more information.