Tried & Tested: Natura Bissé’s Citrus Essence Facial
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, however you’ll also find it tucked away in a luxurious treatment room in central London, more specifically, on the top floor of our sumptuous Browns Brook Street flagship. This is where our newest Resident can be found, none other than Natura Bissé, the Spanish skincare experts renowned for celebrating the power of touch. Offering three of their most sought-after facials (including the Diamond Extreme Facial, exclusively at Browns), alongside massage and neck lift treatments, we sent our Features Editor to test drive their signature Citrus Essence Facial.
Where cosmetics are concerned, I’d describe myself as a minimalist. As a teenager, beauty meant scribbly kajal eye pencils (I lived through indie sleaze the first time) and a sticky smear of Juicy Tubes lipgloss. In my twenties, my focus shifted to skincare, but I confess I’ve been pretty laissez-faire - a daily coating of SPF and the occasional lick of fancy night oil. As I approach 30 and the signs of ageing begin to show (hello to the frown-fold across my forehead), I know it’s time to level up my routine. Thus when presented with the opportunity to trial our newest Residency offering, I jumped at the chance.
Browsing the treatment menu, I opted for the Citrus Essence Facial, keen to learn more about Vitamin C, the ingredient-du-jour of today’s skincare experts. The 60-minute antioxidant treatment promises to restore vitality to sun-damaged skin and minimise signs of premature ageing. Needless to say, I was ready to give it a try...
Arriving at the appointment, I was sequestered into a treatment room by one of the therapists, who invited me into what can best be described as a temple of relaxation - classical music playing gently and a treatment bed draped in fluffy, luxurious towelling. I couldn’t get horizontal fast enough, whisking off my top and flopping enthusiastically into position (it’s not often you get to take a few hours off work to enjoy a luxury facial.)
The therapist began by explaining the benefits of Vitamin C, the treatment’s power player. For someone like me, who associates Vitamin C with cold-busting Berocca tablets, I was fascinated to learn that when harnessed correctly, Vitamin C is one of the best ingredients for targeting sun damage and hyperpigmentation. It also brightens the complexion, and acts as an antioxidant to obliterate any free radicals surfing the skin. She explained to me that oxidative stress on the body causes chemical imbalances, and it’s from these that free radicals form. What causes oxidative stress? Oh, all the fun stuff really. Unhealthy diet, smoking, drinking, stress and pollution. (For all the weekend warriors out there, this one’s for you.)
First, she proceeded to apply a cleanser, starting with a gentle makeup remover and then using a second one from the Diamond Cocoon range. Rinsing it gently off my skin using warm mitts, she told me that my aforementioned forehead crease is probably due to dehydration, which can often be mistaken for wrinkles. For dry skin she recommended a cream moisturiser such as the Essential Shock Intense Cream, as the thick texture creates a barrier to prevent moisture loss. Spoiler alert: I’m about to get slathered in the stuff.
Post-cleanse and it’s onto the peel - for me she used a gentle exfoliating formula, which transforms into an oil on the skin after a few minutes. She noted that for those looking for a deeper and more intense treatment for acne scarring, the Diamond Glyco Extreme Peel is the product to use. At this stage it’s worth mentioning that the sensory journey thus far has been incredible, with each product releasing fragrant wafts of citrus into the air. If I were basking in an orange orchard in Seville, I’m sure this is what it would smell like.
After the peel she applied a Vitamin C serum and then a Vitamin C cream, explaining that the tingling sensation is a sign of the active ingredients working their magic. Not all Vitamin C’s are created equal, she told me - as it’s quite an unstable ingredient, it needs to be properly formulated to maintain its power. After the creams I’m treated to a mask, a velvety formula which is applied to my skin using a thick brush. The sensation is like liquid silk, and the smell - well, I’m still frolicking in the orange orchard in my mind.
At some point in between these steps I’m treated to a body massage (I’m in such a state of relaxation that my perception of time has melted away like the enzyme peel). The therapist works out the knots from my arms, shoulders, neck and upper back, and a cooling cryogel is applied to release tension. (I can feel it working long after the massage is over.)
Back to the finishing touches of my face, and it’s time for an eye cream and a lip booster, essentially a plumping gloss, which transports me back to the halcyon days of my sticky-lipped youth. As we finish she offers me some parting wisdom - use SPF every day. I bragged that I’m already on that one, but that sometimes it feels silly to wear sunscreen when I’m simply staring at a laptop. No, she reassured me - the blue light from our screens can also have a damaging effect, so sun protection is essential, even when simply sitting at a desk.
That night, I slept like a baby and woke up looking as bright and juicy as those luscious Spanish oranges. My skin appeared clearer, plumper and had a sort of indescribable zingy glow. What’s more, the results developed over the proceeding days - the therapist explained that this was due to the active ingredients, which release their potency over time. I also picked up some great tips to apply to my own routine - both in terms of new products to buy, and how to use those I currently own. I now wait a few minutes between each step of my skincare routine, to prevent peeling of the layers, plus I finally know the correct application order: cleanser, toner, serum, moisturiser, then finally, sunscreen, which should be reapplied every two hours when directly exposed. All in all, I’m delighted with the result - a luxurious vitamin C boost that leaves my aforementioned Beroccas in the dust.
To get your own glow, find Natura Bissé in Residence at The Parlour at Browns Brook Street from Wednesday to Saturday, until 3rd September 2022, and enjoy a complimentary gift with each booking.
The Parlour at Browns Brook Street
Words by Georgia Graham
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