A gold facial. The first thought that came to my mind when I heard of the gold facial was that scene from Game of Thrones where Khal Drogo pours a helmet of molten gold to crown Viserys Targaryen. It was scary but decadent at the same time. Then the mind went back to ancient Egypt and the time of the Pharaohs, when gold was commonly used for beauty and youth preservation. Cleopatra apparently slept in a mask of gold. Surely it had the properties, a time tested elixir of eternal youth, for it to have lasted centuries. And so I signed up for the Carol Joy Gold Flake and Collagen Facial, knowing that I would be in good hands as Saeeda Mandviwalla, who heads Toni & Guy (South) had agreed to administer the facial herself.
Half the fun of a facial, or any beauty procedure, is the ambience in which it is carried out. A scruffy, ill maintained parlour (with signs of poor hygiene) can never ensure the experience you expect when you walk into one that is spotless and fragrant. A cool, temperature controlled ambience, aromatised with fragrant candles and visibly spotless floors and equipment ensures you’re satisfied even before your treatment begins. What I could appreciate beyond the hygiene was the artwork that decorated the walls. It was tasteful and added an element of sophistication to the salon’s interior.
The facial began with a survey of my skin, so that the procedure could be customized to what suited me best. I know I have an oily T-line, an ageing jawline (which has suffered the after-effects of weight loss) and patchy, slightly pigmented cheeks on which, I was informed, the collagen massage would work its wonders. Before the collagen came on, however, the facial began with a moment of deep breathing and acupressure on exhalation.
Here’s how the facial progressed:
Step One: the skin is cleansed deeply, after which a gentle steamer is positioned in a way to open the pores to allow the collagen in. The coolness of the cleanser is contradicted by the warmth of the steam and it’s this contrast that leaves the skin all tingly and ready for the collagen.
Step Two: the collagen mask (which feels like paper) is placed onto the face and moistened all over over. It kind of melts onto the surface of the skin and while your eyes are closed, you sense the coolness of a collagenous gel as it permeates the dermis. Meanwhile, to amplify your experience, you get a good body massage as you wait it out.
Step Three: five to seven leaves of pure 24-carat gold are placed on your forehead, cheeks and chin with a special moisturizer and the magic massage begins. “The warmth of the fingers helps massage the gold into the skin,” Mandviwalla explained. “The gold is not removed rather is rubbed in expertly.”
Why, you might want to know. Well, apparently gold has antiseptic and anti oxidant qualities which are anti-ageing as well as well as healing. We apply all sorts of creams and ointments for glow and age reversal; this is an organic way to ensure it is done without any side effects.
“This is the ultimate and best skin brightening treatment for Summer 2017,” is what experts say. “Hyperbaric oxygen, pure collagen, caviar algae and 24 carat gold are combined with myofacial massage and nourishing steam for best results. This pure 24 carat gold stimulates lymphatic drainage and blood circulation. The powder-fine gold can help absorb pollutants, regulate the skin’s ionic balance and impart a fresh glow. It slows down the depletion of collagen and elastin, keeping skin younger longer.”
Does it work? There has to be some truth to the science. It goes without saying that the skin would look plumped and clean after any deep cleansing process, especially one that is so luxurious, but the gold and collagen in this facial did work its magic. My skin has been looking refreshed and luminous and while it may wear off thanks to the stress and pollution we’re exposed to, it was effective at the time.
How much will it set you back: The Carol Joy Gold Flake and Collagen Facial will cost anything between PKR 15,000 – 20,000, depending on who conducts your facial. It’s not cheap by any standard but then it’s a substitute for more clinical anti ageing procedures (like injectables, nips and tucks). One would recommend that women begin their skin maintenance and anti-ageing regimes earlier in life, as opposed to going for radical treatments and procedures later. And any facial that features a combination of collagen and gold is a no brainer when it comes to benefits to the skin.
This article was first published in Instep on Sunday, June 25th 2017.