The facial that seriously raised the bar

If you’re over the age of thirty chances are you’ve had at least one facial in your life. How was it? Anything to write home about? Yup. I’ve had some shockers too. That was until Easter week just gone when I had what will now be referred to as The Best Facial Of My Life. If you’re into facials or are a facial skeptic, then read on…

The Details

Location: Claridge’s
Facialist: MARIA (put her name in your phone now, or better still, burn MARIA into your brain. I’ve had it tattooed on my wrist, just to be on the safe side).
Brand: Sisley
Name of facial: The Supreme Anti-Ageing Facial


Natalie James slippers

white bedroom


white bedroom with cupboard


Art Deco heaven

Entering Claridge’s is a treat in itself (that sweeping staircase) and the lift up to the spa had a long seat stretching the length of it (remember the lift in Pretty Woman?). The lovely gentleman manning the lift said the lift was over 100 years old (and so, I think, was he. Bless him ūüėČ

On my arrival at the spa (6th floor) I was warmly received by Maria who escorted me to a changing room so beautifully decorated and old school, I could have cried. Think wood-panelled lockers, tiny mosaic floors and marble basins. I stripped down to my knickers (sorry, TMI), donned the chunky robe and slippers provided and made my way to the treatment room.

I should stress my iPhone photos really don’t do the room justice. There was a luxurious shower at one end and the room generally exuded the most wonderful energy. I couldn’t wait to lie down and fall asleep!

Once settled on the massage table Maria began by asking me questions about my skin and explained how she would tailor the facial to my needs. I’ve used the odd Sisley product in the past, including the cult Black Rose Mask¬†(¬£95.50; intensely hydrating and very often, understandably, out of stock)¬†and their Express¬†Flower¬†Gel¬†(¬£80; also incredible)¬†but was intrigued to try more of the range.

Game changer

I can’t remember the exact order in which things happened (I’ve never felt so at ease during a facial) but there was a shoulder massage (which I loved), an exfoliating mask, various serums, a moisturising mask, an eye contour mask(!), a hand and foot massage(?!) and¬†the most incredible facial massage I have ever had.

It’s hard to describe what Maria did during the facial massage but at one point, about 20 mins in,¬†using various parts of her hands and fingers,¬†she¬†deployed a series of fast movements that I can only¬†describe as ‘intense pummelling’. She was so quick I genuinely wondered if she’d switched to a machine, but no, she can naturally achieve that kind of pressure and speed! It wasn’t uncomfortable, rather, I didn’t really want it to stop because I knew how much my face was going to benefit from the movements. And sure enough, as soon as the facial was over, I raced (albeit rather sleepily) into the changing room to inspect my skin and was delighted with the results.

I looked like I’d had botox. In a good way!

Natalie james smiling
My skin about 5 minutes after facial ended. Remnants of my mascara can still be seen but my skin is MAKEUP FREE .


natalie james in brown coat
10 mins later, with a light makeup having been applied. I still cannot get over how good my skin looks.


I’ll let Claridge’s explain the benefit of the anti-ageing massage:

“In a single session this treatment gives the skin a real boost, wipes¬†away traces of fatigue, reactivates its radiance and dramatically¬†recontours skin tissues. After a few sessions in short succession,¬†facial muscles dramatically and lastingly regain their tone, helping¬†to reposition facial volumes. The cheekbones are lifted, wrinkles¬†are reduced, the face‚Äôs centre of gravity is raised.”


natalie james close up

Post facial makeup

It feels almost sacrilegious to cover up one’s skin post-facial so for my meeting I opted for a sheer tinted moisturiser (Chantecaille’s miraculous ‘Just Skin’, just along the t-zone) with strategic concealing (Maybelline’s FIT concealer) around areas of visible redness (nose, chin etc). I suddenly felt like drawing attention to my eyes (ah the confidence that comes from knowing your skin looks good!) so relished applying a classic flick together with a light coat of mascara (avoid too much on the lashes if the makeup is minimal). I finished off the look with a swoosh of bronzer (Chanel Les Beiges¬†in shade 30), a quick brush through the brows (ModelCo) and a tinted lip balm.


leather sofa with flowers behind
Claridge’s Easter display in their foyer caught my eye as I was leaving. Love the bird cages!


natalie james picture in mirror
Spring skirts

I was meeting a client straight after the facial so decided to wear my new red¬†J Crew¬†skirt which I purchased in the A/W sale. I should mention I¬†never¬†wear red but my friend and super stylist¬†Jacqueline¬†suggested I should (and when Jac suggests something you do not ask questions. You simply nod and buy it). I now wear it all the time. In fact, as I type this, I’ve just realised I’m wearing the exact same outfit! *blushes*


You know those treatments where you come out thinking, “well that was nice’n’all but I wouldn’t go again” well, I came out thinking “That was INCREDIBLE. It’s my birthday in 3 months. I’m not sure I can wait that long?!!”

I’ll admit, they’re not the cheapest of facials (they start at ¬£90 for 60 mins) but boy are they luxurious and I wouldn’t honestly recommend it if I didn’t think it was worth your hard earned cash.

The facials (current price list at 20/04/16)

The Sisley Facial (£110 for 60 mins)
Ecological Facial for Men (£110 for 60 mins, or £155 for 90 mins)
The Supreme Anti-Ageing Facial (£135 for 60 mins, or £205 for 90 mins)

Be sure to take a look at Claridge’s Beauty Treatments¬†as they offer some gorgeous looking package deals, including lunch in the restaurant.


Description of treatments (PDF)
Prices (PDF, as at 20/04/2016)


Recent Posts

Signup Newsletter