Beauty Fix: Oskia Signature Glow Facial
We have the Langham Place Hotel to thank for bringing one of Britain's most buzzed-about beauty brands - Oskia - to Hong Kong. Ninety-eight per cent of Oskia's ingredients are said to be natural, and the label was named "best natural brand" by US online lifestyle publication Organic Beauty Talk. It is available through the hotel's Chuan Spa.
The Signature Oskia Glow Facial begins with a hot towel and tea. Entering the treatment room, I meet British facial therapist Abigail James, who is in town to launch the line and pass on her expert skills to the Hong Kong team.
I lie down on a warm water mattress - which is key to every Oskia treatment - and James begins decongesting my skin with a cleanser made of vitamins A and E; the anti-inflammatory zinc-glycine; and methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM), the star ingredient that launched the brand.
Oskia co-founder Georgie Cleeve, a former Condé Nast food editor, discovered the mineral's collagen-producing capabilities after enduring five knee operations. Her father, who worked in the nutritional supplements business, put her on a course of MSM to regenerate the lost joint cartilage. In the process, Cleeve saw dramatic improvements in her skin, hair and nails.
After cleansing my face with this mineral, James steams my face to prepare my skin for a few quick extractions. This is followed by a micro-exfoliating balm derived from rose hip seeds and kukui nut oil. James says the balm can be reformulated to suit clients' skin. It can be diluted, for example, for women with mature skin.
I'm a bit startled when James dips a wide fan brush into a candle (infused with soya bean and coconut oil, and beeswax) and smooths the wax over my face - but it is soothing. Next, she applies a light fruit mask with elements of papaya and passion fruit. She ends by massaging my face with a glow-inducing serum, and a relaxing back rub.
I was anticipating that squeaky clean, just-scrubbed feeling after the treatment, but was disappointed. But as I pressed a few fingers against my cheek and felt how soft and moisturised my skin was, I realised that living in polluted Hong Kong had put me in the habit of obsessively, and quite abrasively, cleaning my skin. There is merit to gentle - but thorough - natural skincare.
The 75-minute Signature Oskia Glow Facial at Langham Place costs HK$1,400.