Hong Kong summers can wreak havoc on your skin. The oppressive heat, humidity and pollution combine to clog your pores, making skin greasy, while artic air conditioning dries it out.
The men's Refinery Facial at Flawless is a maintenance treatment designed to combat these unavoidable factors of life in the city.
The urban spa is located on the fourth floor of Sea Bird House on Wyndham Street and offers consultations and a range of treatments for men and women.
Inspired by the renowned men's grooming salon in London, the facials employ a range of products that are essential oil-based with masculine scents such as clove and spearmint and are designed to combat dryness and sensitivity, which are the most common skin complaints for men. I try the 45-minute detox cleanse.
After some green tea in the bright reception area, I am led into a private room where I am instructed to take off my T-shirt and lie on the bed under a towelling blanket. My therapist comes back, dims the lights and diagnoses my skin under a fluorescent light and a magnifying glass. I am told my skin is "quite good" but greasy.
First, I am "welcomed" with frankincense oil, which is wafted in front of my nose and then massaged into my head, neck and shoulders. The effect is simultaneously relaxing and refreshing.
My face is then cleansed and scrubbed while a machine pumps steam onto my face to fully open my pores. Blackheads are extracted and a lavender antiseptic toner is used to clean my skin.
The main event is a mask made from clay, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, juniper, black pepper, ginger and peppermint. My neck, shoulders and upper chest are massaged while the clay dries, and lip balm and eye gel are applied before and after the mask as well as a post-shave balm.
The Refinery Facial has two options: the detox, a 45-minute facial, or the essential fitness, a 75-minute face and back treatment. For the latter, the same products are used to exfoliate and massage the upper back.
It is quite a gentle treatment and left my skin feeling hydrated, but a bit oily. It took another hour or two for the oils to be fully absorbed, but when they were, my skin felt even softer, smoother and more refined. Darren Wee
Refinery Facial (45-minute detox, HK$750; 75-minute essential fitness, HK$1,380). Flawless, 4/F Sea Bird House, 22-28 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: 2869 5868. flawless.hk.com