A woman's hair is supposedly her crowning glory, but who's going to notice the lustrous mane if it sits atop a face full of spots and dull skin? Gone are the days when a facial, consisting of a good once over with an exfoliator and a namby-pamby facepack, was considered a luxury. But facial techniques have been dragged into the space-age, and if clear, youthful-looking skin is your personal holy grail, a regular visit to your local beauty spa or salon is practically de rigueur. Relatively inexpensive, quick-fix facials are great, but once in a while it is worth splashing out and booking yourself in for a bit of a blockbuster. And Elemis' latest offering, the Japanese Silk Booster Facial, is exactly that. Operating on the premise that banishing inner stress will promote outward beauty, the hands-on treatment is 75 minutes of pure indulgence, but claims to work immediate wonders on your skin too. It uses products that are packed with anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients, and increases the skin's hydration levels (essential for keeping wrinkles at bay) by a whopping 40 per cent. The Booster also incorporates a skin-mimicking compress made of Japanese silk protein and phytoamines (amino acids from plants) to which is added one of three specially formulated serums, depending on your requirements. The Absolute Pro-Collagen Lift is great for mature skins, the Absolute Oxygen Skin Calm is recommended for tired and sensitive skins, while the Absolute Rescue Remedy is said to be ideal for city dwellers because it decongests stressed and blemished faces. Jetlagged and spotty, I was desperately seeking some skin salvation, so opted without hesitation for the latter. My treatment started with Elemis' trademark Welcome Touch - my therapist, Louise, wiped my feet with a warm cloth to remove stress and touched certain points on my body to balance my chakras and get me in a suitably calm frame of mind. She then cleansed and toned my skin with aromatherapy products before placing a warm lavender compress over my face to open my pores. Lavender is well-known for its calming properties and, after inhaling its scent, I felt relaxed and slightly drowsy. Louise followed this up with a shoulder, neck and scalp lymph massage using a blend of essential oils, which would apparently get my circulation working and drain any toxins lurking in the area. This would also prevent my skin breaking out following the facial. She exfoliated my skin and then smoothed the cool Japanese silk compress, saturated with serum, over my face. It was like a soft fabric mask with eye, nose and mouth-holes and was instantly soothing. She also placed a lavender eye pillow over my lids, and began to massage my arms and hands with a thin layer of Elemis' Exotic Moisturising Mask to condition my skin. And I did my bit by drifting off - it would have been almost rude not to. After I woke myself up snoring, Louise removed the compress and massaged in any excess serum. She applied a light treatment mask and gently stimulated acupressure points around my eyes, then performed what the spa terms the Awareness Journey (cupping my ears to simulate the sounds of the sea and rocking my shoulders) to bring me slowly to my senses. She finally removed the mask and applied some moisturiser before chiming a bell to fully wake me up. My skin's texture was smoother, brighter and more evenly toned - even my blemishes weren't as noticeable, and thankfully they dried up and disappeared a day later. Corny though it sounds, the facial worked wonders. Value for money: this deluxe treatment achieves what it sets out to do but at $800 for 75 minutes it has a price tag to match. (A special promotion offers 10 Japanese Silk Booster Facials for the price of eight.) However, with the use of the Zen (chill-out) room before and after, it makes a first-rate treat. So what's the score?: 8/10. This was the first facial I've had that included a full-on upper body massage, and it made a noticeable difference to my skin as well as seeming to cure my jetlag. The products used were excellent and great attention was paid to ensuring my comfort (Louise even remembered to ask me if I wanted to remove my contact lenses). And it didn't cause a blemish breakout either. Tip: don't make any appointments immediately after this treatment because you'll want to chill out and might need time to shower if your therapist massages your head with oils (you are given the choice). Incidentally, men's night is Tuesday, so women are not able to use the Zen room or shower from 6pm to 7pm. Reservations: Elemis Day Spa, 9/F, Century Square, 1 D'Aguilar Street, Central (tel: 2521-6660).