CARITA SLIMMING TREATMENT AND FACIAL Plateau Spa, Grand Hyatt Hotel Whether a machine can take centimetres off your thighs is open to debate, but for those looking to diminish cellulite, the intense massage that goes with this treatment seems to do a good job on its own. The therapist zaps the legs and stomach with the Renovateur Minceur Corps Pro-lifting machine, designed to create chemical reactions in skin cells with the help of the exclusive Carita products (it apparently activates the oxidation of fats). Her vigorous massage technique, however, left the body as light as a feather. This isn't for the faint-hearted as she kneads the flabby spots. Go for the relaxing Pro-lifting Carita facial afterwards, which leaves skin firmer and intensely hydrated. Those with problem areas will get an honest appraisal, and the facial is tailored to suit. Plateau isn't cheap, so this is the place to splash out. The 90-minute Carita Slimming treatment is $1,650 and the facial, $1,375. EAR CANDLING The Firm, Central This involves placing a cone-shaped device in the ear canal with the aim of extracting earwax and other impurities by burning the wick. It's said to derive from ancient Tibet, China, Egypt and even the mythical city of Atlantis. Proponents say it helps clear nasal passages and provides relief for people with blocked or painful sinuses. Fans swear by it, saying it takes several treatments to feel the full effects of the process. The neck, shoulder and head massage before the candling is relaxing. The peaceful atmosphere at The Firm made the experience more enjoyable. However, it's difficult to say if the candling did anything. Afterwards, the therapist can show the client what's been removed. The expectation was there would be a good blob of wax. This wasn't the case, and nasal passages were still blocked. The hissing of the candle as it burned down did feel a little uncomfortable, being so near the face. Then again, this was a one-off - and several treatments are recommended. Ear candling costs $450 for 30 minutes, which includes the massage. LA THERAPIE HYDRALIFT FACIAL Ellespa, Repulse Bay Ellespa in Repulse Bay has introduced the La Therapie range from France, and a facial to go with it. This treatment will send the most stressed urbanite into a deep slumber. The La Therapie range contains unbuffered glycolic acid for skin resurfacing and antioxidants for anti-ageing, said to be the perfect defence against Hong Kong's air pollution. Ellespa is quiet at night and the room dark throughout the treatment. The therapist's massage is so good, it's easy to doze off. Afterwards, fine lines looked softer and the massage brought the colour back. La Therapie's Pearls of Youth ($820), although pricey, is a great take-away product if the forehead and cheeks are prone to dryness. The 60-minute facial is $750. CHANEL FACIAL AND MAKEOVER Mongkok Chanel has two new treatment rooms behind its counter in Langham Place, Mongkok. This is ideal for those looking for a pick-me-up after work. The therapist is deft and attentive and the products replenish the skin. However, the noise from the surrounding shopping centre didn't make for a peaceful experience. Despite the therapists' efforts, the hum of a busy beauty counter can't be avoided. Furthermore, the treatment bed is a little short, so some may find their legs dangle off the edge. Afterwards, a makeup artist can reapply your makeup. The artist didn't go overboard on the foundation or the blush, and her choice of colours was spot on. In short, the facial and makeover were enjoyable, considering the time and space. The 90-minute Precision facial, which comes with four choices, costs $500 and a 30-minute, day time makeover is $350, making it good value considering the work involved. RENE FURTERER HAIR TREATMENT Central Hair treatments are not talked about as often as other beauty offerings. But everyone knows that glossy, healthy hair greatly improves anyone's look. This is particularly true for those whose locks turn to frizz as soon as the humidity hits. The Rene Furterer treatment in Central is one of those, and is just the thing for people with thinning hair who need more volume and conditioning, or those with thick, unruly hair that can become dry. Therapist Jen Wong is an experienced salon stylist and very attentive. He runs a zapper over the scalp which shows up on a screen to show the client if they have dandruff or a dry or oily scalp. He then tailors the treatment to suit. He uses a product called Complexe 5, applied to the scalp on the crown of the head when hair is still dry. Initially, it stings a little. This is the combination of orange and lavender essential oils, which deep cleanse and activate 'cutaneous micro-circulation', reinforcing the effectiveness of other treatments. A head massage and deep cleanse wash and a blow dry afterwards are relaxing and invigorating. But while the hair looks clean and fresh, it has lost its bounce and remains a little flat for days afterwards. The Complexe 5 done at home once a week is, however, recommended. The shampoo, deep conditioning and massage - followed by a blow dry - might be enough for many looking to get their hair in top shape for a night out. The treatments vary, depending on whether your scalp is dry, oily, if there is hair loss, dandruff, or needs deep conditioning. They range from $390 to $550. BRAZILIAN BIKINI WAX, EYEBROW WAX AND TINT Mandarin Hotel The Mandarin is known for its bikini waxing, boasting experienced staff booked out weeks in advance. But going for the Brazilian is a challenge for the uninitiated. The therapist, however, is nonchalant, works quickly, talks amiably throughout and makes the more painful parts less unpleasant by asking a question just before ripping the hair. Prepare to get your knickers off and turn on to your stomach for the final part of the wax. This is not just a few strips of hot wax on the sides of a g-string. Clients can leave some on the front if they can't take the pain. The result is ideal for those looking to swan around the beach in a bikini this summer. Unlike some waxes, a minor rash lasted only a day and there was no itching either. For those who want to darken their eyebrows, a tint can work wonders. This one, however, came out a little too dark and uneven on one side. The next day it calmed down and by day three it was just right. Be clear about the exact tint you want. The eyebrow waxing was extremely professional and the result was very neat. Bikini waxes cost between $400 and $500, an eyebrow wax is $170 and eyelash tint, $230.