Six Quirky Beauty Treatments To Try in Town
Frozen in Time
Sci-fi movies have shown us people can get cryogenically frozen to wake up decades later and still retain their same youthful self. While real life hasn’t exactly caught up to that point yet (though not for lack of trying), you can seek out the health and beauty benefits of the cold at Hong Kong’s first and only cryotherapy center, Polaris Wellness, which uses the power of sub-zero temperatures in its treatments and facials. It’s also popular with athletes such as Floyd Mayweather and Kobe Bryant who use cryotherapy to recover faster after injuries.
The List recently got to try a full body treatment, which entails you standing for three minutes, naked, in a -130 °C nitrogen gas fridge. As the cold air enters the full body chamber—with your head sticking out—you quickly realize it’s no mere shopping mall chill, but an intense piercing cold that develops into sharp pins and needles all over the body.Thank goodness for the uplifting therapist, who took our mind off the excruciating three minutes. The best feeling is when you hobble out of the machine to thaw and your blood circulation rapidly increases to warm yourself and your body creates feel-good endorphins and extra collagen for a smoother, firmer appearance. Our takeaway? The feeling that you’ve conquered an ice cap definitely gets addictive... Single session $900 ($550-810 with membership). Cryofacials and localized cryotherapy also available. 10/F, Lee Theatre Plaza, 99 Percival St., Causeway Bay, 2446-6163, polaris-wellness.com
Woke Up Like This
It’s 9am and you're late for work. Wouldn't you wish you didn't have to waste another ten minutes slapping on a full face of primer, concealer, foundation? What if you could wake up with flawless, foundation-ready skin? Huge in the cosmetic mecca that is South Korea, semi-permanent foundation has been making waves in recent years, and the trend has recently been imported through Hong Kong’s Felle Beau beauty salon. It works like a tattoo, using an “Auto Micro-needle Therapy System” (AMTS) technique to inject skin-color-matching pigments as well as collagen under the surface of skin. It sounds frightening, but is apparently painless. The color is only deposited in the sebaceous layer between the epidermis and dermis, so it naturally fades away after a certain period of time—three treatments ($2,380) can last for about four to six months. Depending on your natural skin tone, your desired brightness, and the number of treatments you receive, the results and duration of your newfound flawless skin will vary. Felle Beau, various branches including 20/F, 11 Stanley St., Central, 2880-0707, fellebeau.com.hk (website in Chinese only)
Feel the Bite
There have been some pretty wacky beauty ingredients that have popped up over the past few years, but perhaps none so far-fetched as products made with snail and snake venom. All the rage in Korea, there’s something about snail slime that seems to do wonders for the face, with snail extract linked to stimulating the formation of collagen and elastin for firmer, younger-looking skin. As for snake venom, the poisonous-sounding but completely harmless product has become a popular antidote for wrinkles, meant to ‘stun’ the skin in the same way a real snake bite would do. More scientifically, amino acids in the venom work to block nerve signals and thus stop muscles from contracting, stopping wrinkles from forming in the same way botox would. But don’t take our word for it—pick up a packet of snail extract face masks or snake venom cream at Sasa or Korean cosmetics store Tony Moly. Sasa, G/F & 2/F, Leighton Centre, 77 Leighton Rd., Causeway Bay, sasa.com; Tony Moly, Lab Concept, 93 Queensway, Admiralty, tonymoly.com
In the Air Tonight
While oxygen bars and flavored oxygen rose as a trend in the mid-noughties, Hong Kong spa stalwart Spa Beaute Par Zai has been pumping their most faithful clients an extra concentrated type of oxygen for therapeutic purposes via its Oxy Essential treatment for the last 15 years—and the people who love it, love it a lot.
Combining the benefits of a higher oxygen content than the outside air, and the soothing effects of aromatherapy, the Oxy Essential boasts benefits ranging from a cure for a hangover to shinier hair. Some go for a full 40 minutes when they need to unwind, some take a weekly session, and some even take a quick hit of flavored air every day. The owner, Nigar Qureshi, has been a practicing aromatherapist for twenty years (as well as a professional makeup artist), takes five minutes every day. The claim is that the intake of more oxygen (the air in our atmosphere is about 21% oxygen; the usual non-medical oxygen concentrator produces 40% oxygen) helps remove toxins from the bloodstream, thus strengthening one’s immune system, clearing the complexion, easing migraines and hangovers, and leaving you refreshed. As for us? After 40 minutes huffing peppermint-laced oxygen, the session left us feeling relaxed—although that might have been from the mellowing effects of peppermint and the time spent reclined in a spa bed rather than the oxygen itself. $480 for 30 minutes, 12/F, Sea Bird House, 22-28 Wyndham St., Central, 2524-1272, spabpz.com
Born With It
Nothing says tailor-made like something customized to your DNA coding, and this is quickly on the rise in the beauty world, for a price. If you’ve ever wanted to use skincare and hair treatments directly matched with your genetic makeup look no further than Les Ornates Laboratoire.
The DNA test by Les Ornates helps you identify potential issues by measuring skin functions such as anti-oxidation, detoxification, allergy prevention and more. By making a set of skincare or haircare products meant for your own genetic coding, it can helping you address specific issues, prevent any future problems and achieve the best possible results. After receiving your cheek swab with its DNA test kit, the French brand takes two to four weeks to process, after which it offers treatment sets specifically suited for your genetic makeup.
A hair treatment set including shampoo, conditioner, serum and hair mask is priced at $8,300 for two months; a skincare set including seven items, also lasting about two months, costs $18,000. Both sets include the initial DNA test. Not too crazy an investment when you take into account luxury creams can run you up $10,000 for just a jar. Available on Lesomates.com, or at Hair Corner salon, various branches including 1/F, Duke Of Wellington House, 14-24 Wellington St., Central, 2522-3311
Quench Your Thirst
New to Hong Kong to quench the thirst for dehydrated and tired bodies is REVIV Wellness, which brings a whole new range of hydration treatments done via IV drip packed with fluids, vitamins and antioxidants. It can help quell concerns of fatigue, lack of sleep, weight gain and general malaise directly from the inside, but can also improve the health of your hair, skin and nails.
Founded by A&E doctors who have 40 years of experience in treating dehydration-related health problems, the brand touts safe intravenous hydration therapies for different goals. Are you an athlete who needs to replenish nutrients? Suffering from jet lag or muscle aches from traveling? Need a detox from pollution and free radicals from regular city living? Or simply looking for a brightening, youthful glow? An initial consultation will help you determine which treatment best suits you.
We recently gave the Megaboost Vitamin Infusion a try, which replenishes your system with essential minerals and vitamins and flushes the body of toxins. While the needle and cannulation part is never something people look forward to, the experienced nurse Sarah makes the procedure quick and painless. You’re then led to the lounge where you can comfortably let the IV infusion run its course.
We didn’t notice any immediate perks in energy, and you can feel quite chilly as the liquid runs through your veins. But for the next few days we noted that we were more "regular," with plenty more trips to the bathroom, and we were less lethargic in the mornings. A session takes as little as 29 minutes (and can depend on how wide your blood vessels naturally are), and booster shots take only 10 seconds, so you could go for a lunch hour pick-me-up and still return reenergized in plenty of time. IV Infusion treatment starts at $1,798; Energy Booster Shots start at $298. Suite 2202, 1 Duddell St., Central, 2530-9882