Face-off: the best facials in London

Zoe Gunn

27 July 2021

From all-round rejuvenation to regimes for specific skin concerns, these are the facials (and practitioners) to book in the capital

27 July 2021 | Zoe Gunn

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acials. Beauty editors and skin experts will tell you that you should be having them as regularly as haircuts – and certainly if you have a specific concern to address, finding a great facialist can be transformational. For most, however, the time and expense involved means they will be an infrequent treat which, if you’re blessed with fairly even skin and aren’t a supermodel relying on a crystal-clear complexion, is perfectly fine. A skincare routine involving a great moisturiser, good cleanser and the occasional facial will keep your skin in tip-top condition.

This does, however, create another issue. If you’re not getting facials frequently, how do you know who to turn to when it is time for some more intensive rejuvenation? The answer lies in the specifics of your skin. Need help with a breakout? Find an expert in LED light therapy. Struggling with dehydration? Call on one of London’s many Hydrafacial practitioners.

Luckily, the capital is bursting with world-class aestheticians, dermatologists and facialists offering a huge variety of treatments promising everything from a general uplift to niche and bespoke remedies carefully customised to your needs. Here’s our guide to the best facials (and facialists) in London.

de Mamiel at NoMad London

London’s buzziest new hotel is also home to one of it’s most exciting skincare offerings with Annee de Mamiel’s eponymous brand transforming suite 103 into a haven of all things wellness, with treatments available individually or as part of the hotel’s wellness staycation packages. For those new to facials, the treatment list is blissfully short, with just the brand's Signature facial and Digital Fatigue facial on offer. If you’ve spent the past 18 months hunched over multiple screens we’d highly recommend the latter.

Beginning with breath work and inhalations to soothe the nervous system, the treatment kicks off with a gentle cleanse followed by de Mamiel’s unique Cleanse Release 10, a technique developed to kick the lymphatic system into action and release tension in the facial muscles. An exfoliation, serum and LED mask are followed by a Qi rejuvenation massage to increase circulation and nourish skin. Finally, an oxygen dome mask is applied to energise cells and leave the complexion hydrated and glowing.

From £250, thenomadhotelcom; demamiel.com

Beyond Medispa at Harvey Nichols

Part of Harvey Nichols’ extensive fourth floor beauty offering, Beyond Medispa is your go-to for intensive treatments grounded in science and medical research. Led by a team of doctors, nurse prescribers and qualified aestheticians, the facial list here is extensive, with treatments running the gamut from LED light therapy and oxygen facials to CoolLaser sessions. If you’re looking for something truly rejuvenating, however, opt for the Obaji Blue Radiance Peel.

Promising to eliminate blemishes, uneven pigmentation, acne scars, wrinkles and sun damage, the treatment can be tailored to your specific needs, with everything from light to medical-grade peels available. Using 20 per cent Salicylic Acid, if you’re new to peels ease yourself in gently and be prepared for some downtime – skin can peel for up to five days after treatment. The end result, however, is youthful, healthy and radiant skin well worth spending a few days hunkering down for.

Facials from £150, harveynichols.com; beyondmedispa.com

Radiance London

Tucked away on the pretty streets of Fitzrovia, boutique wellness destination Radiance has been catering to the beauty needs of Soho’s workers and residents since 2007. The treatment list ranges from nails and tanning to massages and hair removal – but that is no reason to underestimate its high-grade collection of AlumierMD, Dermapen, Guinot, Dermalogica, Crystal Clear and Décleor facials.

In fact, the list is so extensive that we highly recommend you begin with Dermalogica’s Face Mapping consultation. Skin is analysed zone-by-zone to identify immediate and future concerns and products and treatments are prescribed. Once complete you can select the Radiance treatment that best suits your needs. Short on time? Décleor’s Discovery facial uses essential oils and massage to revive tired skin and can be done during your lunch break. Looking to address a specific condition? Dermapen’s micro-needling treatments promise instant improvement in acne scarring, fine line, stretch mark and pigmentation. And if it’s just a dose of hydration you need? Guinot’s plant-based products can be combined to quench skin while lifting and fighting signs of ageing.

Facials from £45, radiancelondon.co.uk

Oskia at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

Hotel spas can be a bit hit and miss but, with The Lanesborough, The Dorchester and 45 Park Plane all in close proximity, the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park has put time and effort into making sure its spa offering is one of the best in central London. As well as offering a luxurious spa day, its huge range of face and body treatments draw on holistic traditions from around the world and are administered in 13 opulent treatment rooms designed to block out the stresses of the world beyond.

The newest addition to the vast facial menu (which includes therapies from the likes of Biologique Recherche and Nescens) is the Oskia Signature Glow Facial. Described by the London-based skincare brand as a non-surgical facelift, this great all-round facial combines massage techniques with powerful ingredients to lift and relax the face and promote the delivery of product deep into the skin. First pores are opened with warm compresses before a passion fruit enzyme and AHA mask is applied to improve radiance. An LED mask is then used to boost collagen production leaving skin supple and polished.

Facials from £85, mandarinoriental.com

KX Spa

Located within the chic Chelsea members’ only wellness club of the same name, the KX Spa is, thankfully, open to the public, giving us all access to its cutting-edge skincare and bespoke treatments. A range of facials from guest practitioners and brands, including reflexologist Charbec Baker, Exilis and LPG, are available alongside KX’s signature treatments – which include the famed HydraFacial.

So effective is the HydraFacial, that dozens of London’s top clinics now offer some variation of it. Delivered via a patented device which uses a swirling movement to remove dead skin cells and impurities while soothing skin, the six-step process incorporates active botanical ingredients, as well as antioxidants and peptides, to detox, cleanse, exfoliate, brighten, extract and hydrate. KX offers two variations of the Hydrafacial: Detox (with additional LED light therapy) and Glow (with LED light therapy and intraceutical oxygen).

Facials from £90 for non-members, HydraFacials from £180, kxlife.co.uk

Bea Skin Clinic

Hidden within Marylebone’s Charterhouse Clinic, Bea Skin Clinic may just be one of London’s best-kept skincare secrets. Founded by award-winning skin specialist Bianca Estelle, and offering its own line of complementary products since 2015, the focus here is very much on science and technology.

Treatment options are truly vast, with 14 specialised options available for the face alone (therapies for the body, hair and ethnic skin, as well as injectables, are also on offer) with the clinic highlighting its geneO+ 4-in-1 Super Facial as its signature treatment. Recommended as a course of six, this advanced facial uses a cutting-edge machine to deliver the benefits of four techniques proven to reduce signs of ageing: exfoliation, oxygenation, infusion and tightening. Results are visible from the first treatment and there’s no downtime – we call that a win-win.

Prices available on request, biancaestelleaesthetics.com

Tarryn Warren at Bodyism

You probably know Bodyism best as the premier West London destination for great yoga classes and intense workouts. In the name of becoming a go-to for all things wellness, it has now teamed up with skincare specialist Tarryn Warren to offer a range of Tarryn Bespoke Skincare London treatments at its Westbourne Grove flagship.

The pick of the menu is the Signature Bespoke Facial, which blends traditional techniques and scientific innovations to treat the skin at all levels for instant, long-lasting results. Among the techniques on offer is Gua Sha drainage, involving a mineral stone treatment, deep-pore cleaning, vacuum suction and acupuncture. There’s also optional micro-needling, vitamin infusions and LED therapy if you feel your skin could do with an extra helping hand.

Facials from £145, bodyism.com

Lisa Franklin

Lisa Franklin’s Chelsea clinic is a serene temple dedicated to all things rejuvenating, hydrating and plumping. Her name is much-revered among London's skincare circles – she’s a firm favourite with the capital’s social set – and is best known for her Repair, Recover, Renew facial, which, frankly, does exactly what it says on the tin.

May we also steer you in the direction of the Evoke device. Franklin is the first in the UK to offer treatments using the machine, which uses bipolar radiofrequency to firm and contour the face, neck and jawline, leaving you with a more defined silhouette. A course of up to six 30- or 60-minute sessions is recommended. It’s entirely painless and non-invasive.

Facials from £125, lisafranklin.london

Omorovicza at Liberty London

Hungarian skincare brand Omorovicza is known the world over for spearheading mineral cosmetology but, when it comes to the brand's treatments, they can be notoriously hard to find outside of the company's native Budapest. Luckily for discerning Londoners, Liberty London is home to a dedicated Omorovicza treatment room offering seven of its signature facials.

For a truly indulgent experience opt for the Gold Hydralifting facial, which begins with a copper-enriched lactic acid peel to promote collagen production and even the skin tone. A soothing mask is then applied while the arms and hands are treated to a gold oil massage before an anti-inflammatory gold serum is used to help repair damaged skin. Finally, a plumping massage is undertaken to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles before the eye contour is given some TLC with a gentle massage.

Facials from £125, libertylondon.com

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