I’m in Paris!
I’m in Paris at 8am after a long flight from Australia, it’s cold, wet and not the weather we had hoped for on our first visit to Paris. I was looking forward to the facial booked for later that day at a Spa by Biologique Recherche skincare. I was invited to visit this French anti-ageing skin care Spa as a proposal to take on the brand for ikatan Spa Noosa.
A bucket list for beauty therapist.
For many years French skin care products have been viewed as the best available and I had been contacted, chosen to experience an exclusive Parisian anti-ageing skincare range. This is a beauty therapist bucket list type event.
The Biologique Recherche Day Spa is on the Champs-Elysées in Paris and when I researched their skincare, Day Spa and location I was so excited to see the Parisienne heritage building where I was invited to experience an anti-ageing, French skincare facial.
The greeting I received on arrival at the Biologique Recherche Spa was a little blasé and unfriendly, considering I was invited to trial their skincare and had numerous emails back and forth to their head office to organise the booking.
I don’t speak French apart from a few food related menu items or ingredients, a few words relating to beauty treatments and the odd greeting phrase. So I put the lack of interest in me down to my lack of French, however it only takes a smile, which speaks a lot in any language.
Seated in the reception I look up to see a Therapist coming down the sweeping stairs as if entering a grand ballroom (that’s how big the reception was). In a smart white uniform comes my Facialist, Daniela, with a big smile, while saying my name ‘Katrina, nice to meet you, please come with me’ (to be said with a French accent).
The scary skin analysis
Daniella explains that she is going to be analysing my skin then explain the skincare needed, how it works and then the facial. I’m so looking forward to laying down during the facial, jet lag is kicking in by 4pm.
Most beauty therapists love and hate (at the same time) their skin being analysed, while we want to know the technical data we hope we get a big tick for caring for our skin correctly. It’s kind of a scary thing for most of us.
I use Organic Nation and Environ skincare and know they are very good brands (as I selected these ranges for my day spa). I am diligent with twice daily skincare routines and really practice what I preach when it comes to looking after skin but I am still scared of what Daniela is analysing with the Skin Insta Lab.
I am tested for hydration of dermis, elasticity levels, sun damage and pigmentation plus epidermis texture and tone. Daniela is very happy with this Australian skin and tells me I score better than most French women…….for my age, is this a compliment or not?
Having a treatment is also about learning for spa therapists.
So excited to learn all about Biologique Recherche products as Daniela explains what each apothecary looking serum is going to do for my skin but it’s almost as if she is disappointed that she can’t make a big difference in my skin as she puts away another serum I was willing to have on my skin even though I don’t need it.
After I peel off the layers of clothes from the cold Paris day outside, I lay on a heated bed of white towels and think to myself ‘I am never going to stay awake’. While the treatment room is small for the size of the Day Spa, it’s white and clinical as I had expected of a Day Spa clinique that offers no massage but only anti-ageing face, thigh, arm and hand treatments.
Let the treatment begin.
Daniela tucks me in with towels and a blanket only exposing my décolletage and begins to cleanse my skin with her professional sweeping, thorough touch of a Facialist. I am in good hands as Daniela works her magic with sweet aromas of concocted cleansers and serums.
Before I start to drift in and out of blissful sleep, (as only a facial can deliver) I noticed she cleansed not only my face and neck but between my breasts and down the side of the breast near the armpit, which is often part of the procedure during a European style facial.
I believe you should receive thorough cleansing to this area of the chest as it’s an area that needs it. However it is not considered acceptable by a lot of Australian clients, who feel uncomfortable with this area cleansed during a facial, so you won’t find this practiced often in an Australian salon or Spa.
I also think that educating clients with what we do during their treatments is very important so clients learn how to care for themselves at home and also what to expect from a professional experience from a Spa Therapist performing a facial.
My facial helps my jet lag symptoms.
Facials are particularly good for calming stress, anxiety and in my case jet lag as the touch is working over the peripheral nerves around the face which is extremely calming.
If you can imagine the way a forehead is palmed when someone is sick or as we often do to a child. It’s instinctive to brush the forehead and face to calm someone or show affection and a facial gives the same calmness and sense of caring.
TIP: For quick fix calmness – If ever you are stressed or overthinking, try a facial as a way to calm the mind. Clients generally fall asleep in facials quicker than they do in a massage and we can see by the colour of the client’s skin, slower breathing and a softness on the face that your mind is at rest during a facial.
Daniela applies a delicate oil before she massages my face and décolletage, one of French word I can pronounce and understand. This sends me into a deep sleep. Daniela brings me back to the world with a cooler product on my skin before finishing my facial with eye serum and moisturiser.
I’m so relaxed I can’t move.
I don’t want to leave this white cocoon I am in with my near perfect skin, (for my age) as Daniela smiles at me and says ‘take your time’. I manage to sit up and slide my feet to the floor to get dressed into all the layers of clothes piled high on the chair.
I look in the mirror and like most women see all the faults in my skin but also see improvements of hydration and the traces of tiredness from a long flight and jet lagged eyes have gone. But, did Daniela really see what I can see, as my skin analysis report didn’t match the face in the mirror?
Thanks to my Jane Iredale mineral makeup I apply before leaving the room, I now look like I wear the skin Daniela’s analysis report showed about my face, but mostly I am extremely happy with knowing the skincare we provide for ikatan Spa clients is excellent.
The proof is in the skin.
Daniela reports, that I am living proof of the fact that the Environ skincare I use, along with the daily routine I give my skin, is why I have good skin, woohoo!
It also teaches me that we don’t need a French skincare product at ikatan Spa to be offering the best available skincare. The Environ and organic range we use for facials are fantastic, results driven products, because my skin was better than most French women of my age!
Don’t you just love people watching in Paris?
Sweeping down the ballroom stairs to reception with my near perfect skin, my husband is waiting for me, relaxing in one of the plush, oversized arm chairs. He looks up and smiles at me as if he has just seen the love of his life looking 10 years younger, but then I notice he was shifting his eyes from me to the reception desk at the same time to let me know to look at the reception desk. Well I did feel 10 years younger until I saw the other clients at reception, where my husband was trying to get my attention towards.
They had to be famous models or ‘kept women’ was a more likely scenario, as their style was not what I would call French, overly understated as stylish Parisians wear, it was more dare to wear, but why not, it’s Paris after all. With their leather mini skirts and sleek over the thigh suede boots to keep them warm. Versace style scarves under the perfectly, bouncy locks hanging down their backs and high end designer brand handbags, they were like a movie scene, (not movie stars). Then I realised my husband was trying to let me know the ladies also had minders outside waiting for them.
While waiting to pay €125 ($180) for my 1 hour facial, I stood behind the designer ladies paying over €1,500 each for their treatment and bag of skincare, and heard the blasé receptionist speaking Russian and smiling at the designer ladies as they handed over their credit cards. Obviously the blasé receptionist was not there to greet me but a personal receptionist for certain other clients as she opened the door for them and their minders took the bags of shopping as they walked on to the Champs-Elysées.
I paid without the receptionist speaking to me, but Daniela popped out to say ‘au revoir Katrina’ as my husband opened the door for me to walk out on to the Champs-Elysées, as I didn’t need a minder or bodyguard.
I would have a facial again at Biologique Recherche if I go back to Paris and can recommend this Spa to you or to have a facial the day you arrive somewhere after travelling.
Book before you fly.
I realise after this experience how important it was to book ahead to enjoy this when I arrived after a flight. I found it to be a great jet lag remedy, plus, I looked and felt relaxed and so ready to enjoy the next three days in Paris with my near perfect skin.
At ikatan Spa Noosa we find a lot of people book treatments towards the end of their holiday but it is far better to have treatments at the beginning of a holiday as it helps you to recover and relax so that you can enjoy your holiday or business trip. Quite often people miss out on having treatments as Day Spas are fully booked on the day people had hoped to have treatments.
If you are travelling or in transit for long layovers at a hotel or airport, why not book in for a facial at an airport or Hotel Spa for a treatment and sleep at the same time? At least find a foot massage place for a recline in an armchair and a power nap while you have your feet massaged as it really helps your recovery time when you arrive at your destination.
I am a paying guest at all day spas I review as Day Spa Oracle at the spas I visit. I hope this helps you select day spas and treatments when you travel to the same places I do.
Experiences, it’s how we get to know others and ourselves.