A facial with Katie White at one of re:lax’s petite shipping-container studios (there are two and a third which acts as a chilled waiting room) isn’t really about your face. You’ll leave with soothed, sated and glowing skin, but you’ll also head off with a new perspective on your health, and a list of supplements, balms and tonics that could help you feel even better.
Once you have a cup of homemade herbal tea in hand, Katie kicks off by asking questions about your general wellbeing. It’ll begin as a conversation about your skincare routine and end up with you spilling all your secrets. I find myself opening up about my stress levels, a big project I'm working on, my strange new sleep pattern, the fact that truffle oil makes me feel really sick. But what might be considered a totally irrelevant overshare feeds into the bespoke and holistic facial Katie then gives you.
Mine begins with a double cleanse and steam, an AHA tonic and a lush rose hip mask, during which Katie magically kneads the tension away with an intense head, neck and shoulder massage. A vitamin c serum and a LED light therapy session follow, during which I relax even more, thanks to a little foot reflexology. A dreamy facial massage rounds off the hour, and I head out into the evening, a list of personalised recommendations in my phone notes, feeling sleepy, replenished and reset.
I later returned for one of Katie's new cosmetic accupuncture facials. You might file this kind of treatment under 'extreme' or 'not for the faint hearted' but the needles are so tiny you barely notice they're there. Katie placed the needles around my face to tackle areas of pigmentation, blemishes and lines before turning on the LED lamp and administering reflexology to match the accupunture points on my face. The treatment was rounded off with an intense facial massage – and I left with a brighter and more defined complexion.