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The best facials in London feature

The best facials in London

Here’s where to get the glow in London with high-tech and hands-on facial treatments for long-lasting and instant effects

By Time Out London editors and Ellie Walker-Arnott
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Living in London can be tough on the skin, what with all the pollution and air-conditioned offices. That’s before we even think about harsh weather, alcohol, sun exposure, dehydration and the inevitable passing of time. Just thinking about what we put our skin through is enough to give you frown lines. Luckily, though, there are loads of great spas and treatment rooms in London where you can give your face a break. Whether you’re after a relaxing, soothing facial massage, some instant radiance, a total skincare overhaul or something a little more intense, read our pick of facials in London.

RECOMMENDED: The best spas in London

Amazing London facials

1. Su-Man Skin Reborn Sculpting Facial at Away Spa

I’ve been known to doze off during facials, but there is zero chance of that happening in a room with Su-Man. Her treatment technique is unlike anything else. She goes way beyond gentle cleansing and exfoliating, with intense and intimate choreographed movements that manipulate muscles and define contours. Moving from your eye sockets to your ears, it’s like pilates for your face, with Su-Man drawing from her experience in dance and shiatsu for a very powerful, hands-on experience. Using her own range of skincare products, she’ll tackle any issues, perform extractions and moisturise your skin, including your upper body and feet in a firm massage while a mask sinks in. You’ll leave with a plump, smooth and transformed complexion. It’s total magic. The only problem is you’ll never feel satisfied with a ‘standard’ facial ever again. £250, 60 mins. Ellie Walker-Arnott

2. Rose Crystal Facial at Four Seasons

Hint: if your therapist asks how you’d like the curtains at the Four Seasons spa, the correct answer is open. As well as a posh Park Lane postcode, each treatment room offers floor-to-ceiling windows with killer views over Hyde Park. Of course, what’s inside counts too. For a sweet-smelling, all-rounder of a skin treatment, try the Rose Crystal Facial created by The Organic Pharmacy at the Four Seasons spa. The multi-step process started with a cleanse and manual exfoliator (containing real petals) to buff away dead skin cells, followed by a steam with rose oil, an extraction and then an antioxidant-packed seaweed mask. And that was only the first half. Next came a heavenly scented honey and jasmine mask. This was massaged into my skin with cool-to-the-touch rose quartz crystals to aid lymphatic drainage (bye puffiness!) and promote healing. While each of the masks are left to work their magic, you can expect a blissful hand, foot and scalp massage for full-body relaxation. Finally, the aloe and citrus anti-pollution serum and manuka honey moisturiser left me glowing and ready to face the day. £190, 90 mins. Emma Vince

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Elemis

3.  Biotec Radiance Renew facial at Elemis

Not sure where to start when it comes to facials? Elemis are total skincare pros. In The House of Elemis spa they offer facials for sad, tired, sensitive, dull and pigmented skin, combating blemishes, lines and the effects of London’s pollution. Elemis facials combine expert touch and technology for impressive results. And the best of them all is the Biotec facial, which kicks off with a SkinLab analysis of your face, using a specialist camera that highlights and zooms in on things like sun damage, scarring and dehydration. Therapists then design your facial around their discoveries, using light therapy, oxygen infusions, hot stone massage and more. It’s designed to be relaxing, rather than invigorating, but you’ll be confident that your skin is getting a super-personalised pampering. 110, 60 mins. Ellie Walker-Arnott

4.  VicoGlow at Jasmina Vico

Still using the same skin products as a decade ago? Jasmina is an oracle of skin knowhow, full of fascinating facts and recommendations tailored to your individual needs. You’ll want to make notes as she analyses your skin. Your journey with Jasmina begins with a consultation, so there’s no need to swot up on what you’re after. Her ethos is all about preventing damage and promoting healthy, plump, hydrated and glowing skin, whether that’s through hands-on techniques or peels and laser. My Vico experience began with a deep cleanse and lymphatic massage before my unique issues were put under the spotlight (sometimes literally) with a little laser used on fine lines and redness. The results were immediate and impressive – my skin looked bright and nourished – but treatments here aren’t really about the quick fix. You’ll leave feeling informed with insights into how to better care for your face. And she won’t push pricey products on you at the end, either. £220, 60 mins. Ellie Walker-Arnott

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re:lax facials London
re:lax facials London
Brenna Duncan

5. Bespoke facial at re:lax

Health and beauty Massage and reflexology Bethnal Green

A facial with Katie White at re:lax’s petite shipping-container studio 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. 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. £80, 60 mins. Ellie Walker-Arnott

6. Organic Awaken Resurfacing Facial at Bamford Haybarn Spa

Health and beauty Spas Knightsbridge

The Berkeley hotel is so ostentatiously smart, if you arrive by car a man in a top hat will rush over and open the door for you. Once inside, you float on a cloud of expensive scent and newly discovered self-entitlement up to the second-floor spa and are soon wrapped up in a fluffy towelling robe to tell your whole life story to a sympathetic skincare professional. Your life story, it feels in that moment, is highly relevant to your facial needs. You are then told to undress ‘to your comfort level’ (I went naked. I realise now that you probably weren’t meant to get naked but that’s how comfortable I felt) and invited to lie down on a squishy massage bed. More of a ‘ritual than a facial’, what makes this experience so particularly exquisite is that the therapists here use hot and cold stones. First, a hot one is placed tenderly on your tummy – where it will remain, feeling like an hour-long cuddle. Your face is then steamed, caked in cleansing balm and rubbed with exfoliator, fruit acid and omega-rich oil. Every now and then you get a heavenly little lick at a pressure point from a healing hot or cold ‘jade heart’ stone. My absolute highlight, though, was when my beautician applied a face mask and then gave me a scalp massage. I was so relaxed by the end I felt drunk. If you’ve got the money, this is how to spend it. £130, 60 mins. Kitty Drake

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7. The High Vibe facial at Still London

Kingsland Road isn’t somewhere you’d necessarily describe as peaceful. It’s busy and buzzing with Londoners from all walks of life at all times of the day. But there’s true tranquillity to be found in this hippy, holistic nail salon. At the front of the space, you can shop for crystals, jade rollers, organic bath salts and other wellness products. In the middle, it’s set up like a standard nail salon, but all products are vegan, non-toxic and cruelty-free – and all the nail art options are delicate and stylish. The back room, though, is where Still London really gets interesting. Once your nails are looking fresh, you can head into the petite space for a tarot reading session with healer Wolf Sister, or holistic facials and massages with Daisy, the in-house therapist. We tried The High Vibe facial, which was 90 nourishing minutes of crystal healing and reiki, plus much of what you’d expect from a standard facial: gentle exfoliation, massage, soothing natural serums and masks. It’s the facial for when your skin and your soul are in need of some quiet care. You won’t get extractions or potent products applied to your face here, but whether or not you believe in chakras and auras, an hour and a half in Daisy’s company will leave you and your skin feeling balanced, cleansed and reset. 90 mins, £85. Ellie Walker-Arnott

8. Spectra Hollywood Peel at Young LDN

Health and beauty Beauty salons Notting Hill

There are facials that leave you relaxed, and then there are facials that actually work – like Young LDN’s Spectra Hollywood Peel. Though ‘peel’ in name, it’s actually a laser treatment that plumps up your skin, shrinks your pores and reduces blackheads, acne and scarring, all with no downtime.

Young LDN’s treatment rooms are painted with colourful street art, and the salon’s knowledgeable facialists let you pick your own soundtrack as you lie back and get zapped for 45 minutes. Your treatment begins with a cleansing massage, then it’s down to business. First, your face will be rubbed with dark grey carbon (because the laser’s wavelength is attracted to dark things), then a Lutronic Spectra laser machine, which looks like something out of ‘Doctor Who’, will zap the carbon off your face and décolletage. This feels weird, but not painful – like warm, tiny hands flicking you in the face. As the carbon burns, it gives off a smokey odour.  After the laser treatment is finished, you get a bit of pampering: a soothing, fridge-chilled Rose Quartz roller is run across your face, and serums and moisturisers are applied as needed. Post facial, my skin looked plump, dewy and a little bit pink. But it was the days and weeks after the treatment that made the treatment worth the £180 price tag. It left my skin more luminous, and my complexion more even – but best of all, it eradicated the hormonal pimples that menace my T-zone and jawline. Alyx Gorman

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9. Signature Electrical at FaceGym

Want a workout but hate getting sweaty? At FaceGym you’ll find the face-focused personal trainers you never knew you needed. Set in the pristine beauty hall at Selfridges, FaceGym’s Signature Electrical will sculpt, plump, define and de-puff, giving you a complete facial workout in less than an hour – while you sit in a comfy seat. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be relaxing: they believe in really working the facial muscles to lift your look. Expect your muscles to twitch with the FaceGym Pro tool, then you’ll get a facial massage and a shot of oxygen before the whole experience is rounded off with a jade-stone cooldown. Why not ditch the gym bag, rediscover your cheekbones, and experience this incredible non-invasive facial treatment for yourself? £85, 40 mins. Grace Goslin

10. Celestial Black Diamond Rejuvenation Non-Surgical Face Lift at Bvlgari Spa London

From the moment I arrived at the Bvlgari Spa London I was treated like royalty. That’s certainly not the primary reason to book this facial but it’s a pleasing by-product. The spa itself, one of the most luxurious spaces in London, is opulent and otherworldly. Everything is tailored to your taste: from the temperature of the heated bed to the music you’ll listen to during the facial. The treatment is one of the most intense on our list. Developed by head aesthetician Milena Naydenov it’s a powerful combination of firm massage, rich masks, exfoliating acids and products with active ingredients to smooth and lift your skin. Did I mention some of them feature actual powdered diamonds? Is it something to add into your regular routine? With that price tag, probably not. But there’s no denying this ‘face lift’ facial gives impressive results, like catwalk-grade contoured cheekbones and zero eye bags. 90 mins, £350. Ellie Walker-Arnott

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11.  Dr Hauschka Holistic Facial at Como Shambhala

The Como Metropolitan’s spa is a dreamy pocket of calm just off Park Lane. I can pretty much feel my shoulders relax and my jaw unclench the minute I walk through the door and am greeted by the spa’s trademark scent. The mug of peppy ginger tea and my therapist’s whispered tones don’t hurt either. Dr Hauschka is all about natural, ethical, simple skincare, and the holistic facial showcases the stars of the range. With assured yet gentle movements, this hands-on treatment will deeply cleanse, moisturise and balance your complexion, with extractions and more localised attention given to problem areas. You’ll leave with glowy skin and a quiet mind. And probably a tube of cleansing cream in hand – the sweet, fruity balm which is applied to the skin in a soothing, rolling motion during the facial is too good to leave behind. £110, 60 mins. Ellie Walker-Arnott

away spa massage
away spa massage
AWAY Spa

12. Zestation facial at Away Spa

Forget its Leicester Square location, because the Away Spa achieves the unexpected – an instant transportation away from the London rush. When I arrive for my treatment, I enter a space so casually chic that it instantly puts me at ease. After sipping a glass of water, I am led by my therapist, Egla, into the treatment room where the lights are soft and tranquil music whispers away any leftover anxieties. I take three deep breaths and the hour-long Zestation Facial begins, a luscious scent of oranges sweeping across the room to help drift me into a state of total bliss. Egla uses a soothing, cleansing routine and mask application to give my skin the vitamin boost it needs and then subdues my dark circles with a cooling eye mask. Not an inch is neglected – Egla even tends to my scalp with a dreamy head massage, and I am at the pinnacle of zen. At the end, I slip my clothes back on and peek in the mirror – my face is glowing, hydrated and fresh as a peach. £105, 60 mins. Katherine Lovage

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13. Signature Cryotherapy Rejuvenation Face Treatment at Harrods Wellness Clinic

It wasn’t until I couldn’t feel my cheeks that I fully appreciated what I’d let myself in for. I’d rushed from work to the swanky wellness space hidden away in the heart of Harrods ready for fragranced oils to be stroked onto my face, but so far the 111CRYO Signature Cryotherapy Rejuvenation Face Treatment was far from soothing. Instead, I was lying in a bright white room while my therapist targeted a jet of -30°C cooled air and pure CO2 onto my face in a rhythmic pattern. To start with it felt like a gust of wind in your face on a snow day but after a while that icy air started to sting. Just when my face got uncomfortably frosty, we were done. And I got the pampering I was after too: the treatment ended with a powerful and super relaxing facial massage while my skin, erm, thawed. So why subject yourself to this chilly treatment? Cryotherapy is meant to aid circulation and stimulate collagen and elastin in your skin. For lasting results you’ll probably need to get cold on the regular, but I certainly left with a tight and bright complexion. 60 mins, £250. Ellie Walker-Arnott

14.  Bespoke Facial at Cowshed

Tucked on a side street, away from the bustle of Carnaby Street, the atmosphere at Cowshed’s Carnaby spa is one of relaxation and quiet calm. You are welcomed with a choice of tea, coffees or something a little stronger, while you peruse the huge range of tempting Cowshed goodies as you wait for your treatment. Soon you are led downstairs to one of the quiet, private rooms for a consultation on your own individual needs, taking into account your skin history and any problem areas, before your therapist selects a series of cleansers, toners and treatments based on exactly what you need, including the remarkably satisfying pore extraction. You’ll also receive all the information on what was used before you leave (you know, so you can attempt to replicate the calming experience in your own shared bathroom). I emerged from mine feeling fresh faced and rejuvenated – enough even to brave the shops of Oxford Street. £120, 60 mins. Emily Ewens

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15. Herbal Recovery Signature Facial at Jurlique

In a tiny room hidden at the back of Jurlique’s Oxford Street shop – all bright-and-clean, white-and-wood, with swathes of pink – is the Australian skincare brand’s London spa. This cube of calm is home to the Herbal Recovery Signature Facial, a totes zen, cell-invigorating hour of the synonymous anti-ageing range of products being smoothed onto your mug, at times with the help of amethyst massage stones – which are believed to cleanse the body of toxins and boost immunity. And knowing Jurlique’s got sustainable cred – employee tree-planting days, botanicals grown on a fully solar-powered farm – you’ll rest even easier on that comfy treatment bed. £65, 60 mins. Clare Vooght

TriYoga massage
TriYoga massage
Karen Yeomans

16. Ren facial at Triyoga

Say goodbye to the Camden crowds and namaste to cheery yoga devotees at Triyoga – a light and incense-filled wellness studio located in a former Victorian piano factory. The vibe here is so chill that it’s hard to fathom just how much activity is going on in each of Triyoga’s low-lit spaces; yoga, pilates, meditation, massage, acupuncture, homoeopathy and a whole range of facials. As a newcomer to the world of facials, I had little idea of what to expect (cucumbers over the eyes, perhaps?), which is why I was relieved when my therapist, Julia, prompted a preliminary discussion about my skin type and the treatment I was about to receive. A Ren facial, as it turns out, involves more than just a surface slathering; it’s a facial massage which aims to relieve muscle tension by working pressure points and applying a gentle, yet firm touch to the forehead, eyebrows, cheeks, nose and chin. The experience was so profoundly relaxing that I fell into a blissful half-asleep state, rain tapping softly on the glass pane above. In the space of 60 minutes, I transformed from a stressed-out simpleton who didn’t even know that we carry tension in our faces to a super-calm convert to the benefits of facials. £70, 60 minutes. Rose Johnstone

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17. QMS Urban Repair Facial at Liberty

If you like your beauty treatments steeped in science, head straight to Liberty's for a QMS Urban Repair Facial. QMS Cosmetics is the mastermind of Dr Erich Schulte, a world-famous dermatologist and plastic surgeon who surely knows a thing or two about how to fix skin ailments. In this 50-minute session, targeted specifically at us city-dwellers, the facial promises to rid skin of all those pesky urban pollutants. Oh, and did we mention it just so happens to radically reduce the appearance of fine lines, too? Get ready for an exfoliating fruit acid peel (not as scary as it sounds, quite pleasant actually) and a hefty blast of Oxygen to get your skin feeling fresh again. Expensive? Perhaps, but worth every penny for the long-lasting glow you'll have for weeks afterwards. £110, 50 minutes. Rosie Akenhead

The Landmark London

18.  Timexpert C+ Anti-Glycation facial at The Landmark London

A few minutes on the gently heated treatment bed and any tension, or awkwardness about a stranger cleansing your semi-naked body, will melt away entirely. This soothing facial treatment in the basement spa of the grand Landmark hotel champions vitamin C, fighting against the damage sugar and UV radiation can have on our complexions and promising to fight early signs of ageing. The treatment, an almost rhythmic application of product after product, rounded off with a rich, heavy mask, certainly left my often-neglected skin feeling illuminated. My one mistake: visiting the spa after a long day in the office. It was so relaxing, I snored through most of it. £115-£125, 80 mins. Ellie Walker-Arnott

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Decleor massage room
Decleor massage room
Decleor

19. Anti-pollution facial at Decleor

Head downstairs from Decleor’s sleek, impossibly lush-smelling Westbourne Grove shop and you’ll find a small but perfectly formed spa. I’m here for their new anti-pollution facial, but the treatment actually begins with a short back massage - the spa’s signature move, designed to help your therapist understand your body chemistry and what’s going on inside. The actual facial is just as relaxing; with the emphasis on toxin-draining massage, my face is treated to a series of masks, scrubs and serums, all while I’m gently kneaded into blissful submission. I leave glowy and completely spaced out; the only downside here is coming back up the stairs into the real world again. £80, 75 minutes. Lisa Wright

20. Aromatherapy Associates Facial at Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre

Located just a few steps away from the bustle of Piccadilly Circus, the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre is a genuine oasis of calm. Part of the Hotel Café Royal, it houses a jaw-dropping rectangular pool at its heart and a variety of elegant treatment rooms off to the sides. We tried The Ultimate Aromatherapy Facial offered by Aromatherapy Associates and were impressed by the level of consultation before the session began. A wide range of serums, face masks, exfoliating products and oils to suit my specific skin type were on hand and applied in a professional and ultra-relaxing manner during the treatment. An additional back and neck massage broke up the session nicely, and the overall effect was enough to make re-emerging in central London seem like a breeze. £145, 60 mins. Oliver Keens

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Murad Summer in the City Facial
Murad Summer in the City Facial
Murad

21. Murad Facial at Blush + Blow

Beauticians Blush + Blow have transformed the basement of their pastel-perfect salon into a cosy labyrinth of treatment rooms offering a skin-tingling selection of exotic-sounding facials and peels. I tried the Murad, which uses products from the 25-year-old holistic skincare brand. Facial steaming and a deep, floral-smelling cleanse left my face squeaky clean and ready to reap the benefits of a zinging glycolic peel mask. Once my pores were prepped I was treated to a meticulous extraction, ridding my complexion of blemishes. To finish, skin is buffed and toned with a lifting facial massage using sweet-smelling lotions. I emerged glowing and relaxed with peachy plump cheeks to boot. Extend the facial for an extra half hour for the ultimate luxury. £80, 60 minutes. Alexandra Sims

Treatment at Linda Meredith skincare, London
Treatment at Linda Meredith skincare, London
Photograph: Linda Meredith

22. Haute Couture Facial at Linda Meredith Skincare

Health and beauty Beauty salons Knightsbridge

You might feel like a celebrity going incognito at a Harley Street surgery as you head into Linda Meredith. The Knightsbridge beauty clinic is hardly marked on street level, and you enter a non-descript, narrow stairwell that leads you up to a second-floor reception. I was recommended what they call a Haute Couture Facial (an hour-long treatment costing £100) to help clear up congestion, which included a fairly pain-free extraction session and an intensely tingly micro-peel that enlivened my senses. The peace was amped up by cosy blankets and pillows, but hindered by the noise carrying around the building and its slightly crammed-together therapy rooms. But it’s all in the results: within a week, my skin was visibly brighter – to the extent that people were commenting on it – and my complexion since feels softer and more even. It's probably not up to Goop levels yet, but it feels like I might be on track. Laura Richards

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