It’s no secret that the French know a thing or two when it comes to beauty and skincare. And while they make it look effortless, don’t be fooled, as they understand that great skin, like great food and wine, needs love and nurture in order to present itself at its best.
This premise seems to be at the heart of cult skincare brand Biologique Recherche, whose products and fantastic facials are now available at the glorious sky-high Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo. Since opening 10 years ago, The Spa has made a name for itself in both the holistic wellness and beauty worlds, by offering serious treatments that deliver results. Those in the know make regular appointments, I’m told, which is why I am keen to experience it for myself.
Biologique Recherche facial products
Biologique Recherche, developed by doctors in France, claims to be revolutionising the fight against biological ageing. ‘It’s not like any other facial you will have tried,’ my friends have told me, intriguingly. Plus, it has celebrity cachet – Angelina and Brad are purported to be fans; and the hotel is also the only place in Tokyo in which to experience it. (In fact, the Biologique Recherche Haute Couture experience includes a skincare analysis by Dr Philippe Allouche, son of the company’s founder. The skincare formulas are then produced in the laboratory in France and couriered to the hotel to be used in a series of highly personalised facials and follow-up home care.)
‘You should definitely try it,’ says my perfectly smooth-skinned beauty therapist, as I sip a delicate and soothing cup of tea and gaze over the blinking lights of the frenetic city far below. ‘Almost all of us here use the products and believe that they really make a difference,’ she continues, while massaging the soles of my feet and urging me to relax.
To begin, I am asked to study my own face and report on what I see. ‘Tired, sagging, crepey?’ I venture. After a more considered skin analysis, my therapist says, with a smile, that in 90 minutes I will definitely notice a change for the better. While I lie back on the heated bed, she disappears to prepare the lotions and potions that promise to transform my skin.
A facial at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo
The facial is truly personalised and therefore different for everyone, which is why it claims to be so effective. Products are highly concentrated and selected for each guest from the wide range available, dependent on each person’s skin analysis. Mine smell slightly medicinal, but I am assured that they will do the job. Cool rather than warm water is used on the face and there is no extraction process. Instead, it’s all about ensuring that the products go deep into my skin. But it is the massage technique that is the newest experience for me. My face feels as if it is getting a good workout, and indeed, when I look in the mirror after having one side massaged, I can actually see a lifting effect.
I have opted to add the Facial Remodeling Machine as a booster. The brochure promises that this will provide wider-looking eyes, more prominent cheekbones and softer wrinkles. And although I am told it might not feel relaxing, I enjoy the sensation and even slip into a heavenly doze.
Dr Philippe Allouche
After 90 minutes, my skin feels tighter and I look refreshed. I’m also interested to learn that the effects should last for approximately 10 days. As ever, for the best results, a series of treatments is recommended. I leave with a list of products that should now form the basis of my skincare routine, and that night I sleep deeply. The next day, despite long meetings and a late flight, several people comment on how ‘well’ I look. I smile with what I hope is insouciant French flair, and make a mental note to book in for another treatment on my return to the city.
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Biologique Recherche facials are also available at Mandarin Oriental, Taipei and the soon to open Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech