The latest beauty treatments offer maximum efficacy in minimum time, and still leave time for breakfast or a lunchtime sandwich

Today’s increasingly hectic schedules leave us with less time for beauty maintenance than ever. Often, when we do find a rare hour to cram in a facial it can be more stressful than relaxing. We get worked up because we’re running late for the treatment, then feel guilty for lying on a massage bed. After that, it becomes a mad rush home or back to work with blood pressure soaring – now that’s not what I call a pampering experience. We have no time for beauty, but happily the past five years have seen a rise in cosmetic procedures that include non-invasive treatments with dramatic rejuvenating effects. Beauty companies have, at last, realised the need for the ‘fast facial fix’.

One of the most revolutionary revitalising beauty treatments to hit the market uses electrical micro currents to firm and tone the skin. Devised by a medical doctor in America, the technique is completely safe and painless and research has shown that specific waveforms can exercise the cells, producing instant visible lifting results on sagging skin. The technology has proven to be so effective that it has become known in the industry as the ‘non-surgical face lift’. There are many luxury brands using the technology – while CACI is the best known, Carita’s Pro-Lifting Firming Booster facial promises to ‘keep gravity’s side effects at bay’. Using a Pro-Lifting Machine, skin is exposed to a positive, negative and medium frequency charge, which combined with massage leaves skin visibly lifted, wrinkles plumped and facial contours redefined.

Meanwhile the Hydradermie Lift Yeux from beauty skincare brand Guinot is the equivalent of a lunchtime eye lift. Using micro-currents, tests have shown the procedure results in a reduction of fine lines, puffiness, under-eye shadows and even a widening of the eye contour.

Beauty companies have realised – at last – the need for the “fast facial fix”

When it comes to radiance, few of us have time for the lengthy process that makes up a two-hour facial. However, there is one particular all-in-one method that is guaranteed to make your complexion look fresh quickly and that is microdermabrasion. A favourite with celebrities for its swift, effective results, the procedure involves using a small hand-held vacuum to blast skin with a controlled stream of aluminium oxide crystals that delicately and painlessly remove old skin cells to reveal a smoother, more radiant complexion. One 30-minute treatment can produce many added benefits including increased blood supply and nutrients to the skin, decongestion of blackheads, and a reduction of pigmentation. And unlike glycolic peels, you can go straight out afterwards with no signs of redness.

While microdermabrasion is suitable for many skin types, those with more sensitive or acne-prone complexions would benefit from a quick spritz of oxygen in their lunch hour. Oxygen has been proven to have superior calming effects and tests have shown that a quick shot not only eliminates redness and irritation but fights the bacteria associated with acne. And added to the immediate effects, the long-term benefits include the protection of the epidermis from damage and stress.

But not all beauty fixes require the use of space-age technology – many nature-based treatments have similar skin-boosting effects. Clarins Pro-Active facials are a beauty editor’s favourite and use a specialised concentrate of active plant extracts and aromatic oils; the equivalent to seven days of treatment in one dose. Meanwhile E’Spa’s Skin Brightener facial is known as the ‘kiss of life’. Using a product called the Rejuvenating Skin Brightener and natural AHAs, it removes dead skin cells and calms reddened skin.

Sometimes, however, it is the most basic and oldest beauty method of all – massage – that produces the most revitalising results. The ‘Early Energiser’ at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London's award-winning Spa, reflects the vital role massage plays in beauty care by incorporating aromatherapy massage within its programme. Available Monday to Friday, between 7am and 9.30am, the programme also includes complimentary use of the gymnasium and heat and water oasis as well as a light Spa breakfast.

Some women fly half way round the world for a facial massage with Vaishaly Patel, one of London’s best-known beauty therapists. ‘The facial massage can make an instant difference, at every age,’ says Patel, ‘by boosting circulation and blood flow and delivering oxygen to the skin.’

She suggests massaging skin every day, starting at the sides of the nose and mouth with a sweeping action, moving outwards to the ears. She believes that just two minutes daily is the most effective instant lift of all and the best way to rid skin of toxins. Now that’s an early morning or lunchtime treatment you won’t even have to leave your desk for.

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