Uber facialist, Marie Reynolds, invited me to try her Masterlift Facial, and although I will never turn down a chance to work on my complicated host of skin problems, initial browsing of Marie's website made me a little bit apprehensive. I'm not talking about the before and after pictures - oh my days, look at them - this facial clearly delivers results, it's just that you have to wear a scary looking mask (above) during part of the treatment. You need to see the video on Marie's website to comprehend how weird it looks when someone is wearing it; the flashing lights of various colours emanating from the mask make it look they're being turned into robots (in my mind).
Marie assures me there's nothing to worry about, and so I meet her at swishy Fortnum and Mason, the Queen's favourite shop no less. Marie hires a beautiful treatment room there once a month, and runs the rest of her practice from her Norfolk clinic. Unsurprisingly her London day is chocker-block with locals wanting this futuristic facial, though Marie tells me lots of her London clients (she used to be fully based here until the countryside lured her away) like to visit her in Norfolk and make a relaxing trip of it.
This is a fairly quick facial, around fifty minutes, including some consultation time, but boy is it powerful. Like most of the top notch treatments I've been having lately, this isn't a lie down in the dark and be pampered procedure, it's a keep your clothes on and have some intense products applied affair, a procedure that will actually have a lasting affect. I think the Masterlift is really good value for money seeing as it includes a chemical peel, digital micro-needling, and LED work - usually you'd have to pay for separate treatments in most clinics. Marie runs the micro-needles over my skin to make teensy tiny holes for the products to sink in, it doesn't hurt a bit - not as much Dermarolling did, my experience with this must have scarred me a bit (not literally, it is a good treatment, just hardcore) because Marie points out that I'm flinching when she does the eye area. I'm having Dermaroller flashbacks. Next up is a sheet mask with collagen and apple stem cell, and embarrassingly as it's placed on me I stifle a cough that leads me to choke a bit, and I have to have some water. Always cough, Marie tells me - which is good advice if you don't want to look like an idiot in a sheet mask trying to sip a glass of water. After I recover, the mask of doom goes on over the sheet mask, and of course it's absolutely fine - lightweight and unrestrictive. Marie tells me to simply lift it up if I don't like it, it's not like you're Leonardo Dicaprio in the Man in the Iron Mask and imprisoned forever. For ten minutes I lie back as the lights within the mask occasionally change, each of them doing their thing to target inflammation, pigmentation, lines, marks and spots. After both masks are off Marie uses some smooth rollers to press hyaluronic acid into my skin, and I'm done.
I cannot believe the before and after pictures (above), especially of the fine lines around my eyes. If this, the thinnest and most dry area of the face can be plumped up beyond recognition, you can imagine what happens to the rest. On the cheek areas right next to my nose I have large open pores, and these had vanished, as did the acnes scars on my outer cheeks. I looked incredibly well-rested, much brighter in tone, with a smooth texture I haven't seen since my teens. Marie tells me the effects will only last a few days (damn you, robot magic!) which is why she has a lot of people coming for the Masterlift the day before a special occasion. She recommends a course of six for a total overhaul, during which she will put people on a 'home prep' regime of serums and pomegranate detox powder. Marie tells me about a bride-to-be she's working with who has had incredible results, then whips out her phone to prove it and I literally gasp.
Marie practices Noetics, the science of energy affecting matter; in the human form emotions impact upon looks as much as lifestyle does. It sounds really interesting (Marie has written about it in this month's issue of Cosmopolitan) and she offers one-on-one Noetic Recovery with people to fix their skin. She tells me that she's called the Skin Psychic as she knows so much from just looking at someone (Sherlock style), though she prefers not to use this label. Marie also tells me she can look at someone's toes and tell if they were first born or second born (etc), and I'm half tempted to kick off my shoe and get her to prove it. Anyway, I'm in no doubt that Marie Reynolds is some kind of miracle worker, or someone who knows her stuff about skin anyway - this is the lady to see if you're having face troubles.
One week on, of course my big pores and acnes scars are back, but I've listened to Marie's advice to keep working on it and not just wait for treatments to create short-term wonder. I will say that my skin is still brighter, and my makeup is going on so well. Yesterday someone who's only in their early fifties asked me if I'd ever heard of VCRs, and after looking at them like, do you think I was born after they became obsolete?? I was actually quite chuffed and put it down to a really cracking facial.
The Masterlift Facial is £180 in London (and cheaper at Marie's Norfolk clinic), available one day a month at Fortnum and Mason's.