The Deep-Cleansing Facial in Dubai That Will Give You Back Your Glow

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Photographed by Jon Cardwell for Savoir Flair

We’ve all heard the expression “spring cleaning” – that time of year when the clutter gets cleared from our wardrobes and homes and everything gets a good old scrub. It’s effective and makes things look squeaky clean and shiny new again, so why not apply it to skincare too? Our faces put up with constant stress, be it from makeup, pollution, everyday dirt and grime, or the numerous lotions and potions we slather on in a bid to look younger and more beautiful. Over time, all these factors can take their toll on your skin, resulting in clogged pores, breakouts, redness, and generally dull and sad skin. It’s a bit of a shame given the effort and products we use to keep it as far from that as possible, which is why it’s important we treat our faces to a spring clean, or a deep clean to be more precise, once or twice a year, to get back that glow and restore skin to its natural, happy, healthy state. The answer? The Obagi ‘Deep Cleansing Facial’.

You can forget the sumptuous treatment room, mood lighting, whale sounds, and incense burning that are usually characteristic of a spa; Obagi is all white walls, bright lights, and rather clinical. It’s a “medispa”, meaning it blends restorative treatments with the latest advances in technology and healing skincare formulas. From plastic surgery to laser treatments and cosmetic facials, it’s a one-stop shop for any skincare problem. My problem? My skin was in dire need of some TLC. Although I cleanse, tone, and moisturize twice a day, drink gallons of water, and am pedantic with my skincare regime, I’d started to notice that my face wasn’t looking that fresh anymore, which, when living in a fast-paced city like Dubai, is hardly surprising. So I took a trip to The Dubai Mall and left my face in the capable hands of Dora, my therapist, who promised that in 90 minutes my skin would be cleansed, steamed, and extracted back to life. And it was.

At Obagi, you can also forget the usual facials that spas offer, and that includes their delicious-smelling creams, scrubs, masks, and head massages. This was more like a medical procedure – or, as Dora described it, a workout for your face. First came the warmup, which like most facials began with a cleansing gel that helps eliminate surface dirt and creates a clean base for the rest of the treatment. This was massaged gently into the skin and removed with squidgy blue sponges a few times before a toner containing alpha hydroxy acids was applied (AHAs have a mild exfoliating effect and help erase fine lines whilst smoothing skin). So far, there was nothing too out of the ordinary compared to most facials I’ve had – or so I thought. For then came the pre-workout stretch, the facial steaming, which is exactly what it sounds like: a steamer machine held close to the skin to heat up the surface and open pores, making it easier to get all the bad stuff out of them. It was surprisingly relaxing, although a little warm, and I could actually feel my skin starting to sweat out the toxins and impurities. Whilst the steamer was working its magic, Dora gently massaged my skin with an enzyme exfoliator, which, thanks to the heat, was able to penetrate deeper into the skin and gently scrub away dirt and dead cells.

Next is when it started getting serious and the workout began. A big bright light was held above my face (think: Dentist chair) and Dora got up close and personal to begin the facial extraction, using her fingers to squeeze out any clogged-up pores. For the really small little lumps and bumps that are under the skin, normally around the nose or on the chin, she also used a thin needle to gently prick the surface. Although a little uncomfortable, it didn’t hurt, and strangely became rather relaxing after a while. Another AHA toner was then applied and things got even more serious – it was high-frequency facial-care time. Using a small handheld device that can only be described as a long rod with a fingerprint-sized head on it, Dora used high-frequency energy (which you can’t feel at all) to disinfect the surface of my skin and to oxygenate and energize the cells whilst also reducing redness. Then came another device: two rollers that conduct a mild micro current through the skin. This electrotherapy technique helped active ingredients (Dora coated my face with layers of serums containing hyaluronic acid, zinc, anti-inflammatories, mild retinol, collagen – you name it, it was in it) penetrate deep into the skin and pores. This was the high-intensity sprint session of the treatment and, although not painful, it was a little uncomfortable and gave my skin a slight tingling sensation as the rollers passed over my face.

It was then time for the stretch and cool-down portion of the facial, when I got to take some time out whilst my skin did the same. The lights were turned down, calming music turned on, and a cooling algae mask applied to the entire face. Going on thick, cold, and gooey, it calmed skin after its workout and helped the products penetrate even more effectively. Over 15 minutes, it dried onto the skin before Dora peeled it away, and I felt wide awake and fresh faced instantly. The facial ended with the application of a hydrating and anti-inflammatory face cream and sun protection, which offers a physical SPF to make sure your new suped-up skin stays its best from the inside out. Although a little red in places of extraction, my skin felt so smooth and supple after just one session, and the next day I woke up with a glow that made it look like I’d just come back from a two-week holiday – when all I did was spend 90 minutes at Obagi.

Obagi ‘Deep Cleansing Facial’, AED 750/SAR 765 for 90 minutes, The Dubai Mall.

For appointments and information, call (+971) 4 339 7060.

Promo Photo: Courtesy of Style D” Mode

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