Dialling in for a Beauty Cocktail
One of the busiest districts in Singapore isn’t exactly the picture of relaxation if you have frequented the perennially hectic streets of the CBD. However, hidden amongst the hustle and bustle (behind a red analogue phone) at OUE Downtown Gallery you will find the cosy and homely waiting room of SW1 Clinic, the latest outlet following the success of its flagship shop at Paragon.
You can gain entrance to the aesthetic clinic by picking up the phone. Once you get pass the entrance you’ll find yourself in a chic lounge area and being offered a cocktail menu featuring a selection of three different drinks – Fresh Faced Martini, Pretty Bellini and Gorgeous Cosmopolitan. But don’t let the appearance fool you, the only drinks that you’ll be served at SW1 is their red date tea with a salver of cookies.
What differentiates this latest endeavour from its earlier establishment is choice; recognising that no two persons are the same, it gives you the freedom to pick and mix your own ideal treatment. Customisation is the key here and depending on the facial cocktail selected, you will get to choose up to four unique treatments from a collection of 21, which are classed under four different levels – Clarity, Purity, Beautify and Revivify.
As I visited on a weekend morning with time to spare, I went for the more comprehensive Gorgeous Cosmopolitan, a cocktail with the option to experience all four levels of treatment in a 70-minute session. However, if you are pressed for time or looking to squeeze in a quick lunch break getaway, the 50-minute Fresh Faced Martini will be the perfect choice.
The facial comes with a quick consultation and photo taking (for first time patrons) to help you get a clearer picture of your skin and decide on the treatment options to help you achieve your skin goals. The treatment rooms are concealed behind the shelves of SW1 products and much like the stylish lounge area, the space is thoughtfully designed and you can tell from the ambient lighting and lightly scented air that meticulous attention has been given to ensure clients’ well-being and comfort during the treatment.
Worry not if you are still undecided on the course to take at this point as you would be given another opportunity to discuss options with the therapist as she begins the facial with a thorough cleansing and again assesses your skin to provide a number of treatment suggestions.
With the skin prepped and ready to go, the lights were dimmed and the therapist covered me with a thick blanket and I settled in for the hour long facial. Below is an overview of the four levels that I tried and tested. For the full range of facial cocktails, their webpage here provides a useful guide: https://www.sw1spa.com/cocktails
Level 1 (Clarify) – Sonic Cleansing
The sonic cleansing offered at the clinic is no fuss and has no downtime. Unlike manual extractions which often leave post treatment redness, the sonic cleansing uses ultrasonic waves to loosen impurities from the pores and remove unwanted black/white heads and dead skin cells in the process.
The procedure is quick and painless and you can hardly tell anything is going on if not for the soft buzzing of the ultrasonic device that the therapist runs over your face to remove impurities. The extraction is followed by an antibacterial detox gel to soothe the skin and prevent inflammation and infection, although the extraction process is so gentle that any chance of inflammation is minimum.
As an added bonus, the therapist employed the extraction technique to a pimple that had developed on my forehead. The results were surprisingly instant and there was no more than a prick as the unwanted bump was removed; the adage no pain no gain has no place here.
Level 2 (Purity) – Oxygen Facial
Everyone gets tired looking skin once in a while and SW1 offers a quick fix just for that. Created to breathe life into your skin, the level 2 oxygen mask releases pure oxygen aimed to detoxify and brighten your skin, leaving a much healthy looking complexion free of city pollutants.
This is not just one of your usual foaming masks where it fizzes off on your skin. Upon application, the mask forms a thick and velvety layer on your face as it slowly activates and bubbles, producing oxygen which tickles at your face for the next 15 minutes. Best done after a sonic cleansing, this is a sure way to calm your newly cleansed pores and obliterate any acne problem.
And to add a thoughtful touch to the treatment, the therapist misted the area above my head with a relaxing scented spray while we waited for the oxygen mask to gently bubble away.
Level 3 (Beautify) – Skin Tight Infrared
This treatment ranks as far as non-invasive skin tightening goes. Once used by astronauts to heal wounds, light therapies are now commonly used as a cosmetic treatment to give your skin an accelerated boost to combat various skin concerns, such as boosting circulation and skin firming.
The infrared light is delivered through a small handheld device which pulses a controlled amount of light onto the skin surface. Under the trained hands of the therapist, the infrared light is delivered to the skin in quick successive shots, sending a warm pulsing sensation down your skin as the light hits its mark.
The experience is akin to basking on the beach under the sun; it is warm and soothing although you can expect the light to get very bright at some point even with the protective eye mask. This process takes about five to 10 minutes to complete and once you get used to the intensity of the light, you will begin to relax into the warm sensation from the machine as it works to firm up your dermal cells.
Level 4 (Revivify) – Pearl Éclat Mask
A mask which smell like no other, the Pearl Éclat Mask combines crushed pearls with hyaluronic acid to create a skin brightening and revitalising concoction.
Be it glowing cheeks or puffy eyes, this mask has got you covered, literally. Mixed with an activator, the mask creates a thick paste which rests over your entire face (eyes and mouth included). The sensation is strange but comfortable and in the 10 minutes that the mask took to solidify, it felt almost like one of those scented eye masks that you can doze off into when taking a beauty nap.
You can also purchase a tub of the mask for home application but I would recommend trying it at the outlet itself. The Pearl Éclat isn’t just a treat for your complexion, the process is a relaxing ritual complete with a series of hand massages, an experience which leaves you with a fresh-faced glow and feeling rejuvenated. Just a heads up, if you are mixing this mask at home, you may need to do so at a less relaxing pace as the mask solidifies fairly quickly from my experience.
The Verdict and Cost
At the end of the facial, you will be treated to a range of skin care products as a prefect finishing touch to prepare your skin for city life outside. Overall, the facial does seem to deliver as I left the clinic with clearer and brighter skin without any post treatment redness and discomfort.
Results aside, it is the experience and thoughtful indulgence that will have you booking an appointment again. Priced at $220 (Fresh Faced Martini), $260 (Pretty Bellini) and $350 (Gorgeous Cosmopolitan) respectively, whether you are looking for a quick martini or full happy hour cocktail, you can do so on your own terms and time.
The clinic also has their own in-house product line which you can take home for a DIY facial experience. Although if you are looking to have a taste of their ultrasound and radio frequency aesthetic range, you will have to drop in for a more clinical experience.
290 Orchard Road, #13-03 Paragon
Tel: 6817 8888
6A Shenton Way #02-19/20, OUE Downtown Gallery Tower 2
Tel: 6817 8882