Three Fantastic Facials

By Kerry Allen, Melissa K Trias & Steph Buckingham

Summer’s officially over, and the onset of autumn means one thing: bad skin. Talk Magazine sought out three of the best places to go in town (whatever your price range) to turn that dry, blotchy mess into a soft, strokeable visage. Kiss goodbye to those unsightly pores; say hello to a beautiful new you!

Villy’s Nail Studio

What: Crystal Brilliant Purifying Facial (60 min)
Where: 123 Wulumuqi Bei Lu, near Yuyuan Lu. Tel: 3255 8131
How Much: RMB 220

If you’re a long-term facial fan and looking for somewhere to make your regular (budget permitting, of course) then Villy’s on Wulumuqi Bei Lu is a really worthy find. Of course, its name might not make it an obvious choice for those seeking out a place to get their tired skin cleansed, toned and moisturised, but loyal Villy’s visitors know otherwise; her fantastic facials are one of Shanghai’s best kept secrets.

After browsing the assorted jewellery bits and pieces that owner Villy Lee regularly brings into her store, my treatment began with my settling into a big comfy chair to enjoy a warm facial cleanse, and a head massage to help my mind unfurl.

An assortment of aromatherapy creams and oils were then used on my face, which my therapist spent time massaging in lovingly, using hypnotic techniques which held me under a spell. While I inhaled the sweetly scented creams that were being applied, I relaxed into a medium pressure head and shoulders massage, slipping into a calm that I didn’t realise I had in me.

The emphasis at Villy’s is on inducing relaxation, and on a rainy day in Central Jing’an, my facial and massage definitely catered to that. It was a good hour before both my friend and I came round from the process, walking around afterwards in a state of complete calm and utter bliss.



What: Jade Qi Yun Signature Facial (90 min)
Where: ESPA in the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai Pudong. 55F, 8 Shiji Dadao, near Lujiazui Huan Lu. Tel: 2020 1888
How Much: RMB 1,280 + 15%

For an otherworldly spa experience, there’s perhaps nowhere in Shanghai that rivals the Ritz-Carlton Pudong’s ESPA. As well as the impressive 55th floor views looking out at the glittering Pearl Tower from the relaxation room (where guests can unwind before or after their treatment), the spa itself gives the impression of entering into a futuristic spaceship, where returning guests are all and more than willing to offer their bodies up to be probed.

 And it’s no surprise considering the top quality level of service that is offered, and the purely intoxicating products that are used. At the beginning of my treatment, a full body experience said to rebalance both mind and body by targeting the areas most stressed, I was asked to choose between two different scents for each individual process of my treatment. Each time my therapist, Annie, told me in perfect English, what choosing each scent signified (for example my need to be stress-free), effectively confirming where the ‘mind’ part of the process came in.

Oils and creams decided upon, attention then turned to the ‘body’, first with a back scrub, followed by an aromatherapy massage, before I turned over and began my facial. And the next 60 minutes or so were pure bliss, the skin on my face exfoliated and cleansed, before Annie used a UV light to determine which areas were dry or oily, and where particular attention needed to be focused.

The treatment continued with a variety of sumptuously scented oils applied using jade facial rollers, and a relaxing scalp massage, meaning that I was soon cast under a spell of serenity. And at the end of the 90 minutes, I felt I could easily fall asleep in my chair, though not before locating a mirror, and observing how my skin looked noticeably more radiant. 

The Sanctuary

What: The Calming Facial (110 min)
Where: Rm 402, 171 Jianguo Zhong Lu, near Ruijin Er Lu. Tel: 3356 2257. Web:
How Much: RMB 1,100

Perched atop Tianzifang Terrace is an affordable, professional skincare spa called The Sanctuary. Owned by Lisa Young , who comes from an experienced medical background, and Su Lim, who has over 20 years of experience in skin care, you certainly feel like you’re being placed in good hands on arrival at this lovely little spa. And you’re also made to feel as though you’re getting a devoutly personal service; the treatments differ from most other spas is that The Sanctuary offers customised facials that are suited to each individual’s needs.

On the day that I visited, my face was an uncomfortable state of dryness that manifested itself in horrible red blotches and an unsightly scattering of pimples on my cheeks and chin. I was not feeling pretty at all.

Feeling my pain, Young and Lim sat me down for a brief chat about my daily skincare regimen, as well as lifestyle factors that could have instigated such an outbreak. Both agreed that I should receive the Calming Facial that would sooth my stressed and irritated skin, restore balance and help it get back to its normal state.

To begin my facial, my aesthetician introduced me to the products that would be used, all of which are imported and made up of pure, organic materials. She then massaged my shoulders and scalp before gently cleansing my skin and performing a simple extraction from my pores. After that, I was treated with a slow and soothing application of various creams that alleviated the tight, irritating dryness with which I had walked into the spa.

Organic rose water was then applied onto my skin to soothe the redness, and my aesthetician massaged my face using a special technique that involved the application of various serums and creams.

Once the facial was over, the results were astounding. My skin was not completely healed (that would take at least a few more days), but the facial had definitely accelerated my recovery. Looking at myself in the mirror, the redness had subsided and my skin was supple once again and I was able to walk out confidently without fear of someone grimacing at my previously florid face.