Blissful facial treatments at Sands ... and their fascinating history
When imagining a facial, most people picture an hour or so’s indulgent
relaxation, featuring the fragrance of nurturing skincare products and
healing hands (and occasionally machines) in a quiet, low-lit sanctuary that
calms your mind as much as your complexion. It wasn’t always so.
Rewind to ancient Rome, and kingfisher droppings, animal placentas
and goose fat were commonly used to nourish and moisturise. In ye
olde England, Queen Elizabeth I and her peers slathered toxic white
lead and acidic vinegar on their faces for that fashionable paler-thanpale
complexion. Others turned to blood-letting and even bloodsucking
leeches. Dicing raw meat was another common ingredient, with Empress
Elisabeth of Austria choosing raw veal as her skin’s steak of choice.
Of course, more palatable ingredients also got a look in. Cleopatra
is infamous for bathing in asses’ milk, but allegedly she also smoothed
on Dead Sea mud facial masks to draw out toxins, along with
egg whites to tighten the skin. The ancient Romans believed that
alongside placentas, honey, vinegar, basil juice and oil would beautify
Rather more recent history relates that Marie Antoinette indulgently bathed her face in milk with lemon juice and Cognac – she was living in France after all. In Asia, Yang Gui Fei, one of China’s four ancient beauties, turned to a powder that included pearl, lotus root, ginger, ginseng and white jade to brighten her face.
Modern day spas can still be found to be taking a leaf out of her, and others', legendary facial recipe books. In China it is not unusual to find pearl powder and ginseng in facial masks, while jade rollers are popular for smoothing the skin. Milk, honey and egg whites can be found in more natural facials. Mud, including that from the Dead Sea, is a common detoxifier for the face and the body.
Today’s facials can also throw up their own brand of challenging ingredients, which in many decades’ time may cause our predecessors to roll their own brightened and lightened eyes. Not for the squeamish are nightingale droppings (check out Japan’s Geishas), bee venom masks (Kate Middleton is a fan), snake venom cream (think Gwyneth Paltrow), blood (as in Kim Kardashian and the vampire facial) and sheep placenta (Simon Cowell).
What do we learn from all this? That celebs are crazy? Well, perhaps, but also that beauty comes from the most unexpected places and that women, and an increasing number of men, will go to extreme lengths to try to hang on to the radiance (and quite a bit of the folly) of youth.
Here in Macao, spas and their facials deliver full-beam radiance minus the folly, this time of year offering the ideal antidote to ageing and dehydration due to the summer sun and its rival, air conditioning.
Ingredients don’t get much more anti-ageing and hydrating than rose, and at the Four Seasons Macao’s Spa, the Organic Rose Facial promises illumination, hydration and heavenly Queen Rose fragrances resulting in visible radiance and mental relaxation. Your skin will love the rose cleansing milk and rose hip oil massage, and soak up the collagen mask and brightening serum like a sponge.
Also harnessing the deliciousness of rose, Shine Spa at Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel’s summer facials help to balance your yin and yang energies. If you’re lacking yin (associated with female energy and the moon), your therapist will suggest calming Bulgarian Rose as the main ingredient. For those needing more
yang (think male energy and the sun), your facial will feature strengthening sandalwood. Ideal for summer, they both hydrate and nourish for a brightened, anti-ageing result.
120-minute treatment from MOP 1,850+.
Precious gem emulsions harness the energy of their crystals and deliver powerful healing at Iridium Spa at The St. Regis Macao. The Jade Toning Journey channels Yang Gui Fei in jade microemulsion, which tones and helps combat signs of ageing along with an antioxidant-rich cranberry and peony mask, while the Ruby and Red Jasper Balancing Journey uses a microemulsion of Red
Jasper and a mask of chestnut and hazelnut, rich in iron and zinc, to increase elasticity, balance tone and revitalise the complexion.
110-minute treatment package, MOP 1,650+; add on a 30-minute massage for MOP 300+ and 15 per cent discount off spa retail, May to June 2018.
The Parisian’s Le SPA’tique serves up an unusual ingredient in their LING Copper and Collagen Cooling Facial. After a facial massage and exfoliation, the Collagen Copper Mask features a chilled copper and gold wand that vibrates at 6000rpm, helping boost the skin’s production of collagen, while infusing the mask’s goodness into the skin. What’s more, this facial comes with a complimentary Collagen Sculpting Eye Treatment for brightening the eyes, lifting the entire complexion. 60 minutes for MOP 1,250 weekdays, MOP 1,300 weekends.
Finally, at Bodhi Spa at the Conrad Macao, the M-Ceutic Radical Renovation Facial sounds like the ideal way to remove sun damage, banishing pigmentation and dry skin with the double-duty intensive peel and resurfacing serum, and revamping your complexion for a totally refreshed result.
75 minutes for MOP 1,260 weekdays, MOP 1,320 weekends.
Book an appointment at one of these signature spas now!
Four Seasons Spa, Four Seasons Hotel Macao
Reservations: +853 2881 8888
Bodhi Spa, Conrad Macao, Cotai Central
Reservations: +853 8113 6188
Shine Spa for Sheraton, Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel,
Reservations: +853 8113 0222