Beauty News

Treatments on trial

From charcoal facials to ChillSculpt fat reduction, there’s a bewildering array of new-look procedures out there. We tried a few to see if they live up to their promise.
Do beauty treatments live up to the hype?

Chill Sculpting

Trialed by Josie Steenhart

A chilly but potentially very effective non-surgical treatment, ChillSculpt works by utilising cryolipolysis technology to freeze and reduce fat cells. What this means in layperson’s terms is a piece of equipment that wouldn’t be out of place in a hospital emergency room that sucks (hard) on the area being treated while concurrently freezing fat cells to ‘death’.

ChillSculpt can be applied to any area with unwanted fat, but according to the therapist who treated me, it’s most effective on “areas you can pinch between your fingers”. This still left me with a fair few options but I went with my stomach as there’s plenty to work with. It also meant I could lie down and read a magazine for the hour-long session.

First on was a sheet of protective gel to shield my skin from freezer-burn, followed, before I could lose courage, by a rectangular suction cup about the size of an iPhone6 Plus. The first few minutes of treatment are fairly uncomfortable and the strong suction sensation is mildly alarming, but beyond that it becomes tolerable.

On release from the device I was equal parts amused and horrified to find my stomach frozen into a raised rectangle the size of the aforementioned iPhone6 Plus. When this had defrosted an hour or so later, it was replaced with some lively bruising – though I’d been warned this might be the case.

Considering the alternative of surgical treatments like lipo, this is far gentler, but not immediate. Some results can appear in as little as three weeks but full results aren’t usually visible until about 90 days later as the final dead fat cells are eliminated.

What needs to be stressed is ChillSculpt works best on targeting small areas of stubborn chubbiness, and is recommended for those with a mid-range BMI who already have a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Multiple treatments over a period of a few months will obviously have the most effect, so after having only one treatment it’s harder to judge the impact.

Our recommendation: ChillSculpt, priced from $450 per session, available at all Caci clinics.

The Vampire breast lift

Trialed by Rachael Russell

As wonderful as breastfeeding was for my kids, it wasn’t kind to my cleavage, which is why I headed to The Face Place to see what could be done with the Vampire Breast Lift. This procedure is another use of PRP technology – where your own blood is removed (approximately 10-20ml) and spun in a machine that separates out the platelets. These are then injected back into the body to create a plumper, firmer appearance.

In the case of the Breast Lift, this is combined with small injections of reversible hyaluronic acid filler to help round out the result. The procedure doesn’t increase cup size, but does the job of a ‘good bra’ in terms of lift.

As a B cup (at best), I was keen on the idea of a rounder, fuller looking cleavage. After they checked I had been a good girl – because you’re using your own blood, it’s not a great idea to smoke, drink heavily, or taking blood-thinners such as fish oil or anti-inflammatories in the weeks before – we were ready to start the 30-minute procedure.

First, numbing cream was rubbed on the areas to be injected and then a white pencil was used to mark out where the PRP and filler would go. As most women – including me – do not have symmetrical breasts, the plan was to even out the shape as well as provide lift. Despite the numbing cream, I was able to feel a small prick from the needle going in, but it wasn’t painful. The majority of the PRP and filler was put into the ‘upper pole’ – the part that’s visible in a bikini – and then pressed lightly to make sure it settled in the right spot.

After one side was done, I could see an immediate effect, with the upper part of the breast visibly rounder compared to the side that hadn’t yet been treated. By the time both were injected, the skin had become red and tingly with some discomfort, but that lasted only around five minutes.

How do they look? With the filler, there is an immediate improvement in the shape, particularly looking down at the roundness of my cleavage. But the final result is months away, as the PRP takes 6-12 months to do its work. So it’s a wait and see situation…

Our recommendation: The Face Place, $1995 per treatment including consultation.

Electrical Current Facial

Trialed by Sarah Murray

This three-step facial uses the best of all worlds – premium ingredients, technology and of course, massage. For 90 minutes I lay there and was pleasantly surprised by each step.

A thorough cleanse starts it off. So far, so standard. But then things really start to veer from your normal facial, with a double exfoliation that well and truly removes all the dead skin.

Next up is Environ’s Ionzyme DF machine. This device enhances the penetration of ingredients, in this case Environ’s new DFP 312 Peptide serum, up to 4000% thanks to an electrical current that is moved over your face. It may sound painful but it’s not – in fact you barely feel anything except a soft movement around your face.

Now for my personal favourite part – the alginate rubberised masque. Used to infuse vitamins A and C under the skin, the masque is not for the claustrophobic as it covers your mouth and feels like you’re being enveloped in a warm gloop. Personally I loved the masque, and while it set I was treated to a glorious arm and hand massage.

I didn’t want the treatment to end, but sure enough the masque was peeled off to reveal my plumped-up and brightened skin. This sort of treatment is perfect if you need a pick-me-up before a special occasion. And my bet is you’ll be searching for an excuse to go back.

Our recommendation: Environ Super Facial, $219, About Face.

The male facial

If you’ve ever had a facial you’ll know it can be a life-changing experience. Not only because you come out with glowing skin but also because it feels so damn good. And it’s fast becoming a treatment not just for women, but for men too.

Top spa The Aveda Institute in London has reported a 32% rise in the number of men booking themselves in for a facial, and the trend is starting to catch on here too. So why should a man have a facial? Well, for one thing his skin needs it.

“The texture of a man’s skin is generally rougher and men will often have more oil produced in their skin,” says Caroline Parker from Dermalogica.

Because of this, and a lax cleansing routine, that oil is more likely to clog the pores, which can lead to blackheads and pimples. A facial is also good for its soothing properties. Despite men generally having thicker skin than women (25% thicker in fact), the continuous dragging of a razor across their faces can cause inflammation and irritation.

And if that’s not enough reason, a facial will help to give you smoother skin – which makes for a smoother shave.

We asked s modern-day man, Mark Broatch, to take one for the team and give us his opinion on the humble facial:

I’m here for the men’s facial, which is 75 minutes and starts when beauty therapist Roisin gives my middle-aged skin an ultraviolet look-see to detect damage. There is some; I blame the gardening and running. Okay, and the wine. She glowers, although my head is under a cloth, so I might be imagining that.

First comes the back massage. That goes well. The cleanse, tone and exfoliation too. Then aroma pressure and aroma drainage, though I’m not really paying attention to that. I’m listening too relaxedly to the muzak, at least until the birdsong chirps in during the second half. I do pay attention to the ‘booster mask’, which, if I hear rightly, is described as “an oatmeal breakfast for the face”. While the facial porridge is doing its tasty business, I get the arm and hand massage, if you like that kind of thing (yes). Then the moisturising.

When I emerge blinking into the Auckland glare my face is clean and plump and shiny. I am relaxed, and maybe just a little younger and fresher. Or maybe not. But if everyone got one of these once a week, there would be no wars.

Our recommendation: Men’s facial (75 minutes), $135, More Than Skin.

Look out for: Hair PRP

Dr Catherine Stone from The Face Place thinks PRP is going to be used for more and more conditions in the future. The next way PRP will be used is to help with hair loss.

“When used for hair loss, it stops the hair from miniaturising (getting smaller and thinner), and helps to ‘wake up’ existing hair follicles, reversing hair thinning,” Stone explains. “If the hair follicle has already completely died then you won’t be able to stimulate it to grow hair, so PRP usually works best in people who have started noticing their hair thinning in the past two to three years.”

Photos: Christopher Kutner / Trunkarchive.com / Snapper Media, Thinkstock images and Supplied

Related stories