Yesterday I took the jolly old number 19 bus from the safe haven that is N1 to that very different world that is called Chelsea. Despite spending a substantial amount of my misspent youth here, I always feel rather uncomfortable traipsing about SW3. I came south for a trip to Bliss, courtesy of a gift voucher my girls gave me for my birthday.
Bliss is an odd one. Years ago when it launched it was such an exciting concept – quirky names and treatments coupled with slick service and SATC on repeat made it a totally zeitgeist-y destination. However my last couple of trips, in both London and in NYC, have been a bit disappointing. But hey-ho, a present is a present and who doesn’t love a spa trip on a rainy Saturday?
I opted for the tripe oxygen facial, 85minutes of cleansing, scrubbing, massage, masks and then a blast of oxygen. The recent cold weather has played havoc with my skin and so I was hoping this would calm it down and inject some much needed moisture. I’m also not a fan of facials, I find the idea of paying someone to clean your face a bit of a waste so this was going to be a hard sell.
My therapist was nice which helps. I’m quite chatty during treatments and she was happy to oblige at the start. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed with the amount of time spent on a skin consultation. I got a quick glance and was told that my skin was a bit combination and sensitive. So all bases covered then!
One thing I don’t like during facials – or in fact any treatment – is when you are not told what products are being used or what the basic structure of the treatment is. Alas, I was told nothing about the products or procedure at any point, which was a shame. I was also given the sneaky sell – which I had been warned about – that of an additional (chargeable) mask. I declined but it when I asked why I needed it, I was told it helped with moisture in the skin. Would 85mins of facial not do that? Hmmmm….
The overall treatment is nice. Arm, foot and shoulder massages intersperse the facial itself, which compromises of a couple of cleanses, a long massage and some rather poor extraction. I hate poor extraction, it’s one of my bugbears. After this comes a mask and then the oxygen blast – which is rather weird. It’s a long, cold blast, which you hope is doing great things but you are pretty sure it’s not.
I left my facial feeling a bit cheated. The extraction was poor and the whole treatment felt a bit paint by numbers. I disliked not been told what products were being used and why and the hard sell of the additional mask (plus an eyebrow and upper lip was recommended – the cheek!) made me feel a bit resentful by the end of the treatment.
It’s such a shame as Bliss was so innovative when it first launched but it hasn’t moved on with the consumer to provide a slightly more bespoke experience. Maybe it is just me, and people who like a no nonsense experience will love it, but for £145 it didn’t feel worth it. When I came out I couldn’t help but think back to the amazing Vanda at UrbanSkin whose personalised facials knock spots off Bliss.
So i suppose it's a lesson learnt. For the price I expected more, which proves there is no such thing as a free lunch people.