review hydrafacial

I rarely go back to Hackeny these days.

I used to live around there when I first moved to London. But now I’ve moved West, it takes me about an hour to get there – with tube! I need a very good reason to venture that far.

Now I have it: Skin & Sanctuary. It’s a new skincare clinic in the heart of Hackney, near the beautiful Victoria Park.

The name couldn’t be more fitting. I’ve had my fair share of facials at different clinics and they were all good and professional – as you would expect. Skin & Sanctuary is all that and more.

Forget the clean, minimalistic look of most clinics. Skin & Sanctuary has a homey decor and cozy atmosphere. You feel like you’re visiting a friend.

Forget about standard treatments, too. Whether you go in for a facial, a filler or whatever, they tailor the treatment to your own specific needs. You may even get a massage! 😉

Yet, their treatments all based on science. If studies say a treatment doesn’t work, they won’t offer it. They also don’t hesitate to tell you if it’s too soon to get that new treatment you read about in Vogue. Skin & Sanctuary is all about bespoke treatments that work for you, not the latest fad to make a quick buck.

What bespoke treatment I had, you ask? HydraFacial.

What’s HydraFacial?

As soon as I heard of HydraFacial, I knew I had to try it. It’s basically an one-stop shop for all your skincare woes.

The Hydrafacial is a non-invasive treatment that features several stages, each one designed to target a specific concern:

  • Cleansing and exfoliation: A gentle lactic acid serum gets rid of dirt and dead skin cells, leaving skin smoother and brighter.
  • Brightening agent: A gentle blend of salicylic and glycolic acid further exfoliates the skin and unclogs the pores, prepping skin for the next stage.
  • Extraction: More salicylic acid to unclog those pores while the suction technology hoovers away blackheads.
  • Hydration: A cocktail of hyaluronic acid, peptides and antioxidants to deeply hydrate and plump up skin.
  • Rejuvenation: Red and infrared LED light reduces redness and boosts the production of collagen.

This is just the basic treatment! Your aesthetician can tailor it to your needs by adding an extra booster or two!

All these goodies are delivered into your skin with the help of Vortex technology, an unique suction and delivery system that helps dislodge impurities from the skin and deliver goodies much deeper into it. The tip of the device looks like a vortex and is changed between every step.

The best part? NO pain and NO downtime.

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HydraFacial Step-By-Step: Does It Work?

I thought I was having a basic HydraFacial but I got a lot more!

As soon as I entered the room, I started chatting with the lovely Fatma about my skincare regime. She wanted to know about my skincare habits, what products I use and what my concerns are, so she could tailor the treatment to me.

We decided she would fit an extra Vitamin C mask into the treatment and told me she likes to give her clients massages while they wait for it to work its magic. Ladies, I was hooked.

I’m used to getting facials but have one tailored to my specific needs and with an extra massage thrown in? This must be heaven. 😉

Related: The Complete Guide To Vitamin C In Skincare: What It Is, What It Does, And How To Use It

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Step 1: Cleansing And Exfoliation

The first step was cleansing and exfoliation. Gotta get all that dirt off your skin if you want the skincare treatment to work its best. Those actives need to penetrate the skin – not stay on the surface because they can’t get through a wall of debris!

Fatma used Activ4, a solution with lactic acid and glucosamine. Lactic acid is a gentle exfoliant that dissolves the glue that holds skin cells together so they can slough off. Glucosamine is a multitasker with anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties: it hydrates and soothes skin, reduces the appearance of wrinkles and can even help fade dark spots.

This combo removed every last trace of dirt and impurities from my skin and softened sebum. Extracting those annoying blackheads would be easier now.

Step 2: Glycolic And Salicylic Acid Peel

Fatma is the Queen of Acids. I kid you not. She’s obsessed with them, loves to play around with them and uses them religiously. You just need to take a look at her flawless face to see it’s paid off.

But she also knows how dangerous they can be. My skin is pretty used to acids but, having had another facial just one month before, she decided to give me only a mild dose of glycolic acid. As I had a few blackheads, she combined it with salicylic acid, too.

Glycolic acid is an anti-aging superstar that exfoliates skin, boosts collagen and hydrates. Salicylic acid does the exfoliating job too, but takes it a step further. It also gets inside your pores, exfoliating them from within.

Fatma left the peel on my skin for a few minutes. As I said, my skin is used to acids so I didn’t experience any tingling or irritation. If it’s your first time, a little of that is to be expected. Just tell your aesthetician if it stings so she can remove it pronto.

Related: Glycolic Acid VS Salicylic Acid: Which One Is Right For You?

Step 3: Vortex Extraction

I’m lucky I rarely get pimples (especially since switching to the low-glycemic diet) but I had a few stubborn blackheads on my nose and upper cheeks.

Fatma infused my skin with a concoction of salicylic acid and honey extract to soften the damn things so the vortex extractor could easily suck them out of my skin.

I much prefer this method to manual extraction. It’s quick. Totally painless. And not at all gross. I know some of you take a weird pleasure in seeing all that gunk come out of your skin but I’d rather not see all that crap that was trapped in it, thank you very much.

In a few minutes, all blackheads had disappeared. Now if only it were that easier to get rid of them at home too!

Related: How To Get Rid Of Blackheads (What Really Works)

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Step 4: Vitamin C Mask

I almost fell asleep at this point.

Fatma applied a Vitamin C mask on my skin. We’re both huge fans of Vitamin C. This super antioxidant fights free radicals, boosts collagen, brightens skin, and fades away dark spots. 

Again, Vitamin C may slightly irritate your skin if yours is sensitive or you’ve never used it before. I’ve been using it for years so I knew there was nothing to worry about. 🙂

That’s not what made me fall asleep, by the way. As we waited for the mask to do its thing, Fatma gave me one of the most relaxing massages I’ve ever had. It was AMAZING.

She didn’t have to do it. She just doesn’t like to leave patients alone for the few minutes the mask is on as it’s standard procedure at most clinics. It’s small things like these that keep you coming back.

Related: Can You Use A Vitamin C Serum If You Have Sensitive Skin?

Step 5: Hydration

Wait, what about hydration? Isn’t this thing called HydraFacial?

The waterfall of moisture comes at the end. Fatma applied a solution with antioxidants and hyaluronic acid to my skin. Hyaluronic acid is a moisture magnet. It draws water from the environment into the skin to keep it hydrated. It’s so powerful it can build up to 1000 times its weight in water! It hardly gets more hydrating than that.

In the meantime, the antioxidants started patrolling my skin for free radicals to destroy before they can cause wrinkles.

Related: Why You Should Add Hyaluronic Acid To Your Skincare Routine, No Matter Your Skin Type

Step 6: Rejuvenation

This pampering treatment is almost over. As the last step, Fatma used red and infrared LED light on my skin. This light reduces redness, boosts collagen, and even helps your skin produce more Vitamin D.

Wait, there’s one last step: sunscreen. Although it was almost sunset, Fatma still applied a generous dose, so those last few rays wouldn’t hurt my skin.

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HydraFacial: The Results

I swear my skin has never looked better. After the treatment, it was a lot softer and smoother. It was politely glowing. And not the tiniest blackhead in sight.

I also noticed my skin looked plumper and the fine lines on my forehead less visible. What really impressed me is that these effects lasted for more than a few days. It’s been a month now and my skin still looks more youthful than when I went in.

I believe this is due to the bespoke treatment. Most clinics give you the standard treatments, which work well. But everyone one of us has slightly different skin types and needs, so tweaking the protocol to address them will always give you better results.

The only question now is, should I move back to Hackney? 😉

Price & Availability

£160 at Skin & Sanctuary, 170a Victoria Park Rd, London E9 7HD