Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lancome Beauty Institute @Bangsar Village II

My idea of a facial is one that is not clinical. I would like my facials to be a multi-sensory experience of touch and smell, and I always would look forward to those relaxing shoulder massages since I hardly have time for a full body massage.

Since I’ve been to Clarins and Estee Lauder’s salons before, my visit to Lancome’s Beauty Institute was without high expectations. My main aim was only to have a facial treatment before Raya comes and that I was going to enjoy the 30% off for my first facial – at RM40 cheaper than the salon I usually frequent to, I would be just happy with that 90-minutes relaxation being pampered by a beauty therapist.

Bangsar Village is a little away from home but I just had to take my chances with this salon since it’s only a week before Raya and I am sure other salons would already be fully booked. Parking was a breeze at BVII and LBI was really easy to find.

As I arrived in front of the salon, I was a little perplexed as I didn’t know where their door was – there wasn’t any ‘OPEN’ sign and the entire outlet was decked in see-through glass. But I reckoned that I should walk over to the end of their shoplot and walah… the glass door slided open hehe…

One of them got my name and accompanied me upstairs for a skin consultation. She didn’t introduce herself neither did she wear any name tags. She asked me if I had had my breakfast and I told her I was fasting. The waiting hall was huge with comfy sofas and tables. Despite telling her I was fasting, she asked again if I wanted any drinks. Judging from that, I think she just isn’t well trained for small talks but I have to give her credit for trying to make conversations.

I was asked to fill up their form and had to wait for their machine since someone else was also using it at that time. I had nooo problems with that as she handed me some beauty magazines to flip through.

The consultation came and I was struck by how high-tech and accurate the machine was… I mean, I’ve gone through something like that in Leonard Drake and Clara’s a long, long time ago but all were very stereotype. I mean, I’ve always, always told people (beauticians, especially) that my skin type is oily. O-I-L-Y but time and again, all of them would tell me that it is impossible to have such oily skin since I have passed that 25 mark almost 10 years already. Apparently, those above 30 would normally have combo skin with some dehydration/sensitiveness here and there. Even when my skin gets all shiny and oily, some beautician would tell me that the foundation I was using is the wrong type or that I didn’t moisturise well bla bla bla.

This time however, the first sign of me falling in love with this salon was how the machine affirms my understanding of my own skin’s character. At 34 years of age (oppps… not yet 34, not until December!!), my skin’s oiliness is much higher above the average level all other women of my age. And since I have not been using proper range of skincare, I may have stripped too much of the surface oil, making my pores enlarged most of the time as they try to absorb more moisture from the surroundings. Hence, making the upper dermis really sensitive and dehydrated despite moi experiencing all-day shine.

All that time, she still hadn’t introduced herself and I was too engrossed with what I learnt about my skin that I hadn’t thought about asking her name.

One advantage of having such oily skin is that the reading showed my skin’s firmness and elasticity faring much higher than an average 30-something year old woman. *yeayyy* thus, anti-aging care isn't at all necessary although it wouldn't hurt to start.

She told me that I really need to treat the oiliness yet increase the hydration. So I asked her – how was I able to do that when the moisturisers basically make the skin dry and matte. And she went on to tell me that I need to treat that yet use something else to increase hydration. Ooohhh kayy… I was a little skeptical as I foresee the amount of products I’d need to overlap. And, just as she failed on the small talks, she wasn’t very good at explanation either due to having just a fair command of the English language. Thus, some detailed questions that I have (I sound like a journalist there) like blotchy skin didn’t have a proper explanation from her. But I wasn’t going to be a bitch that day and so I thought I’d just get on with the treatment.

As I read a review here, I went with the intention of getting a whitening facial hoping that my chicken pox marks would lighten a little so that it won’t be too visible in my Raya photos. But I was surprised when told that the whitening facial may be a little too rich for my skin and that I should have my skin properly cleansed first. I was a little disappointed with that but I wouldn’t want to argue either.

When I found out that she was going to work on my face, I asked for her name. Tiffany. My name is Tiffany. Hehe. Ok… that was sorted.

I was brought into this room, all draped in white curtains and just a relaxing chair in the middle. The lighting was in pink, to welcome me in. There was a huge locker for me to put my stuff and I was given a pair of comfy slippers to wear. She left the room and told me to press this one switch in the room once I was ready. Ok.

She helped me onto the chair and I fell in love at how the chair felt totally comfy under me. Compared to other facial salons (with the exception of Leonard Drake as they put a pillow under your legs), you are not subjected to hard flat bed. This one will ensure that the chair (when turned flat into a bed) would follow the crevices of your body, making it perfectly comfortable.

Then, Tiffany turned on the specially composed music that has been customised according to the treatment. Hmmm… the music actually sounded more like those from drama minggu ini days or cheap documentaries you get from FINAS. Hehe. But but but… as the treatment progressed, the music changed into soothing tunes which later just gets switched off from your senses as you enjoy the beauty treatment.

And that came the best parts… for someone who totally enjoys her facials, I noticed all the little details.

Tiffany went on to clean my face, first with the milk and after that, with a Pore Focus cleanser, suitable for my skin type. I’ve always loved the subtle scents in Lancome’s products and this cleanser has micro beads in it where I feel totally cleansed and refreshed. Then, she used a scrub on my face and as if she knew my bad habit, she advised me not to press on my skin hard when scrubbing as the scrub already contained properties to lift off dead cells. I liked that she layered my face with a piece of tissue after every cleansing ritual to take off the excess and then wiped off with wet facial cotton rather than rinse using a sponge, to prevent unnecessary tugging of the skin. Only after the final scrub did she use the sponge and I loved how warm water felt on a thoroughly cleansed skin.

Then, it was the steam and I wondered how she’d perform the extraction on me. I’ve always cringed that part since everybody else I went to had not scored high points in that department with me.

I was pleasantly surprised though that instead of leaving the room while my face was under the steam machine, Tiffany performed what must be one of the best hand massages I’ve ever experienced! If that was a special technique specifically from Lancome, I say, kudos to Lancome (and good job, Tiffany!). She was firm but knew what felt good. I didn’t have to undergo any pain in order to feel good. This already scored high points in my book.

The extraction part came with a wonderful surprise. All these while, my previous beauty therapist was the only person I’ve ever met who could extract my milia, even those painful ones near the eye area, with me feeling less pain. But Tiffany, well… she did better than that! She didn’t need to prick deep into the skin. All she did was a simple quick pierce and the oil seed came out and moi feeling minimal pain. What I liked about the extraction process was the fact that Tiffany had used 2 facial cottons dipped in their signature rosey-scented toner and pressed them together to pinch out my blackheads and whiteheads. That, is so much better than the feeling of cold metal prong being prodded on my skin. Another plus for Lancome (and Tiffany!) *yeayy*…

When that was over, Tiffany used a machine similar to the one used in Leonard Drake where it helped eliminate surface bacteria on the skin. But instead of doing just a shoddy sweep, she rolled in onto every part of the face, twice. *more points*

A peel mask was then put on my face (not a peel off mask but a peel) and Tiffany then left the room. Oh, plus points again for putting on Primordiale eye cream on my eyes (and lips too!) before putting on the mask. This similar process was also done before steaming my face.

10 minutes was probably up and the mask was rinsed away and the lights in the room was instantly dimmed. Tiffany used a relaxing cream and worked her firm hands on my face and upper body.

Instantly, I fell in love with the salon (and Tiffany! hehe…) and my initial intentions of wanting to explore other salons quickly diminished. This salon is here to stay ☺ It was such a good massage and I didn’t feel like I needed more… it was like the method was done perfectly for one to feel just right… that’s good, isn’t it? I’m not sure how long that lasted but after the massage, I felt drowsy and ready to sleep.

Next, she put a hydrating mask on my face. Now, this is one unique experience too since most salons would already double mask me. Here, they do a mask at a time. I fell asleep this time and Tiffany spoke to me in almost a whisper to tell me that she was going to clean my face when that time was up, finishing with such a nice soothing warm wipe on my face, neck and shoulders.

After that, she put on Primordiale Eye Gel to my eyes and lips area, the Hydra Zen serum, Aqua Fusion moisturiser and sunblock with SPF50. Plus points for slathering all those not just on the face but décolletage area as well! Then, the bed was transformed slowly back into a chair and before I got up, Tiffany gave a nice head massage to fully wake me up.

I got up and realised that the entire room was enclosed in white curtains and I couldn’t see the locker hehe. Tiffany pulled one part of the curtain to unveil the locker and then only did I realise the rationale behind it… I guess they had wanted the customers to feel like you’re the focus… and your head won’t feel cluttered seeing all those props, gadgets and products everywhere. I guess that had worked beautifully! All you see is a chair in the middle with curtains all around *applause*

As they had a Raya promotion, Tiffany then explained to me a mix & match package where I would get double the value I’d sign for instead of the usual buy-5-get-1-free. The amount was a little hefty to me but I was game for the double return that I would be rewarded with (plus that heavenly massages that I would get!!). And… they allowed me to pay a partial sum, where the balance is due at a much later interval. That scored another plus point in my book ☺

Really, I am in love.

I love it that their facials cost an average RM180 (some are lower, some as high as RM300 for the whitening facial) yet I get such excellent service and an accurate reading of what my skin is like so that a more effective treatment can be administered. Secondly, I loved that they didn’t rush on me… Tiffany took her own sweet time and experienced enough to know what needs to be done. I forgive her for her lack of communications skills with such firm hands ☺ Thirdly, I am okay with the extractions done on my face and appreciate those little details that Lancome created for a better and less stressful experience.

I love that they didn’t push me to buy any products but since I wanted to revamp my current skincare, I felt so well understood as they didn’t recommend that I buy from the same range. Instead, for the first time ever (which you may not receive such advise from the counters) my problem skin is dealt with more accurately – cleanser for oily skin, toner for sensitive skin, serum from the hydra zen range to increase hydration and the whitening moisturiser that will help slough off dead cells gradually while preventing that tired/dull look and evens out skin tone. Best of all, as pointed out by the one when I returned home, I didn’t look like I had the chicken pox again unlike how I’d look after every facial (and since it is in Bangsar Village, I was able to check out the clearance sale in Zara as well *yeayy*).

I guess if you know that Lancome products work well on your skin, do give Lancome Beauty Institute in Bangsar Village II a visit. Nope, this post wasn’t sponsored and I write truly from my personal experience.

So here’s the number – 03 2287 1084 / 03 2287 1087. It’s on the ground floor and if you’re not sure where you are, it’s the other side of where Coffee Bean is located (I had to walk a bit since there was no directory on site). There’s also one outlet in The Curve but I do not have their number.

Oooohh… I’m still in love as my skin still feels supple today. After more than a year of neglecting my skin, the wait was all worth it ☺

P/S: Another review and photos can be found here.

4 comments:

Konot said...

waaaa i'm the 1st one to comment (guess everyone else dah cuti raya huhuh)

i love reading about your experience.. the way u write buat mcm i rasa i pulak yg pegi facial ahhaha.. anyway i'm searching for good products/facial too. LBI ni ada area kl tak eh? hv to give them a call la..

Anis Zainal-Pacleb said...

Babe, this is one fantastic review you wrote here...... I'm sooooooo tempted to give it a try too, since it's high time to change my current skincare after using it for more than 5 years tapi I ni jenis yang kalau dah confortable with one product, tu je la yang I pakai.....

P/s : Selamat Hari Raya to you and family!

Ydiana said...

Haha...an excellent review on a beauty salon experience. Reminds me to fix my last appointmnet for a package I signed more than a year ago...lol! Facial, body massage and something else i cannot remember. I might give this Lancome a try, since I also have OILY skin! :)

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