The quest for radiant bridal skin: we try some of Scotland’s top skin treatments

Words by Beth Forsyth, Gilly Furmage and Sarah Gillespie


Carita Pro Lift Facial at the Carrick Spa, Cameron House

“Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Ellis-Bextor have nothing on these killer cheekbones,” I chortle as I check myself out in the mirror, post-facial. I’ve just experienced the Carita Pro Lift Facial and have emerged with skin looking lifted, radiant and a whole lot plumper. Essentially an instant non-surgical facelift, this is the Parisian spa brand’s flagship treatment, using a ‘Cinetic Lift Expert’ machine to deliver impressive results. After a skin-softening exfoliation with a refining nozzle, the therapist donned gloves laced with silver to massage my face and décolletage to tone and lift my facial contours. These metallic wonder gloves conduct a micro-current (a tiny, painless electric charge) to the face, and I could actually feel my facial muscles tightening and lifting. Next, there’s an LED and ultrasonic massage step that helps to increase collagen production and stimulate the skin’s cellular energy. Science aside, it’s genuinely one of the most relaxing spa treat­ments I’ve ever had. A course of five is recom­mended, but I was delighted with the way I looked just after one! (BF)
90 minutes, £120. 01389 727647,

HydraFacial at Beyond Medispa

The HydraFacial machine looks like something designed to fix spaceships, and the treatment it gives certainly feels futuristic enough. There are six stages, the first four of which use different HydroPeel tips on a pen-like applicator. A gentle acid peel is massaged into the skin to clean out the pores, and then removed via a combination of suction (to extract dead skin) and a ‘Vortex-fusion’ (where the applicator soothes the skin with an antioxidant solution). It left me feeling like I’d had an MOT on my face, and I’d definitely go back every six months or so to keep up the maintenance. A course of three or six (with a recommended gap of a month in between each) is perfect for brides. It’s rumoured to be behind Beyoncé’s flawless skin, and with no downtime you’d be red-carpet (or aisle) ready within a day or two. The Medispa is tucked away in Harvey Nichols’ shoe department, so keep your mind on your newly radiant skin when you leave and try to avoid temptation! (SG)
60 minutes, £135.

Red Carpet Peel at Clinetix

Before we start, I’ve got something to confess… I came into Clinetix a chemical peel virgin. So when I went along to get a Red Carpet Peel, I had no clue what to expect. The Clinetix group takes skincare seriously and my specialist Yola sat down with me to thoroughly discuss my skin type before she set to work. One thing to note about this treatment: it’s HOT. “On a scale of one to ten, one being fine and ten being burning, I would call this a nine,” Yola warned me before we began. The peel goes on in two layers (and is only really on your face for about four minutes) and Yola fanned me while it happened to stop me boiling over. But I was amazed by the result – reduced redness and brighter, clearer and noticeably less oily skin. For a limited period, if you quote ‘wedding’ when you book an Obagi Red Carpet Peel, it’ll cost just £45 (normally £90). Appointments must be before 1st September 2015. (GF)
40 minutes, £90.

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Oxygen Therapy with Microdermabrasion at Yuu Beauty, Glasgow

Dubbed ‘the new botox’, oxygen facials are having a moment and are reputedly the fave treatment of Sienna, Madonna and J-Lo. It makes sense that the mighty O2 would be good for us – without it, after all, we’d keel over and die pretty swiftly. When Leanne, salon manager at Yuu Beauty in Glasgow, informed me that my Oxygen Therapy with Microdermabrasion treatment would use a wand to reveal the build-up of dirt and grime on my face, I was thrilled (I’m a bit grotty like that). Firstly, a special light showed up what’s really going on under the skin, then – after a double cleanse and light scrub – the microderm vacuumed away all the nasties, closing pores and reducing lines and scarring as it went. My skin needed hydration, so a mask was applied before the oxygen penetration. The results were fantastic after just one treatment, but a course of these before your big day would leave you looking utterly radiant and glowing. (SG)
60 minutes, £50.

Ishga Facial at the Macdonald Marine Hotel

The first thing I noticed when I walked into the Marine Hotel Spa in North Berwick was the smell: each room has an ocean-fresh scent that’s ridiculously refreshing. Ishga products are based on Scottish seaweed, hand-harvested in the Hebrides, so the Ishga facial is all about local organic goodness. Along with a gentle cleanse and a scalp, shoulder, hand and arm massage, I was treated to some Ishga nourishing face oil, an exfoliating face mask and an antioxidant Marine cream. My skin felt tingly and rejuvenated and was soft and smooth for days afterwards. With its plush robes and slippers, this is a luxurious spa, but it’s also utterly relaxing. (GF)
55 minutes, from £60.

ESPA Advanced Enzyme Facial at Turnberry Resort

No girl wants to hear the words ‘don’t apply makeup for 24 hours’ after a pre-night-out treatment, but my skin looked so good after the ESPA Advanced Enzyme Facial at Turnberry Resort Spa that I immediately stopped caring. The 80-minute treatment started with a skin analysis using a special lamp – I’d really recommend this as I discovered parts of my skin are really dehydrated, so I now know where to pay extra attention when moisturising. After a cleanse using a Clarisonic facial brush, we moved on to the skin peel. It was the first time I’d had a peel, but the ESPA version uses over 90% naturally derived ingredients and is consequently much milder than normal abrasive peels. While it was a little uncomfortable, it felt more like putting moisturiser on your face when you’ve had too much sun – stingy, but still cooling. Any mild discomfort was instantly alleviated with a quartz massage and soothing mask (not to mention the hour I spent lying by the resort pool afterwards!). (SG)
80 minutes, £125.

Luxury Medi-Facial at Face & Body, Edinburgh

Sorry to burst any bubbles, but the fabled fountain of youth does not exist. If it did, chances are it would spring forth around the west end of Edinburgh at Face & Body Cosmetic Clinic. Forget about going under the knife: here, it’s all about results-driven non-surgical cosmetic treatments for the face and body. The clinic offers everything from tattoo and scar removal through to cellulite-busting treatments, so could easily be your one-stop shop for getting your skin in tip-top condition pre-wedding.
I was trialling the Luxury Medi-Facial – a multifaceted treatment tailored to each individual’s concerns. My own particular skin bugbears are dryness, lack of radiance and fine lines around my eyes and forehead, so after a thorough skin analysis with clinician Becky, the work began. After a cleanse with warm mitts and exfoliation courtesy of a glycolic resurfacer, I went gaga for a radio frequency facial whereby energy is used to heat the deeper layers of the skin, gently tightening it and stimulating collagen production as it goes. Next, I was treated to a Mesotherapy session where an enriched serum is pushed into the skin to boost dewiness, before a Jan Marini mask was applied and I was pampered with a massage. Dermalux LED light therapy drew the facial to a close, beaming me with blue light (to help with bacteria, blocked pores and blemishes), red light (to strengthen skin) and white light (to bolster collagen and elastin production). It certainly got the green light from me, as out with friends that evening I received a shower of compliments on how lovely my skin looked sans-makeup! (BF)
80 minutes, £150.