I’ve never been the type of girl to have beauty experts on speed dial. Mostly, I just try to figure it out on my own, despite a severe lack of skill where grooming is concerned. So, to say that I now have Renee Solnitzky, the training and education manager for Murad, on Whatsapp tells you everything you need to know about how my recent facial went at the five-star Kimpton Blythswood Square, which has teamed up with the skincare giant to offer tailored treatments in its subterranean spa. Skin whisperer Renee may be based in London, but she leaves the Murad philosophy behind at the new Glasgow outpost.
The partnership is set to be a powerful one, combining the hotel’s commitment to the highest standards of luxury and Murad’s holistic and therapeutic approach. This is pampering on another level.
“Murad focuses on lifestyle and wellness, not just the skin,” explains the Blythswood’s treatments manager Lynsey Aitken about their decision to welcome the 30-year-old, cruelty-free brand on board. “It’s as much about exercise, food and mindfulness as it is about the products. Yes, the treatments are results driven, but they are kind to the skin and we even give away recipe cards related to your consultation.”
An invitation to trial a Murad facial couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve always been at war with my skin, but lately, the acne and dehydration I’ve suffered with my whole life have been worse than ever. I stole away from the office on a rainy November afternoon, hopeful for at least a slight improvement in my complexion.
If you’ve not visited the Blythswood’s spa before, put it on your bucket list now. It’s a decadent experience, exploring the cavernous thermal suite and discovering what’s behind each door. Alternating between hot (the many saunas and steam rooms) and cold (ice fountains and cold showers), my body was blasted of every trace of stress and tension.
Bundled up in my cosy robe, I met Renee upstairs for Murad’s signature wellbeing assessment. I was surprised by how in-depth and unrelated to skin this was (how do I sleep? How often do I stretch? Do I see my friends regularly? Am I happy in my work?), but it never felt probing or intrusive, thanks to her gentle and comforting demeanour. Then came the questions I was expecting about my diet, my hang-ups and cleansing routine, all helping to paint a picture.
In the treatment room, Renee had two weapons at her disposal: her joyous personality and iron-clad skillset, clearly years in the making. Both worked in tandem to astonishing effect. Chatting throughout (a first for me during a facial), Renee first did a surface cleanse with the gel to oil Prebiotic 4-in-1 MultiCleanser to remove dirt and makeup, then a more thorough step involving the AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, which smooths the texture. The tightness I’m normally left with at this stage was noticeably absent. I was already impressed.
Next on the agenda was toning, to neutralise impurities and prep the skin, before Renee tackled my ‘primary concerns’, my congestion and early signs of ageing, using the regular strength AHA Rapid Exfoliator to retexturize and renew. As it was my first peel, she was careful to check in regularly on how I was feeling (miraculously fine) and distracted me with a divine hand and arm massage.
A targeted series of masks followed – one to firm the eye area, one to clarify my blemish-prone chin and another to soothe and alleviate my dehydrated cheeks – all the while Renee massage my neck, shoulders and décolletage using Youth Builder. Afterwards, my significantly less parched skin was drenched in the Hydro Dynamic Quenching Essense and Essential C eye cream (SPF15) and protected with the Anti Ageing Blemish Control (SPF30).
Finally, for the closing ‘ritual’, a hot towel was laid on my back, hydrated with more Youth Builder, and then I was presented a couple of Dr Murad’s recipe cards and a box of products to keep up the good work. Aftercare, as I’d soon find out, is paramount.
The moment I looked in the mirror, I was incredulous. It had made a difference, a genuine, hand-on-heart difference. How rare to see, and straight away! Lines were softer, my imperfections were subdued, my face was not just glowing, it was gleaming. I wasted no time exchanging numbers with Renee – it was a breakthrough, one worth travelling to London for.
You can bet your bottom dollar I’m booking back in. Consider me a convert.
A 25-minute Murad Express facial costs £49, while the Method facial is from £89 for 55 minutes.