We all feel as if our skin gets a bit tired once in a while — even for the likes of Kim Kardashian and Madonna, who seemingly enjoy smooth, ageless skin year-round. Enter Intraceuticals, the Australian spa skincare brand recently making its debut at Chuan Spa, which has long been touted by Hollywood A-listers and clients who swear by clinical-grade skincare. With a long list of celebrity testimonials including Naomi Campbell, Jessica Biel, Paula Patton — and even Channing Tatum and John Galliano — I was curious to find out exactly what goes into the makings of star-worthy skin, and dropped in to try the signature Red Carpet Oxygen Facial.
Intraceuticals’ oxygen facial has been growing in global popularity for more than a decade now, and yet still stands the test of time in a world of fast-moving beauty fads. In the 75-minute treatment, oxygen is the star ingredient: not only is it incorporated in a therapeutic breathing section (using flavoured “aromatic breathe effusions” to boot), but the facial itself sprays atomised professional hyaluronic acid serums onto the skin via streams of pressurised oxygen. The method of delivery is said to help hydrate and plump the skin instantaneously, boost collagen, and depending on the serum used, can help alleviate and resolve skin issues such as acne scarring and even rosacea.
Using a full Intraceuticals suite of products, my skin was cleansed and prepped before being introduced to three serums in succession, rising in molecular weight as they go in order to maximise absorption of the good stuff — with the first hydrating serum using the lowest molecular weight. The second serum was applied with gentle massage strokes, especially relieving strain around the jaw, neck and décolletage. With therapists trained in Chinese lymphatic drainage technique, the massaging motions of application also helped to drain puffiness and bloat from the face and neck — altogether adding to a lifting effect.
The third serum is a choice of serums between Opulence — incorporating concentrated vitamin C for a potent brightening facial — and Rejuvenating — giving intense hydration, vitamins and antioxidants that help to tone and lift the skin. There’s also the Atoxelene, available only with the 90-minute “Ultimate Anti-Aging Oxygen Facial” (HK$1,780) which brings botanical peptides to the skin to smooth the look of wrinkles all over the face.
I opted for the Rejuvenating serum, and my therapist got to work with what looked like an airbrush pen, drawing from the tip of my forehead and tracing every centimetre all the way down to my neck. Tickling lightly with the thin stream of cool oxygen and hyaluronic acid, I tried my best not to flinch particularly as she traced my jawline.
After this step, I felt like my face was smooth and cold to the touch already, but it wasn’t over yet. After the serum was fully applied and patted into my skin, it was then blanketed with a thick sheet mask, now counting to a four-step hydrating extravaganza. A plastic face mask — like the full-faced kind you can bring snorkelling these days — was then gently strapped over my face where I was left for 10 minutes to gently inhale purified, rose-flavoured air (there was a choice for lavender). I could not smell the rose much, instead sniffing more of a spearmint whiff as the cold air filled my lungs and a chilly, almost cryogenic breeze blew across my face, intensified by the wet sheet mask clinging to my skin and clammy wet cotton pads plopped onto my eyelashes.
I tried my best to settle into it, but admittedly it was hard to truly enjoy being windswept, robeless and alone in a room. When the air mask was lifted, I was finally liberated.
I opened my eyes as my therapist swept on a final layer of protective cream and sunscreen. Even without catching myself in the mirror, I could not stop patting my cheeks, still cool to the touch. The treatment gave me firm, clear skin, with a natural, silky glow that extended from my now blemish-free nose, across my plump cheekbones, down to my now much-more-chiseled jawline (though with gravity and constant head-down phone usage, I was dubious if this would last the week — it ended up holding up about a day or two).
It isn’t surprising that celebrities go through the most exhaustive of beauty rituals and treatments to stay looking fresh-faced, and many I’m sure wouldn’t be opposed to a cooling 75-minute treatment especially in the dead of Hong Kong summer. As for me, Chuan’s touch of warm hospitality is always a welcome respite no matter if I’m booking in for a massage or a skincare ritual, but I’d rather dive into their traditional TCM therapies over an arctic blast any day.
The 75-minute Intraceuticals Red Carpet Oxygen Facial is priced at HK$1,480; the 90-minute Ultimate Anti-Aging Oxygen Facial at HK$1,780. Chuan Spa, 41/F, Cordis Hong Kong, 555 Shanghai Road, Mong Kok, Hong Kong, +852 3552 3510