As one does these days, I came to know of Melanie Grant and her wicked skin ways via Instagram. Scrolling through her feed and Stories, I spotted the likes of Lara Worthington, Jessica Gomes, Nicole Warne and more beauties with perfect complexions raving about Melanie’s Midas touch. It just so happened that I’ve been a long-time admirer of this particular set of stars and their radiant visages. Often photographed barefaced or with little makeup, I’d developed some sort of a kinship with these women as a firm believer myself that glowing skin speaks for itself.
That one didn’t need lots of makeup — or any at all — to be beautifully presentable, if one had good skin. That less is more, to restate my beauty mantra.
It follows then that when I was invited to Melanie’s Melbourne clinic for a Custom Skin Health Facial treatment, I was beyond excited. When I arrived at the black and white sanctuary in Armadale — with greedy eyes (and my iPhone) taking a mental (and literal) picture of every photograph on the wall; every trinket and ornament on the marble cocktail table — I felt giddy with anticipation. As I later told my therapist, “nothing was going to come between me and my appointment today”.
Unfortunately, Melanie was out of town on the day of, and with her services in such demand across her Sydney clinic and Paris residence too, she only personally carries out the Bespoke part of her menu. Fortunately, my face was in the hands of Kaila, the lovely studio manager.
The treatment started with a double cleanse — first with an oil cleanser, followed by an AHA one with lactic acid and peppermint to dissolve dead skin and decongest pores. I complained about how my skin texture was dry and texturised due to a recent switch in climates (from hot and humid Singapore to cold and dry Melbourne), to which Kaila responded with a diamond microdermabrasion wand that swiftly made my face feel baby soft and smooth again.
But we’d only just begun. Next, a lactic peel infused with niacinamide was applied to thoroughly exfoliate, clarify and prepare the skin for maximum penetration of dermal boosters. This came in the form of a hyaluronic acid infusion via ultrasound (sonophoresis) which allows for rapid and intense penetration of the potent, active vitamins 800 times deeper into the dermis. Stimulating blood circulation and reconditioning my skin along the way, this warm process felt so nourishing that upon hearing the words “leaves the skin instantly supple, radiant and intensely hydrated”, I was in.
As soon as the feel-good probe had done its job, Kaila spread an organic hydrating mask with mallow and strawberry across my face and popped a collagen sheet mask on top. I noted with quiet joy that Kaila spared no expense when it came to how much product she used. At a place like Melanie’s which made use of top-notch brands like Skinceuticals, Biologique Recherche and Sisley, I mentally tipped my hat to Melanie and her team for this extra detail.
At this point, my face did feel a bit raw but not for long. A round of Omnilux red light therapy switched on to soothe any inflammation and boost the structural integrity of my skin. As it was my first time under the healing lamp, it took a minute for my eyes to stop squinting and adjust to the brightness — even with my eyes closed under goggles — but eventually, like Kaila promised, I settled in under the heat and basked comfortably under the light. Thanks to a hand massage right up to my shoulders, twenty minutes went by before I knew it.
To finish, Kaila baptised me with a heavy water mist and a firm French facial massage. A generous spritz of SPF 50 and a dab of lip balm were the final touches before I was happily sent on my way. My skin, and I, were practically bouncing.
The instructions post-treatment were simple: apply sunscreen religiously, avoid direct sunlight for a week, drink plenty of water, don’t use anything with powerful active ingredients and increase your use of moisturiser. Over the next few days, I abided by these steps, letting the facial continue working its magic. Alas, by day two, some roughness had returned — no thanks to the cold winter air — but nonetheless, my complexion was beaming and my pores felt de-gunked.
Did I mention that I’ve made a second appointment?
Images courtesy of Melanie Grant; Chuin Ying