Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Juliette Binoche and me
Let me tell you about my fabulous massage with Juliette Binoche's facialist, which came about thanks to a piece on the Best Actress at Cannes in the Telegraph and the power of Google. 'She does these facials that keep your face alive,' says Binoche, 'so that it doesn't fall down dead, you know?' At last! After watching my flesh slowly crumple over the last couple of years, here was someone who could help resuscitate a terminally ill face. I give you the lovely Su-Man Hsu:
The 47 year-old facialist to the stars - and Tony Parsons - is hired when La Binoche is filming, to get up at the crack of dawn and massage her face for half an hour, every day. 'I look like shit at 4am,' points out the north London-based therapist (somehow, I doubt it), ' but Juliette looks amazing.'
I arrive late for my appointment, all of a fluster having spent an hour and a half on public transport in 30 degree heat. Sweat dripping from my bare face, hair scraped back feeling exhausted, grim, and desperate for the loo. I look like Pig Pen. The place is a haven of Zen-like calm. Su-Man Hsu is charming, serene and absolutely stunning. She does not look her age. I beg for her advice. ' I massage my face every day,' she states and That's Not My Age is beyond impressed, 'but I can't work magic.' I laugh and try not to feel completely out of place in this perfect world of movie stars and beautiful people.
We go through to the garden treatment room, which like everything else, is Zen-like and gorgeous. Stripping down to my underwear is a shameful experience, I haven't planned for this, so what I'm wearing is quite shabby. I imagine Juliette Binoche in La Perla and quickly leap under the covers. A close-up facial inspection reveals combination skin. Then the treatment using hi-tech, 90% botanical products with active ingredients begins. All the products are from Taiwan. First a warm-up of the neck and shoulders, then cleansing, exfoliation (with hot lavender towels in between each step) and onto the massage itself - which is much firmer than I expected. Particularly around the eye socket (I won't be trying this at home). Not quite pummelling, more of a kneading action 'to work the muscles.' Su-Man Hsu's fingers dance around my face using a combination of Taiwanese and Japanese techniques, it feels fantastic.
A pure collagen face mask is left on for approx 10 minutes, during which time I'm treated to a relaxing body massage. Then onto toning, moisturising - with an anti-ageing, hydrating cream containing Retinol - and a cup of refreshing tea (also from Taiwan) to complete the 90-minute session. I don't want to leave.
Up pops Su-Man Hsu with a mirror. I don't spend that much time looking at my face, never have, but it does look different. Cheeks are plumper, eyes less saggy/wrinkly round the edges, my whole face has been lifted naturally. And the effect probably lasts a couple of days. Su-Man Hsu recommends a short treatment every week, or a 90- minute mega-session once a month. Sadly, I may share facialists with Juliette Binoche but I don't have her movie star budget. That's Not My Age maybe pretty low maintenance when it comes to skin care, spa treatments and pampering but I will treat myself again when I'm feeling flush.
Do you splurge on beauty products and facial treatments?
Su-Man Hsu 07779 151 346
Juliette Binoche: Suki Dhanda for The Guardian