When I told my mother I had an appointment for a gold facial, she went into shock. You see, we are Malayalees and for our all flaws, we do not mess with our gold. But let’s not categorise. With rising gold prices, this is not the ideal time to indulge in a gold facial.
But if it’s out there, there will be those who will try it. And I was one of those fortunate few who got to experience the one and a half hour gold facial. This comes courtesy Neena Thakker, director of Organic Natural Ensemble. She is the first to bring to India, Japanese company UMO International’s 24 Karat Gold Facial Treatment.
During the UMO International’s 24 Karat Gold Facial Treatment, gold sheets are applied on the forehead, eyes and cheeks. Pic / Satyajit Desai
The trial treatment took place at her Santacruz home so it was not really the ‘spa’ environment I expected. I was stripped, wrapped in a towel and asked to plonk myself on a bed. After a short examination of my skin, began the deep facial cleansing and something scarily called the lympho-drainage massage using Gamma PGA (a bacterial fermentation). It forces the toxins into the ‘dustbin’ under the armpits. A machine emanating cold Nano Mist was used to prepare the skin for the gold mask to seep in better.
Then, the gold sheets were applied painstakingly. The forehead, eyes and cheeks decked in gold was cool enough for me. It got a little uncomfortable when a sheet was placed on my nose. But when the sheet was applied to my mouth, I felt plain clamped down. For the first time, the yellow metal had left me speechless. Cleopatra slept with a gold mask and there’s a reason for that. It was dark and not many could see her. The photos are proof enough that one does not look stunning with gold leaves stuck to their face.
The mask felt hot and a little boxed in. I already had a runny nose and an itch near my eye joined in. But I ploughed through for fear of scratching my face and having gold worth a few thousand uselessly stuck to my fingers.
Once the Nano Mist was given and the leaves crinkled, a gel was applied to massage the gold into the face. As I write this I have gold inside my face. It’s right there working its magic. I think I just felt a wrinkle smooth out. This was followed by the application of a hydrating cream and a silk gel. After that the mask was cleaned away. I think I cried a little when I felt all that gold being lost to tissues. There goes my bracelet.
Once the treatment was over I was ceremoniously ushered to the mirror. I was terribly sceptical of looking like Edward from Twilight when he steps into sunlight or like a Happy Dent version of myself. Surprisingly it was neither. I looked like myself — just the pollution and grime of Mumbai taking my face as hostage had vanished. I looked brighter and even felt so.
Stepping out I made sure all visages of the gold leaf had been wiped out. I did not want my mug to, well, get mugged.
Thakker says that the facial should happen every three months. But for Rs 18,000 a sitting, however great and long-lasting the experience (the glow is supposed to last a month), I’d much rather find cheaper ways to battle the city’s grime. A stole, anyone?
> Locks in the skin’s moisture, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
> Prevents sagging by slowing down the depletion of collagen
> The anti-inflammatory properties reduce skin inflammation
Post the treatment
> Drink lots of fluids to wash off the toxins
> Do not expose yourself to direct sunlight for a few days
> UMO offers the hydrating cream and silk gel that helps sustain the glow longer