A list of celebrity clients, an east-meets-west beauty philosophy and immediate results? Su-Man’s Signature Facial has long caused a stir in the beauty world – and for all the right reasons. So, we had to try it out for ourselves. Leave what you know about facials at the door, this is skincare like we’ve never experienced…
Who? Born in rural Taiwan, Su-Man Hsu grew up in a mud hut on a farm with ten siblings. She went on to become a professional dancer before launching her own skincare line as a world-renowned facialist, with Freida Pinto, Sienna Miller and Anne Hathaway now regular clients. Yes, a rags-to-riches tale if ever we heard one, but Su-Man’s humble beginnings have proved one of her most valuable assets. Unable to afford much or waste little, she learnt to put everything to good use, from turning leftover coffee grains into scrubs (now a huge trend in the beauty world) to using watermelon rind to improve skin texture.
What we’d heard: Google the 50-something facialist (she looks a good 20 years younger) and you’ll be hard pushed to find a bad review. Described as “a skincare revolutionist”, “divine” and “like having an extra 12 hours sleep in 60 minutes”, we were keen to try it out for ourselves.
Where? You can find Su-Man practicing her unique Signature Facial on Wednesdays and Thursdays at the AWAY Spa in London’s W Hotel. Good luck getting an appointment, we waited months for ours – but the wait was worth it.
So, what does the facial involve? Su-Man started by reading our skin with a magnifying camera. The gadget shows how dehydrated your skin is (ours, very) and any redness, discoloration or other complexion issues. We felt a little disheartened by the news, like we’d forgotten to do our homework, especially given that we’d always thought our skincare regime was pretty good. It was clear this wasn’t to be your average facial.
Su-Man won’t begin her treatment until you’ve ‘opened up’. So, after massaging the neck and back and completing a series of breathing techniques, we already felt better and ready to begin.
Don’t expect: It to be relaxing. Su-Man gets to work by massaging the ear lobes to get the blood flowing to the face. In short: it hurts, but it works. As much as our ears felt on fire, we could feel our face waking up. She then moves on to the scalp and works her knuckles around the hairline. Again, it’s painful, but we kept telling ourselves there must be method in her madness.
Stick with it: Once the pores are opened, Su-Man mixes up her magic. The products are divine, real spa-like indulgence, and this part of the facial was very relaxing. From the Cleansing Gel Oil to the Exfoliating Polish (fragrant coffee grains set in oil) the whole process works as a wakeup call for the face. Su-Man’s massage technique was like nothing we’d ever experienced, almost trance-like, but that didn’t last long, as she then worked to improve our pores with extraction – painful, but vital if you want results.
The outcome: The results were game-changing. Although a tiny bit red to begin with, our skin was not only clearer but fuller, eyes brighter and with a natural glow – we even went to dinner that evening without make-up. Plus, thanks to Su-Man’s stretching, massaging and breathing, our shoulders and chest felt more open and supple – it was like an MOT from the chest up.
The damage: This facial doesn’t come cheap. At £250 a pop, it’s investment skincare, but well worth it if your budget will stretch. The most valuable things we took away were not even glowing skin, but Su-Man’s expert tips – never use cotton pads when using toner as it strips the skin, steer clear of microdermabrasion and peels on our very fair, fine skin, and how to take eye make-up off with care – “if it takes five minutes to put on, it should take five minutes to take off”.
Anything else? If you can’t quite stretch to the facial but still want a slice of Su-Man’s magic, her products are all available to buy, with prices starting at £37. We’ve been using them ever since and have seen a vast improvement, particularly with the mask – pure indulgence with immediate effects.