A Skincare Journey at Rosewood's Asaya Hong Kong
A sun-worshipper-in-denial gets a wake-up call.
There's nothing like having your skin's sun damage illuminated with 3D imaging to induce feelings of regret.
I'm reminded of the scene in the final episode of the BBC's Dracula miniseries, in which a horrifically-burned, undead Lucy Westenra, who still believes herself to be youthful and beautiful, takes a selfie and sees her actual face. Trust me, not pretty.
At Asaya Hong Kong, the recently-launched urban wellness destination housed in the delightful Rosewood Hong Kong, therapist Grace is taking me through my 'problem zones.' Above everything, it's my Ultra-Violet (UV) sun exposure. "Your skin is showing UV exposure levels of a 39-year-old, but you are only 35," says Grace, gently. While I curse those days of youth flippantly frying myself to maximise the brief British summers, she moves onto the next slide, a photo of my face. It shows under blue light, all of the spots that the sunlight has caused damage. My face looks full of dark freckles.
For a spa this seems a seriously high tech tool. Patented in the US, Asaya uses the PEAR 3D skin analysis system which captures images of your skin below the surface, revealing damage that could never be seen with the naked eye. What's more, it's non-washy, results-driven data that I can act upon. Grace advises using skincare products with vitamin C and arbutin, which can help to inhibit and slow down the melanin production work from inside out. She also soft-sells the Sunday Riley products which I’m about to try the signature facial of (more of that later), including the C.E.O. Brightening Serum with rich vitamin C, efficient in fighting visible signs of dark spots and discoloration and bringing radiance. Also, the A+ high-dose retinoid serum improves the appearance of UV damaged skin and reach even-toned complexion.
Most importantly, she adds, strong sunscreen every day, rain or shine, factor 50 or higher. Noted.
Now back to the facial. I selected a lift using the products by cult skincare brand, Sunday Riley, which promises a “Retinol-infused, lymphatic facial massage to stimulate circulation while depuffing the skin and ending with a red light LED collagen-boosting treatment and a hyaluronic acid mask.”
When you step into the Asaya spa, a 40-000 square foot, indoor-outdoor space, you can’t help but feel relaxed. A true haven in the midst of the Hong Kong’s urban Tsim Sha Tsui district, the abundance of leafy plants and verdant walls resembles more a jungly spa resort in Thailand than a busy city. This makes sense, because a sister Asaya has also recently opened at The Rosewood Phuket.
Grace takes me through to the treatment room which is marble lined and neutral-toned. She explains the procedure and how it will be personalised to my particular skin type and needs. The hour-long treatment uses a smorgasbord of products, some tingly and micro-dermabrasive, others cooling and soothing. At the end Grace expertly gives me a neck and shoulder massage and eases out all the knots from my hunched 'writers shoulders'. I take a peek in the mirror after she leaves and my fine wrinkles have disappeared and the stubborn frown line in between my eyebrows looks barely there.
That alone, is enough to make you feel relaxed. Even if I know I have plenty of homework to do on my suncare regime.