It’s a beautiful winter’s day in Melbourne – sharply cold wind blowing in from Tasmania and blindingly clear sunlight shining down from a crystal sky. And I know the results – paper-dry chapped skin and a runny nose.
So I’m delighted to be ducking into the new Sheraton Melbourne on Little Collins Street to experience the Black Pearl Treatment that draws on products from the Germaine de Capuccini Precious Gem range, but with a protocol that has been created exclusively for The Spa at Sheraton Melbourne.
I know that pearl contains many skin-enhancing qualities – with one study in particular finding that pearl powder does indeed increase healing by stimulating the skin’s fibroblasts to build collagen*. Pearl is a bioavailable source of calcium as well as proteins, amino acids, polysaccharides and more than 30 trace minerals. The treatment promises hydration, which I’m in need of today.
While there are no communal relaxation room facilities within the spa, it is on the same floor as the hotel’s indoor lap pool, Jacuzzi and sauna – providing warming hydrotherapy options. The five rooms each have locker spaces for changing into robe and slippers.
My therapist Hayley starts off with a footbath and scrub – always a good ritual to get settled into the treatment mindset and feel comfortable with the therapist. And it’s lovely to hop into a pre-warmed treatment bed with clean feet already wrapped and relaxed.
The facial itself is 90 minutes and includes a hand mask and massage. Following thorough yet gentle manual cleanse, Hayley massages my face with an extremely finely milled pearl concentrate that feels very mildly exfoliating. The massage movements have been have been designed to lift musculature without stretching skin. I can feel a warm glow in my cheeks as circulation returns to my face.
Next, the black pearl mask is allowed to absorb for some time while hands and arms get quality attention. I can feel my wind-blasted skin sucking up the moisture and nutrients. The generous quantities of product allowed for in the treatment mean that with each pass my skin feels more satiated until it’s fully replenished.
The protocol includes light massage movements, but the focus is on skin hydration and relaxation rather than releasing muscle tension. 90 minutes is always a long time stint face up on a table, but the ergonomic Athlegen bed topped by an electric blanket keeps me comfortable for the duration (which includes some doze time, much as I try to stay awake).
The finishing toner and moisturiser top up the hydration quotient without any heaviness. As I slowly roll myself off the bed my skin felt feels surprisingly light for a facial primarily designed to hydrate older skins – it’s plump, smooth and fresh to the touch without any telltale oiliness that I know (for my skin) foreshadows breakouts later in the week.
A stunning take-home from the treatment is a subtle pearling on the skin – including arms and shoulders – that would make it a pre-event winner. Though only heading out to catch a tram I feel like I’m making an eye-catching entrance, even without makeup.
Pros: lifting and plumping, fresh hydration without oiliness, treats hands and arms as well as face.