On its 21st birthday, Zen salon in Edinburgh got the keys to the door.
They shut the Hanover Street salon, changed the 9 Bruntsfield Place branch into Zen Hair, and opened a much bigger branch along the road at number 25 Bruntsfield Place. This is my first time in. It’s super swanky and pristine, with white walls and fresh flowers.
Along with walls of Neom and Medik8 products, there are zones for manicures, pedicures and brow overhauls, as well as treatment rooms.
The waiting area, with comfy couches, looks out to Edinburgh’s Meadows and is the perfect spot for people (and putting) watching.
It’s been all change for the business, and I’m here to try a new addition to the treatment menu - a Medik8 Platinum Facial.
This therapy is designed for tired or dull skin, claims to help improve fine lines and elasticity, and uses products from the results-based brand, which bases its philosophy on the abbreviation CSA (Vitamin C and SPF during the day and Vitamin A, or retinol at night). Yes please, let’s hope they can save me from looking more like Vecna every day.
I am resigned to suffering for beauty. Thankfully, it looks like the opposite will be happening.
My therapist, Jen, gets me settled onto the treatment bed, then it’s a cleanse and massage with rose-scented oil that turns to milk when she adds water. At each step, the product is removed with warm towels that smell like eucalyptus.
Next some foaming cleanser is lathered on, to remove every scrap of make-up, before Jen deploys the “superfacial enzyme peel”, which contains lactic acid, plus blueberry and pomegranate fruit enzymes, to refresh my epidermis. She gently applies this, wearing gloves, and warns me that it might “stingle”. It does, but only a little. There’s the tingling at first, then some warmth, but I’m distracted by a blissful hand and arm massage (or you can go for a scalp one).
This potion stays on for about ten minutes, and is carefully removed by the towels. Now we’re onto the massage bit. It’s very slow, hypnotic and rhythmic, as my facial topography is traced. The next element involves a thick mask, which feels refreshingly ice-cold, thanks to the polysaccharide ingredient, apparently. It goes on over my eyes, which I’d said yes to during the consultation, but I chose to skip the lips, to avoid claustrophobia, though that’s an option too. There’s more decollete massage while this solidifies, then it’s satisfyingly peeled off as one single piece.
My skin is dotted with SPF, and eye cream, along with some other lotions that I’m too relaxed to pay much attention to. I can’t think of much better ways to spend an hour. However, before I check out, I get a quick manicure with Olga. She paints my stubby talons in a Vinylux silvery gold Champagne shade, so I look brand new. Transformed from Vecna to something of a vixen.
Medik8 Platinum Facial 60min for £115; Manicure, £36 Zen (0131 477 3535, www.zen-lifestyle.com)