Feeding the skin organic veggies, fruit and honey are the new cream

PORRIDGE was drying stickily on my face and the smell of strawberries wafted towards me, past the little pot of goat’s milk yoghurt by my head. No, I was not the victim of a breakfast explosion – I was on a treatment table at Belgravia’s Glow Urban Spa, trying out the new talk-of-the-town treatment: American skin guru Dr Alkaitis’s largely edible facial. How could I not? I love porridge.

Dr Alkaitis has melded science with the softer, more holistic approach that is so popular these days and come up with a treatment that is half smoothie, half chemistry, all of it made and kept at room temperature to preserve the “living” quality of the ingredients. It was delicious on all levels (the therapist left the dregs of the yoghurt mix for me to try afterwards – very nice), my face feeling and looking the best it has done, perhaps since babyhood. So he must be doing something right.

There’s a trend here too, of course. With manuka honey, blueberries, chocolate, green tea and coconut appearing in lots of good spas these days, Dr Alkaitis is just taking it a step further, adding the requirement that everything he uses is “living” and/or “edible” – whether it be live yoghurt, plants or fruit. The result of this rule is that there are no chemicals, synthetic materials, trans-fats or anything else unnatural or nasty. The other upside to the products is that their purity makes them “universally applicable” to all skin types, and particularly useful for sensitive skin.

The hardened scientist might not buy Alkaitis’s shtick, but then perhaps they haven’t had the soothing sensation of oatmeal drying on their face, or organic olive oil cream smoothed into their skin, and the glowing skin that ensues. And those in the beauty business certainly appreciate this new wave, rather than the pure gloss, chemical-based one represented by old-school cosmetics.

Georgie Wolfenden, director of industry favourite beauty website, says: “For me the purity of the product used in a facial is what makes it luxurious. Just because something has a hefty price tag does not mean it is necessarily good for your skin or your health. The best ones use the purest ingredients which are ideally hand blended just before you arrive – this ensures they are active which will give you real results.” Wolfenden can’t stand anything petroleum-based (most cosmetics are): “Petroleum cannot be absorbed by the body and instead behaves like a thin layer of plastic which stops the skin from breathing and renewing itself.”

A facial like Dr Alkaitis’s – or Glow’s raw facial that uses a paste made from fruits, oils and veg blended minutes before your treatment – is the surest way to avoid parabens (which some studies have linked to breast cancer) and to benefit from the ingredients used. “The smell, texture and results of raw, hand-blended products are unbeatable,” says Wolfenden. “The enzymes are still active as the ingredients have not been heated or tampered with in any way.”

Throughout the course of my facial, I was exfoliated, extracted, massaged and creamed to the max. Ingredients applied before the oats and strawberry yoghurt included a cleanser made with cold pressed olives, shea bitter, and organic coconut. Replenishing serum contained aloe vera, wild chamomile flowers, elder blossoms and wild fennel. Eye cream had rose buds, quince, cornflowers, rose hip seed and borage oil. The culmination of the range – and my facial – was the ambitiously named Organic Universal Mask. You mix one teaspoon of powdered live mask with water, goat milk yoghurt or honey and paint it on.

The moral of the story is this: if your body can absorb it happily and gratefully, your skin can too. The question of just how nutrients are absorbed via the skin is left a bit murky what with the excitement of the honey and yoghurt and borage oil – but the fact remains that my skin felt and looked far better after this facial than it has ever done after a more chemical one – no matter how expensive.

Guilt-free indulgence: this treatment boosts your serotonin levels (chocolate makes you happy, as any woman will tell you) while leaving your skin silky smooth. First, a scrub using Dead Sea salts, then the soak: 100 per cent chocolate and natural oils that make for a deeply sensuous massage. An enzyme in chocolate also helps break down fatty deposits in the skin – how’s that for irony? City Point Club, 1 Ropemaker Street, EC2Y 9AW, tel: 020 7920 6200

At the forefront of the edible trend, this is a superb facial that exclusively uses “super food” ingredients. All products are hand blended, made on the day, and – yes – raw. Sea algae, organic cold pressed oils, fruits and vegetables are all present – the facial also includes Manuka honey, acai berries, oats, and green and white tea to tone the skin. Between stages there are mint sprays to rejuvenate. A feast for the face and soul. 8 Motcomb Street, SW1X 8JU, tel: 020
7752 0652

First, a foot bath with fresh lime and lemon slices. Then, a foot and leg scrub with lemongrass and vetiver, before a massage with rosemary oil. Next up: a mask made from a blend of lemon zest, aloe vera and peppermint. This invigorating combination bolsters and soothes circulation, tired legs and puffy ankles – while you relax the spa brings you a fresh fruit smoothie to consolidate the effect. 2 Pan Peninsula Square, London E14 9HA, tel: 0207 531 2320
First, a honey facial, which uses honey to brighten and re-energise the skin. The face is treated to a honey exfoliation, massage, and a honey mask. Next comes a hot milk and honey pedicure – with a sugar and honey scrub and a hot milk foot soak – that sloughs the roughest skin smooth. Brown’s is also known for its seasonal pedicures – this autumn it’s apple and pumpkin. I know from experience that the blueberry pedicure – a summery one – is excellent, even if it is a bit odd having a dark berry slush all over your legs. The Spa at Brown’s Hotel, Albemarle Street, W1S 4BP, tel: 020 7518 4009