When I first agreed to contribute to Get Lippie at the beginning of this year, I imagined filing some light-hearted musings on perfume each week, maybe with a few words on moisturiser here and there. I did not expect to spend my mornings rollerballing napalm onto my bottom, or my evenings applying thigh creams that caused my flesh to stick together like sweaty plastic cheese slices. And so it was last week, when I found myself en route to the ARK Salon in Putney to test their brand new “Derriere Facial”, that I realised that I had unwittingly become Get Lippie’s Official @rse Correspondent. I’m updating my CV even as we speak.
Obligatory Disclaimer: Quick fix creams and treatments work for those who are either blessed with good genes, or those who already put in the work at the gym and need a bit of extra help. For anything greater, you need a plastic surgeon or a sorcerer, and I got kicked out of Hogwarts for lewd behaviour during Charms lessons. Sorry.
The Ark Salon sits on a busy stretch of Putney Bridge Road, flanked by a gourmet burger bar and a Brazilian barbeque joint. High quality skincare and delicious meat snacks pretty much covers all my basic needs, and I immediately begin making mental plans to relocate to SW15.
Inside, the spa is an oasis of calm and cool. I am greeted by Judy the spa manager, and spend the obligatory five minutes filling out forms of the medical variety. On the dot of 2:45pm, my therapist Georgina ascends the stairs to collect me for my treatment. Before she begins, she asks me what I’d like to achieve that day. The treatment can be adapted somewhat, depending on whether your main concern is cellulite, sagging or skin tone in general. I explain that I’d be happy to leave with smoother, more even-toned skin, and she leaves me to get undressed.
On my own in the room, the first thing I notice is the small shelf beneath the head of the massage table. It is, I am later informed, for resting your arms during the treatment. Hallelujah and praise be. At this exact moment, I know this is going to be great. I am convinced that it is these tiny concessions to a client’s comfort, these small, well thought-out gestures that ultimately make a treatment worthwhile. I always find massage tables slightly too narrow to accommodate my arms, so they usually end up tucked awkwardly beneath my body, where they start to fall asleep halfway through the treatment.
I remove my skirt and put on the Tarzan-chic paper knickers provided to spare the client’s blushes. It’s less the thong I anticipated, but more of a hospital style banana hammock. The treatment itself follows the general format of a facial, but on your bum. It begins with gentle body brushing on the full length of the leg, after which Ark’s own cleanser is applied to the area and buffed away with a body scrub. The treatment then moves on to steaming and a gentle massage with a personalised blend of serums. At this point, I start to nod off. This almost never happens when I have a massage or facial – the circus of my mind is open for business twenty-four hours a day. Again, I am impressed. A masque is applied, and Georgina massages my feet while it does its business. The treatment ends with the application of a light body lotion and you’re left to get dressed in peace.
Telling your friends that you’re off to let a stranger rub ointments into your bum sounds like a confession best left to the wee hours of the morning and the bottom of a bottle of Bombay Sapphire. I was a bit apprehensive that the Derriere Facial would be awkward and maybe a bit embarrassing, but it turned out to be one of the nicest beauty treatments I’ve ever had. The entire experience felt tailor-made with the client’s comfort in mind, from the aforementioned arm-shelf to the serene yet unobtrusive music that played in the treatment room. My only complaint was that it was over after 45 minutes. I would have been happy to lay there in a state of quiet repose until dinner, when I would at least have a legitimate excuse to pop next door for a burger.
I felt so relaxed when I left the spa that I would have been pleased to think of it as a happy hour spent on a sunny afternoon. A week later though, I looked in my mirror and realised that actually, my bum was looking Mighty Fine, thank you for asking. I felt others ought to experience the benefits of this, but sadly I was alone in my house. If you’re off on holiday soon, or you’re just really vain (hi!), or you just like beauty treatments in quiet rooms that smell gorgeous, Ark is a hidden gem in South West London that is absolutely worth a visit. Go now. Your bum and anyone who has the pleasure of walking behind it will thank you.
The ARK Derriere Facial is £49 for 45 minutes. Details on how to book can be found at http://www.arkskincare.com/find-a-skincare-centre/
The Fine Print: Laurin was a guest of Ark Spa. Pictures courtesy of Victoria Waite at Ark.
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