The path to great skin never did run smooth. Regardless, I have long persisted. The dream of having a glowing, radiant complexion has always been important to me and I'll try just about anything to achieve these results — including booking in for a facial every now and again. As a beauty writer, I'm a big fan of the buzzy HydraFacial (which boosts the skin's hydration levels, making it appear plump, smooth and firm). That said, I've never much liked facials with the sole intention of relaxation. When I book in for a skin treatment, I have high hopes. I want a transformation: more radiant skin, sculpted cheekbones and less pigmentation.
From microneedling to lasers, there are thousands of facial treatments out there right now but none is revered in celebrity circles quite like the Forma facial. Kim Kardashian, Emma Roberts and Britney Spears are all said to have booked in for the treatment, with Britney taking to social media recently to rave about the effects on her skin. Let's be honest: if it's good enough for her, it's good enough for me!
What is the Forma facial and what are the skin benefits?
Typically targeted at those with more mature skin, Forma is described as a nonsurgical and non-invasive radio frequency treatment, with no needles whatsoever. Top London facialists love the technique, which uses a machine to target the skin with varying energies. During the treatment, a metal radio frequency device is used on the face to focus those energies into the layers of the skin. This helps to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin — the building blocks of plump, youthful-looking skin.
I booked into beauty editor favourite Skin + IQ in London's Chelsea. During the consultation I asked aesthetician Alise why the Forma facial is so popular among A-listers. "There's no downtime," she told me. "It's a great pre-event treatment, too, because it's non-invasive and gives you a glow and plumpness immediately." Alise said that for those who don't want to do any needle-based treatments (such as filler or Botox), the Forma facial is a great alternative. "Especially as it isn't a painful treatment," she added.
Alise assured me that the Forma facial is for people of all ages and skin types but suggested that there might not be an enormous change in my skin as it tends to be a little better for those who are experiencing skin laxity. This is because radio frequency has the ability to tighten slack skin over time. As the machine started up, Alise hinted at Forma's red carpet-esque results, which would leave me radiant and looking more rested.
What happens during the Forma facial?
Though my acne-prone skin does better with gel cleansers, Alise started off by removing any dirt, makeup and oil using a common clinic product: SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser Cream, £35. She then applied a thick layer of gel to my face. Imagine the type that nurses use before an ultrasound and you're pretty much there. Yes, it's cold! Radio frequency treatments require a gel like this as the metal tool needs a conductor. It also helps the tool glide across the face, making sure no area is under- or over-treated — or stretched uncomfortably.
Alise began with the lower quadrant of my face. As she had already told me that there wouldn't be very noticeable skin tightening, we decided to work the most on my cheekbones and jawline for a contouring effect. Throughout the treatment, the radio frequency device gradually gets hot then decreases and increases in temperature again. In total, we spent 10 active minutes on each of the bottom quarters of my face. For those with more laxity in their skin, facialists are able to use the device for up to 20 active minutes per section, which really helps firm the skin.
I have to say, thank goodness for the gel. On areas with thinner skin (like my forehead) the tool felt uncomfortably hot at times, but this didn't last long. I would liken the sensation to a hot stone massage as the motion of the device circling your skin can feel pretty relaxing, until the temperature crescendoes. It brings you back down to reality sharpish!
After the radio frequency had finished, my skin was treated to another cleanse to remove all traces of the conductor gel, then it was time for the additional skincare. Alise applied SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF, £150, first. This contains vitamin C (known to brighten skin and shield against pollution) and other antioxidants such as ferulic acid and phloretin — both of which bolster protection against dulling environmental factors. Finally, Alise applied SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier, £90, to inject the skin with moisture — a must after any skin treatment.
Is the Forma facial right for you?
Straight after the facial I noticed redness around my forehead area. This was to be expected due to the heat from the device. My skin definitely looked smoother, though. It also felt nicely hydrated, which I believe is due to the vitamin C and hyaluronic acid working in synergy. One thing I did notice: I wasn't given a moisturiser (just two serums, which were layered). I use moisturiser so I think this is why my skin felt dry as the day went on.
The initial results (after one or a couple of treatments) are more aesthetic but definitely minimal. Alise explained that the Forma treatment could be paired with the moisturising and hydrating HydraFacial, especially if you have an event to attend. The addition of this skin treatment lends more of an immediate and obvious glow. Though I didn't see a difference in my pore size, I did feel that my skin barrier was strengthened when I left the clinic and headed outside.
For me personally, the results of the treatment were a little underwhelming as one of my main skin concerns has always been pigmentation. [Beauty editor note: the Forma facial isn't designed to tackle pigmentation. Visit a qualified skin expert for more advice on facial treatments that target this specifically.] While my skin looked bright, it wasn't any more so than when I arrived. However, my skin shows little sign of ageing right now — and I did only have one treatment. For those with skin that feels and looks a little lax, the Forma facial is bound to work a treat, as the many celebrity testimonials prove. My advice? Definitely try the recommended six treatments, especially if you are looking for long-lasting results like Britney.
The treatment starts at £150 and is available nationwide. To find your nearest clinic, visit www.inmodemd.co.uk.
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