New Natural and Bio-Active Skin Treatments at Ao Spa

By Alisa Kerr
April 28, 2016
Health & Beauty

This month Andaz Tokyo’s luxurious Ao Spa has launched an exciting new facial and body treatment menu with a focus on natural and bio-active skincare, using products from three luxury brands: Biologique Recherche (from Paris), Elemental Herbology (from London), and Kotoshina (from Kyoto). I was lucky enough to have a chance to experience the new intensive regenerating custom facial treatment from Biologique Recherche, which is being offered for the first time in Japan.

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Biologique Recherche is a highly innovative French skincare brand that offers a clinical approach to beauty. Known for its effectiveness and immediately visible results, Biologique Recherche has growing list of a-list devotees, such as Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. All of the Biologique Recherche products are created using high concentrations of raw and active ingredients, and are free of artificial colors and fragrances. The brand’s custom facial and the signature Remodeling Face machine promises to be the ultimate facial experience that firms, lifts and sculpts. It’s a non-invasive, anti-aging treatment that gives amazing results—and at ¥35,000 for a 60-minute treatment, you definitely want to see more impressive results than with your usual facial!

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It was my first visit to the Ao Spa, and it certainly lived up to my high expectations. When you arrive at the spa on the 35th floor of the Andaz Tokyo, you are welcomed into the elegantly designed Blend Bar—the spa’s gorgeous natural ingredient apothecary, to meet with your therapist. Once comfortably seated at the Bend Bar, sipping on some cherry blossom tea, I completed a short and unique questionnaire to help customize the treatment to my preferences. At Ao Spa the focus is on customizing the experience to your individual style—everything is carefully considered, down to the music that is played during your treatment. I sat happily at the blend bar admiring the dazzling array of seasonal dried fruits, fresh herbs, minerals, dried flowers and essential oils that are beautifully displayed. Based on my preference for a spring themed, relaxing treatment, my therapist mixed a bespoke foot scrub in a mortar and pestle next to me—dried chamomile flowers to help me unwind, and sugar to hydrate the skin.

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Once the ingredients had been carefully prepared, I was shown through to the ladies’ locker room to change for my treatment. The locker rooms are luxurious, and stocked with everything you could possibly need. As a guest of Ao Spa you are free to relax in the sauna, steam room and massage chairs in the locker room, or even take a swim in the pool before your treatment. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to enjoy the facilities before my treatment this time, but I made a mental note to arrive early for my treatment next time I visit, as it would be the perfect way to start an Ao Spa experience.

After changing into a plush white robe, I was led to the incredible treatment room. Flooded with light from floor-to-ceiling windows, the treatment room is incredibly spacious and modern. It’s hard to take your eyes away from the breathtaking views of Tokyo below. The room is serene and seems a million miles away from the frenetic city below.

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Once I was seated comfortably next to the window admiring the impressive view of the Imperial Palace and across to Tokyo Sky Tree, the therapist began with a skin diagnosis, so that she could customize the treatment by selecting the perfect mix of products from the impressive selection of masks and serums available. The treatment begins with Ao Spa’s signature foot treatment. My feet were gently soaked and scrubbed with the bespoke scrub, and I was already feeling completely relaxed, even before it was time to move across to the treatment bed.

I was left alone for a few minutes to climb onto the treatment table, which is made up like a luxurious hotel bed. Once I was comfortably settled on the soft pillow and wrapped in the plush covers, my therapist discreetly entered the room and began the treatment.

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My face was carefully cleansed, removing any traces of makeup before my therapist started an invigorating face and neck massage to wake up my facial muscles. Following the massage, a customized blend of treatment masks was applied. I was recommended a combination of two masks—the first, Masque Visolastine, which contains elastin and fatty acids to moisturize and improve elasticity, and the second, VIP o2, an oxygenating and moisturizing mask that leaves skin soft and glowing. While the potent mask was hard at work on my skin, I relaxed and enjoyed a shoulder, neck and head massage and slowly drifted off to sleep.

I was gently awakened when my therapist began to remove the mask with a soft cloth, in preparation for the most unique part of the facial—the Remodeling Face treatment. Again, a custom blend of three serums were applied liberally to my face, neck and decolletage. I was given a combination of serum Elastine Pure to smooth wrinkles and expression lines, Collagene Marin to firm the skin and tighten pores, and Extraits Tissulaires to moisturize and revitalise the skin. Once the blend of powerful serums were in place, we began the Remodeling Face treatment.

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Biologique Recharge’s signature Remodeling Face machine uses a combination of four electric currents to activate the facial muscles and then lift and smooth them into submission. Using two soft sponge covered discs that house the electrodes, the therapist works methodically over each part of face and neck. There is a mild buzzing feeling as the discs are swept over the skin, and over some sections of the face there is mild discomfort as the muscles twinge, while on other areas there is no discomfort at all. Once the Remodeling Face treatment was finished I could already feel a new tightness to my skin, especially on my cheekbones and around my eyes. But when I looked in the mirror I was shocked by how immediately noticeable the results are. My eyes appeared wider, my cheekbones were significantly more prominent, and my jawline and neck were also significantly tighter. No wonder they call this treatment an alternative to facelifts and injections!

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There was a small amount of redness on my cheeks just under the eyes (an area that often shows sensitivity on my face), but my therapist explained that this is normal and should subside within twenty-four hours (which it did). The sculpting results from the treatment last from two to three days, depending on your own skin condition. The more often the treatment is done, the longer the results will last. Based on my experience, I would definitely recommend this treatment to anyone looking for a high-performance facial that gives superior results. It’s the perfect treatment to have in the lead-up to a special event or any time when you really want to look your best.