In a case of stating the obvious, summer in Dubai can be brutal on our skin thanks to humidity, dust, air-conditioning, criminally high temperatures, and – the main culprit – the sun. Before you start praying to the skin gods for a small miracle, we explore the quintessential facial to remedy summer skin concerns.
The Branding Room has added The Enzyme Treatment Facial to its menu, this treatment designed to give your skin instantly visible results. Don’t believe us? Just ask Aparna, who reviewed this treatment on behalf of The Gaggler – we don’t call it a Real Girl Review for nothing! And if you, too, would like the opportunity to review trending beauty treatments, make sure to join our group on Facebook.
The Facial: The Good, The Bad, and The Enzymes
“This facial treatment can be slightly explosive for three minutes,” says Aparna. “My face felt very hot when the enzymes were added, so the lovely therapist fanned my skin to ensure it remained cool while they worked their magic.”
The Enzyme Treatment Facial is a treatment suitable for all skin types, including those with hypersensitivity or rosacea. The treatment is rejuvenating, and improves both circulation and texture. The Branding Room utilises professional skincare brand DMK, with the facial being carried out exclusively by certified beauty therapists. It rebalances and exfoliates the skin without causing any visible flaking – enzymes activate when applied and selectively absorb only dead skin cells, leaving healthy skin tissue alone. As for its steps? They include:
Comedone scrapping (extraction of pores)
Enzyme facial mask
Facial moisturiser and SPF to finish
What Are Enzymes and How Do They Work?
Enzymes are a living substance that regulate our health and work to maintain certain minerals in the body. These form a natural system of antioxidants in the skin. When formulated properly and used correctly, they remove dead proteins in the skin and physically reverse the signs of ageing. And unlike other enzyme facials that work on the surface of the skin, The Enzyme Facial Treatment works deep within, helping the skin strengthen itself on a cellular level and creating a healthy environment for cells to thrive in.
We Saw Instant Results!
When we discover new treatments, we treat our members, readers, and community to the opportunity to review these for our Real Girl Review series. All our reviewers are ‘real’ girls (read: no hidden agenda) – just their honest and candid feedback. Aparna, our Real Girl Reviewer, couldn’t believe the instant change she saw in her skin. She reported visibly glowing and radiant skin the next day, even receiving compliments from family and friends. This has The Gaggler Real Girl Review seal of approval! If you’re thinking of giving The Enzyme Treatment Facial a try, here’s what you need to know.
Enzyme Facial Treatment without extractions: Duration: 90minutes Session Price: AED 800 Treatment Plan Price: AED 575
Enzyme Facial Treatment with extractions: Duration: 120-140 minutes Session Price: AED 1,000 Treatment Plan Price: AED 700
As we head into the festive season, do you feel like you’re always on the go, be it shopping for gifts, planning gatherings, or gearing up for the new year? It barely leaves enough time to maintain a semi-decent skincare routine. Well, we might just have landed on the perfect product on clean beauty platform MissPalettable: the BABY FACE Skin Reboot Peel Mask.
Not only is this hybrid facial masknon-toxic and cruelty-free, but it also claims to “dramatically reveal women’s glowy baby-smooth skin”. Here at The Gaggler, we decided to put it to the test during this particularly frenzied period – and we’re glad to say that it passed with flying colours! The mask is unique in that, unlike many others, it contains a triple acid formula of AHA, BHA, and PHA, all of which work together to gently exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells and other deep-seated impurities.
Its other notable ingredients include Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Liquorice Root extract, Indian Pennywort extract, Evening Primrose extract, and Tea Tree extract that has several benefits such as anti-ageing, brightening, acne-fighting, and wound-healing. The peel mask is also free of parabens, sulphates, alcohol, and silicone! You can either get it as an individual mask or buy a set of five. I opted for the set, using one mask each week.
Video: Using the MissPalettable’s Baby Face Skin Reboot Peel Mask
Start by cleansing your face to wash away any impurities or makeup.
Apply the mask for one minute. Tip: Make sure to unfurl the area around the nose before applying as it usually comes folded, and therefore unfolding it in advance makes the application much smoother. Also, be careful to not get any part of the mask in your eyes (rinse immediately if you do!) because, in my experience, the cut-outs for the eyes are on the smaller side.
Remove the mask after one minute and massage your face with your hands or a non-woven fabric. You’ll be shocked to see the amount of dead skin that comes off.
Rinse off the dead skin cells with lukewarm water. Look at that clean skin! It’s recommended that you use a toner afterwards for optimal results. Aim to use the peel mask once a week (while including SPF in your daily skincare routine, of course).
One of the biggest things that I noticed was the smoothness of my skin after using the masks and just how much dead skin would come off as a result of its exfoliating prowess – I don’t think my face has ever felt this clean. If you’ve ever tried a Moroccan bath or other full-body scrubs, you might be familiar with that light and almost-weightless feeling once you shed layers and layers of dead skin cells. This peel mask is just that, except that it’s for your face and way gentler. Not to mention, perfect for a season that calls for putting your best face forward. Win-win.
There’s no shortage of swanky spas, high-end spa brands, and OTT beauty extras (caviar facial, anyone?) in Dubai, but when temperatures hover around 43°C – which they do every August – it’s time to go back to the basics: cooling ingredients derived from nature. Incidentally, offerings like hot-stone massages and steamy hammams are widely available, but spa and salon treatments designed to beat the heat are surprisingly hard to find. Looking to get you covered from top to toe, here’s what I discovered. And loved.
Aloe Vera Hair Treatment at That Hair Tho
Summer is the season of vacations, ice cream, and blockbuster films. It’s also the season of sweat and scalp build-up. Enter: the Aloe Vera Treatment at That Hair Tho, where green walls, bright colours, and all manner of 90s kitsch will lift your spirits, regardless of the day’s events. My pre-treatment consultation starts with a welcome note in fluorescent hues, and unexpectedly seeing my name on the mirror has me smiling before we even begin.
The Aloe Vera Treatment is tailored to each client based on hair type and recurring issues. As for my concerns? A generally dry scalp and excessive hair fall, a development brought upon by the onset of the pandemic – because stress. As a result, the formula that’s custom-created for me contains aloe vera (which features gel from a live aloe vera plant that resides onsite) and neem powder (known for its antifungal properties), both complemented by castor oil and coconut oil. Castor oil, as I learn, contains ricinoleic acid that increases blood flow to the follicles, thereby promoting healthier hair. It’s extremely heavy, however, and typically diluted with the likes of coconut or jojoba oil.
A cooling sensation takes over as soon as the aloe vera mixture makes contact with my scalp. And just as aloe vera gel can soothe a sunburn or dehydrated skin, the treatment works wonders to calm an itchy or irritated scalp. The formula is massaged in and left on for 20 minutes, and I’m pretty sure I drifted off somewhere between the two. Two rounds of cleansing later – first with a shampoo that contains scrub particles to remove build-up, then with a moisturising shampoo to tend to dry strands – my hair looks nourished and super hydrated. Luminous, even. The Aloe Vera Treatment ends with a few spritzes of anti-humidity spray and your choice of a blow-dry or blast-dry, but does it even matter? You’ll feel lighter, fresher, and cleaner than you have in years.
Cucumber Facial at The Organic Glow Beauty Lounge
At this entirely ‘green’ spot in JVC, all are welcome and well taken care of: pregnant women, cancer survivors, those with sensitive skin, and just about anyone looking to steer clear of indecipherable chemicals. Personally, I’m a member of Team Sensitive Skin and, as someone who often wakes up with a rash or adverse reaction the day after a traditional facial, am delighted to discover the all-vegan Cucumber Facial. Not only are cucumbers both cooling and hydrating, but they’re also a rich source of silica – a mineral that supports optimal connective tissue for healthier skin. The treatment starts with a multi-step face cleansing process that turns to two further cooling ingredients derived from nature: rose water and aloe vera. I already know I’m in the right place.
Next up is the exfoliation stage, which comes with an unexpected element: date syrup. Organic brown sugar is mixed with date syrup to create an exfoliant that’s surprisingly beneficial – dates contain pantothenic acid, which helps the skin retain moisture. As the steamer gets going, I expect to be left alone. Instead, I’m treated to a hand and forearm massage that offers much-needed relief to my stiff and swollen wrists. I’m enjoying an exceptionally clear skin day, but in the case of pimples and other blemishes, extractions aren’t the norm at Organic Glow. By now, I’ve lost count of how many times a forcible extraction in the midst of a facial has left me with scarring – it’s nice to finally discover a salon where this practice is a no-no.
Organic cucumber slices are placed all over my face, and I feel their cooling juices start to trickle down my face and neck, my body temperature dropping instantly. As a blissful 15 minutes allow the chilled slices to take effect, waking up me and my tired skin, I silently vow to return and do it all over again. The Cucumber Facial ends with a rich, super-softening vitamin E cream infused with aloe vera that I end up leaving on my skin overnight, as recommended. Cucumber is a natural astringent and tightens pores, making this refreshing facial ideal for those with oily skin, too.
Foot Reflexology and Peppermint Foot Treatment at Sea Salt Spa
Regular pedicures felt like a weekly essential pre-pandemic, but in this new era of prioritising health and wellness over all else, foot reflexology is where it’s at. Practised for centuries, this feel-good massage entails applying pressure to different points on the bottom of the foot as they correspond to different organs and areas of the body, thereby inducing both healing and relaxation. The Foot Reflexology and Peppermint Foot Treatment at Sea Salt Spa is 60 minutes of sheer bliss, cooling and soothing the feet until they feel as good as new. It really is ideal for sore, achy, tired feet that are trapped inside closed-toe shoes in this heat (farewell, WFH days). For the uninitiated, menthol is the main chemical component of peppermint, which explains its cooling properties.
I start with a refreshing lemongrass-cucumber welcome drink that perfectly sets the tone as I sink into a cloud-like recliner. A foot soak in warm water infused with lavender bath salts is swiftly followed by a zingy peppermint foot scrub before the star attraction: an extensive massage accented with peppermint cream. Admittedly, I’m ticklish under the feet and expect to squirm my way straight through the massage, but proven wrong in no time. If anything, the pressure hits that sweet spot between too gentle and too firm, and I find myself more relaxed than I’ve been in ages.
Sleepily, I relish the fact that the massage also tends to my calf muscles, which have suffered the agonising pain of ‘charley horse’ cramps for several weeks now – they’re far more common in the summer months due to electrolyte imbalances. The treatment wraps up with a swipe of hot towels – peppermint-scented, too! – to remove any greasy residue before a brief shoulder massage comes about as an entirely unexpected treat. Pressed for time? Opt for the shorter version of the Foot Reflexology and Peppermint Foot Treatment, which skips the shoulder massage and lasts for 30 minutes.
It’s a Skin Thing: 3 Natural Moisturisers Put to the Test
Perfect skin starts with the perfect match.
Dry, oily, combination, sensitive, normal, or an amalgamation of all of the above – everyone’s skin is different, making it tricky to choose the right moisturiser. And what makes it even trickier is the sheer variety of lotions, potions, creams, and serums to choose from.
With a surge in natural products boasting organic ingredients, antioxidants, and anti-ageing and hydrating properties hitting the market, many of the options claim to be better for our skin and the planet – whether they’re vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, handmade in the region, or housed in recyclable or reusable packaging. But which ones are worth investing in? The Gaggler video creator Emma Brain tried out three different moisturisers to see how effective they really are.
WATCH THE VIDEO: ALL THREE MOISTURISERS PUT TO THE TEST
Shirley Conlon Organics Fountain of Youth Face Cream
Handmade in fresh batches and packed with botanical extracts that are suitable for all skin types, this cream is particularly good for sensitive skin and specially formulated for hot, dry climates. It’s also lightweight, making it suitable for day and night use.
Because no girl should be without a great sunscreen in her skincare arsenal.
Sun exposure is one of the biggest causes of premature skin ageing there is, so it’s vital to have good sunscreen products in your skincare line-up. But what if you’re trying to avoid traditional sunscreens that contain lots of nasty chemicals?
Thankfully, there are lots of new sunscreens that don’t use harsh chemicals and still offer great protection from the sun. Add that to their anti-ageing properties, loads of antioxidants, and fast-absorbing formulations as well as being organic, vegan, and reef-friendly (with recycled, reusable, or refillable packaging), and these everyday beach buddies are not only great for your skin, but also the environment.
The Gaggler videographer Emma Brain tested three hot sunscreens to see which shone through as the best sun protection of the bunch.
Watch The Video: All Three Sunscreens Put to the Test
Ixora Ultimate Protection Sunscreen (SPF 40)
Need to Know:
Protects from harmful UV rays and contains concentrated amounts of Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, which is a natural SPF that’s also high in antioxidants, nourishing the skin as well as protecting it.
It’s no surprise that after more than a year of video conference calls, many of us have started to analyse – and criticise – our appearance more than ever. Never before have we been in a position where we’d be staring at our own faces for hours on end through the lenses of our laptops and smartphones, subsequently noticing flaws that may not have bothered us quite as much pre-pandemic.
Following lockdowns around the world, aesthetic doctors and plastic surgeons reported a huge surge in bookings for both surgical and non-surgical treatments. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) reported a 70% increase in requests for virtual consultations with their doctors during this period, as patients continued to consider procedures they’d be able to get once they could see their surgeon face to face again. A recent survey by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, meanwhile, showed that 64% of its doctors had seen an increase in virtual consultations since the start of the pandemic.
Known as the ‘Zoom Boom’, as we focus more and more upon our appearance in this altered reality, ‘lockdown face’ has become a genuine thing. Driving interest in non-invasive facial procedures (think: Botox, fillers, or skin resurfacing) that correct lines caused by the facial expressions we notice on video calls as well as to tackle wrinkles, there’s also been a surge in demand for neck rejuvenation and jawline contouring as people spend more time looking down into their computer’s camera and focusing on those areas of their body.
And it turns out, I’m not immune to the phenomena either. Just like millions of others out there, I too began to wonder, ‘Is it just that the camera on my laptop is positioned at a really, really unflattering angle? Or do I actually look this old and haggard in real life?’
I’m not the kind of girl to fixate on my flaws – life’s just too short. But even before lockdown hit, I’d been concerned that my jawline was not looking as firm as it used to, my cheeks were a little hollowed, and I was starting to develop jowls. Jowls! Actual jowls! What was happening to me? Was I at the top of the slippery slope to middle age? Because I simply wasn’t ready or willing to be there, thank you very much.
Having always been a fan of radio frequency treatments to lift the skin – they really do make a difference – I began to wonder if there was something longer-lasting that had an even better effect, but wasn’t a facelift. It’s something I’d hoped wasn’t required for at least another decade or two, but what to do about this newly sagging jaw? Not just put up with it, that’s for certain.
Thankfully, there was something I could do to address the problem: a thread lift. Developed to fill the gap between non-invasive facial rejuvenation and a facelift, a thread lift is a non-invasive procedure where temporary sutures are inserted using a special needle, producing a subtle but visible ‘lift’ in the skin. Instead of surgically removing loose facial skin, it is simply suspended by stitching up portions of it, pulling it back slightly, and lifting and tightening the face. Ideal for reversing skin laxity around the neck, jowls, cheeks, and eyebrows, the procedure is done under local anaesthesia, takes between 30-45 minutes, and gives an immediate lifting effect. With some chance of bruising or dimpling and swelling – all of which will start to subside after roughly three days – downtime is minimal. In fact, you can resume normal life pretty much straight after the procedure – hence its moniker ‘The Weekend Lift.’
There are many types of threads that can be used in a thread lift: permanent threads, made of polypropylene, which were used initially but lost popularity with time due to the high rate of complications associated with their permanent nature; PDO threads, made of polydioxanol, which usually dissolve within three months; PLLA (Poly-L-Lactic Acid) threads, which last around 12 months and build more collagen around them; and finally PCL (poly-caprolactone) threads, which last anywhere between 12 and 18 months.
Threads can be used for all types of skin. However, the number of threads used will differ from one kind of skin to another, depending on its thickness and the strength of pull needed. The absorbable threads currently being used for this kind of procedure are very safe since they are easily absorbed by the body and, in the process of doing that, will form a layer of collagen fibres around them, improving the skin quality and firmness of the area even after the threads are absorbed.
This makes a thread lift a two-pronged anti-ageing attack. In addition to lifting the skin, it provokes the body’s ‘healing response’ and causes the body to direct large surges of collagen to treated areas, which in turn plumps the skin, making it look healthier and younger.
Providing ongoing and progressive rejuvenation for the facial tissues, a thread lift offers a gradual improvement to the skin’s tone and firmness. While the threads are in place, the body’s healing response will be constantly activated because it wants to ‘heal’ the sutured areas and expel the sutures – something it’s biologically programmed to do when it senses any foreign object present within the dermis.
While a thread lift is not a replacement for a facelift or even a mini-facelift, it’s is an extremely effective procedure for those who are starting see the effects of gravity and dwindling collagen production that results in skin laxity and sagging – i.e. someone like me. The vastly reduced recovery period (five days as opposed to the intensive recovery period that follows a full face lift) is just the proverbial cherry on top.
They’re also low risk, thanks to how non-invasive they are, with virtually no risk of scarring, severe bruising, bleeding, or other complications. In rare cases, patients may experience irritation or infection. And in some cases, sutures may become visible under the skin, but if this happens, they can simply be removed – the patient’s face will return to its prior state. And since thread lifts are much easier to perform than facelift surgery, they’re much more affordable, making them a great interim procedure if you’re planning to have a facelift in years to come, but haven’t quite decided yet.
Obviously, a thread lift isn’t something to be undertaken without major investigation, so after doing a lot of research and digging for personal recommendations, I booked in for a consultation with Dr. Dany Kayle – a renowned, Dubai-based plastic surgeon who has performed thousands of successful procedures over the course of his career and been dubbed ‘King of the Thread Lift’. And while I’m not one to be lulled into a false sense of security by catchy nicknames, I can attest that Dr. Kayle’s glittering reputation as a master of surgery with exceptional pre- and post-care is more than warranted.
Watch The Video: The Lowdown On Lucy’s Thread Lift
What Did You Do to Prepare?
Literally nothing. Just clear my (incredibly empty) social diary of anything for the next five days while the swelling and any bruising subsided. With that in mind, the fact that we have to wear a face mask almost all of the time makes the premise of venturing out more bearable whilst you recover – one of the few silver linings of this dismal time we’re living in.
How Does It Feel When You’re Having It Done?
You’re given local anaesthetic in your face and, if you’re having fat injections as a filler too, the area from which the fat is being taken. Once that kicks in, I can honestly say you’ll feel nothing. You’ll be aware of what’s happening, of course, and feel a sensation of movement – but that’s all. It’s a very peculiar thing to know that you’re having some pretty major things done, and (kind of) see it happening, but not feeling the process. From the first part – the liposuction, for all intents and purposes – to the insertion of threads, fat injections, and finally botox, there’s a lot going on. I still didn’t feel a thing. Anaesthetic is awesome.
What Did You Look Like Afterwards?
Not as bad as I thought I was going to look! Obviously, my face was pretty swollen, but the immediate lifting and tightening effect was remarkable. I knew that the swelling would go down eventually, so the initial panic over my very puffy face was fleeting. I looked weird, admittedly, but I’d just had wires and syringes full of fat inserted into my face, so it was no wonder I wasn’t looking quite as I had a few hours prior.
How Do You Feel Later On?
Much like after you’ve had an injection at the dentist – my lips felt rather tingly once the feeling started to return to my face. Eating and drinking just isn’t possible, though. I attempted to have a cup of tea once I got home, and may as well have just poured it directly down my top.
How Did You Look and Feel the Following Day?
Dr Kayle had advised me to sleep on my back and place pillows on either side of me to minimise the chance of rolling onto my face in the night, which worked a treat. In the morning, my face felt a bit sore, and I occasionally felt a twinge close to my ears where the thread was inserted when I spoke or smiled, but that was about it. There was literally zero bruising to be seen, which was amazing. I did look really puffy and swollen though, and when I smiled, it definitely was not the smile I usually see. Because of the fat injections, the area between my lip and nose looked noticeably different, making me look a bit simian. Oh, and my cheeks were really pronounced. I had a minor wobble looking in the mirror for the first time – the dreaded what-have-I-done fear set in. But a rather panicked WhatsApp message to Dr. Kayle later, I was reassured that this was entirely expected and would soon subside. I just had to give it time.
What was definitely the most uncomfortable thing was the area surrounding the incisions where fat had been taken. The incisions are very small, but they will seep liquid for a couple of days afterwards and, since it’s been subjected to a lot of unusual activity, it’s no surprise that your thighs feel rather sore. But nothing horrific. My bum was a little bit bruised, but that was to be expected. After a couple of days, it was all back to normal.
Watch The Video: The Results Of Lucy’s Thread Lift
How Long Until the Swelling Subsides?
After five days, I started to look a little less like I’d been in the ring with Connor McGregor, and a little more like myself. Almost all the swelling had gone after two weeks, and I could clearly see the effects of the threads and fat injections kicking in. My skin was literally glowing – a combination of the fat plumping out hollows in my cheeks and the fact that the threads boost collagen production. The trauma encourages the body to make more collagen to heal the area. And aside from the occasional twinge under the skin close to my ear, there was no pain at all. In fact, I’d go as far to say I’ve had bikini waxes that were more painful than this entire procedure.
What About a Month Later?
So the ultimate test: coffee with a friend who I hadn’t seen since last October. In between sipping her post-yoga latte, she asks, ‘What skincare are you using at the moment? You look 10 years younger!’ SUCCESS! The fact that my skincare is the same as it was when I saw her last confirms that having a thread lift was absolutely the right decision. The imperceptible enhancement has made me look like myself, only better – and thrillingly, younger, according to my coffee-drinking companion. Did I tell her what I had done? Of course! What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t share the secret behind my newly improved face?
Is It Worth Doing?
100%! I’ve always known that I’ll want a facelift when the ravages of time can no longer be solved with a quick-fix tweakment, but when you’re not quite ready for one and need to put the brakes on gravity, a thread lift works wonders. Of course, it helps to go to the best in the business – Dr. Kayle was fantastic from start to finish.
Are You Happy With It?
I really am. There were times when I was genuinely worried that the swelling was not going down, but much like I over-scrutinised myself on those Zoom calls, I was doing the same here. Once the swelling had subsided, my face looked exactly as it did before – 10 years ago. The contours look lifted, the sagging around the jowl area is no longer the first thing I notice, and my skin looks plumped and radiant. I’m thrilled to bits.
Would You Do It Again?
Absolutely. As the halfway house between short-term lifting treatments and an actual facelift, this gives excellent results and lasts for anything up to two years. The lift – both literally and metaphorically – has been immense, boosting both my self-esteem and overall mood. The feeling down in the mouth in every sense of the term is something that truly has disappeared. As far as making me feel better about myself and winding back the clock a few years, this thread lift has been a total game-changer.
Swap unruly hair for smooth manageable locks with the KeraStraight Hair Treatment.
The weather is starting to heat up, and for many a Gaggler Girl, having to cope with dry, frizzy, uncontrollable hair is just another drama they could do without.
Fighting frizz is an ongoing battle when you live in a humid climate, and while there are plenty of treatments that promise to smooth, straighten and care for your less-than-compliant-locks, many still contain harsh chemicals that can damage the hair.
So what’s the alternative? Say hello to KeraStraight Ultimate, which offers Formaldehyde free, protein technology that is humidity-resistant, strengthens and de-frizzes hair, makes lengths smoother and more manageable, and can last for up to four months.
But does it really work? We sent our perpetually frizzed-out Video Creator Emma Brain to Pastels Salon on Al Wasl road to test the latest lock – taming treatment, and see if Kerastraight Ultimate could be the solution to her haircare headache…
WATCH THE VIDEO: KeraStraight Ultimate Hair Treatment At Pastels Salon
Gaggler readers can take advantage of a Gaggler EXCLUSIVE 10% discount on the KS Ultimate four-month treatment at Pastels Salon from now until April 11.