Deborah would come to me for massage treatments, and when I wasn’t trigger pointing around her shoulder, we would have the age-old conversation comparing our personal experiences of being the stay at home mum/mom taking care of the children (especially as both of us didn’t have family close by) working part-time, fitting in university courses, exercise, and at the end of every treatment, with her shoulders no longer stuck by her ears and relaxed, Deborah would say “You know, I just want to do facials”.
The next thing I knew, I was booking facials with Deborah! She became a qualified facialist through Champney’s, and Neal’s Yard in the UK, as well as The Green Beauty Academy in New York. Just for your information, it proved difficult to get an appointment because she is always booked solid!
It may seem a strange comment to say, but Deborah’s facials are very hands-on, and what’s a facial if not hands-on. As she has researched and practised her trade, massage has certainly come to the forefront of her facials. Not only do I leave my treatment with the aesthetic physical benefits of plumping, lifting and firming, but I also leave with my shoulders and mind relaxed because of Deborah’s approach to facials.
Interview with Deborah Phillips
Q. Why were you drawn to becoming a facial therapist?
I have always been a skincare geek. I grew up in the era of supermodels and I was absolutely fascinated by their beauty and elegance.I suppose from a young age I was always trying to work out how I could emulate Elle MacPherson, but with a headful of red hair and an aversion to the sun, it was an impossible task!
I really did become fascinated by their fresh, clear skin and beauty and thought that if I used the right product, I’d get the same skin! My first job was at Harvey Nichols, and I’d spend my lunch hours browsing through the beauty halls, becoming familiar with brands, ingredients and what each product promised they could achieve. There began a life long fascination with skin and how to achieve that ‘glow’.
Q. You sound like a scientist?
I was intrigued to know how certain products affected the skin. I left the corporate world to raise my family and during that time, started trying various potions that would revive and rejuvenate my face after years of commuting, socialising, unhelpful eating habits and stress! However, I realised that glowing skin cannot be achieved from a product alone. Eating well, drinking water and exercise, amongst other activities are the answer – a holistic approach I suppose.
Fortunately, I have experienced your facials and know how you vet the products you use! I’ve also noticed that you are incorporating more massage as time goes on.
Q. Why is that?
After qualifying at Champneys, I decided to continue my training at Neals Yard. It was during a ‘Holistic Facial Therapy’ course that I had a moment of epiphany in that I realised that the foundation of a rejuvenated, glowing complexion lies within the ability to release tension from the muscles, drain the lymph of all stagnation and massage the face to bring nutrients and oxygen to the skin. However, to achieve this successfully, the environment must be calming and relaxing. It is then that the client’s parasympathetic nervous system is engaged (rest or digest element of the nervous system that only works when someone is completely relaxed) and then the magic happens!
This realisation has driven me to understand more about the vital roles that facial and neck muscle release, fascial release and lymphatic drainage play in achieving a glowing complexion – it really isn’t just about smearing a cream on your skin.
Q. Why did you want to create a sanctuary?
My therapy room is a ‘Women Only’ space. This is because I have wanted to create an experience where a woman feels safe and cocooned so that they can fully relax and enjoy their treatment. It is only when someone has completely engaged with their ‘parasympathetic’ brain that I am able to work to achieve a change in their skin and the appearance of their face. A number of my clients have told me that not only does their skin and face feel better, but that they feel calmer, happier and more settled when they leave me. That brings me happiness and a sense of great fulfilment.
Q. What are your top tips for Skincare?
Water, Water, Water! – our bodies are composed of approximately 60% water and when we don’t drink enough, the water goes straight to our vital organs and our skin suffers! When we drink enough water, our skin is more hydrated, fine lines diminish and our lymphatic system (that carries the ‘rubbish’ out) can work effectively
Ceramides – at this time of year, ceramides in face creams are key. Ceramides are lipids (fats) that are found naturally in skin. They protect skin from the environment (cold, heat, sun) and helps it to look younger. Skin cells and ceramides are like bricks and mortar. Skin is the brick and ceramide is the mortar. Ceramides hold our skin together, prevents moisture loss, and keeps skin supple.
I use Tropic Skin Dream and Eye dream as they are rich in ceramides, however, any facial moisturiser that contains ceramides will be good for your skin to combat winter weather!
Don’t over exfoliate – the beauty industry has gone crazy in recent years, promoting the use of acids and granular exfoliants. Whilst exfoliation is important for sloughing off dead skin to reveal a brighter complexion and to enable products to penetrate more effectively, over-exfoliation can cause sensitivity, redness, breakouts and dryness. At this time of year, it’s important to only exfoliate once or twice a week at most.
Essential fatty acids – essential fatty acids can be found in fatty fish such as salmon avocado, nuts and seeds to name a few and play a large role in achieving and maintaining good skin health.
Retinol – has often had a bad reputation amongst women because of the peeling and redness it can cause. However, there are some great retinols on the market now that are ‘encapsulated’ in ingredients that deliver the retinol deep into the skin without the reaction. Retinol is the only product that has been proven to increase cell turnover and therefore is wonderful for addressing fine lines, acne and acne scarring and overall radiance, so it’s worth finding one that works for your skin.
Massage – self-massage is free and can make a huge difference to the tone and look of your skin. Always opt for a plant-based facial oil (not mineral) and it needn’t be expensive. Even olive oil or jojoba oil will do! Begin by warming the oil between your palms, then press it into your face and neck. Start by massaging the neck, and then work up to your face. As long as you’re massaging ‘up and out’, you’ll feed your skin with nutrients and oxygen, relax your muscles and provide that healthy glow that we all love.
Techniques you can try at home:
Contouring the jawline
Enhancing your cheekbones
Products you can try at home with a fantastic 15% discount:
Oskia has a wonderful skincare range and by using Deborah’s discount code DeborahP you can get yourself a 15% discount! Who doesn’t love a little bit of retail therapy!?
Booking a facial:
I’m sure you are all chomping at the bit to book a fabulous facial with Deborah. Sadly, when we emerge from lockdown, Deborah has a large list of clients waiting for treatments, so she is, unfortunately, unable to take any new bookings at this time. But we will let you know when her books re-open again!
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