x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Tried and tested: a date-paste facial with nature's own ingredients

Alexandria Gouveia heads to Dubai's only eco-friendly women's salon for an au naturel facial that leaves skin glowing and refreshed.

WHAT I TRIED The Date Facial at Zen Beauty Lounge, Dubai's first and only eco-friendly women's salon

WHAT I WANTED My sunburnt skin needed to be soothed and made more presentable. And while the idea of a fruit facial conjures exciting images of a fruit platter arranged delicately on my face and head à la Carmen Miranda, I am somewhat apprehensive about the use of dates, worried their coarse texture might distress my poor epidermis. I am also intrigued about visiting a salon where everything is deemed environmentally friendly, from the toxic-free, vegan and organic products to the eco-friendly wall paint, energy-saving lighting and biodegradable towels.

WHAT HAPPENED "Vitamin E moisturiser, aloe vera gel and a scrub made from brown sugar and honey," a therapist proudly exclaims, talking through the natural ingredients she'll be using. "All the ingredients are natural. There are no chemicals, so your skin gets the best."

The treatment begins with a gentle cleansing, before the vitamin E cream is rubbed in with nimble fingers. It's then removed using cotton pads - which are a little rough - in order to provide a slight scrub. The aloe vera gel is then massaged into the skin in beautifully sweeping movements.

The gentle ballet of the fingers on the face sends me into an instant state of relaxation before the rude awakening of the invigorating scrub. The smell is so delightful I defy anyone to resist wanting to lick the sugar and honey combo off her face. Once the gel is removed, the signature date paste - rich in calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin B6 and folic acid - is coated on, and guess what? It's so smooth it's feels like silk. The paste is left on like a mask and a steam machine is placed over my face to encourage the pores to open and help purify the skin.

Yet it doesn't stop there. While the mask is setting the therapist begins massaging my arms, legs, hands and feet, kneading away any aches and pains from my previous gym class overexertion. Finally, the mask is washed off and the vitamin E cream reapplied.

THE VERDICT In a world where everyone's obsessed about what they put into their body, Zen Beauty Lounge also examines what we put on it. The natural and organic ingredients allow those, like me, with allergies or sensitive skin to be pampered without leaving the salon with a blotchy red face. My complexion was glowing so much that friends thought I was wearing foundation. The salon's philosophy is to encourage women to look at the natural ingredients in their kitchen, garden and local supermarket and learn how they can be incorporated in their beauty regimes. It's the au naturel approach and I think I like it.


The Date Facial, Dh175, Zen Beauty Lounge, Discovery Gardens, Building 3, Dubai, 04 434 3017, www.zenbeautylounge.com