Hot Facial Compress

Hot Facial Compress

I’ve had the full body version of this several times in Indonesia, and found it marvellously relaxing, to say nothing of deeply soothing for aching muscles. So when I saw a smaller, facial, version in Bangkok I snapped it up immediately.

The hard-packed cloth ball contains a mixture of herbs and spices including tamarind, turmeric and camphor, together with mineral mud, and is supposed to ‘invigorate your essence, relieve tension and renew skin’. Apparently the tamarind refreshes, the turmeric detoxifies and the camphor relaxes, whilst of course the heat opens up the pores to allow these ingredients to work their magic.

You have to sprinkle water over the ball of the compress then heat it up – 2 to 3 minutes in the microwave is more than enough to make it steam. Taking care not to burn your skin (test the temperature carefully first!) you then roll the ball firmly over your face until it has cooled down. You can repeat this several times if you like, reheating as necessary to maintain the temperature.

The compress is reusable, although you should wait at least 15 minutes before rinsing it clean then leaving it to dry out for next time. Depending on how often you use it, it should last a couple of months… It’s a great way to prepare your skin for a deep cleaning or hydrating mask, or simply a lovely way to relax before bedtime. I love this!

Facial Massage Cream

Facial massage is something most Western women only experience as a small part of a regular facial, tucked in between the cleansing, the treatment and the moisturising at the end. In India, however, it is a mainstay of the typical beauty regime, and usually involves natural plant-based products rather than high-tech chemical formulas.

I found this facial massage cream in Mumbai, ready prepared in a handy tube, and thought it well worth taking home to try. From Jovees Herbal Care, it contains lemon, orange, papaya enzymes, wheatgerm, sugar cane, avocado, pineapple extract and vitamin E, each ‘carefully chosen to help skin regenerate its natural defence’.

According to the packaging, the fruit enzymes help soften and heal the skin, the vitamins restore smooth radiance and collagen elasticity, and the whole product encourages lifting of dead skin cells to leave the complexion glowing.

Keen to give it all a go, I was stopped short by the instruction to use the cream with raw milk and massage for 20 minutes. Apparently plain water is an acceptable alternative, but still – 20 minutes is rather a long time… I did manage a few minutes though, and found the suggested circular movements very therapeutic and relaxing.

I was expecting this product to be rich and hydrating, but adding water actually turned it from cream into milk, and rather than being absorbed into the skin it needed wiping away with wet cotton pads. Washing your face at the end is recommended, which means you then have to apply yet more cream to moisturise your skin.

Never mind, I liked this quite a lot and will be using it again.