The lowdown: We tend to think that if something is good enough for Anne Hathaway and Freida Pinto, it’s definitely good enough for us. So when we were offered the chance to meet with Su-Man Hsu, the much-lauded facialist loved by these celebrities and more, we jumped at the chance. Now residing at the W Hotel in London every Thursday, beauty fans and celebrities are flocking to experience Su-Man’s Signature Facial. Former professional dancer Su-Man harnesses her expertise in the fields of shiatsu, Pilates and oriental facial massage to create this unique facial experience, which uses natural and traditional skincare originating from her native Taiwan.
The treatment: As for the facial itself, after an initial skin analysis, Su-Man deeply cleanses the skin with steaming, gentle extraction and exfoliation and follows this with the application of a soothing botanical mask to nourish the skin. Toning, moisturising and a foot message left our reviewer feeling completely pampered and rejuvenated.
The expert tips: And for those who want to get the Su-Man effect at home, her new skincare range will be available in stores from December 2013. Plus, we got a few exclusive skincare tips from the lady herself, just for InStyle readers…
Do you have any at-home steps the InStyle readers can take to improve skin?
Before breakfast have a warm glass of honey (1-2 teaspoons) and lemon juice (half the lemon). This is a great way to flush out your system. The skin also needs essential fatty acids which are like an internal moisturiser. My favourite is Omega Blended Oil from Udo's Choice - I like to sprinkle it on my salad, porridge and toast, but when I travel I take the capsule form of this oil, which makes it easier.
I also encourage people to apply a simple mask made up of one teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. This both hydrates and soothes the skin whilst also diminishing imperfections. It can be done while you are doing your house work or reading, watching TV or having a bath. This should be left on for at least thirty minutes, and should be followed by your normal beauty regime.
If you could encourage people to take one step towards improving their skin care, what would it be?
There is no one single answer. Making your skin feel and look good is an emotional, psychological and physical process. After all, your face tells the world your story, and who you are. It’s in Asian culture to prevent things from happening, rather than to sort out neglect and mistakes later in life. We think of anti-ageing from 18, not 35.
The best advice for good skincare is a combination of facials, exercise (I love to dance at least 3 times a week), eating the right food, plenty of rest, sun protection and a great but simple skin care regime To have great skin it's also important that you feel good about yourself and have a positive outlook on life. This includes laughing a lot! It sounds like a lot to do but in my experience this is not about big changes, but small shifts in your lifestyle and committing to your decisions.
Your Taiwanese heritage has a big influence on your skincare line - what's your earliest 'skincare' memory?
I grew up in a mud hut in a farm in Taiwan with ten siblings, six of which were sisters. I was the youngest and still am at 50! We couldn't afford to buy anything, so we used all the wonderful natural things we found around us and mixed them into crazy concoctions. We never wasted anything. For instance the inner skin of watermelon can be rubbed gently over the face and is an excellent astringent. Farm girls want to look beautiful too! I guess that's were my passion for beauty and ingredients came from. Also massage is a very important part of my culture. The power of touch is underestimated, in its ability to make us feel and look better. My sisters and myself were always massaging each other. If you saw all my sisters today you can see who kept on looking after their skin and who didn't. The ones who did all look at least twenty years younger than they are...including me!
What inspired you to create your new product range?
It's quite simple really. I needed skin products that supported my facial technique. During the early years I used other brands and found that I was not getting the results I was looking for. I needed high performance products that were light and could be easily absorbed through massage. As my facial is based on the process of purifying, energising and nourishing the skin, each product had to contain an element of this. However, each one is carefully designed to have a primary benefit as well as a secondary. For instance my cleanser mainly purifies but also energises and nourishes. I started experimenting at home in my kitchen and then as I saw great results on my clients’ faces I refined the range with two labs in France and Taiwan. It's taken four years of hard work but I'm very proud of what I've created.
Does your dance background assist you in your techniques as a facialist?
Absolutely, dance is instinctive but requires precision, performance and a commitment to excellence. Clients have described my fingers as dancers, I use my core and body weight in a very balanced way so I can transfer energy without force. Dancing is also about being in the present and I take the same approach with my clients. I let them tell me what to do by what I see through my hands, as my hands are my second eyes.
The details: Su-Man’s signature facial is available at the AWAY Spa at the W Hotel, London, every Thursday and costs £200 for 60 minutes. For further information or to make an appointment call 0207 758 1071 or visit http://www.wlondon.co.uk/away-spa
By Nathalie Lucas