Genuine Beauty Stars is a new series of articles that puts natural beauty salons, spas and hair salons around the world to the test.
I love visiting beauty salons and testing different treatments and spas whether at home or travelling in some other part of the world. I’ve had this type of article series in mind for quite some time for the blog. The idea is to gather reviews and experiences of places I’ve tested, offering readers tips for the best treatments available or perhaps even some inspiration for their own salon. The articles are independent, so instead of sponsored posts, the visits will come out of my own pocket. Saying that, I did actually get this first treatment for free as a complete surprise when I felt I couldn’t say no, but I aim to always pay for visits myself from now on.
Relocating to London meant a long list of things that changed for me in one go. I had to find a new local food shop, the best organic food supplier, a new laundry, shoe repair service, sewer – and a beauty salon and hairdresser of course. I’ve got used to a high level of quality in Helsinki, where beauty therapists are top of the range even on a global scale. The training isn’t on par in England, so finding a good salon in every part of the city isn’t always a given.
I’m super critical about treatments. I often try to shut my eyes to certain things, as I’m aware that a non-professional doesn’t notice everything I would and is able to wholeheartedly enjoy a treatment that would leave me a little hot and bothered. In this series of articles, I get to be super critical, but with a gentle understanding that every single detail doesn’t need to be analysed. It’s the big picture that will determine the final Genuine Beauty Stars rating on a scale of 1-5.
In a salon, I pay attention to the looks, cleanliness and little touches that set the mood. Music is another key part of the experience. But therapists play the most important role: their customer interaction, presence, touch, genuine desire to provide care, and expertise. What type of energy do they impart, is the treatment conducted exactly to the book or are the professionals able to apply their own knowledge and expertise? Of course the outcome is important, too. I’ll be assessing each of these aspects separately and as a whole.
First in line is Bhuti, which is located in Richmond, London.
Bhuti offers a yoga studio, day spa that uses British natural cosmetics, vegan café and a number of other treatments and services including Reiki, Indian head massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, shiatsu, fascia release, sport therapy massage, lymphatic drainage, cupping, acupuncture, nutritional therapy consultation, homeopathy, ayurvedic consultation and astrology. The six treatment rooms and two yoga studios tell something of the size of the venue.
Yoga classes include hatha, vinyasa flow, iyengar yoga, aerial yoga, yin yoga and restorative yoga. Also pregnancy and kids’ yoga is available.
Both monthly and annual membership packs and drop-in classes are available. The packs include various advantages on treatments, and annual membership entitles to a 30-minute treatment per month. Membership is also available for treatments.
All products used at bhuti are made in England. Treatments are carried out with honey-based Therapi, ayurvedic ila Spa, MSM-based Oskia as well as Elemental Herbology, which has its roots in Chinese medicine. Although not all the ranges are 100 % natural, they do not contain any harmful substances to humans or the environment.
The tested treatment
Ila gold cellular age restore face therapy, 60 min/£105, 90 min/£155
ila Spa is an ayurveda-based aromatherapeutic natural cosmetics range. The concept includes treatment guidelines for beauty salons. The range even covers products for pets.
The deep-hydrating, calming, skin-firming treatment designed for aging skin is also suitable for sensitive skin and rosacea. It uses the ila Gold Cellular collection, containing gold in three forms, plenty of omega fatty acids and hyaluronic acid, which are pushed into the skin with the help sonic waves. The 90-minute therapy is includes a foot exfoliation and head massage.
No need to beat around the bush: the treatment was the best I’ve ever had. It was carried out by bhuti’s treatment manager Renata, who has years of experience from world-renowned spas and hotels and has mastered a whole range of techniques from Japanese facial massage to reflexology. Renata had a wonderful presence and energy, and her solid expertise was evident on every level. In my view, a big part of expertise is not to necessarily slavishly follow the protocol of each range, but to apply personal expertise when the therapist senses a need. That’s exactly what Renata did, combining all her expertise in the massage. I’ve never experienced strokes like that, and the massage was extremely efficient, firm and relaxing at the same time.
Treating the feet and head made the therapy complete, and those too were perfect right down to the smallest details, like the feet being wrapped in a warm compress after exfoliation. Feet were also slipped into warm “pockets” during the therapy.
The treatment came with a surprise: just when I was hoping it wouldn’t end quite yet, a mesh was rolled over my face and the serum was pushed into my skin with a sonic wave machine (which I don’t know much about). I enjoy it when therapies have a surprise element or a traditional treatment combines modern technology.
The fragrance of some of the ila products is too potent even for me, but in the treatment it all felt just right, even if I wouldn’t buy the facial oil or mask for home use because of the scent. The cleansers and creams have a gentle fragrance, though. The toner t didn’t hydrate sufficiently and was applied with a cotton bud, which was a big minus. The massage began straight after with my face still tingling from the lack of hydration, but the perfect massage did wipe away that memory.
Another minus for the choppy sound system and pan pipe music, which seems to be a firm favourite in many spas and salons – something new please!
As a whole, the experience deserves top marks. I can’t wait to try bhuti’s Oskia LED treatment next.
Bhuti has an excellent concept that’s my personal dream – oh to get to start up a place like this also in Finland! The venue was beautiful, but not exactly to my taste and I would do things differently. Salon owners around the world should head over to Ihohoitola Lupaus in Helsinki for some inspiration!
+ wonderful concept based on genuine holistic wellbeing
+ warm and inviting atmosphere that is difficult to put in words but easy to sense
+ extremely professional therapist, whose expertise was evident in the way the therapy was planned and applied
+ wonderful strokes and the best face and head massage of my life
+ intriguing range of products that seemed holistic
+ the quality of treatment took me by surprise, and the finetuned therapy combined deep-penetrating care with latest technology
+ the treatment left skin bright, rested and rejuvenated
– constant choppy sound system
– pan pipe music
– lack of hydration in the treatment, which could be felt in the outcome
Genuine Beauty Stars 1-5: *****
50 Hill Rise
Nearest tube Richmond
Photos Katja Kokko
Translation Rebecca Watson