The beauty industry has undoubtedly faced unprecedented challenges during the covid-19 crisis. One of the last sectors to be allowed to trade following the easing of lockdown measures, many businesses just weren’t able to survive and across the country salons have closed, leaving thousands of professionals (mostly women) out of work. The delayed opening for the beauty industry felt especially frustrating given that they are, by design, hygienic spaces. Those business owners who have survived this crisis have gone to exceptional lengths to ensure clients are welcomed into a covid-secure environment and still able to enjoy a luxurious, transformative experience.
Central London has been badly hit with many places working at around 50% capacity. However, it is not all doom and gloom. Kensington & Chelsea is seeing signs of growth, and tucked into a pretty, quiet backstreet, a minute away from the hustle & bustle of Sloane Square is where you’ll find the wonderful beauty therapist Jyoti Patel.
Ordinarily it would be impossible to see Jyoti. Even working six days a week, she was so in demand with repeat clients that her waiting list might previously have spanned as much as four months.
However, we are not in ordinary times and when the Editor of this magazine mentioned there was an opportunity to see Jyoti, it was impossible to resist.
No Jyoti facial is the same, and she has 28 years of experience to inform her work. As you lay on her comfortable bed, warm and cosily swaddled like an infant, she turns on her bright light and reads your skin like a seasoned detective. She’s absolutely right that I’m dehydrated, congested and also bloated from too much acid. No more lemon in my morning tea! She has seen many clients return to her recently with similar issues. The anxiety of the lockdown period has led to stress-eating and a higher alcohol intake for many, all of which shows on the face. I vow to take my Cod liver oil and antioxidants and give my skin a much-needed boost from within. Then she gets to work on my face.
Every facial is tailored to the client and will mix traditional techniques with the very latest aesthetic treatments. Jyoti offers individual beauty treatments for face and body, but prefers clients to book a two-hour facial appointment to allow her time to properly work on the skin and utilise a number of treaments and techniques tailored to the needs of the individual.
First comes the steam and extractions. The sensation is strange but not painful and I am comforted that my skin will be properly cleansed. What’s the point of putting good things into clogged skin? Jyoti always prefers to work from a renewed canvas so that products can properly penetrate. Many people are wary of extractions, but Jyoti’s experience mean it is gentle as can be, and there was not a clogged pore nor a mark left on my skin to betray the exercise. A Diamond Flower Peel is from Australia (where Jyoti worked for a number of years) and gentle enough to buff my sensitive, reactive skin without any irritation.
Jyoti is a tiny, bird-like woman with a gentle voice and kind smile, but don’t let that fool you. Neck, shoulders and back are given a strong massage, just what is needed after months hunched over my computer. Then onto the facial massage. I thought I’d experienced every kind of facial massage but again, Jyoti has developed her own technique which blends traditional method with elements of ayurveyda, all designed to clear, lift and tone the skin. This is massage with purpose and Jyoti’s hands don’t miss a beat as they rhythmically fly across my face creating plumpness and definition.
Next we move onto two aesthetic treatments that Jyoti picks specially for me.
The CACI microcurrent face toning with LED light is an anti-aging essential and applied around my, jaw line. Environ is also used to stimulate collagen and elastin production.
After these more medical treatments we return to more traditional territory. A SkinCeuticals mask feels delighted as it is applied and I fall into blissful repose as Jyoti delivers a wonderful head massage. Finally, an Oxygen infusion blows across my face; cells are stimulated as all the goodness is pushed further into my skin.
Treatment over, I reluctantly hop-off Jyoti’s table and thank her profusely. My skin feels newly born, but it’s the next day I’ll see the best results she tells me. Jyoti’s right again; my skin has never felt so smooth, plumped and toned.
For anyone worried in these uncertain times, I can only say please don’t be. I doubt there is a safer time to make an appointment. Client safety is of paramount importance. All practitioners have their temperature taken on arrival and wear masks and visors at all times. Gloves were used for all but the facial massage (and hands were washed thoroughly before this element of the treatment). The room is deep cleaned between clients and is spotless and luxuriously presented.
This is a rare moment to get onto Jyoti’s books and I will certainly be booking another appointment before her lists fill-up again.
Jyoti Patel works at Michael John Spa, 6 Ellis Street, SW1X 9AL
Telephone: 020 7589 4550 or 07843738930
A two-hour bespoke facial with Jyoti is £250