EVENING STANDARD , APRIL 2016 

Star treatment: the $800 facial Angelina Jolie swears by

Katie Service books in for the facial that’s giving the A-list their glow

http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/esmagazine/star-treatment-the-800-facial-angelina-jolie-swears-by-a3222921.html

In my idler moments, I’ve often found myself playing the fantasy game of ‘Angelina for a day’ — mentally skipping from movie set to war zone, accepting awards and humanitarian accolades with my rainbow family gathered photogenically around me. Typically, I re-emerge from this dream world slumped at my desk, the cold hand of truth slapping me all too harshly back to reality. But not today. Today, for 30 minutes as least, I am Angelina Jolie.

I’m in KX Spa, South Kensington’s elite private health club, and I’m here to try out the Triad facial, the most hyped LA export since Kim Kardashian’s kurves. The treatment is the brainchild of US dermatologist Dr Colbert, and thanks to its boast of zero down time, it has become Hollywood’s favourite red-carpet regime. Time-poor, cash-rich clients (it costs a whopping $800 a go) can head straight from spa room to paparazzi line-up without a second thought. Which explains why those with Dr Colbert on speed-dial include actresses (Rachel Weisz), supermodels (Candice Swanepoel) and the super-wealthy. However, the Triad really hit cult status when US Weekly revealed that Angelina Jolie, surely Hollywood’s most radiant star, can’t live without it. Hence, my real and fantasy worlds are set to collide.

‘I first met Angelina in 2009, on the set of her film Salt in New York,’ Dr Colbert tells me. ‘Like most celebrities, she already had flawless skin but [she] loves the extra glow and luminosity that the Triad affords.’ Other celeb fans rave about the results: ‘Naomi Watts loves the way it washes away fatigue, and actress Caitriona Balfe says it keeps her skin glowing, even after tough days filming Outlander in rainy Scotland.’ During awards season Colbert treats a conveyor belt of actresses and models (recent clients include Jennifer Lawrence and Michelle Williams) and he famously performed the Triad on models backstage at last year’s Victoria’s Secret show in London.

If you don’t have the star pull of a Gigi or a Kendall and think you’re more Brixton than Beverly Hills, fear not. The Triad has finally come to London and costs £1,000, but taster sessions are running at Fenwick for £25 — which is why I find myself at KX Spa, sandwiched in a slot between make-up guru Charlotte Tilbury and House of Cards’ Robin Wright, awaiting my longed-for chance of getting that Jolie glow.

It is at this point that I hear another voice in the room and I realise that Dr Colbert himself has arrived. He pats me reassuringly on the arm and asks how I’m feeling. ‘Very relaxed,’ I respond, which is not exactly true since I can’t see who I’m talking to, and I’m still worrying about the potential crusting and swelling. The previous 20 minutes could only have been described as intense. In my book, beauty treatments are supposed to be soothing (whale music, candles, ylang ylang) but I’m convinced the Triad is going to leave me red raw tomorrow.

‘Am I cooked?’ I ask tentatively? ‘Not cooked,’ corrects Dr Colbert as he unwraps the towel from my face, ‘but reborn.’ My nerves melt and for the first time I get really excited about my new face, imagining myself as a glowing Angelina, ready for her close-up. Both men then slather me in a face oil containing vitamins A and C, a secret-recipe Colbert home brew that he sells for £100 a bottle. Finally they’re done, and Dr Colbert hands me a mirror for the big reveal.

The first thing I notice is that my pores have vanished. So has the redness around my nose and chin. Genuinely surprised, I raise my eyebrows, only to find — to my delight — that this doesn’t cause creases to ripple across my forehead. My skin is firm and smooth, and what’s more it’s baby-pink and plump all over. I look like I’ve been ever-so-slightly inflated with a bicycle pump — in a good way. If I were to step on to a red carpet this instant, I would be ready (well, once I’d put some mascara on…) Sadly, what hasn’t gone is the volcano of a spot on the side of my chin, but hey, these guys are dermatologists, not miracle-workers.

Thanks to his starry clientele, Colbert has become a quasi-celebrity himself and his Instagram account boasts endless selfies with movie stars and beauty editors. Dr Colbert products — including the Tone Control Discs (£65), Illumino Face Oil (£100) and Illumino Anti-Aging Brightening Mask (£85) used in the Triad — are all available to buy: the mask is incredible post long-haul flights.

So, can the Triad make you look like Ms Jolie? Of course not — it’s a facial, not plastic surgery — but it’s as close as us mere mortals are going to get. And for this would-be Angelina, that’s a dream come true.

The first surprise is how short the treatment promises to be. Half an hour to make me look like Angelina? Hmmm, I’m sceptical. Then there’s the paperwork — before the facial begins I’m handed ten pages of disclaimer to sign, which read more like a waiver form for sky-diving. The potential side effects listed are not for the faint-hearted: pain, crusting of skin, swelling, peeling, infection, pigment change, scarring… Instinct tells me the process might not be pleasant, but before I have time to dwell on the fate of my face, I am ushered into the small, functional treatment room by Dr Costa Papageorgiou, the plastic surgeon who is to start my facial. No sign of Dr Colbert himself as yet…

The Triad is revered as a holy trinity of medical facials in one. It starts with microdermabrasion, a highly effective form of exfoliation using a tool that feels like a tiny, painless hoover. The second step is a blast of laser toning, using a red light that evens out skin pigmentation and texture, as well as stimulating production of collagen (the stuff that helps your skin defy gravity). This part is less comfortable and I can smell the fine hairs on my face singeing. These steps are bespoke — you can go hardcore or gentle, depending on what your skin needs (or can take). Dr Papageorgiou spends some extra time on a scar on my chin and doubles up on my neck for added lift. The third step is a chemical peel, using lavender-flower acids to remove any remaining dull skin from the surface of my face and hopefully reveal a new, more radiant complexion underneath. After this, a moisturising hyaluronic- and lactic-acid sheet mask is applied to my face and I am left to ‘relax’ under a warm towel.

It is at this point that I hear another voice in the room and I realise that Dr Colbert himself has arrived. He pats me reassuringly on the arm and asks how I’m feeling. ‘Very relaxed,’ I respond, which is not exactly true since I can’t see who I’m talking to, and I’m still worrying about the potential crusting and swelling. The previous 20 minutes could only have been described as intense. In my book, beauty treatments are supposed to be soothing (whale music, candles, ylang ylang) but I’m convinced the Triad is going to leave me red raw tomorrow.

‘Am I cooked?’ I ask tentatively? ‘Not cooked,’ corrects Dr Colbert as he unwraps the towel from my face, ‘but reborn.’ My nerves melt and for the first time I get really excited about my new face, imagining myself as a glowing Angelina, ready for her close-up. Both men then slather me in a face oil containing vitamins A and C, a secret-recipe Colbert home brew that he sells for £100 a bottle. Finally they’re done, and Dr Colbert hands me a mirror for the big reveal.

The first thing I notice is that my pores have vanished. So has the redness around my nose and chin. Genuinely surprised, I raise my eyebrows, only to find — to my delight — that this doesn’t cause creases to ripple across my forehead. My skin is firm and smooth, and what’s more it’s baby-pink and plump all over. I look like I’ve been ever-so-slightly inflated with a bicycle pump — in a good way. If I were to step on to a red carpet this instant, I would be ready (well, once I’d put some mascara on…) Sadly, what hasn’t gone is the volcano of a spot on the side of my chin, but hey, these guys are dermatologists, not miracle-workers.

Thanks to his starry clientele, Colbert has become a quasi-celebrity himself and his Instagram account boasts endless selfies with movie stars and beauty editors. Dr Colbert products — including the Tone Control Discs (£65), Illumino Face Oil (£100) and Illumino Anti-Aging Brightening Mask (£85) used in the Triad — are all available to buy: the mask is incredible post long-haul flights.

So, can the Triad make you look like Ms Jolie? Of course not — it’s a facial, not plastic surgery — but it’s as close as us mere mortals are going to get. And for this would-be Angelina, that’s a dream come true.