BENEATH the hustle and bustle of the terribly trendy Soho branch of Bloww hairdressing salon is an altogether more tranquil space, home to the newly opened, first ever UK Africology Urban Spa. Already an established spa and skincare brand in South Africa, Africology is all about indulgent holistic treatments inspired by African traditional wisdom and rituals.
When you are getting your hair done it’s fun to bitch about boys and discuss your theories on why Posh never smiles, but when you are being massaged you just want quiet.
For example, they use marula oil (dubbed Africa’s miracle oil), shea from Ghana and massage is done using traditional Intonga sticks (which are traditionally used for fighting but also make for excellent massage tools, allowing the therapist to apply even pressure over the body). The treatment menu is full of tempting facial and body experiences (facials and massages start from £65 with waxing from £12 – £40) and skin adoration wraps (£155) but I was drawn to the African Potato Body Experience (£165), it’s an Irish thing, we really do love our spuds.
As I see it, a good salon treatment is premised upon three major factors – the space itself (nothing messes with your ‘zen’ like not being able to relax because you can hear a kango hammer drilling out on the street). Then there is the therapist, who can make or break your treatment (have you ever had your nails done by a women who smells like a brewery, clearly didn’t get to bed until 6am and has the shakes? Well, I have…). Lastly there is the quality of the products used and the overall experience, because if you are shelling out your hard earned cash on a non-essential, you want to walk out of the spa wondering why you can’t do something like that every week (Answer: because you have a Kurt Geiger/Net-a-Porter habit to feed). Well I’m not going to keep you in suspense; Africology came up trumps on every count.
Free from the steady hum of hairdryers, the team has managed to create a peaceful atmosphere just a few steps away from the hectic thrust of Regent Street. For a spa of its size, in a location where space is at a premium, the spa is well thought out and the kind of place you’d like to spend a few hours. The minute you enter you feel your shoulders relax and within minutes you realise you are talking in a half-whisper. It’s beautifully lit, not dungeon dark, but softly illuminated, like a spa should be, and it smells incredible. Even the stations for mani/pedis are something special.
In layman’s terms, my therapist was pretty awesome. She was happy to explain anything I was unsure of (do I take ALL my clothes off? Do I lie face up or face down?) and let me know what she was doing/what products she was using, but without spoiling the ultra-relaxing atmosphere. When you are getting your hair done it’s fun to bitch about boys and discuss your theories on why Posh never smiles, but when you are being massaged you just want quiet.
The treatment itself begins with some breathing (there was some initial talk of ‘connecting to the moment’ which I never really get) before the exfoliation began. Honestly, this is not the most relaxing part of the treatment as there is a fair bit of maneuvering involved. Lying on a plastic sheet you are scrubbed limb by limb before the exfoliant is removed with warm compresses. This step is to prepare and purify the skin before the body wrap, formulated with African potato and marula oil, is applied to soften the skin (while also fighting free radical damage).
Once you are cocooned in the wrap and covered in warm towels you can choose from a traditional foot ritual or scalp massage while the wrap does its work. I opted for the scalp massage, and while I would love to tell you how deeply pleasurable it was, I can’t because I nodded off, which is surely the ultimate sign of approval. After a peaceful slumber I was awoken gently and escorted to the shower room where I rinsed off the excess product and then went to enjoy the final element of the treatment. The massage was soothing but strong, intended to stimulate the blood and lymphatic flow and a perfect end to an incredibly indulgent experience.
After the treatment, you are invited to sit, relax and have a refreshing cup of herbal tea to awake your from your blissful stupor. While sipping my tea, Spa Manager Rachelle Moulai, who has 20 years of experience in the spa industry, chatted to me about the products and the Africology philosophy. She became aware of Africology on her travels (she has worked in some of the world’s most luxurious spas including North Island Spa in the Seychelles and the Four Seasons Spa in Bora Bora) and she was determined to be involved if Africology came to the UK. I can see why, Africology have the right products, they are renowned for their eco and ethical credentials (and its not just bluff), the right people and now they have the right place in London.
After the treatment my skin felt so amazingly soft I was tempted to ask a stranger at the bus stop to have a feel, but decided against it. One caveat: while the results were good, they were not long lasting, after showering the next day my skin felt back to normal. This is not a particularly results driven treatment, it’s more about experiencing utter selfish bliss and relaxation for 120 minutes… the kind of thing you would like to do more… if only you could kick that Kurt Geiger/Net-a-porter habit.
The African Potato Body Experience costs £165 for 120 minutes.
4 Regent Place
London, W1B 5EA
For bookings call: 020 7292 0300
My visit to Thai Square Spa was truly ATROCIOUS from the moment I walked in til the moment I left.…Read more
Do you sell africology products Thank you Faldielah ManchettRead more
Do not go to this hair salon. Christian ruined my beautiful hair with a digital perm which he…Read more
Only packaging and marketing no content and professionalism what so ever. No client service (my…Read more