Fact: I love trying new facial treatments. And I’ve been fortunate enough to form a collaborative relationship with medical concierge group Eunogo, who have given me a number of opportunities to experience the unique beauty treatments they have on offer here in Seoul (see here and here for my other experiences with Eunogo). I actually won the treatment I’m going to be reviewing today, at the Seoul Blogger Brunch, but as per, this does not affect my review. Read on for details of my hydrogen toning experience!
What did I have?
I had a hydrogen toning facial treatment. Basically this means that they penetrate hydrogen into your skin (through a non-invasive high pressure water device), creating an antioxidant effect to combat free radicals. Free radicals in our skin can cause aging, and more serious conditions such as cancer. There are two options for this treatment- one just for face, one for face and neck. I received face and neck. The toning should leave skin radiant, and help target the signs of aging. I was down for that!
The facial took place at Urban Beauty in Gangnam district, by Seolleung station. And I was immediately impressed when I entered the building. It is so modern, and BEAUTIFUL.
I initially couldn’t figure out how to get to the 15th floor. The elevators are so hi-tech, they don’t have buttons inside for floors, but a touchscreen outside the elevators where you select your floor. Took me a minute..!
When I eventually made it up to the clinic itself, I was speechless as I viewed the waiting area. It is so incredibly decadent, and definitely the most flashy establishment I’ve ever received a treatment at. However, the professional atmosphere, and the style of the building as a whole, meant the decadence didn’t seem tacky- it was perfectly fitting.
I was offered a refreshment from a full range of drinks available as I filled in the papers.
This particular treatment came with an English translator to accompany me to the treatment (not all of Eunogo packages do, you can check when you’re on the online shop, although all offer information and support via phone both before and after). Despite speaking some (very) basic Korean, I really appreciate the translation aspect of Eunogo services, and if you’re a visitor, I imagine it would be even more important. Eunogo also arrange all reservations for you.
Unfortunately my interpreter actually had an unforeseen problem with her transportation, and arrived 30 minutes late. As I waited, I was only told by the receptionist that the interpreter would be a little late and I didn’t expect 30 minutes. I wasn’t happy. I’ve spoken about this to Eunogo and they apologized profusely, as well as taking on board my feedback that I should have been fully informed and kept updated. I will highlight that this was an unexpected and unavoidable circumstance, rather than tardiness (which I thought at the time), and was nothing to do with the clinic. The clinic were ready to go when I arrived and acted completely professionally- this was a coordination error on Eunogo’s part.
Despite the bumpy start, my interpreter was sweet, and her translation was faultless. Translating beauty treatments and scientific terms is no simple task, and I was impressed with her ability to do so with ease. I felt that all of my questions were answered thoroughly, and she sat by me throughout the entire treatment, so I could ask anything whenever I wanted to.
Makeup Removal & Preparation
So first, to my surprise, I was led to a bathroom to remove my own makeup. I have to say, I do expect my makeup to be taken off for me when I’m receiving a treatment, and this is the first time I’ve had to do it myself. They provided a cleansing oil and foaming cleanser, so whilst it was easy to remove, I’d suggest arriving prepared, with no make up on. The bathroom was gorgeous though…
I was then led through to a small changing room, changed into a robe and directed into a small room. The room had a half clinical, half spa feel. There were two beds in the room but I was being treated alone, with two ladies overseeing and doing the treatment.
The aesthetician first put a cream on my face to allow the water device they’d be using to glide over my skin without dragging.
The lady overseeing the treatments then explained the machine they’d be using and the purpose, via my interpreter. The machine pumps hydrogen into the water, and then the device they run over your face pushes the hydrogen into your skin (think of it like a tiny pressure hose). As I said earlier, the hydrogen is supposed to recover skin cells by having an antioxidant effect to terminate free radicals. I was told it might feel slightly uncomfortable in certain places, and to let them know if it felt painful.
It didn’t feel at all painful, and only slightly uncomfortable on my neck and forehead. On the rest of my face it felt like a facial massage, and was relaxing.
This portion of the treatment lasted about 20-30 minutes I thiiiink (hard to judge when you’re laying there!). Occasionally water did run down my face, and sometimes into my eyes. It didn’t sting at all, and the aesthetician dabbed my eyes for me when this happened, as well as rinsing them with eye drops afterwards.
The photo below is the machine after my treatment. The water in the left hand tube is the waste water that wasn’t absorbed, and I was quite surprised by how much of the solution had gone into my skin.
It was then time to don an astronaut-type bubble helmet for some light laser treatment.
Hydrogen Gas and Light Therapy
The bubble type head gear was placed over me, and a blue light came on. When it’s blue, it means it’s emitting hydrogen gas. I couldn’t feel/taste/smell anything, but apparently the gas was cleansing my skin. I don’t know how you’d feel about this device if you’re claustrophobic. I couldn’t hear what was being said outside the bubble, which did weird me out a little, but I quickly got used to it.
This was removed after a little while, and a mask pack painted on my face (on top of a gauze sheet to allow easy removal afterwards). I adore mask packs for soothing and calming skin, and this one smelled like chocolate milkshake..! It was very cold on skin, but this is to calm after the hydrogen toning. My face was a little red, so it was perfect.
Mask packs are often applied to the entire face in clinics, only leaving nostrils to breathe. However I always specifically request that my mouth be left uncovered too, for easy breathing. They suggested I leave my eyes uncovered, so I could take photos. However, because of the brightness of the red light, I advise you opt to cover your eyes- I regretted not covering mine. I lay under the red light for quite a while, but again couldn’t feel anything. Exposing skin to low level lights like this should help with regeneration of cells and tissue, ultimately helping with the anti-aging process.
When the bubble had done its thing, the head gear was removed, and my mask pack swiftly peeled off thanks to the gauze underneath.
The aesthetician followed with a quick skincare routine, including Urban Beauty own brand Dr Shin Peptide Renewal Serum, and some Sensicure Cream Gel to further soothe skin. I would have actually preferred a longer routine, but it was fine.
Results & Afterthoughts
Immediately after the treatment my skin felt very plump and smooth.
When I got home and into more harsh lighting, I could really see and feel the differences. The main results for me were plumping, and bounciness of my skin. It’s hard to put into words, and it can’t be seen too easily in the photos. There just seemed to be an overall healthy glow, and yes, bounciness is the best word I can think of.
These first two photos were taken on the morning of the treatment:
And these two were taken a couple of hours after the treatment:
I’m now at almost a week later (at time of writing) and my skin still looks more healthy than before the treatment. The results have been pretty nice for my skin, although they are obviously subtle, and perhaps not hugely noticeable to others. I don’t expect facials to do, for example, what invasive procedures like botox can do. Facials can’t turn back time or produce miracles. I’m also someone who takes serious care of my skin, and so I doubt any results are going to be as dramatic on me, as someone who doesn’t. Although perhaps I’m more aware of subtle improvements. What I do expect is to personally notice a difference in my skin, and to feel happy when I see those changes after the treatment. I was certainly happy with these results.
This particular treatment is priced at $390 for face or $510 for face and neck if you just walk in to Urban Beauty. However through Eunogo it’s $320 for face, or $390 for face and neck (with a $10 off discount code at the bottom of this post). If I were to purchase this myself, I wouldn’t do the face and neck. At my age (25), my neck isn’t a huge concern, but I know more mature clients are often very concerned about the neck area.
I did receive this treatment courtesy Eunogo, and to be completely honest, right now the original price is not really within my budget. Let’s be real, I’m a 25yo English teacher, so I’m not gonna pretend I have a spare $300 for a facial, no matter how fantastic the results. Although the price is quite high, I can understand it- firstly the area itself, ritzy Gangnam; the decadence and standard of the clinic itself; the professionalism of the employees and aestheticians; and the numerous pieces of machinery and technology used in the treatment. The point is if it were within my budget, I wouldn’t hesitate to regularly receive the treatments. With the results I saw from one session, it’s definitely something I can see would have continuous anti-aging effects, and help with overall skin health, if maintained. My skin has just been so smooth and bouncy.
I do want to highlight that this isn’t a ‘spa facial’, where the main aim is relaxation and pampering. This is a treatment, and often in Korea, facials are more results-orientated, which westerners may not be used to. This particular experience at Urban Beauty did have aspects of luxury spa- the stunning interior of the waiting room, beautiful robes, half the room decor with gold curtains and detailed, comfortable throws to lay on. But it did still have that clinic feel. I’m fine with results-orientated clinical procedures-I’m looking for differences in my skin and results!
Overall I’m happy with the radiance, bounciness, and smoothing of my skin from the hydrogen toning. The improvements are subtle, but for me were very noticeable- although remember everyone’s skin is different. I know Sarah at Oh My Gloss blog also had the facial, so I’ll be keeping an eye out to read her review, and see if she experienced similar results.
If you’re interested in this treatment, you can use my code SFOS10 for $10 off until December 31st 2017. I don’t receive any compensation if you do use it, but it means I’m more likely to experience more treatments and be able to review them for you guys!
What do you think of my results? Would you want to try hydrogen toning?