IT WAS a bleak day for me (it's winter after all...) when I realised that, perhaps, even though a beauty journalist, I personally hadn't been seeing the wood for the proverbial trees with regards to my own appearance for some years. There's nothing overtly wrong with it but I had somehow over my lifetime adapted a live and let be attitude to my appearance, never making any serious overtures with myself about taking care of (beauty) business. But the older I get, the more I want (and feel like I need) to sign up for a regular routine that includes the likes of facials. Yes, yes, most of my compatriots (adopted and real) probably see it as a luxury, but I'll tell you what -- I would rather that be the luxury I spend my money on than a purse or shoes. Those go out of fashion and get stuffed away in the wardrobe one day. Can't do that with a face!

It was with a chipper can-do attitude, then, that I greeted the offer from Spa Week Daily to trial one of the wonderful treatments on offer for $50 during Spa Week 2010. Kick start my beauty makeover with Spa Madness and let you lot know about the deep discounts to be had at spas across North America this April? Yes, please.

Without further ado...


Joseph Michael's Salon and Spa booked me in for a Microcurrent Turbo Lift Facial. It's a Gold Coast salon and spa and, I admit, the Gold Coast (of Chicago) is a bit of an enigma to me. Equal parts old money and nightclub crowd, it's populated by ladies with toy poodles living shoulder to shoulder with girls whose biggest achievement to date is appearing in Girls Gone Wild.

On a recent Thursday afternoon, I worked up the mental fortitude to brave deepest, darkest Gold Coast territory to find the recently re-opened (one week new), intimate and nicely appointed Joseph Michael's Salon and Spa. Once inside the just keeps going deeper and deeper into the building, past nail and washing stations until you hit the spa, dimly lit and warm, where I happily sip a coffee (courtesy of the lovely therapist) and unwind. 

In the treatment room, the softest towel wrap ever is waiting for me on the bed (even the nicest places usually scratchy towels). I put it on and slip under the covers on the heated bed. Standard Enya-style music plays and a fantastic faux fireplace rages at my left side. Overall, it's pretty cozy for a treatment room filled with gadgets.

Once tucked in, Nicole looks at my skin, tells me I have great elasticity (thank you) but it's dehydrated (seemingly genetically so, or so a Derm told me last week). She cleanses before exfoliating and positioning a thick cloud of steam over my face for several minutes. After the steam, she gently (perhaps a bit too gently. I love a rigorous extraction) extracts blackheads. Afterwards, she runs a high frequency wand across my skin to close the pores after the extraction. This is new to me, but it's a great and makes me wonder why everyone doesn't do the same after extractions. There are a couple more masks before she takes two microcurrent wands and starts moving them across my face, which is covered in a cloth-style mask. My fillings start to throb from the microcurrent which, for a beauty editor, is like music to her ears... it's working! [editor's note: you WILL feel the current if you have any metal in your head but it shouldn't hurt.]

After that on goes a cool gel mask covered by a Hannibal Lecter-ish mask (that straps behind my head). This I can't even feel working but, I can see an instant radiance about my skin when all is said and done.

All the while Nicole massages my hands, feet, head and shoulders, putting a cream on my décolleté (“people don't pay enough attention to this part of the body” she says).

She massages in a moisturiser after removing the masks and let's me regain my bearings (and re-dress) before I enter the real world once again.

Overall it is relaxing and gentle on my skin. Before I can even see my face, I can feel with my fingertips the instant effect of the treatment.


The high frequency wand, the nice, thick cloud of steam, the concurrent massage(s), attention to the décolleté, the lifting effect the microcurrent has on the face (and my lone hooded eyelid), the radiance of my complexion immediately afterwards...


I had a few breakouts in the following days (but just a few and the usual suspects on my jawline at that), the man behind the front desk was just a shade arsey (but could just be his temperament), tips are cash only...


A full-service Microcurrent Turbo Lift Facial is just $50 throughout Spa Week 2010


Joseph Michael's Salon & Spa, 1313 Ritchie Court, Chicago, IL 60610 (312-482-9800)


You can start booking appointments March 15th, when the Spring Spa Week directory launches on

SPA WEEK® Spring 2010 is from April 12-18 so indulge in the wellness lifestyle for a full week with $50 full-service spa treatments at participating spas across North America