Willow Wellbeing, Torquay
Frown lines, be gone! Read about my first encounter with a CACI facial at this salon in the town's prettiest burbs.
You’ll find this super-friendly beauty and wellbeing salon on the main street through the pretty suburb of Chelston in Torquay. It’s a lovely area, with a villagey feel, full of indies, about a 20 minute walk from the centre of town; a bonus if you’re zipping in for some beauty maintenance and a pamper and don’t want to negotiate the one-way systems and parking dilemmas that being more central inevitably brings. You’re also about a mile away from a cobweb-blowing walk around the chocolate-box village of Cockington. More on that little beauty below.
Calm, welcoming and laidback, but totally professional. If it’s your first time visiting, there’s no way you’re going to feel remotely intimidated, as you sometimes can in some of those slick, sterile, high-end establishments.
Downstairs, alongside reception is where you can sit and have your nails done (nice and naturally bright and with street views for people watching). Upstairs takes on a more dimmed-down, chilled feel, with a quiet space to sit and be pre and post-treatments, along with the rooms where the magic happens. Salon owner, Debs is investing lots into a shiny new refurb of the place, so changes are constantly happening to improve the experience month-on-month.
The emphasis is not just on looking great; there’s plenty of focus on feeling it, too. Debs is practically encyclopaedic when it comes to treating the body from outside in. The upshot to this is that she’s chosen to work with a select group of therapists to complement facials and beauty treatments with massage, acupuncture, even counselling.
So, have you heard of the CACI facial? It’s a mega-treatment favoured by celebs from Jennifer Aniston to Babs Windsor, that’s basically a non-surgical face lift. What that means is it’ll help lift any saggy jowls, re-plump droopy cheeks, smooth out frown lines (my nemesis) and perk up those eyebrows. Don’t raise your eyebrow at me like that, it’s true and anyway, I betcha I can now raise mine higher than yours!
CACI stands for Computer Aided Cosmetology Instrument and the magic comes from a rather natty machine that uses microcurrent impulses to communicate directly with the core of your facial muscles, to remind them of where they used to be before gravity took hold. Put simply, it literally re-trains your muscles to behave as they did when you were 21. Now that’s the kind of muscle training that I can handle ie. whilst laid horizontal. It can work wonders on age spots, pigmentation and scarring, too…and that’s about as techy as I’m going, you’ll be pleased to hear.
You can opt for a bronze, silver, gold, or platinum package, which means you have options of adding time and extra treatments to really go to work on your ‘problem’ areas. I had the Platinum version, which is 90 mins and includes a Hydratone mask for an extra glow. The treatment starts with a cleanse and a warm mitt and then the rolling and tweaking begins. You may not quite manage to drift off into a deep snooze, but it’s definitely not uncomfortable or unpleasant. Once you get used to the sensation and the odd tingle it gives you from time-to-time, it actually feels quite relaxing.
So does it work, I can hear you yelling. The answer is miraculously so, yes. After just one treatment you can see a real difference. Don’t forget that in my ‘before’ pic, I’m wearing make-up and ignore my tired-looking eyes. Instead, concentrate on the skin – I’m particularly impressed with the frown line on my forehead that’s done a disappearing act after one treatment! It’s recommended that you take a course of at least 10, so imagine the results further down the line (a bit like you would after 10 hardcore weeks of gym sessions).
I was super-impressed and, on a personal note, Debs is an absolute demon with this machine which, by the way, takes some serious training to use; not just any regular therapist gets to wave the wands and rollers about.
OUT AND ABOUT
FYI, whilst there I asked Debs where else I should head to eek out my downtime, since I had an hour or so free and then I discovered how close I was to Cockington (you could walk it if you fancied). If you’ve never been to this super pretty village by the sea, with its thatched houses, crafts centre and peaceful walks, then I highly recommend tagging it on to your day, if you have time. A beaut of a spot – can’t believe I didn’t visit sooner.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Those who want a professional and caring experience, delivered by someone with a wealth of wellbeing knowledge. If you’re local, this should be your go-to salon, for sure.
Not for: Those wanting loads of space to flop out in a robe and indulge in the full, trad spa experience. This is more low-key and, in my opinion, more relaxing.
££: All of the treatments are really reasonable, I’d say. A course of 10 CACI facials, depending on which package you go for, ranges from £500 (£55 for one) to £800 for the Platinum (£85 for one).
Willow Beauty & Wellbeing, 38 Walnut Road, Chelston, Torquay, TQ2 6HS. Tel: 01803 605260, willowwellbeing.net