Review: The Beauty Box, Pangbourne
How to release tension and lose a decade off your face in an hour? The Beauty Box in Pangbourne to the rescue, and Muddy's thirsty skin was very grateful.
Too much coffee, wine and a misspent youth basting myself in baby oil and rotating like a rotisserie chicken, has left my skin dehydrated and a lacklustre. It only now I’m in my forties, I am starting to realise, I need to put in a bit more effort into my skincare regime. When I heard The Beauty Box in Pangbourne was relaunching, I was keen to see whether it could help me on the path to skincare redemption.
The Beauty Box is tucked away (by this, I mean it’s behind a completely unremarkable door in a completely unremarkable wall) in the pretty village of Pangbourne. Just off the main artery through the village, is a residential road, lined with lovely Victorian red brick terrace houses.
The Beauty Box is in a Seventies-style office building, but what it lacks on the outside, it makes up for on the inside. New owner Annie Caldiera has fully refurbished the salon, to create a luxurious space that smells and looks amazing.
More like a micro spa than a traditional beauty salon. The Beauty Box has taken our obsession with pampering, plucking, waxing and holding back the years to another level. A delicious scented candle fragrance wafts around the building, there’s a dramatic floral wall – perfect for that post-treatment glow selfie – and all the treatment rooms are elegant spaces with quirky African-inspired objet on the walls (a nod to Annie’s South African roots).
Elsewhere, the small reception area is comfortable and cosy, but all you’ll notice are the staff who welcome you with open arms and a glass of bubbles. No complaints from this direction. Just off the reception area, is a sociable nail bar for manis and pedis and there’s a light, bright specialist treatment room for face mapping and skin analysis, semi-permanent make-up, lash lifts and facial aesthetics like botox, peels and fillers.
It’s fundamental to The Beauty Box that facials are need specific – and that can vary due to time of year, hormones, diet… the list is endless. Annie uses Dermalogica, created by skincare expert Jane Wurwand back in the 80s, a results-driven brand that’s not interested in looking pretty or making you feel pampered. So don’t expect a facial where you are gently massaged with essential oils while lolling around in a fluffy robe: this is all about getting serious results. For anyone nudging the wrong side of 30+, that’s what it’s all about.
There’s a mini army of experienced, professional therapists at The Beauty Box –all reassuringly knowledgeable and take what they do seriously. Jemma was booked for my hot stone massage and April was assigned to my Pro 60 Facial – and in the first few minutes of us chatting, I’m taken by her in-depth understanding of skincare and nutrition. She’s clearly passionate about Dermalogica and the results it can achieve.
Firstly, with my shoulders practically touching my earlobes, poor Jemma really had her work cut out. She was tasked with relaxation and ironing out my knotted back with hot stones (£75). It’s a massage I haven’t tried before, but wanted to compare it against more traditional rub downs. Essential oils are applied and the hot stones are rolled and pushed into your muscles to relieve tension. It felt really indulgent and the warmth of the stones helped my knackered bod relax. After each pair of stones had done their job, they were positioned on me spine, until the end of the treatment. If you love massage, it’s a lovely alternative.
While I stayed put in a massage coma, April took over from Jemma to sort out my sun frazzled, dehydrated skin with a Pro Skin 60 Facial. She begins with a pre-cleanse, followed by a skin resurfacing cleanser, exfoliant and daily resurfacer. It’s like a deep clean for your skin, before it’s give the kiss of life. A relaxing recovery masque and collagen boost, liberal slathering of SPF50, firming cream and a primer are all designed to get my glow on.
April said my face was gasping – too much coffee and wine and not enough water are the culprits. But I can honestly say, that my face had never looked so good. Needless to say, I was thrilled with the results. I felt my skin had greater elasticity and the tone was more even. And while my husband (predictably) didn’t notice my BRAND NEW FACE, I was convinced I glowed for at least a week.
The skin consultation is freeeeee! My Hot Stone Massage is £75 and the Dermalogica Pro Skin 60 facial (1 hour) is £65. Full list of prices.
The Beauty Box Pangbourne, Bourne House, Horseshoe Rd, Pangbourne, Reading RG8 7JQ. Tel: 07912752409.