Is the IG-famous Glow Skin Clinic worth the hype?

Camille Padilla is unapologetic when she says she's obsessed with skincare.

She isn’t bragging or peacocking when she says matter-of-factly that a visit to a popular skin clinic is a must-do whenever she travels abroad.

She also doesn’t flinch when she admits that she still has skin care treatment packages in clinics all over the Metro.

Skin care, for Camille, isn’t just a business or a passion – it is, for all intents and purposes, an obsession.

And it’s precisely this obsession with the world of facials, treatments, and cures that one would see at Glow Skin Clinic in Uptown Mall in Taguig City, Camille's foray into the skincare business.

All the details, big and small, have been meticulously planned. There’s the pleasing light orange walls, the tree at the reception area, the peacock feather pen, the complimentary drinks, and the customized fragrance (of course it’s customized) that wafts around the waiting area as you fill out your forms.

There are the little things that Camille made sure to care about. If it isn’t obvious yet, Glow Skin is a clinic that puts customer experience at a premium above all else.

But what’s a facial really like? Here’s what every customer can expect: 

Glow Skin isn’t a place you visit when you want a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am procedure. Here, both the customer and facialist take time to enjoy every single step of the skincare process. The experience begins not with your skin per se – but a thorough explanation of the procedures they offer and what specific procedures deliver. If the well-illustrated flashcards that break down each procedure isn’t enough, customers can always turn to the receptionist and even the facialists for more information.

A dermatologist is also on board on select days for skin consultations.

It’s also at this point where we must warn you that the procedures aren’t cheap – the most basic cost P850 (the aptly-named Essential Facial) and the most complex  upwards of P15,000 (Lift Off by Sygmalift) per session. It goes without saying, of course, that not all procedures are for everyone. There are those that promise an instant (and as we’d find out, lasting) glow with little to no downtime. Some procedures will leave your face a little sore for a few days – it’s best to ask beforehand.

The first step is an experience

So you’ve finally picked your procedure (although it’s best to reserve a slot before heading there). It’s time to finally walk into their IG-famous procedure rooms. Tiny but cozy, each room features a mirror wall, a space to store your things, and enough space to change into that oh-so-comfy robe that customers wear before getting a facial.

Again, it’s here where the little things are paid attention to – there’s both iPhone and micro-USB chargers so customers can recharge their gadgets while they recharge their facial skin.

For some procedures, the technician takes a before picture (the Lift Off, in particular) so it’s easier to compare your face right after. The Lift Off is one of their more curious procedures – it promises a more lifted and sculpted face sans the downtime.

One you’re in the robe, it’s time to unplug and stop thinking (unless you’re supposed to write about the experience, that is).

STEP ONE. You go through a list u2013 and check it twice u2013 to find out which procedure is for you. Photo by Bea Cupin/Rappler

STEP ONE. You go through a list u2013 and check it twice u2013 to find out which procedure is for you.

Photo by Bea Cupin/Rappler

Facialists take you through each step of the cleasing process, which begins with a test – a moisture test, at least. An analyzer is pressed onto your skin ever so gently to check if you’re hydrated enough. For returning clients, it’s a good way to gauge if the treatments and their regular skincare regimen is working or not.

Then comes the usual – a cleanser (from the US – and Glow Skin may just release its own skincare line soon), a facial massage, moisturizer.

It’s pretty much what you’d expect from any facial, except that at Glow, the facialist really takes her time – it’s so luxurious that, sue me, I think the massage had already started when she was only really applying the cleanser.

Extractions? Next.

For the sake of accuracy – and mostly because it was a hectic time – I had skipped my usual facial at my regular place so I was ripe for the picking.

Extractions at Glow aren’t are brutal as in other places I’m used to – which can be both a good or bad thing.

I have pretty resilient skin that doesn’t react so quickly to new products and can get over even the worst of extractions in a day or two. But a friend, who tried the Madonna Glow facial, isn’t as lucky – her skin reacts badly to the slightest of pressure, so extractions turn her face into a killing field.

Glow’s way of extracting those pesky comedones (fun fact: the tool they use to extract is also customized) was gentle enough not to upset her skin – definitely a plus. But I found it rather lacking and later realized that the facialist skipped the more deeply-seeded comedones because she didn’t want to upset my skin more than necessary.

Bonus: The treatment itself

For the sake of trying out new technology and because it’s promises were rather grand, I tried out the SygmaLift (where Lift Off gets its name).

The treatment promises you a more lifted and sculpted face sans the down time – which it actually does. The result after one session is both noticeable but subtle – think a better version of you on a day you managed to get enough rest and then some.

Other treatments deliver as promised – a reset button for your tired and dull skin and for first-timers, a basic enough facial that serves as your entry drug into the world of facials.

SIMPLE, NOT BASIC. Glow Skin Clinic offers no frills u2013 both in its interiors and services. Photo by Bea Cupin/Rappler

SIMPLE, NOT BASIC. Glow Skin Clinic offers no frills u2013 both in its interiors and services.

Photo by Bea Cupin/Rappler

So is it worth it?

You see, Camille’s ultimate skin goal is simple: that glow (hence, Glow Skin).

While their treatments target specific concerns and promise different results, you’re assured of at least one thing: you’ll step out its orange halls with that undeniable glow that actually lasts days.

I’m told you need several weekly treatments followed by monthly treatments to see the full effect – a huge task since each Lift Off facial costs a whopping P15,000. But considering actual face lifts costs more, are invasive, and result in a long down time, a P15,000-facial over several months might not be too bad an option.

The Lift Off, of course, is part of their more expensive services. There’s an P800++ basic facial, with most hovering between P1,500 to P7,500, with numerous choices in between.

Glow Skin Clinic isn’t what I’d call a necessity – because, arguably, skin care isn’t a necessity. But if you’ve extra cash to spend and want to #treatyourself from time to time, it’s not a bad idea to drop by Uptown one of these days. –

Editor’s note: Glow Skin Clinic provided services to Rappler for review. Our opinions are our own.