Sunday, 9 January 2011

Review: The Sanctuary Brightening Facial in a Box

Disclosure: PR sample

The Sanctuary have branched out massively from their roots at the famous spa in Covent Garden.  The spa itself can now be found in Richmond, Surrey, as well as in Covent Garden, and a successful range of body and skincare products have been available in Boots for quite some time.  The Facial in a Box is a newer invention, and provides a targeted selection of products which are perfect for a home facial.  Available in Youth Boosting and Brightening varieties, the box contains not only all the product you need, but detailed instructions too.

I've had the Brightening Facial in a Box kit for a while now, and decided that post-Christmas was a great time to give it a try.  My skin is tired, congested, and a bit dull, thanks to a Christmas full of booze and chocolate, and chasing around after small children.

The instructions are very detailed, and definitely help to propel the concept into a true home facial.  It's the little tips that do this: the included muslin cloth isn't just used for polishing cleanser from the face; it's also used as a hot and cold compress to provide refreshment and open and close the pores.  Similarly, the instructions tell you precisely how long to spend massaging the exfoliator into your skin (30 seconds at least), and suggest that cotton pads soaked with cold water are a good compliment to the ultra-rich mask.  You're also directed to spread moisturiser between your palms and then press the cream onto the face, rather than rubbing with your fingertips.  These little touches do make the whole experience feel a little more like an in-spa facial than a quick scrub-and-mask at home.

The steps are:

  • Deep cleanse with Polishing Hot Cloth Cleanser
  • Exfoliate with Radiant Exfoliator
  • Treat with Moisture Boosting Mask
  • Target with Brightening Eye Gel
  • Hydrate and Protect with Illuminating Moisture Lotion SPF15
The whole experience takes around half an hour to run through if you're not rushing, with 10 minutes of that dedicated to relaxing with the mask applied.  

Taken slowly, as a bit of ritual, in a warm bathroom with a candle burning, this is indeed a relaxing and spa-like experience - although it's never going to be quite as good as a facial in a proper spa (in my case thanks to the non-relaxing sounds of my husband playing Gran Turismo drifting up the stairs).  It does, however, come pretty darn close - and if you'd rather grab a box of pre-selected products instead of choosing individual ones from your collection or from a shop, then this is a very easy home facial experience.

After use, my skin felt super clean, fresh, well moisturised and very soft.  And I felt a quite a bit more relaxed (despite the Gran Turismo).  

The downsides?  Well, whilst there's enough of the cleanser, exfoliator, eye gel and moisturiser to go a second or even third round, the mask comes in a sachet, and you need to use all of it.  That's easily fixed by substituting a mask of your choice for your second or third go, but it would be fantastic if the mask was similarly sized - particularly as the price (around £16) is fairly high for a single use, but much more digestible for two or three uses.  I also had some trouble getting the instructions out of the box: I had to rip the box apart to get them out, which I found strange as the ribbon tag on the edge implies they can be slid out easily.

All in all, though, this is a very nice product for a bit of at-home luxury, particularly if you're looking for a bit of pampering me time without the salon facial price.  My skin, after use, was indeed brighter and did feel much more cared for - but I think the benefits of this product lie in the ritual, the relaxation and the long term maintenance rather than in immediate effects.

If you'd like to have a home-facial for yourself, you'll find the Sanctuary's Facial in a Box products at Boots, both in store and online (both the Brightening and Youth Boosting varieties are available), where they cost around £16 each.


  1. I love their brightening scrub, it's so good. I use it as a mask too, just put a layer on, leave for 5mins, then scrub off. Gives a really nice glow :)

  2. This looks like a fab set. My Mum and I love all the Sanctuary products that we've tried so I might pick this up for Mother's Day for her. You look fabulous and glowy in that after picture.

  3. Wow your skin looks fantastic in the after photo, really glowy and bright, guess it does what it says on the tin!


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