The Hoste, North Norfolk: Tackling the signs of tiredness with a collagen mask

Jo Gardner tackles signs of tiredness with a collagen mask Friday, 1 May 2015

By Jo Gardner

As with everything at North Norfolk's The Hoste, the in-house spa is charming and well thought-out, with an outside area for summer treatments, where early-evening sessions are met with atmospheric candlelight.

What the spa lacks in size, it makes up for in range with a vast menu covering anything from Indian head massages to pedicures, and all body parts in between. Brazilian, anyone?
There's a Clarins make-up Masterclass and a Xen Spray Tan for women who are after something a little more indulgent, while men can go for a back or chest wax or a muscle-ease body massage.

Booked in for a Lava Shell massage, a quick scout of the menu encourages an about-turn in the form of a collagen mask from renowned French beauty company Gatineau. Unphased by the last-minute change of plan, my therapist, Jackie, commends my choice and leads me into a small but comfortable room.

Being a little claustrophobic, I've avoided collagen masks in the past (fearing the onset of a panic attack on the table), but the warmth of this little spa, coupled with the friendly staff, fills me with confidence. Jackie asks me about my skincare routine before starting, which I embarrassingly admit to being a cheap face wash and a Boots moisturiser morning and night. She then explains the difference between dry and dehydrated skin – the former being a lack of oil secretion at source — before massaging a Melatogenine cleansing cream into the somewhat-dehydrated skin on my face and forehead.

A beaded face wash is then used to exfoliate – something I'm encouraged to continue at home two to three times a week – and removed with a rose water. The heavy-duty Defi-Lift 3D moisturiser is then applied to quench, quench, quench, in preparation for the mask. Jackie places a thick sheet of collagen next to my face, while I concentrate on not freaking out, cutting a mask out with scissors and then positioning it over my nose and mouth to create holes to breathe – the eyes are covered to capture those pesky little crow's feet.

When the mask is the right shape and in place, water is added to encourage it to melt into my skin, leaving me no option but to close my eyes so that my eyelashes don't curl up. Despite being able to breathe perfectly well, it's an odd sensation and one I don't want to undergo for long, but an arm massage and some soothing music soon put me at ease.

It works, and within just two minutes I'm relaxing nicely, lulled into a semi-sleep with soothing music and a head massage. After 10 minutes, the mask peels off in one clean sheet and reveals a face free from the puffy eyes and dark circles that arrived an hour ago, while my cheeks are baby-bum soft.

In the battle of spa vs fear, it's claustrophobia 1: crow's feet 0 – quite a result!

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