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I spent $750 on a facial because Instagram told me to

IMAGE VIA MELANIE GRANT

WORDS BY MELISSA HAASE

Is skincare the new avocado on toast?

Yep, I just spent $750 on a facial, so I’ll probably never own a house. This is peak millennial behaviour, and my parents would kill me if they knew. But if there’s one thing lockdown taught me, it’s to invest in yourself (and that makeup is annoying).

First things first: I am absolutely not a beauty blogger. I’m a mere mortal (a TV producer by trade), but in 2020 I became weirdly obsessed with skincare (didn’t we all?). I’m 26 and my skin is fine, but it could definitely be better. So I’m currently on a quest to achieve a glow so radiant that I never have to wear makeup again.


We’ve tried out the latest beauty hacks so you don’t have to. Head to our Beauty section for more. 


Lazy? Perhaps. Expensive? Apparently. For those out of the loop, when it comes to skincare Melanie Grant is the undisputed GOAT, so I knew I had to find out more about her services if I was to ever achieve the complexion of my dreams.

The Sydneysider is Chanel’s official Skin Expert and her client list features countless A-listers including Victoria Beckham and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. And now me, naturally. I initially stumbled upon Melanie’s Instagram page thanks to one of the many models I follow (they all seem to credit ‘MG’ for their radiant complexions).

From there it steadily turned into an obsession that resulted in me booking a ridiculously expensive 90-minute custom facial. Her studios (Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles and Paris) are minimalist, monochromatic havens filled with high-end coffee table books and stylish portraits of people with unbelievably perfect skin.

Upon arrival, I had sparkling water and a peppermint tea served on a silver tray by a receptionist in a pencil skirt with a thigh-high slit. 20 minutes after my scheduled appointment, I was escorted upstairs to a treatment room that resembled a luxurious hotel.

I was directed to undress and wrap myself in a Melanie Grant-branded strapless robe before a member of her team returned to take my photo, cleanse my skin and prep me for Melanie. The whole thing felt cult-like. I didn’t see anyone else, very few words were spoken and I was in a dark room being washed of my metaphorical sins so that Her Holiness could grace me with her presence.

I felt fortunate – blessed even – until I remembered my bank account. Eventually, a bubbly blonde burst through the door, wheeled a chair over to me and apologised for her tardiness while gently touching my arm. She asked about my “skin journey” while poking and prodding at my face from above (which is a weird power dynamic and felt like a bizarre therapy session).

I complained about the fine bumpy texture of my skin and the way I flush after the occasional wine. I proceeded to be blown away by this woman’s knowledge and passion. She was the omniscient skin oracle I’d hoped for and was incredibly eager to educate her enthusiastic new pupil.

Mel told me that my congested skin is desperately dry underneath the surface and that I have mild rosacea which explains the flushing. She listed foods that make it worse (lookin’ at you, dairy) and regrettably informed me that red wine is the biggest trigger of all.

My biggest frustration is trying to work out whether my congested skin wants to be exfoliated more, or less. A previous facialist told me I was under-exfoliating and prescribed a granular scrub which I had a nasty reaction to. Mel sighed and shook her head. “Anything gritty will flare up your rosacea, that’s the wrong advice for you,” she said.

She explained that gentle chemical exfoliants would suit my skin type best, but that the emphasis needed to be on hydrating and replenishing rather than exfoliating. This felt revolutionary given the previous guidance I had received. She performed microdermabrasion, followed by a lactic acid peel and her signature pink clay masque that isn’t available for purchase and is the stuff of folklore.

A junior facialist then swapped places with Melanie who went to create a custom at-home regime for me. She also recommended three to four laser treatments for the rosacea which, if not managed adequately, leads to clogged pores and tough, dry skin (no thank you). Finally, I was placed under the LED for 20 minutes and treated to a heavenly arm, shoulder and neck massage.

When I rose from the table and glanced in the mirror, staring back at me was a dewy, relaxed woman living well beyond her means. I won’t lie, I proceeded to drop even more cash on products to take home with me. I mean, what’s the point in getting recommendations from an expert and then not following them?

The total visit ended up costing me roughly two thousand dollars (please don’t tell Mum). But the million – or more accurately, two thousand – dollar question: would I recommend it? Unbelievably, yes.

Is it irresponsible spending? Probably. While the facial/massage/overall experience was certainly luxe, the value is in the consult with Melanie herself. The price tag is ultimately a cheat code to unlock her wealth of knowledge. She’s the GOAT and she’s also one of the many reasons why I’ll never own a home but, god damn, I’m going to look 21 at 51-years-old (I hope).

Find out more about Melanie’s services here.

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