Susana's favourite facials in Europe


Susana Persson Chaves is back. And this time she talks about the best facials in Europe. Being the beauty editor of Vogue Portugal for over 15 years, she’s been to the finest aestheticians in Europe and has developed a keen eye for spotting a skin-treat that’s worth your time (and money). Oh and don’t miss her favourite products for an at-home facial at the end of this post. 

Voya Deluxe Facial at the Organii Day Spa in Lisbon.

Voya Deluxe Facial at the Organii Day Spa in Lisbon.

What do you look for in a facial?
Results! And pleasure! I want to feel that my face is being ‘worked’, either with deep cleansing, or a lifting massage. I don’t like feathery moves, I prefer, strong energetic strokes, and ‘feel’ and see the results right after. I like to see my skin plumped and tight after a facial, but comfortable, of course. I know results are cumulative and the more facials (or a program of facials, the better) but I like to see both immediate and long term results. 

Is there any way to know that a facial may be a waste of time?
Oh yes...even before you lie down. Sometimes you feel right away the therapist is inexperienced and those times the experience is terrible because I feel my most precious asset is going to be wasted: time. You wouldn’t invite a top food critic to be served by the last intern, would you? Sometimes spas think you’ll be happy by just lying there for an hour and it is not so. I am always ‘working’, even with my eyes closed. Other times I get invited but then they serve you the basic ‘spa’ plate of the day, not taking into consideration that a beauty editor tries dozens of treatments and it is best to suggest or ask what they are looking for or a new, different, treatment. It’s funny you ask this because a poor spa experience is one of my worst nightmares! 

How much can we expect to pay for a good facial in Europe?
If you go fancy, say to a big clinic, aesthetician or spa, these are usually well above the €100 (euros) but I’ve tried a few ‘chain’ spa facials or niche therapists or brands that are really amazing and cost as little as €30 per session. 

Please list your favourite facials and why you love them.
These are the ones I loved the most in the last year or so, in Lisbon: 

The spa at the Ritz Four Seasons is one of my favourites in the world. It always has top quality facials and body therapies. The last facial I tried there was an absolute dream, for the skin and in well-being, using Swiss Perfection products and their electrotherapy equipment. I was so lucky, the international trainer did my facial and it was heaven. 
60 Minutes - €795

Voya Deluxe Facial (with real seaweed) at Organii Bio Day Spa.
This facial was soooooo good. The Organii stores in Lisbon opened a concept store with a day spa and I went for this Deluxe Facial by Voya. It was a great treat for my skin, a wonderful ritual, they’ve got really good therapists. 
60min - €90

Ultralift, at WELLS’ a spa/clinic inside a huge chain of supermarkets.
They combine a “shiatsu-like” manual massage on the face with electrotherapy. It’s amazingly efficient and the time/price quality is unbeatable. 
30mins - €30

Black Beauty Pearl facial at Denise Ferrandini.
This amazing facial includes a deep cleaning peeling mask and then the super regenerating anti-ageing black pearl mask. My skin was plumped like a baby’s skin and the effect was long, long lasting. 
90min - €130

FACIALS in Europe

  • I’d love to try a Joelle Ciocco facial in Paris, the waiting list is big but they say it’s worth the wait. Joelle has done a quick 5min massage on me on a L’Oreal Paris event but I’d love to try the real thing. 
  • In Paris, I’ve done a Nuxe facial at the Nuxe SPA, I highly recommend it, the setting is beautiful and Nuxe is an amazing brand. 
  • In Paris, I’ve done Guerlain facials maybe 3 times, I don’t recall which since the last time was 3 or more years ago. But the Guerlain Maison Spa floor is the closest to Parisian heaven! 
  • In London I’m curious about the FACE GYM at Harrods, where they exercise your face muscles. Haven’t tried any facials there as yet. 

What products do you use to give yourself a facial at home?
I’m a fan of masks and I can’t keep up with all the amazing options that are launched every week! I usually do my special facial or beauty ritual on Sunday night, when I have a bit more time to be at home with the mask on. I wish I was saying that I am relaxing and lying down but usually I am doing my weekly organisation of the house, my daughter’s school preparations etc. So you can find me at home with a mask on my face and doing house-work ☺. 

My latest favorites:

Caudalie range of face masks is amazing. The Hydrating, the Peeling, the Detox. I sometimes do a multi-masking thing.

Erborian is also one of my fave brands and I love their Bamboo Waterlock Gel Mask, super hydrating and nice.


Estée Lauder has this amazing Black Mask, you do a pre-brush on your skin with the included brush and then follow with the mask. I love this one.

I’m a huge fan of Bio Oil, it’s a simple but effective ‘does it all’. I have it by my bed side table for an instant comfort to my face, hands, body, whatever I feel like.


I’m an old fan of the Shiseido Beneficence Pure Retinol Mask. It’s still one of the best.


Follow Susana on Instagram at @susanapchaves, and check out her blog