The face firmer: Sofwave
What it does: it’s a beauty dream – an ultrasound machine that boosts collagen to fill out wrinkles, firm up the jawline and lift drooping brows. And, more importantly, it’s FDA-approved. Plus, it’s quick (45 minutes), relatively painless (more on that later) and requires zero downtime – meaning you can be treated in the morning and still go out for dinner that night.
As the latest in a longish line of non-invasive face-firming ultrasound machines, Sofwave delivers more (up to six times more energy than other similar devices), but with less pain or discomfort. Working over the skin, the hand-held device targets the collagen at a precise depth, while not affecting the skin’s surface. Using heat to create a controlled damage that triggers the skin’s healing process, the result is skin-plumping collagen and a fresher, firmer, smoother-looking face.
“It takes about three to four months for the full effects to show, but what we’ve seen with our patients is that their skin is firmer and its quality is improved, plus lines and wrinkles are softened,” says London-based Dr. Sophie Shotter, one of the first doctors to use Sofwave. “For me, the standout areas are the brow, jawline and neck, but particularly the brow area, as we can achieve an average 3-4mm lift – more than other non-surgical treatments we can offer.”
What to expect: arrive an hour early to enjoy the full benefits of the numbing cream offered. That said, compared to other ultrasound treatments I’ve had, Sofwave verges on discomfort rather than deep pain (I needed Valium for a different ultrasound treatment). Other patients I have spoken to agree it’s bearable, and while bony areas hurt more, it’s over before it all gets too much.
Afterwards, skin can sometimes look a bit red for a couple of hours, but it’s nothing that foundation won’t cover. Then, it’s just a case of waiting for a couple of months until the collagen grows and your friends start complimenting you on how fresh you are looking. “Patients tell me their skin feels less ‘grabbable’ with the improved firmness,” says Dr. Shotter. “But the most common comment our patients get is, ‘Your skin is looking amazing.’”
The body shaper: Emsculpt Neo
What it does: the shiny new version of the globally successful Emsculpt machine now adds fat melting to an already excellent treatment. The FDA-cleared Emsculpt Neo uses electromagnetic muscle stimulation transmitted via a pad that’s strapped to your belly, buttocks, arms or thighs to work the muscles at a level not humanly possible.
The results, after a course of four weekly sessions, is the sort of muscle tone and definition you could expect from six weeks with a personal trainer who also happens to be an ex-Navy Seal. For extra body shaping, the Neo reduces fat in the treated area by a pleasing 25 percent – but, in keeping with current aesthetic trends, the buttocks are not treated with fat burning, just toning.
What to expect: fast and furious perhaps best sums up a 30-minute stint. While your initial session may start low, the higher the level goes, the harder the muscles are worked, and once you get used to the odd but not unpleasant feeling – rather like being clenched by the strong hand of a Transformers hero – it’s perfectly bearable. The stomach is usually the most sensitive area to treat, but as you get into the rhythm of contract, hold and relax, it’s not bad at all. And the results are truly impressive: by the third session, my stomach had become newly defined and toned and, a few months on, the effects are still evident.
The face and body re-sculpt: Ricari Method
What it does: since it first launched in LA a decade ago, Ricari’s lymphatic treatment has gone from being the A-lister’s favorite camera-ready secret to being more widely touted as the key to a leaner body, relaxed mind and healthier system. Based on lymphatic drainage and connective-tissue massage, the therapist uses suction rollers to work over your body (or face), as the lifting and rolling releases the soft tissue and stimulates the lymphatic system and a healthier skin tone.
What to expect: being given a white body suit to wear (with silver thread to increase the treatment benefits) certainly adds a level of comfort and confidence to having this full-body treatment because the machine – a medical device – does look, well, odd. It resembles a giant white spider crouching next to the treatment bed, with long ‘legs’ that are used to work the suction rollers over the body. Yet, despite its appearance, the treatment itself is an hour of total relaxation.
Unlike a hands-on treatment, the rollers give a constant flow of tension-releasing massage, and whether it’s this, the warmed bed and scented sheets, or a combination of every detail of this thought-through treatment, you reach a level of deep calmness. Yes, it shifts water retention as it streamlines the limbs and relaxes muscles and tissue (one friend swears she dropped a dress size of ‘puffiness’) and, with regular sessions, improves skin tone and texture, but it also left me with a sense of quiet calm that lasted for hours.
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The models featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown