Tepid, just tepid: Friday Facial at the Urban Oasis Spa, Debenhams Review

You know how you really, really look forward to something all week, and then when it comes it’s just a big disappointment and you just feel kind of…cheated?

I felt this way twice this week. The first was dinner at Market Kitchen Restaurant, Manchester – the food was bland, the portions small, the service slow. The waiter got shouted at so many times I felt sorry for him and left him a tip even though it took 15 minutes just to get some sugar!

Then this. I was looking forward to a facial so, so much and decided on the Urban Oasis Spa at Debenhams, Manchester for a Lymphatic Drainage & Detoxifying Aromatherapy Facial. This was £50 for 60 minutes. I had a £25 gift voucher which I used towards it.


They say:

This is a fabulous treatment that deep cleanses the skin and uses gorgeous oils and lotions to detoxify the skin. A specialised massage sequence stimulates the skins regenerative properties and increases blood circulation encouraging toxins to drain away through the lymphatic nodes. A deep massage to the neck and shoulders is included.

When I first arrived to the salon, the place looked a bit odd – bare, no proper reception area but it’s upstairs in Debenhams which is a bit old and saggy anyhow so that I’ll forgive.

Right away I had to pay for the treatment, which I found a bit odd – are people who use gift vouchers more likely to do a runner after their treatment? Answers on a post card.

Ok, rant starting…
So I waited a while – curiously now I think about it, no consultation card was filled in.

My therapist – who might I add, was very nice, I’m not questioning her niceness – asked me quickly what skin type I had, if I had any allergies and that was it.

She made the bed in front of me and asked me to get ready, the usual way whilst some sort of loud wind machine/air conditioning thing blew away in the corner of the room. The therapist did turn this off when the treatment started but then that was replaced with some weird ticking, then dinging (when the microwave thing that heated the towel was ready!) then some other humming began which I couldn’t place.


Basically – it wasn’t very quiet, and I’m not referring to the background music – there’s was lots of other sounds and noises going on.

The ambience of the room was ok – it was nice and dark but it was chilly. She never asked me if I was too hot or too cold and I only had a towel to cover me as opposed to a proper blanket like some places have.

Where my room was, there was a lot of noise. I could hear the phone ringing at reception and I could hear people walking past and the doors opening and closing.

The Treatment

Now the treatment…hmmmm. The reason I chose this facial is because it sounded like there would be some serious massaging going on which was just what I needed. Alas….the whole treatment was disjointed, a series of products applied one after the other, and rather cold.

I say the treatment felt disjointed, because for the first at least 40 minutes, it was like a cleansing routine; Cleanser, scrub, some other kind of scrub, a mask – there was a lot of cleansing going on and not enough massage.

Even when there was some light massage it felt abrupt and awkward. Every little massage sequence ended with a little press at the side of the temples…it just didn’t feel particularly relaxing. It felt too textbook.

The therapist would apply something, turn around to get a cloth to wipe it off, turn back around to get another product, turn around apply it, turn around to get something else…it didn’t feel like a ‘whole’ treatment because of this.

It would’ve been better if the therapist had the products closer to hand so it wasn’t like she was rummaging for things all the time.

There was about 15 minutes of massage, which was quite nice as there was a decent amount of pressure used – that was the best bit of the treatment but it didn’t last long enough. I don’t know – I’m not a beauty therapist but it felt like as each massage became relaxing, it would cut off and turn into weird pinching or slapping around the chin.

Now, the coldness.

The scrubs, the masks, the cleanser – it’s not something I’ve noticed before in any of my previous facials but I noticed here that everything put on my face was a little chilly – the face mask was practically icy so that’s not too relaxing!



This was really disappointing for me, I’m afraid. I was looking forward to it a lot, and it was just far too focused on the cleansing of the skin (If I wanted to use lots of scrubs and masks, I could just do it at home) and there wasn’t anywhere enough time of massage.

The spa was also a bit strange; cold and noisy are the best words to describe.

The staff seemed fine, even though no one was about when I left the therapy room after the treatment – I just decided to go rather than loiter and the therapist bumped into me on the way out of the Spa and said bye (not doing a runner, honest! Although, maybe that’s why they take payment first, so they can just dump you after you’re done!).

Otherwise I would’ve just left without saying bye to anyone – the two ladies behind the counter were far to busy chatting to even look up.

I didn’t name the therapist here because I don’t think for a second that she did anything wrong intentionally , it’s just the way she’s been taught to do this treatment.

I won’t be going back here for any facials or massages in the future. I think £50 is not a particularly small amount of money and even though I had a gift voucher I still feel a little cheated.

Hmmm good beauty therapists are hard to find. In Manchester I ADORED the Karin Herzog facial I had with Dawn at Pure Beauty Spa – it’s out of the way for me but my next facial will be with her because that was excellent.

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  1. says

    Yes, that sounds a bit blah, especially for £50.

    You should try a Suqqu Gankin facial massage – it can be almost painful sometimes (I lock my jaw, so I carry tension there) but afterwards my face feels amazing.