Some say she is a ‘magician’; others claim her facials have transformed them. Celebrity facialist Su-Man Hsu says she’s not a beautician, but a skin artist who cares for not just the skin, but a person’s well-being holistically.
Having just arrived from Bali, Su-Man, who is based in London, is at the AWAY Spa at the W Singapore Sentosa Cove from the 12th to 20th of October offering her signature facial, which combines different forms of traditional massage techniques and scientific knowledge.
She calls it a hybrid – a collaboration of East and West. As a Taiwanese woman with an understanding of traditional and natural skincare, she uses that awareness together with her experience in shiatsu – a Japanese massage technique – as well as her understanding of the scientific of skincare ingredients to create a unique facial experience for her clients.
It is an experience that is difficult to put into words. “Everyone has a different experience,” she says. Which is very true. After 75 minutes of having my skin pampered by Su-Man, who has an A-list following of Oscar-winning actors such as Anne Hathaway, Frieda Pinto, Juliette Binoche and Joely Richardson, I felt rejuvenated not just physically, but mentally as well.
Her facial differs greatly from the typical facial, which purely treats skin problems. She focuses on massaging the body as well as the face. Simply through massage, she was able to get a general sense of my physiology and health issues.
“Your body is communicating its needs,” she tells me.
Her facial treatment begins with a skin analysis, followed by a deep cleansing with steaming, gentle extraction and exfoliation. Next, a soothing botanical placenta mask is applied to nourish the skin while Su-Man massages the face and body. And finally, the treatment ends with toning and moisturising for rejuvenation. She pays close attention to the strain in her clients’ bodies, focusing on activating the muscles to get rid of impurities.
And yes, the products she uses are of her own concoctions. The facialist’s passion for mixing ingredients motivated her to experiment at home to create the ideal skincare products to complement her facial. “They need to be very powerful but light enough to work with massage application,” she says.
After three years of mixing tinkering, she took them to top chemists in France and Taiwan to be refined.
Her skincare range will be launched this December.
Su-Man also believes strongly in appreciating one’s own body. “Beauty is not everything,” she says. “Through my facials, my clients learn to appreciate who they are [on the inside], and feel good about their own face and body.”
“What’s most important is a positive outlook in life,” she adds. “That’s why I disagree with all those invasive treatments like Botox, fillers, plastic surgery – they are just temporal and beautify you superficially. [Just because] someone has flawless skin doesn’t mean they can’t look old. You can still look extremely old and unhappy. Beauty is not just about the skin, but about health. Your face and health reflect who you are.”
She stresses the importance of human touch – a sensitive, distinctive feature in her facials. “Facialists and beauticians nowadays use a lot of machines. I don’t like machines. They are soulless. They can’t communicate with clients, but the hands can,” she says.
But she doesn’t succeed all the time. With her more reserved clients, Su-Man admits she has to put in more work to build trust. “Sometimes there’s fear, and people don’t know how to open up,” she says. “I need to get them to trust my hands.”
Both men and women request her facials. “Nowadays, more men are taking good care of their skin, [and] it’s a good thing,” she says. She jokingly recalls an experience when a male client refused to shave before coming in. “I said, if he doesn’t shave, how can I do the facial properly?”
She confesses that her best male model is actually her 53-year-old husband. “He used to have bad skin from acne scars, but now he looks 10 years younger,” she says. “Not only did I transform his skin, I transformed his mind, too. He used to say, ‘I don’t need this, or that,’ but I told him some things – like what you eat and use – are important. For example, you can’t tell a person with oily skin that he or she can’t drink water – everyone needs water!”
To the former dancer (who still teaches dance), every facial Su-Man does is a performance and a craft. “It’s my passion. I enjoy every moment of it – connecting with the clients’ skin, squeezing and massaging,” she says.
She gets immense fulfillment when she sees the impact her facials have on her clients’ lives. “When I see the light shining from them, and when they look in the mirror and feel 10 years younger, it makes me feel very satisfied,” she admits.
With the increasing demand for quick fixes in today’s beauty industry, Su-Man hopes to see more people taking a step back to appreciate what they have, instead of searching for quick solutions to their problems. “I will be happy when I see people walking around and they feel perfectly comfortable with themselves and know how to take care of themselves,” she says.
Su-Man’s signature facial treatment
When: From Saturday 12 to Saturday 20 October 2013
Where: AWAY Spa, W Singapore – Sentosa Cove
Address: 21 Ocean Way, Singapore 098374
Price: SGD$ 250 for 75-minute treatment
Contact: +65 6808 7290 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Su-Man’s facial treatments are limited to five treatments a day, and reservations are required on a first-come, first-served basis. To learn more about Su-Man’s facial treatments, visit her website at http://www.su-man.com/
Report prepared by Candice