The Truth About 'Facelift Facials'

It’s the skin-tightening and toning treatment rumoured to be responsible for Kim Kardashian’s ageless complexion. Here’s what happened when Liz Hambleton tried the much-hyped radio frequency facial...

The speil:

Speak to any skin expert across the globe right now and they’ll rave about the powers of hi-tech sounding radio frequency. ‘It’s an amazing resurfacing treatment and can transform your skin over a course of treatments,’ says award-winning Dr Michael Prager, who offers the Venus Freeze Nano Fractional Radio Frequency treatment at his London clinic. ‘Sagging skin, wrinkles and pigmentation can all be improved,’ he adds. Using a handheld wand, your face will be blasted with radio-frequency energy, which heats up the tissues of the skin and stimulates collagen production deep down in the dermis. 'You’ll see instant results but, equally, increased collagen production over time, leading to a fresher, firmer looking complexion,’ explains facialist Chelseé Lewis, who specialises in RF treatments. ‘It’s great for anyone looking for an alternative to Botox.’ As well as stimulating collagen production, ‘It also boosts the construction of those other youth-boosting skin natives – elastin and hyaluronic acid,’ says skin guru Kate Kerr. ‘I recommend radio frequency for skinlaxity and facial tightening to those in their mid-thirties to fifties who want an instant perk up with no downtime at all.’

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The tester:

I've been around the beauty block for long enough to know that serious skin improvements come from highly targeted treatments. The right skin-tech can re-plump, re-energise and lift the complexion, all of which I feel I need as I get older. Botox is brilliant (tried it and loved it), but it’s something I don’t want to get into on a regular basis - not just yet, anyway! With that in mind, I’m keen to find a non-injectable means of freshening my complexion to keep it looking youthful and vibrant. RF has come highly recommended by many an industry colleague and is considered the go-to treatment in Hollywood for tight, radiant, ageless skin. I’m also obsessed with going make-up free and I’ve heard this treatment goes a long way to making that possible. After doing my research, I discover that RF facials vary from clinic to clinic; some offer the stronger form, Nano Fractional Radio Frequency, for deeper treatments (great for acne scarring and resurfacing), while others are more traditional, mainly focusing on skin-tightening. It’s not uncommon to have RF combined with other treatments, as well. For example, I decided to try the Cryo Derm facial at Chelsee Lewis – it fuses RF with a spot of cryotherapy to boost the effects. This treatment costs from £385; expect to pay upwards of £300 for RF treatments – and a course is usually recommended.

The verdict:

The first thing you need to know is that RF doesn’t feel like your average facial. It’s a device-based procedure and, as such, you shouldn’t expect to be pampered, massaged and smothered in layers of skincare. After being cleansed and prepped, the treatment begins with a hand-held wand moving slowly over my skin and neck. There’s no discomfort, but it does get very hot at times – which I was assured is perfectly normal. This part of the treatment goes on for about 50 minutes and is actually quite relaxing once you’ve acclimatised to the temperature. Particular attention is given to the skin around my mouth, lips, cheeks and jaw, as I had flagged these up as ‘problem areas’. Do speak up if you want to focus on something in particular. At the end of the treatment, a blast of cryo (cryogenically cooled air) is used to calm the skin and boost post-treatment radiance. Yes, it’s freezing, but you’ll welcome the change in temperature after an hour of heat – although it’s worth noting that not all RF treatments offer this. A quick look in the mirror confirms that it’s been well worth it: my face is lifted and sculpted, especially around my cheeks, jaw and mouth, where I often look drawn or hollow. My skin felt significantly tighter, too – something that continued to scale over the coming weeks. There’s no downtime, as such, but I was flushed for a few hours afterwards and the next day my cheeks did feel a little sensitive. To be safe, I’d suggest having it done a few days prior to a big event. Saying that, I’ve been so impressed with the effect it’s had that I’ve already booked in for my next treatment…

Find a RF treatment near you...


Aaina Beauty


Skin Secret


Beyond Beauty


Oxford One Spa


Venus Freeze at Dr Michael Prager

Cryo Derm at Chelseé Lewis

Kate Kerr At The Mondrian

Or visit and to find an RF treatment in your local area

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