Tucked away behind tall hedges from the prying eyes of Toorak Road, in that most old money of Melbourne suburbs, lies Liberty Belle, a purpose-built compound devoted to all things aesthetics. Twin buildings in pale stone surrounded by well tended jasmine house staff with the ability to treat just about any skin concern you could think of, at whichever level you’re after. On the right hand side is the plastic surgery centre, run by Dr Chris Moss, and on the left is the skincare clinic, the destination for those who are a little less brave (that would be me) but who still want visible results.

Before we begin my bespoke Belle Dermasweep facial, my therapist Marnie asks me about my skin. I sheepishly explain that everything is a bit red and delicate, as I have recently been upping my prescription retinoid in the hope of putting an end to my persistent acne. So that she can see for herself exactly what she is dealing with, she performs a thorough double cleanse under bright lights, and reader, I may never have been so quickly put at ease so early on in a facial. Frankly, I think this should be the standard way all therapists begin treatments, rather than relying on the far less experienced client’s own assessment (or starting things off with whale song and aromatherapy oils).

Marnie then whisks me into a separate room where I, totally bare faced, am photographed from every angle. Skin tone mugshot complete, I do feel a little vulnerable, but she assures me the pictures won’t be seen by anyone but clinic staff. Some clients have loved their results enough to approve their before and after shots being featured on the walls, and it is certainly reassuring, if not downright inspiring, to see what can be achieved.

We head back to the treatment room, where Marnie tells me that she will perform a bespoke treatment that will give me the results I am after – less red, more glow, please – while taking care of my poor, decimated skin barrier. She explains that Liberty Belle’s Dermasweep is gentler than standard dermabrasion, and their special tool has two heads and three functions: the tiny street sweeper head brushes off debris, the second suction head sucks it up away from the face, and then there’s also a smooth, cooling element, designed to push serum into the impeccably cleaned skin.

She the performs traditional, manual extractions (any skincare lover’s favourite part of a treatment, pain be damned), though left my active acne alone, as manipulating any spots not yet ready to come to the surface would only damage the skin further. After a special balm designed for sensitive skin is applied, I spend twenty minutes under the yellow LED light, which promotes wound healing and skin rejuvenation. For any fellow claustrophobes out there, know that Marnie first asked me outright how I felt about it, and not only took the time to show me the machine, but said that with all clients, nervous or not, she remains in the room the whole time.

The LED contains three panels, with one directly over your face and one at each side, but isn’t particularly close or confining – banish any thoughts of an MRI – and the experience itself was pleasant. I felt no anxiety at all; the light was so warm and relaxing that I was both snug and smug, knowing that such a cosy treatment was actively improving my skin. After my almost-nap, a second soothing serum is applied as well as a moisturiser with SPF, to protect that freshly buffed skin.

After spending some time admiring my newly-found glow and much decreased redness, I head back into the waiting room. The space is scented with fresh flowers, and I note the treatment rooms are named after icons like Coco and Marilyn – how apropos for such a luxurious experience. Speaking of which… beside me, a glamorous Russian woman of a certain age, hidden beneath bandages, is being quietly tended to. “Yes, the car is arriving now,” whispers a member of staff, as she wheels the woman out to a gleaming black limousine, where her personal driver awaits in a smart suit, Secret Service-style ear piece visible. My own Uber X doesn’t quite compete, but stepping into it I felt even more confident in my earlier judgement that Liberty Belle really is the aesthetic destination in Melbourne.


Liberty Belle Skin Centre
504-605 Toorak Rd
Toorak VIC 3142

Story by Zoe Briggs. Photography by Liberty Belle.

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