The Midas Touch

Writer Karen Fong | October 9, 2013

As far as luxury goes, nothing quite has the same appeal as gold. The world’s rarest and most precious of metals, gold is traded, invested and even eaten as a sign of wealth. But can its material value translate into value for the spa industry?



Some of our oldest wellness systems and traditions have featured gold. In Ayurveda, gold was thought to boost immunity in children, who were often given water in which gold had been soaked to drink. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, gold was used for purification and is also the metal referred to in the five traditional elements (wu xing).

With developments in technology, gold is also used in various forms in spas and skincare. French brand La Prairie has it bottled into a ‘super serum’ called Cellular Radiance Pure Concentrate Gold containing colloidal gold, a liquid suspension of pure gold that enables tiny flecks of gold to dissolve more easily into the skin. Once in the skin, gold slows down the breakdown of collagen and elastin, helping skin maintain its youthful firmness while nourishing and energising the skin.

Nanonised gold is also seen in treatments, such as at the Spa at the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi.The Kohaku – Gold and Amber – facial uses highly concentrated nanonised 24-carat gold in a special peeling gel by Cosme Proud that penetrates deep into the skin and gently exfoliates. The negative ions in the gold accelerate metabolism making the gel easy to absorb. “Gold works as it balances the ions in the skin, when it is nanonised, it penetrates the skin more effectively,” explains spa consultant Atsuko Hattanda.

To celebrate the hotel’s 50th anniversary, The Mandarin Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong has created a series of gold treatments using Gaylia Kristensen products. The brand specialises in peptide technology, which kick-starts cells that are losing energy and vitality. The Golden Utopia Facial includes a 24-carat gold natural collagen micro-gel infusion mask, made from pure plant collagen and 24-carat nano gold that helps stimulate and boost collagen and elastin production.

Gold has an immediately rejuvenating effect on the skin, so it also makes it popular in body treatments. Angsana Spa’s Glitter Golden Bliss, which can be experienced at Hong Kong’s Hotel Icon, uses gold in both its body scrub and conditioning body oil. Over in Dubai at Madinat Jumeirah’s Talise Spa, gold is incorporated into the traditional Hammam treatment where it is part of a clay body mask and massage with precious oils that moisturise and leave a radiant glow. “[Gold treatments are good for] individuals who wish to see an improvement in the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, lighter and brighter skin,” explains Stephan Wagner, director of Talise Spa. “They’re also useful in the prevention of premature ageing of skin.”

Geishas have long crushed gold leaf on their skin and lips for a sensual gleam
~ Victoria Tsai