Ballet News Reviews | Darcey Bussell and The Sanctuary Spa Active Reverse skin care range

Ballet dancer Darcey Bussell and The Sanctuary Spa

Darcey Bussell smiles to the camera

Darcey Bussell

“Reduce the lines, not the laughter.”

Recently announced as Sanctuary Spa’s Leading Lady and the first ever face of Sanctuary Spa, Darcey Bussell epitomizes dewy, radiant skin, good health and happiness, which is why she was chosen. The Spa itself was created for a ballet dancer as a retreat for relaxation and pampering and the Covent Garden Spa has long been associated with ballet.

I wanted to test the Active Reverse range myself, to see whether the results matched the promises. Once you’ve found a skin care routine that suits you, which can be something of a lengthy trial and error process, you probably stick with them. I know I do! I’ve been very happy with the products I’ve been using for years and was reluctant to switch my routine, but a holiday introduces a new perspective and it’s often a really good time to instigate change.  So I embraced the Active Reverse range for a month to test the claims that I would “reduce the lines, not the laughter.”

The products are packaged in cool blue boxes with satisfyingly heavy glass jars and none of those annoying leaflets inside – all you need to know is printed on the box.

Photograph : Cheryl Angear

Day One

I decided to use the Active Reverse Power Peptide Serum in the morning, before using the Peptide Protect Day Cream, which also has the added bonus of an SPF20.  At night, I matched the Lipid Recovery Facial Oil with the Peptide Replenish Night Cream.

So, I began with the night regime to give my skin the best possible start with extra-nourishment. I normally avoid any sort of oil on my face; I’ve always been told that my skin doesn’t need it, so it was with some trepidation that I approached this product. BUT.  The Lipid Recovery Facial Oil is a dream. It smells utterly divine – of pomegranate, rosehip seeds, jojoba, wheatgerm and junivity. It claims to be a recharging boost for glowing, youthful skin, and the minute I warmed it in my hands and applied it to my face I was in heaven !  To my surprise it sunk in straight away, leaving no sign of greasiness, and my skin felt soft and supple straight away – by morning it was positively dewy. Applying the thick night cream on top was another pleasure as it too smells gorgeous and doesn’t feel at all heavy, though it does a fantastic job of moisturising the skin overnight (something I usually skip as there’s never enough time).

darcey bussellIn the morning, after cleansing, I applied the Power Peptide Serum.  The jar looks quite spacey with it’s double-helix effect in the middle, but I was disappointed by the smell which, although not unpleasant, wasn’t as nice as the products I’d used so far.  The serum was also very sticky; I’m used to using an intense serum that glides on, but this one felt gloopy for a while afterwards which also made it tricky to apply the Day Cream.  After a while the products were absorbed by my skin but it didn’t feel as though my face was fully moisturised, and it’s probably too early to spot any differences.

The rest of the week

Well!  After a week of this routine I can honestly say that my skin feels much softer, smoother and, possibly, a bit more Darcey Bussell-ish. Did I notice a reduction in fine lines ? Well, perhaps, but then I’ve never been hung up about the odd laughter line anyway.  What I did notice was how lovely and supple my skin felt; it never felt dry or stretched, especially first thing in the morning, and there was the odd occasion when I really didn’t want to get into the shower in case I undid all the good work.

The next three weeks

Religiously, I followed the routine I’d devised on Day One, and it’s paying dividends : has been all along if I’m honest. I’ve been endlessly surprised at how easily the Lipid Recovery Facial Oil disappeared into my skin – using an oil really did make me nervous – but even during the most humid nights of the summer my skin was only ever dewy and fresh in the morning.

During the day what I noticed most was that my skin felt almost perfect; it was always velvety soft and stayed moisturised all day.  Looking after your skin isn’t rocket science – you only need to eat healthily, get enough sleep and – most important of all – stay hydrated – but these beautiful products from Sanctuary Spa certainly speed the process along. The Sanctuary Spa therapists do over 28,000 facials a year so they really should know what works and what doesn’t. There are six products in the Active Reverse range – I didn’t try the leave-on exfoliating cream or the 30 day thermal transformation, but I’ve been very happy with the four products I did try.


I’ve now swtiched to the Active Reverse range completely. I’ve found that over the testing period I got used to the richer creams and going back to my old routine I really noticed that my skin wasn’t as soft or moisturised as it had been during testing.  I’m converted!

You can purchase the Active Reverse skin care range from The Sanctuary Spa online and prices range from £20-30 depending on the product and some of them are available via Amazon :

Active Reverse by Sanctuary Spa Power Peptide Serum 30ml (Misc.)

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Watch Darcey talking about the products

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