If low-impact facials are what you’re used to, James Vivian’s new clinic might surprise you. “It’s basically a facial on steroids that can be completely non-invasive with no downtime, or we can turn it all up to really get stuck into the skin,” says Vivian, a Melbourne skin expert often considered “the face whisperer” by his clients.
The dermal therapist began his skincare journey a decade ago as The Travelling Peelsman – driving around in his self-described “peel mobile” offering chemical-peel treatments to his clients at home. He eventually opened a boutique clinic in Prahran.
But earlier this year, after outgrowing the High Street space, Vivian moved into new digs in Toorak. “This space was designed and used previously by one of my mentors, Maria Vovos, who operated her beauty therapy business, Code M Skincare, here for 10 years,” Vivian says. “Maria gave me the facial, 15 years ago, that made me quit my career in music and study beauty therapy … so when the opportunity to carry on Maria’s legacy (and put our JV stamp on it) was on the table, the answer was clear.”
Each treatment begins with a complimentary 45-minute consultation. This is your opportunity to explain any skin concerns – be they ageing-related or to do with acne, pigmentation, skin irritation or general skin health. From there, a therapist will analyse your skin and explain how they can help with its management going forward.
The clinic offers treatments from skin-tightening to laser genesis – where a laser is used to stimulate collagen production. But the signature dermal-therapy treatment is the most sought-after service. A dermal therapist applies a combination of laser and light therapies, exfoliation and topical cosmeceutical products (with bioactive ingredients purported to have medical benefits) to address your personal skincare concerns. Each part of the treatment is said to create a different sensation. “Cleansing will feel gentle but thorough, peels will involve some mild discomfort, while laser and light therapies will leave the skin feeling warm and rejuvenated,” the treatment explainer reads.
The products used are based on individual needs – “one brand cannot be everything to everyone … skincare is so personal as everyone’s skin requires a difference approach,” Vivian says. Some of the brands you’ll find in the skincare cabinet include Skinbetter Science, Dermaquest, Jan Marini, Colorescience and Cosmedix.
The warm and welcoming space is splashed with beautiful furniture and striking artworks, including an elegantly curved mid-century Caprani floor lamp, Murano glass vases and an arresting oil painting by Melbourne artist Brendan Huntley.
“We work in an aesthetic industry,” Vivian says, “so being able to demonstrate our unique approach to beauty and customer service through our artwork and furniture choices can help guide a client to us and can provide conversation beyond the skin.”