If you’ve never had a facial, you’re missing a relaxing, pampering experience that will leave your skin looking and feeling refreshed. Even people who have sensitive skin or problems like rosacea can benefit from a facial because when it comes to this type of personalized skincare, one size does not fit all.
“The great thing about facials is that they can be customized to fit your skin’s needs,” says Sarah McFarland, senior buyer of beauty and well-being for Soft Surroundings. “Make sure to discuss your skin care needs and goals with your esthetician to ensure you get the best experience possible.”
Jaclyn Retherford, a licensed esthetician with Eclips Salon and Spa, agrees that communication is the first step in any good facial. She finds out how much time the client wants to invest (30 to 60 minutes is typical) and if there are any particular concerns to address. Some clients’ priority is relaxation while others seek solutions for specific issues, such as clogged pores, breakouts or dry skin.
A few rules of thumb do apply, however. “If you have sensitive skin or rosacea, you want to avoid microdermabrasion or glycolic peels,” McFarland notes. “You want to be careful that you don’t irritate skin so let your esthetician know up front about any sensitivity issues or skin conditions.”
Once you’ve covered the basics with your esthetician, you can expect to be escorted to a treatment room, which usually features calming music and muted lighting. Although your face is the focus, you will rest on a comfortable treatment bed. As you begin to relax, your esthetician may also use steam or warm towels to open pores before beginning product application.
“The general components of a good facial are cleansing, exfoliation—you want to get pores as clean as possible so this step may include extractions— targeted masks that address skin care needs and hydration,” McFarland says. “You should always leave a facial with glowing skin. The best facials include an esthetician with ‘great hands’ and amazingly effective skin care products.”
Unlike more invasive treatments, such as strong chemical peels or some types of laser treatments that provide longerlasting effects but may require some downtime, facials should leave your skin looking fresh and smooth. Depending on the products used, you may notice improved skin tone and texture, a softening of fine lines, reduced pigmentation from sun damage and tighter skin. Products are almost always available for purchase so you can extend the benefits at home.
“I think the biggest misconception is that the same benefits of a facial can be achieved by doing at-home treatments alone,” McFarland says. “There just is no replacement for an esthetician working with your skin and its specific needs. Regular facials can keep your skin more youthful-looking longer and potentially stave off costly expensive cosmetic procedures.”
And Retherford adds that men, too, benefit from facials, which can make shaving easier and tone down skin irritation. “It can be a necessity, just like going to the salon and getting your hair cut,” she says. “The first thing people see is your face, and you make first impressions every day.”