Even if you love to play around with different beauty and skincare products at home, there is something about treatments that can be intimating. You must choose the right one and place to get it done. Then there is the concern about how your sensitive skin will react.
Out of all of the treatments, facials are near the bottom of the scale regarding how invasive and intense they are, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t nervous about booking one for the first time.
If you’re considering trying a facial, we spoke with Lindsey Blondin, spa director and lead esthetician at George the salon Chicago, about what you need to know.
Before you even book your facial, you need to have realistic expectations, just like when you test a new product for the first time.
It is important not to think of a facial as an instant fix. Lindsey says, “Rome was not built in a day, and neither can your esthetician fix your skin issues in a day. Yes, after one treatment, your skin will be cleaner on a deeper level and appear brighter. But if you are there to treat issues that have developed over time, it will take ‘time’ to change and reverse those issues too.”
Two big questions are whether facials are okay for those with sensitive skin or acne. Lindsey says the answer to both of those queries is yes. She notes that if you have sensitive skin, be sure to inform your esthetician and book well in advance of any events.
For those who are dealing with breakouts, she strongly recommends a facial because she says a lot of clients come in with acne issues, and the issue has so much to do with the fact they are using the opposite of what they should to clear it up.
A good facial will also involve discussing diet, medical, activity, and other habits to help clear up your skin.
When it comes to choosing an esthetician, it is important to research it, just like with any decision. Have an idea about what you want and want you don’t want.
Are you hoping to feel pampering and relaxed, or do you want extractions? Do you want holistic practices or more medical ones? Do you want machines or none?
Ask friends and family for recommendations if you don’t know where to begin. And do not be afraid to call up a salon and ask questions. Lastly, it’s important to make sure you feel comfortable with your esthetician.
Lindsey points out that a facial is an intimate experience. Your esthetician is in your personal space and touching your face, so it is important to feel comfortable around him/her.
If you’re booking your facial because you have a big event like a wedding, it’s important to understand how sensitive your skin is. If you’re more sensitive, Lindsey suggests booking a week before or more if you’re a first-timer.
Those with moderate or normal skin can get away with booking two to five days before, while those with durable skin are okay to schedule their facial one to three days before.
However, it’s best to avoid using light and extractions, regardless of sensitivity.
Once you have your date booked, it’s important to remember a bit of prep. Do not do any intense exfoliation two or three days before your appointment.
Lindsey also suggests stopping using retinols three or five days prior. If you’re planning on getting injectibles, you should also schedule your facial at least three to five days after those.
When it comes to the day of your appointment, Lindsey says that you don’t need to show up with clean, makeup-free skin.
However, you will get more from your facial if you show up without your face done. That way, your esthetician can begin the treatment immediately instead of removing your makeup.
You can also expect your first appointment to be similar to a doctor’s first. Don’t worry, it isn’t as scary, but you should be prepared to disclose what you’re coming in for your expectations and if you’re there to treat any issues.
Lindsey also explains that there will be some medical questions involved. Expect to answer stuff about allergies, injuries, medication, and your skin care regimen.
It’s important to answer them honestly because it allows your esthetician to find the right treatment and products for you.
When it comes time for the treatment, Lindsey states that most facials include a pre-cleanse, cleanse, skin analysis, exfoliation, facial massage, mask, treat and hydrate.
As for extractions, most 60-minute facials do include them, while mini facials (30 minutes) do not because there isn’t time for it. However,
Lindsey stresses that you communicate with your esthetician whether you want extractions or not before the treatment starts. You should also be clear about any events you have coming up.
If you’re wondering where a facial falls on the pain scale, it is difficult to say because everyone’s pain tolerance is different, and so are the amount of extractions they require. Lindsey does say that it can be uncomfortable.
She explains, “I have seen people have some tears stream, or take breaks, or breathe like they are in lamas. On the other hand, I have had clients who almost enjoy the feeling.” The most sensitive areas of the face tend to be the nose (especially the crease and the tip), the chin, the jawline, and the neck, so be prepared.
Lindsey says to wait 15 to 20 minutes post-facial before applying your makeup. This will allow all the ingredients from the facial to absorb into your skin.
If you’ve had an early appointment, it is also important that you reapply your sunscreen throughout the day, especially if you’ve had a lot of exfoliation.
If your facial was more than a few hours before going to bed, Lindsey says you’re okay to continue with your normal nighttime cleanse, serum, moisturizer, and eye cream. However, you can skip the exfoliation and mask.
Once you get your first facial, Lindsey says that you should have one at least once every season. She recommends monthly appointments. If you’re getting a peel, she suggests them every three to four weeks until you’ve achieved the desired result.
For those with acne, it depends on what stage your breakouts are at. Lindsey says you could have weekly or bi-weekly appointments until your skin is under control.
Getting a facial requires some research and prep and maybe a bit of discomfort, but if you put the time in and choose the right esthetician, you can discover what a valuable facial can be. Who doesn’t want to try something that makes their skin look brighter and better?
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website's content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra's expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.