In the beauty industry, I used to be a strange guy before we started talking facials. Strange, isn’t it? Ok, I will never have had one before about two months ago. Upon telling my beauty-savvy friends that I was a facial virgin, shock, horror, and fear were the general reactions. “What do you mean you’ve never had an aesthetic?” My only reason was my super-sensible skin—and that I’d read enough horror stories to persuade myself that my normal tone-cleaning regimen was just right. But in the end, I decided enough was enough, and it was time to see what the fuss was all about. After all, considering that my future aesthetician will handle my delicate skin with respect, I shouldn’t have much to think about, right?
Firstly, What Is A Facial?
No one is set to answer what a facial is. That’s because—depending on your skincare concerns—it can include any variety of therapies, including serums, creams, oils, acid peels, exfoliation, steam, laser, and more. Quite the fuckin’ mouthful, huh? Irrespective of which aspects are used with your individual facial, the effect is always the same: clear, radiant skin that looks positively sparkling, with the extra emotional calm that comes from soothing spa care.
“Daily facials enhance skin tone, minimise the presence of fine lines, wrinkles, and acne marks, help reduce pore size, maximise the potency of your home care regimen, deep cleanse pores to help avoid further breakouts, and, most importantly, encourage relaxation—a tonne,” says Trina Wood, Spa Director at The Four Seasons Hotel Seattle.
Benefits Of Getting A Facial
- Calms inflammation
- Banishes breakouts
- Blurs fine lines
- Shrinks pores
- Smooths skin
- Brightens complexion
Again, it’s all about what your beginning complexion issues are and which therapies are used with your facial. However, regardless of the procedures used, you should look forward to new, healthy-looking skin post-treatment.
How To Prepare For Your First Time Facial?
As you may have guessed at this point, it depends on what kind of facial you’re having. If you want one that involves steam and extractions (like me), then you can do your business as normal. If, though, you are turning to a peel, you may want to try skipping out of your at-home exfoliation 24 hours in advance to reduce the risk of discomfort from too much sloughing. At the end of the day, the safest bet is to contact your aesthetic for the exact prep measures leading to your facial.
What To Expect At Your First Time Facial?
The day of my consultation had finally come, and I was both anxious and eager. I entered with a clean face, as I had been told, and I was met with a clipboard of questions and a bottle of coconut water. I started testing out every question on the sheet, “Do you have any allergies?” Yes, yes. “Does the skin respond adversely to lotions and soaps?” Yes, yes. “Have you a delicate skin?” Double yeah, sir. (Is it a possibility?) After clearly showing that I basically had a baby’s skin (minus the entire no-pores-or-lines thing), I assumed that I was in good hands. My aesthetician came out to welcome me and take me to the bed. There’s none here!
I was told to take off my panties and slip under my bed sheet. Call me stupid, but I didn’t know that there was a “body” part of the facial. In any case, I did as I was told, waiting for my aesthetician to come back to the room. She looked at my skin, noticing that I had some “congestion” on my forehead and my cheeks—a sweet way to say that I had some extreme blackheads, something that I was all too conscious of. Then she started rubbing coconut oil—”cold-pressed and unrefined,” she said—on my skin, and it felt (and smelled) like heaven. But what happened next was less than heavenly. She switched on a steam machine to open up my pores without warning, and I found it was incredibly difficult to breathe. I had to keep twisting my face to cough for air and felt a feeling of satisfaction every time her hand filled the steam as she rubbed the coconut oil back onto my flesh. I hoped softly that it would come to an end, even as time felt like it was still standing. I wanted to ask her when it was over, but I didn’t want to be disrespectful. Next time, I’m obviously skipping this phase, I was thinking about myself.
When the steam part was (finally) done, she told me it was time for the extractions. I’d read enough of this that I knew it meant that she was going to start rubbing my blackheads and breakouts, and I was eager to ease the “congestion.” But every pinch was so hard. In my lifetime, I’d popped up enough pimples and blackheads that I felt I might do it, but still, watching someone else do it was much more painful than I’d ever imagined. She kept talking about how red my skin was going, but she kept pressing and squeezing while I was already writhing in agony. When she was finally finished, my face throbbing. With every pulse, I became more and more cynical about the glorified facials that my friends had heard about.
After the extractions—the heck, the mutilations—were full, she put alcohol on my skin. “This is going to be serious,” she warned—and, boy, it was. Instantly, I wrinkled my nose at the scent as though I had just put my face in a bucket of ammonia. It was almost intolerable. I couldn’t understand why she was putting something so tough on me. I said my skin was responsive, didn’t I? After that, she put some creams on my hands, gave me a good neck and a good arm rub (so that’s the “body portion”), and sent me on my (?) way. I was almost scared to look in the mirror.
Side Effects After Your First Facial
Purging can be a side effect due to the extreme exfoliation and extraction of some facials. In reality, that’s exactly what I’ve seen. When I got inside, I caught a glance of myself in the mirror of the elevator. All over my skin, I had visible red spots and swollen patches. Spots that had been miniature blackheads suddenly looked like full-blown pimples. Did I make a big mistake? I thought this was all temporary and used acne cream, as usual, that night, hoping that things would finally quiet down, and I’d get that “post-facial glow” that I’d learned so much about. The next day, though, passed, then the next, then the next, and my skin was still fractured and subdued. A week went by and I was quite disappointed with my overall complexion. I’m never going to have a facial before, I challenged.
The easiest way to clean your face post-facial is not to touch it—allowing the chemicals used during surgery to absorb the skin, and time for the skin to regenerate. “If you get more intense facials like chemical peels, microdermabrasion, microblading (which literally removes the top layer of your skin), you need to wait until your skin has some time to regenerate,” says Wood
Once your skin is restored, it’s time to schedule your next appointment. “It’s better to get a facial every four to six weeks,” says Wood. “The average person’s skin cycle can vary from 21 to 35 days based on age (the older we get, the longer our skin takes to regenerate itself). So, if you get facials with chemical or manual exfoliation, waiting for at least four weeks is healthy, but your esthetician will still make the right advice for your face.”
Surprisingly enough, the statement didn’t last long, as I had the chance to visit Justin Bieber’s go-to the Tribeca bathhouse and couldn’t pass it. Part of the detoxifying process was a first time facial that I nervously committed to, but it was really one of the most relaxing moments of my life. There was no extraction, no alcohol, no steam engine, but when I was finished, my skin glowed like an orb. I didn’t have it for facials anymore, but I promised to ask more questions and do my homework before my next visit. And if you’re a facial newbie, I’d advise you to do the same—you and your skin are going to thank me.