If you’ve never had a professional facial, guess what – you’re missing out! Facials can help improve a number of pesky skin conditions and, if done well, can be just as relaxing as a massage. With that said, scheduling your first appointment can certainly be intimidating. Many questions may arise: Will it hurt? Will my face be bright red when I leave? What kind of facial should I get? Will I have to get undressed?
Here are some tips to prepare you for your first facial and to make the experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible:
1.) Do your research! Ask friends or family members where they have had a good experience. If nobody close to you has had a facial in your area, head to sites like Citysearch or Merchantcircle to read reviews of local area spas and salons.
2.) Schedule the right type of facial. If sun damage or hyperpigmentation are your concern, look for something designed for brightening, like a Vitamin C facial, or even a microdermabrasion if you want something a little more aggressive. If you’re plagued by acne, a facial with a mild peel, like glycolic acid, is your best bet. If you want something more gentle or just a relaxing treatment, ask for one of the spa’s basic facials, or even an enzyme treatment that will exfoliate your skin well but with little to no irritation. And if you’re unsure of what your skin needs, the esthetician will be happy to assess your skin and suggest the best treatment.
3.) Know what you are using on your skin. Nothing is more risky than arriving for a facial treatment and not being aware of what products and ingredients you are using. Certain prescriptions like Retin-A, Differin Gel, and Triluma thin your skin and make it more sensitive, as do over-the-counter ingredients like Retinol. Your esthetician will need to know everything that you’re using at home to make sure that the facial you’re scheduled for will not injure your skin. If you’re taking Accutane or have stopped taking it within the past 6 months, mention this when booking the appointment, as the esthetician will have to be very careful with what she does during the treatment.
4.) Be prepared for a little redness afterwards. You probably won’t leave looking like a tomato, but a little redness or blotchiness can be expected, especially if the esthetician performs extractions (the removal of anything clogging the pores, usually done with a small metal tool or clean fingertips). Most of the time, any redness can be covered with makeup if you have somewhere to be right after the appointment. If you prefer, the esthetician can skip the extractions. It is not uncommon to have a little bit of a breakout after a facial, especially if you are prone to acne – after all, a good facial is designed to rid your skin of impurities, and these can often escape in the first few days after your treatment. Allow them to clear on their own and you will see beautiful skin in no time!
5.) Know why you’re getting the facial, and plan accordingly. Getting your skin in shape for your wedding or a big event? You should have the facial no less than a week to ten days before the event. Any closer and you run the risk of sporting a breakout – not good! If you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors in the first 3-4 days after your facial, avoid anything more aggressive, such as microdermabrasion or a chemical peel, as these expose a newer layer of skin that is more sensitive and more likely to burn.
What to expect at the spa:
Plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early. You will likely be asked to fill out a quick intake form – this is standard practice, as it will include information on any medical conditions and allergies, as well as a section that you sign giving the service provider consent to treat you. It’s also nice to arrive early so that you feel relaxed heading into the treatment room – nobody likes to start a facial feeling rushed and stressed! The esthetician will also do a short consultation with you first. This allows you to ask any questions, and for her to ensure that she addresses any concerns that you may have about your skin. Be completely honest – they are there to make you happy!
Most quality facials will include a light massage on the neck, shoulders, and decollete, so be prepared to at least remove everything from the waist up before you slip under the sheets of the facial bed. If this makes you uncomfortable, ask the esthetician if you may keep your bra on, or if there is a robe or wrap that you can wear. Your ability to relax and enjoy the treatment depends on your comfort, so that is the esthetician’s top priority!
A facial will typically last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, unless otherwise noted. What actually takes place in the treatment is unique to every spa and to the type of facial that you have scheduled. Once the treatment is finished, the therapist will exit the room and allow you to get dressed. You can usually expect a quick follow-up before you leave, so you can ask any additional questions that may have come up. The esthetician will most likely suggest what type of facial would be best for your next visit and how many weeks you should wait before returning. She may also suggest products based on your skin’s needs, but let her know up front if you’d prefer to skip the recommendations.
Fair warning: it is quite easy to become hooked on facials! A good facial can help you achieve the results you desire for your skin, or help you unwind and relax at the end of a long day. Many clients become regulars after their first treatment, scheduling them anywhere from every two to six weeks. Just have fun with it – there are so many great facials and treatment options to choose from, so change it up and try different ones until you find your favorite.