Getting a facial should be more than just a massage. You want to see results – but not the kind of results that leave you with redness from extractions or breakouts. I have very sensitive skin so I no longer do extractions (one too many bad experiences), and I’ve ended up breaking out more often than not from facials (including after one at a Mandarin Oriental Spa…so just because you’re paying top dollar, don’t think you can go in blindly!). In an effort to avoid this happening again, I asked Nichola Weir, of Pacific Touch NYC and Omni Wellness, to share the dos and don’ts of getting a facial. Here are her comprehensive tips!
DO have a clear picture in your head of why you want a facial, so you can talk about your goals with your facialist.
DO research and look for a facialist that best matches your skincare philosophy (Natural/organic products? Extractions? Facial Massage?).
DON’T book a facial with a facialist you have never been to the week before a big event (invest in a package and work with a professional for at least three months leading up to something extremely important).
DON’T book a facial with the expectation that one treatment will cure your acne (there is no miracle cure and real results take time).
DO consider regular facials if you want to change your skin’s condition, as the benefits are cumulative.
DON’T book a facial when you have just had injectables (botox, fillers, etc.). Wait at least a week.
DON’T wax, thread or do laser hair removal before a facial.
DON’T book a facial when you have just had a blowout (even though you will get a headband or a cap, skincare product travels and steamers will ruin your hairdresser’s handy work).
DO let your facialist know if you are pregnant (there are products and treatments that need to be avoided).
DON’T get a facial by anyone who does not at least ask you about medical conditions and/or allergies prior to your treatment.
DON’T be lulled into a false sense of security that natural ingredients won’t cause reactions (people can have allergies to plant or herbs that they are unaware of, and natural ingredients can be very active and sometimes volatile in their natural state).
DON’T stay quiet if anything during the treatment feels uncomfortable.
DO let your facialist know if something feels like it’s burning or itching (some professional products may tingle because they have active ingredients, but nothing should burn or sting and a good therapist will talk you through any of these possibilities).
DO be extremely gentle with your skin immediately following a facial, as you have just had a deep cleaning and exfoliation with professional grade products.
DON’T use any granular scrubs or exfoliants for a week, and delay using active ingredients like retinols or a Clarisonic if you own one for at least 72 hours.
DO be guided by your facialist about your at-home skincare routine…what you do 60 times a month has a profound effect of your skin’s health.
DON’T do anything that causes excessive sweating for 48‐72 hours (overheating will irritates pores and you don’t want to sweat out all the goodies your facialist has just put in!!!).
DON’T use gym/studio workout towels on your face after a facial (or ever!) as these towels are usually laundered with harsh detergents and sometimes bleach that will irritate your pores, especially when you have just had a facial and have newly-exfoliated skin.
DO use lukewarm water when cleansing and avoid hot showers for at least 72 hours.
DON’T pick at your skin after a facial (or ever!). What a good facialist leaves behind is either not ready or not healthy to remove, or should be left alone to heal under the surface.
DO support your treatment holistically by drinking hot water with the juice of half a lemon first thing in the morning on an empty stomach as this will help the body detoxify and flush out toxins (lemon is also one of the most alkaline foods we can digest).
DO flood your system with alkalinity (lemon water, green juices, smoothies and plenty of fresh vegetables) that will help the body fight inflammation, which is the root cause of many skin conditions like acne.
DO be extra careful in the sun as your freshly exfoliated skin is even more sensitive than usual.
DO change your pillow cases, which accumulate dead skin cells, sweat and oil that can congest your pores and ruin your post-facial flawlessness.
DO make sure your makeup brushes and sponges are clean if you wear makeup (try to go makeup-free for 24 hours after a facial so your skin can enjoy the benefits of the treatment).
DON’T think that post-facial breakouts always mean something has gone wrong. Facials can be detoxifying and encourage your skin to do a self‐cleansing by purging old oil and bacteria (if you experience any breakouts after your facial, contact your facialist so you can receive the best home care advice).
DO contact your facialist immediately if you have any unexpected reactions, as he or she is a trained professional and will be able to guide you on the best course of action.