True story: I heard a rumor back when I was in high school that if you get a facial, your pores will be forever opened and you’ll just constantly need facials and have breakouts. After struggling with acne-prone skin (in lieu of facials) beginning when I was 14, I made the plunge and tried my first facial about a year before my wedding. I was 27. I struggled with breakouts for 13 years before I went for my first facial. Maybe the rumor is true for some people, but for me, facials are a part of a regular skin care regimen for me and I want to walk you through all the questions I first had and a few others I’ve heard along the way if you’re curious about the process of a facial, the benefits of spa facials and the issues they can alleviate.
You start your spa experience with a delightful glass of champagne… we’re already off to an amazing start!
Can we discuss these amazing sofa cushions at Midtown Med Spa!? I want these all over my house. Plus, YOU CAN WRITE YOUR NAME ON THEM!
I was approached by Midtown Med Spa here in Houston to do a series of posts on cosmetic/facial experiences in exchange for my thoughts/blog review, so this is the first in my mini-series. I figured I’d start with the basics after I polled a bunch of friends and family about their experience with med spas and facials. Turns out, many of them had never had even a basic facial before – let alone a chemical peel, laser treatment, Botox or anything of the sort. If we didn’t address the basics of a facial, I would be speaking to the wall. If you’ve never had a facial before, why the hell would you be interested in a peel or anything else even more potent?!
All about spa facials
How can facials help my skin?
In my experience, being an oily/acne prone skin person, facials help regulate my skin’s oil production. It also gives the appearance of smaller pores. Facials refine the texture of the skin by providing an extra-deep clean and thorough exfoliation. More than these key benefits is the extraction process. An expert facialist found at a med spa or a board certified dermatologist’s office should be highly trained in effectively extracting clogged pores. After I leave a facial, my skin is literally smooth as a baby’s butt. It’s also great because if you have some breakouts slowing rearing their ugly head, your aesthetician can nip it in the bud before it comes to full disaster mode.
If you aren’t oily/acne prone, facials can help with circulation, tone, radiance, and glow because of the amount of stimulation the facial structure/muscles/bones are experiencing. This may help your skin care products work more efficiently, as well.
Do I have to go into the facial without any makeup on?
No, you can wear makeup to your facial appointment. Your aesthetician will thoroughly remove your makeup as the first step of the process.
I always bring a little touch-up makeup bag with me for after the facial. Depending on my skin that day, I may be a bit flushed afterward, so my go-to touch-up kit includes a mineral powder foundation, brow pencil or tinted brow gel, mascara and a tinted lip balm/lip gloss. It’s important to let your skin breathe as much as possible after the facial, but if you’re simply not comfortable leaving sans makeup like me, don’t let that stop you. Make sure you use a lightweight mineral powder though, as I find that to be the most gentle on your freshly cleaned pores.
What should I wear?
I’d recommend pants and a top. Most med spas and offices will have you remove your bra and top, and will provide some sort of towel wrap or robe to wear. You remove your shoes and relax on a massage-style bed under blankets that will go up to your collarbone, that way you’re totally covered up.
What is the entire process like?
The overall basic facial tends to be more or less the same everywhere I’ve gone. What I really loved about Midtown Med Spa was that I was super curious about their HydroFacial, but I also definitely wanted extractions (which isn’t something typically a part of a HydroFacial), so my aesthetician was amazing at tailoring my facial to my specific skin needs.
My Signature Facial at Midtown Med Spa was as follows:
- Remove makeup.
- Cleanse skin. This can be done with the hands and/or a Clarisonic facial cleansing brush. A cleanser will be applied to the skin and massaged in. It is usually removed with mini facial sponges or a soft washcloth.
- Exfoliate. This can be done with a physical scrub and/or a chemical exfoliating mask (e.g.: fruit enzymes, glycolic acid, etc.). Again, expect more facial massaging and removal with facial sponges or soft wash cloth.
- Steam. Steam is so relaxing and really softens the skin before extractions. Some places even include essential oils like lavendar or eucalyptus – amazeee.
- Extractions. Your aesthetician will usually cover your eyes with a soft washcloth and use a very bright light to examine your skin. Using the extraction tool, she will eradicate any clogged pores everywhere on your face – places you probably didn’t even know you had them. If you’re acne prone like me, this can take a while.
- Mask. After the extractions, you will have some sort of mask. It may be an exfoliating mask, hydrating mask, clarifying mask, brightening mask or just a soothing mask – all depends on your specific skin type.
- Mini massage! My second favorite part of a facial and one that many don’t talk about is the wonderful little mini massage you get as your mask is doing its magic. For me, I tend to hold most of my stress in my shoulders and neck, so the massage is perfect. The aesthetician will work your neck, shoulders, the front of your chest/decolletage and give you a scalp massage. I’ve even had some go as far as also giving a little hand massage, too. It’s awesome.
- Remove mask and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. For my facial at Midtown Med Spa, this is where the aesthetician mixed in a bit of the HydroFacial for me. She used the HydroFacial tool to infuse my skin with a hydrating serum and followed up with an SPF. But most of the time, your aesthetician will simply apply a moisturizing treatment and SPF, dab a bit of eye cream on you and finish with a swipe of lip balm.
Lots of amazing medical-grade skin care for sale at Midtown Med Spa, too. I’ve tried several stellar items from PCA and SkinCeuticals over the years!
Do extractions hurt?
They don’t feel relaxing, but they don’t make me want to tear up, either. It kind of feels like if you took the ballpoint of a pen to your face and press down for 3 seconds, gently. It’s worth it for the results of smooth, clear skin.
How much are facials?
I find the price varies, depending on the location and if it’s a med spa/dermatologist’s office or a regular spa. My most effective facials have been at med spa/dermatologist’s offices simply because I think they use more medical grade products and have medically trained nurses and doctors on staff. This is not to say I haven’t had great facials at regular spas, also (because I have), but when I need serious TLC – I opt for med spa like Midtown Med Spa or my regular dermatologist’s office.
I’ve paid anywhere from $75-125 for a standard facial (not counting a HydraFacial or anything more ‘fancy’).
How long do results last?
My skin is its absolute best about two days after my facial. Even when I got married, I went for a facial on Thursday morning and my wedding was a Saturday. The most noticeable results tend to last about two weeks for me, but I do find my skin easier to manage and softer for up to a month.
Before I got married, I went for a facial every month for the year leading up to the Big Day. Because I had texture issues from breakouts, I wanted to make sure my skin was in its best shape for photos – and I have to say, I had ZERO breakouts the week of my wedding and my makeup looked great – thank goodness. Nowadays, I try to go for a facial every three months (with the start of a new season – winter, spring, summer, fall).
Alright! I hope that helps you with any questions you may have thought about regarding facials. Overall, it keeps your skin clear, glowing, healthy and gives YOU some nice relaxation time.
If you’re in the Houston area, definitely check out the chic Midtown Med Spa. The ladies there are so friendly, welcoming and made my first experience a pleasant one. I’ll be going next week for a PRP Facial (yes, kind of like the crazy VAMPIRE FACIAL Kim Kardashian tried). Stay tuned for that process (hoping to get more before/after pics)!
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