All Of Your Common Spa Questions, Answered

Victoria Moorhouse
BraunS / Getty Images

BraunS / Getty Images

It’s usually advertized as a relaxing, meditative experience, but going to the spa, or even trying to navigate the menu, procedures, and processes for the very first time can be anything but unwinding. Think about it, reflecting and feeling all those positive, pampering vibes can be really hard if you’re sitting in the waiting room wondering if you should have shaved your legs before you booked—and showed up at—that laser hair removal session. Every beauty practice has a beginning, and if you’re new to the world of massages and manis, there are definitely a few things that would be helpful to know beforehand. Spa appointments aren’t always as simple as say, washing your hair, so we checked in with an expert and got a handful of common questions answered.

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Laser Hair Removal—What Does It Do?
Unlike shaving that just removes the hair from the surface, laser hair removal actually works at the source of the strand, which would be the follicle. “What it starts to do is damage the hair follicle to discourage growth. Some people have very quick results. Some people take longer because they have thicker hair,” explains esthetician at bliss spas in New York City, Leyda. She also notes that because multiple treatments are sometimes required that it should be remembered that this isn’t a permanent hair removal system and that hormones at certain times in your life and trigger this hair growth.

If you’re going to try this procedure at home (there are many home laser hair removal products on the market), Leyda says that the results might not be as accurate, as you could potentially miss a spot and not be able to tell because you’re always shaving. And yes, because this process works to damage the follicle over a certain period of time, you continue shaving—so don’t throw away your razor just yet.

Should You Shave Before?
If you’re going to get a hair removal process, confusion can set in if you should take the extra few minutes in the shower to shave. So, should you? The answer is yes. Our expert explains that the laser is attracted the pigment of the hair follicle, so not shaving will give it another “barrier” to attack before getting the the follicle, which is what it needs to do to work in the first place.

Do You Arrive at a Facial Appointment Free of Makeup?
While this would seem ideal for a fresh start, Leyda explains that many people arrive at their session after work, so it’s not always realistic to come in without a drop of product on your skin. If you do arrive at the appointment with makeup on, your esthetician can work to remove the makeup during your procedure. At bliss spa, Leyda says they use a product called Makeup Melt Gel-to-Oil Cleanser, which actually removes your makeup while cleansing and moisturizing your skin with essential oils.

How Long Does a Facial Last?
That answer really depends on what treatment you’re getting done—and your skin type. If you have super oily skin, you might have a harder time keeping the results at home. “[An] esthetician can clean out your pores thoroughly but can’t control how quickly your skin gets clogged. Most facials are customized according to skin’s needs,” she explains. She notes one of the simplest processes you can receive is microdermabrasion, a facial treatment she says can help with fine lines, help with unclogging pores, and the texture of your skin, as it is an exfoliation process. She says if you’re just going in to get your pores cleaned, it does depend on if your skin is oily, but two to three weeks is an average time-frame.

How Often Is Too Often to Get a Facial?
Sorry, no hard and fast rule. This answer is very dependent on the kind of facial you receive, but Leyda says you can do a microdermabrasion facial about once a month. “Every month is ideal in an area with weather changes or [if you have an] active lifestyle.”

Seaweed and Skin. What’s the Deal?
Spas and seaweed—two words that have been commonly associated with one another. You see that stuff floating up out of the water at the shore, but what does it do, besides make a decent salad? “It’s amazing. It’s a superfood antioxidant for the skin,” notes Leyda who further explains that the “healing and gentle” substance is rich in amino acids, vitamins A,B,C, and E. She notes that you can use seaweed products to detoxify the skin, and there are some wrap treatments that are used for weight loss purposes designed to take inches off the skin.

How Does a Mud Bath NOT Clog Your Pores?
“The name is a little misleading. They are not made from dirt,” explains Leyda She notes that they can be made from minerals, volcanic ash, and sometimes minerals. Gentle clays and salt water can also be used and can be detoxifying and also any inflammatory for the skin. While she notes there isn’t scientific evidence backed behind mud baths, she notes they have been used and been around for a very long time. “It’s evident. You feel cleaner, your skin is softer,” she says. Still wondering how it doesn’t play into your pores? “It doesn’t clog your pores because the molecules in mud are too big to penetrate your pores,” she notes.

How Do You Prevent Irritation After a Wax
At bliss, Leyda notes that they use an azulene oil to sooth the skin, which also removes the residue from a wax. If you’re going to the beach, she says you should be sure to apply sunscreen. “It’s going to burn faster than skin that hasn’t been waxed or exfoliated.” You also might not want to head straight to that spinning class or the gym, as our expert explains you could be more prone to irritation from sweat getting into the pore. Another thing to possibly take off your to-do list is a steaming session. “[You] probably don’t want to steam after a wax either because you’ve already removed hair follicle. You want to close that. You’re opening up sweat follicles,” she says of a steam and recommends giving it the day to go back to normal.

What Should You Wear to a Spa Appointment?
If you’re coming from work, throw in a pair of leggings and sweater in your bag, as Leyda says you might not want to feel tight or restricted after a relaxing appointment. Basically, you’re going to want to feel those chill vibes for as long as humanly possible.

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