Things To Know Before Getting A Facial

Janell M. Hickman

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No matter what your makeup preference is, be it daring to demure, a great canvas is the first step to getting there. But when over-the-counter lotions, potions, and creams simply aren’t working, you might need to call in the calvary. One secret weapon of Hollywood starlets—their facialists (or aesthetician) can help you get the healthy, glowing, skin you deserve. Read on to learn more about what to expect.

Find The Right Treatment for You
“Since we all have different skin types, your facial should be customized based on what’s going on with your skin,” explains licensed aesthetician and Head of Spa Services at Very Polished Nail Lounge & Spa, Yami Johnson. “Whenever I meet with a client and conduct a skin analysis, I always address the most severe problem first. In some cases we can treat multiple issues with just one customized facial treatment. Keep in mind that your skin type can change over time, so it’s always a good idea to get a skin analysis before each treatment—especially when visiting a new aesthetician that’s not familiar with your skin.”

Minimize Your Chances for an Allergic Reaction
“Communicate with your skin therapist,” explains Lead Aesthetician at Heyday NYC, Jill Kibildis. “Let them know everything you use on your skin, especially products from a dermatologist. Tell them about past experiences if you’ve had any weird reactions to ingredients. Even food allergies are important. The more we know, the safer we can customize a treatment. During your treatment, let them know if anything feels like more than a tingle. Never be afraid to speak up during a facial!”

MORE: Bizarre Facials We’re Pretty Tempted to Try

Plan Ahead For Big Occasions
“If you are getting ready for a big event, you should book a series of facials (four treatments) starting three to six months ahead of the time,” explains Senior Director of Spa Development at Clarins USA, Milana Knowles. “This will ensure that your skin is regularly detoxed and treated resulting in a near permanent glow. For an easy at-home ‘day of treatment’, exfoliate well with our one step gentle exfoliating cleanser followed by a thick layer of the Beauty Flash Balm, which will instantly brighten and tighten your skin! Leave it on for 5-10 minutes, pat off with a cotton pad soaked with Clarins Camomile Toner and continue with your regular beauty and makeup routine.”

There’s A “Right” Way to Do Extractions
“Extractions are necessary for better facial results (if necessary) as long as they are performed correctly and gently,” shares Johnson. “Not everyone needs extractions but if you have visible clogged pores it is definitely beneficial to have them. The ‘right’ way for an aesthetician to perform an extraction is by first softening the skin. Next, they should wrap his/her fingers in soft tissue to manipulate the skin to remove dry sebum and impurities out of the pores. The goal is to remove the congested oil without leaving significant redness and scarring.”

Stop Your Breakout In Its Tracks
“Your aesthetician can not only sanitize your skin and remove the bacteria causing the inflammation—they can help stop the spread,” shares Kibildis. “Your facialist can also choose soothing products to calm any inflammation stemming from the breakout. However, if you have an open lesion or a cold sore, you should stay away from a facial. Not only does it have the potential to transmit from person to person, but some of the facial activities could make it worse for you.”

MORE: DIY Facials vs. Going to the Spa: Do They Measure Up?

Steam Pending Your Skin Type
“The rumor that you can ‘open’ your pores by steaming your face is very popular but pores are not like your eyelids; they don’t open and close. However, steaming does help unclog pores by clearing away the dead skin cells, dirt and bacteria that can cause breakouts. You also have to be careful with steaming if you have severe acne. Sometimes steaming can make it worse because the steam may increase perspiration and stimulate blood circulation. If you have certain skin conditions that are aggravated by sweating or increased blood circulation, such as rosacea or a fungal infection, then facial steaming may do more harm than good to your skin.”

Learn The Ins & Outs of Facial Massage
“It increases blood flow and circulation which plumps your skin, lifts and firms sagging areas, and improves muscle tone,” shares Kibildis. “It’ll give you an all over glow and it’s relaxing so then your functional facial lines can rest—like unfurrowing that brow! Never skip the facial massage! It’s so important but with that said, definitely read up on how to do one on yourself.”

Double Up on Cleansing
“Doubling or tripling your cleansing treatments is good only if you cleanse with the right products,” explains Johnson.“This will help you avoid breakouts and revive your skin. Because makeup is usually applied after cleansing, I recommend products that don’t dry your skin because it can make your makeup flaky. At night, try an oil cleanser because oil cuts through oil, which helps to remove excess oil, dirt and makeup. Always use a toner and moisturizer or day/night time protection after cleansing.”

Remember to Relax
“Avoid direct sun exposure and let your skin “breathe” post-treatment,” explains Knowles. “Don’t forget to enjoy the beneficial ingredients that were applied to your skin. To maintain your glow, follow the personal beauty prescription plan your aesthetician recommended for you.”