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The anatomy of a Facial



So you want to know what getting a facial looks like? Thats a valid question all new skincare clients might have. In the age of #tiktok and #youtube it's easy to have self proclaimed gurus telling you what you think you should know. Well, I may not be able to answer all your questions in this brief yet informative blog post, but I can give you the break down of what a standard facial may look like when you're in the treatment room with your #estibestie.


1a. Skin analysis. Especially when you're a new client, your #esthetician or #aesthetician will access your skin. They aren't judging you here so fear not, they are just looking to see if there are any troubled areas or areas of concern. They are also looking at the overall well being of your skin. You could have flawless looking skin but still need some rehydrating. This can take shape in many forms. Some spas have fancy scanners and cameras or some keep a woods lamp (it's a cool light that will make your skin reflect a glow of various colors depending on the variety of skin "abnormalities" which can include dry/oily, discolored or hyperpigmented and sun damaged skin.) Some skin care providers like myself will do a visual assessment to make sure you don't have any suspicious looking marks, moles or unusual occurrence going on at the surface. Nonetheless depending on the type of spa you're in this process could be a few minutes to an hour long. Typically longer sessions are done in high end, medical type practices but that's not always a given.


1b. The plan. After the skin analysis, your skin care provider will probably give you the game plan. If you're going in for a more #basic facial (I hate the fact that basic has a negative connotation because there is nothing wrong with a nuts and bolts type facial) the plan may simply be to proceed with the facial's set protocols. In a custom facial, facial clients will probably be asked what their skin care goals are if they haven't been asked already and then a plan will be formed from there.


Drum roll please.... now we are ready to start the facial. So, basic steps are as follows

  1. Cleanse: we are going to clean up that superficial stuff. Makeup, dirt, oily/ dry stuff that's going on. You know, clean 'er up.

  2. Double cleanse. Okay so not everyone does this but, if you're someone who regularly wears makeup, you'll be happy they did.

  3. Toner. This is going to balance the Ph of your skin and leave it in it's best pre-facial completion state. This is the best your skin can look in the moment. At this point, if I am going to tweak my facial plan, this is the final hour. (It's not locked in stone but this is usually where I grab anything I think I may need.)

  4. Exfoliation. This can look different in any treatment room. This can include physical exfoliants like "scrubs" or micro-exfoliants; manual exfoliation like microdermabrasion (crystal or diamond tip), hydrodermabrasion (high-powered water vacuum) or dermaplaning (skin scraping); or chemical exfoliants like enzymes and chemical peels. There are also laser resurfacing treatments and such but to be honest, I'm not an MD that's currently out of my paygrade.

  5. Massage. Okay so this one is pretty self explanatory. You get to relax (if you weren't already) and have someone massage your face. Not only does this feel pretty great, but it also benefits the skin and the tissue below.

  6. Extract. This is a love/hate for people. Extraction is a fancy term for removing the crud in your pores. So those whiteheads, popped; blackheads, dislodged; that 2 day old foundation living just below the surface, gone. If you're someone who suffers from acne as I did some years ago, you may dislike this part but you'll be most thankful for it. #estheticians are trained to safely remove this buildup as to leave you from any permanent marking, scarring or trauma to the skin. So put away the safety pins and extraction tools you found online and leave it to the #professionals. We got this. After your extraction there's probably going to be a clean up, wipe down but I won't make that its own step. We will call this Two Tone.

  7. Mask. At this point you're probably going to get a mask or masque of some sort. This may be a clay or sea mud to remove excess oil, a hydration mask to bring some life back to lackluster skin or something way cooler than those two generally common things that the general population has knowledge of. I note that most masks will need to be removed. This may happen with a towel or rolling off the physical mask you have on your face. I won't make this it's own step but note there's probably a removal process.

  8. Serums, essence and moisturizers. I'm and going to lump this into one step. Although all three of these things has different jobs and functions, they are all typically applied in the same manner. they are usually applied and massaged into the skin for maximum penetration into the skin. Serums typically has a targeted function like anti-aging or hydration. Essence is a little more varied as it can be used throughout a massage but it's basically like serum lite. It's super popular in longer multiprocess facials and kbeauty. Moisturizers do just that, they moisturize the skin and they are by far my favorite night time product of all. (I say night time because the next step is my most favorite product of all.) Disclaimer:Moisturizer is not just an evening product.

  9. SPF. Last but certainly not least is SPF. Sun protection, regardless of location, demographics, ethnicity, heritage, background, gender identity, etc. IS SO IMPORTANT I NEED TO TYPE IN ALLLLLL CAPSSSSS!!!!! Seriously, UV protection is so important. Getting some sun is good, getting too much is bad. This in turn is why we need SPF. And we have come a long way from Zinc white nose paste people. There are beautiful cast-less sun protection in a variety of protection levels and application methods. Please for all that is sacred, wear sun protection. Please, please, please. You will thank me in your golden age.


Well, there you have it. Those are all the steps to a "basic" facial. Doesn't sound so basic now does it? That's not to say you should be scared of what your appointment holds, but now you have an idea of what to expect from your appointment. When in doubt, talk with your provider about the process, most of us- even the introverts, don't mind explaining the process and answering questions. Honestly, most of us love educating out guests.


Now if you have made it this far and still have questions, don't hesitate to email your question. It may be my next blog post. #spektrimselfcare #selfcare #facials #anatomy #skinhealth #fortheloveofspf #steps

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