Just as there is no one type of skin, there is no one type of facial. Depending on your mood and goals, the skincare treatment can be pampering or clinical, detoxifying or hydrating, targeted to topicals or multi-modal. Regardless of what you choose, however, you can always count on at least one thing – that coveted post-facial glow and all the skin-boosting benefits that accompany it.
Facials have the ability to pack a serious skincare punch that lingers long after you leave the spa, but the results can feel fleeting if you don’t know how to maximize them. Here, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about maintaining and even extending the results of a facial to ensure you make the most of your time and money.
How to Prepare for a Post-Facial Glow
Facials are a small but mighty treatment. Even so, it’s important to remember that there are parameters to what they can address. If you are new to the facial game, make sure you have a good understanding of your skin. While facials are very customizable, they may exacerbate certain skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, rosacea, or psoriasis. Those with an underlying skin concern may first want to visit the dermatologist for a diagnosis. Once you have the all clear, it’s time to do some research.
Do Your Homework
- Find the Right Provider: The same care you take to vet the perfect dermatologist or plastic surgeon should be extended to selecting your aesthetician. For starters, they should be licensed by the state they practice in. But, from there, you’ll want to consider the person’s speciality (say, acne-prone skin) and types of services they offer.
- Consider Your Timing: Just got a fresh round of injectables? How about a laser treatment? You’ll want to consider this when booking a facial and, needless to say, share that info with your aesthetician. “We also want to know if you’ve had anything done recently – did you just have a peel? – because this will determine what we choose to do,” says Terrie Absher, a licensed aesthetician and founder of Total Glow in Silicon Valley.
- Location, Location, Location: Pandemic protocols may be shifting, but one thing that is here to stay? Telemedicine or, in this case, tele-skincare. Many facialists are now offering virtual services that allow you to reap the benefits of a professional treatment from the comfort of your own home. In lieu of the normal in-person skin assessment, you’ll likely be asked to submit some kind of digital survey ahead of time. “For virtual facials, we send out a questionnaire to find out what your concerns and routine is like, so we can take care of that,” Absher notes. I was lucky enough to experience one of Absher’s virtual facials, and I can safely say it’s one of the best treatments I’ve ever had – period.
You’ve found your aesthetician and booked an appointment. Now’s the time to sit back, relax, and count down the days until your facial, right? Not if you want to make the most out of your treatment. What you do (or don’t do) in the lead up to your service will have an impact on how it goes and the results you enjoy afterward. With that in mind, Absher has these tips for how to prepare for a facial in the weeks and days ahead:
- Hydrate: Healthy skin is hydrated skin. That starts with drinking enough water every day and eating a well-balanced, skin-friendly diet. “We don’t think of you as just bringing your face to fix these concerns, we approach it from a more holistic way,” Absher explains. “What you’re drinking, eating, and doing can be factored in your skin’s appearance.”
- Stick to Routine: Prior to a facial, it's best to maintain your normal skincare regimen – unless you are advised to lay off certain ingredients. If you’re using a retinol or retinoid, for example, you’ll want to share that with your aesthetician ahead of time. Depending on the treatment, you may need to discontinue use for a few days. Even if you don’t need to pause on your vitamin A derivative, Absher says the service may need to be customized to calm any irritation or sensitivity.
- Slather on the Sunscreen: A sunburn before a treatment? That’s a no-no. Avoid any UV-induced inflammation by being extra vigilant with your sun care prior to your facial. This will help ensure your skin is in the best possible shape for treatment.
The day has finally arrived – yay! Now is the time to hand over your face to the pros, so that they can work their magic. But, before you lay down on the table, Absher says there are a few last-minute things in keep in mind:
- Go Barefaced: No matter the time of your appointment, there is no need to skip your skincare routine that morning. That’s especially true of sunscreen. One thing you can forgo? Makeup – though don’t worry if you show up with a full face. All facials start with a thorough cleanse regardless of what you have on your face.
- Don’t Be Shy: The more you tell your aesthetician about yourself and your skin, the more they can do for you. “When we see people, we look at all of their lifestyle aspects,” Absher shares. That extends from how you are taking care of yourself (“have they been drinking and eating junk food,” she asks) to what you have coming up on the calendar (“are they getting ready for a wedding,” she adds). “Then we can know what we are dealing with,” Absher says.
By following this checklist, you’ll know that you’ve done all you can ahead of time to set yourself up for success. Your aesthetician will take care of the rest.
How to Maintain That Post-Facial Glow
Whether you just enjoyed a HydraFacial®, SaltFacial™, JetPeel™ facial, or a regularly scheduled extraction session, there is a lot you can do post-treatment to maximize and extend the hydrating, exfoliating, pore-clearing, glow-inducing benefits. What’s even more important than what you can do, however, is what you should avoid. So, let’s start with the ‘no-no’ list:
- Picking at Skin: Need we say more? Dirty fingers on freshly pampered skin can open the door to bacteria getting into the pores. This can lead to breakouts or exacerbate any purging the skin may already be going through as a result of treatment.
- Sunbathing: Sun exposure isn’t entirely avoidable, but you can be mindful to stay out of direct sunlight. And there is no excuse to ever be unprotected (this includes sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses). Absher confirms that most facials will end with the aesthetician applying SPF, but be sure to reapply throughout the day – and every day after.
- Visiting the Steam Room or Sauna: A hot shower after a long day is okay, but a visit to the sauna or steam room should be skipped. Additionally, nix your facial steamer for a week after treatment to prevent bacteria exposure to freshly cleaned pores.
- Exfoliating: We probably don’t have to remind you about damage beaded scrubs and other physical exfoliants can cause when not applied properly, but it’s especially important to be cognizant of this after a facial. “What we do during our treatment will be like a workout for the face, so there's no need to overdo it the day or two after, ” Absher notes. This applies to chemical exfoliants, too.
Now that you know what you shouldn’t do post-facial, here are a few expert-approved tips to keep your complexion in, well, tip-top shape:
- Focus on Routine: According to Absher, at-home devices (think: microcurrent and LED masks) are your friends and should be incorporated into your routine as per usual post-facial. Because they are not as strong as their in-office counterparts, they can be used in conjunction to maintain the skin. Alongside a tailor-made skincare regimen, Absher says you’ll be able to prolong those coveted effects.
- Ask the Expert: Between the ultra-magnifying mirror and their years of expertise, an aesthetician is going to know a thing or two about your skin by the end of your facial. From routine advice to ingredient insights, an insider like Absher will be able to give you a level of personalization in her recommendations that Google won't. “Nothing should be on autopilot,” she says. “We are always looking at what you are experiencing and can see what can be done in the future to benefit you.”
- Schedule a Follow-Up: The best way to maintain your post-facial glow? Schedule round two. For those who are ready to take their skin to the next level, consider finding a specialist you are ready to commit to. Routine visits can complement the skin's natural regenerative cycle, keep skin concerns in check, and be customized to treat exactly what you wish at any given time.
Skin cells naturally turn over every 28 days or so (though this process slows with age), which leads to an automatic glow-up. Regularly scheduled facials can help supercharge the effect. And, even if one treatment is all that is in the cards for you at the moment, it is possible to make the radiant effects of a facial last longer with a few simple pre- and post-procedure steps – from staying hydrated and out of the sun to keeping up with your at-home skincare routine and your hands away from your face.
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