Facials: The Good and the Bad

Oh how I love to be pampered. Before I received my retch inducing invoice from the IRS, lady-sans-foresight here treated herself to a massage at the Four Seasons. Wowza! Just the free amenities and goodies were worth the cost. Check out that spa/tub to the right! I should have never left.

Now I really did need that massage (too much power yoga), but what about facials? Do we need them?

Here are good reasons to get a facial:

  • If you have the extra cash (present company excluded)
  • You want to treat yourself (job promotion, graduation, etc.)
  • You need a skin consultation (e.g. problematic skin).

If you want to get a facial for one of the first 2 reasons, good for you and go for it!

If it’s for the last reason, I highly, highly recommend it.

Remember Curious Case of Mineral Oil? Well, it’s way too long–brevity often escapes me–but it details my experience with a bout of bad skin and how a magical esthetician (i.e. facialist) ultimately helped figure out my problem after a long, Siddartha-like journey (minus spirituality and enlightenment).

So, for consultation purposes, treat yourself and go somewhere reputable and check out what products they use first (it’s usually posted online).

Also, no need to pick a facial treatment from their menu prior to consultation. Give the spa a call, tell them your skin concerns, and make an appointment. Either they’ll have suggestions or the esthetician will do a skin assessment and then determine the best treatment for you.

Here are the reasons NOT to get a facial:

  • Instant gratification–clear, beautiful skin
  • You found a super cheap place
  • You figure it’s better than buying at-home treatments

Instant gratification–clear, beautiful skin: Uh, no, not going to happen. Sorry. You’ll likely break out a bit. I do every time. Don’t believe me? Well, would you argue with the queen of facials herself, Kate Somerville? I actually got a glycolic peel a few years ago and I had the biggest, nastiest, most painful blemishes for two weeks after since it essentially purges your skin. I should note, I do not recommend chemical/glycolic/microdermabrasion since they’re really harsh. Your skin should be pampered NOT punished.

You found a super cheap place: If it’s super cheap, save your money. Yes, I know I’m a snob. I hate drugstore products and I don’t trust anything that’s on sale. But a facial is not just about getting a facial. It’s about talking to an expert (e.g. consulting), relaxing (e.g. beautiful atmosphere, amenities), and having quality products/treatments used on your skin. I recommend the following spas:

You figure it’s better than buying  at-home treatments: If you’re like me and don’t necessarily need a consultation at the moment and don’t have the extra cheddar to spend on such lovely treats, then I recommend buying a few products to give yourself a plethora of mini-facials instead. It may add up to the same amount as a facial, but you have them for a longer period of time and no tip needed!

Here are my recommendations:

  • Moisture Masks: Arcona’s Wine Hydrating Mask or KohGenDo’s Oriental Plants Deep Moisture Mask (just tried this…amazing; have to do a bit more research/trials, but will post if it’s a keeper, which I think it will)
  • Exfoliants: Tatcha’s Rice Enzyme Powder (post coming soon!), Decleor’s Phytopeel Cream
  • Treatments: Sunday Riley’s Good Genes. Absolutely insane how awesome this product is. It gives your skin an instant glow and it feels like you just got a facial. Post coming soon (2 more trials to go).
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