Anatomy of a Facial

It occurred to me that some of you who lie down on my treatment table are not truly aware of the process I go through when I perform a facial. While I think that’s great (you simply trust me!), I feel I owe it to you explain how you how facials are much more than a “fluff” luxury, despite all those feel-good hot towels and the warmed up treatment table.

First, it’s consultation time. I always talk to you about your skin. What is of concern to you? Not getting enough sleep? Stressed out lately? Picking at your face while you watch TV? Allergies? Forgot to use sun block for an entire day? It’s important to me to address your concerns and document them (yes, that rustle of paper while I am letting a product do its work on you is what you hear when I am documenting your skin’s history and what products we may have used on you before).

It’s great to come to me with clean skin, but I realize some of my clients arrive directly from work for their facials. So my first step, even if you’ve cleaned your skin with your own products, is to cleanse. I use a mild cleanser (the steamer may be spitting out its micro-droplets of water on you) to remove dirt, oil, and any lingering patches of makeup. I also begin to familiarize myself with the look and feel of your skin, checking its elasticity, dryness, etc. Look and feel are crucial for me to plot a course for what type of facial your skin will need.

Then I cleanse again, but this time I use a stronger cleanser – one designed to lift dead skin and soften pores. Sometimes I’ll use a scrub at this point. While I’m doing this, I am choosing from a variety of enzymes based on what your skin needs, what you’ve told me about your lifestyle and time constraints, and the weather as well. Then I turn the steamer off if we have used it at all (not all clients like or need it).

I’ll apply the gel or toner solution either with a brush or my fingers to help loosen dead skin, because my next step will be to hydrate using a special serum. Your skin proceeds to dry up a bit and your pores begin to tighten up as well. The serum will keep them moist enough so that when I cover your eyes to turn on a very bright examination light, I can perform any needed extractions without inflicting temporary blindness. I try never to force an extraction, whether the zits or blackheads are around your nose, on your cheek or populating your chin. If those puppies want relief, they tell me in no uncertain terms. Okay, I will admit this is one of the more enjoyable portions of my work. I love cleaning things out because I adore results. Keep in mind that it’s fairly difficult to duplicate the care I take with these extractions at home. The light, the angles of your skin from my view, and the conditions under which I safely relieve your pores all make for a very exacting procedure.

After this I apply a mask based on the type of facial I am performing (for all the different types, find them on my web site). Usually I apply two masks – one is anti-bacterial and one is calming. Both are hydrating in nature, helping to lighten dark spots a bit and get your skin glowing again. Because this can take up to 20 minutes, now is when I give you a light neck, shoulder and hand massage, depending on the length of your facial appointment. Ahhhhh. Don’t worry. I won’t judge if I hear a bit of snoring going on. Relaxation is what this is all about.

Uh oh. It’s coming to an end. Once I hot towel you again, it’s time to apply more serum, a moisturizer and SPF to protect your now-clean, exposed skin. I can talk to you about what you’ll need to do at home to maintain your pampered face and décolletage, and what we might do during your next visit. It’s a time to ask me more questions or simply lie there and enjoy your last few moments breathing in the aromas swirling around your nostrils. It’s your time, so we can speak as little or as much as you want.

That pretty much gets you a bird’s eye view of what happens on my table during your facial. I am always open to hearing about new products or things you’ve heard that can help me continue to take care of your skin – the largest organ of your body – and to plan a course of action for future visits based on what your skin needs over time.

I do love my work. Can you tell?




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  • Michael

    It’s true, you are very thorough in your assessments to provide the best facial for your client skin care needs. So that’s what the rustle of paper is as I relax with my eyes closed, your copious recording of skin condition, products used, etc. Wow…you are absolutely wonderful!