As a current esthetics student in California, one of the many benefits I’ve gotten out of furthering my skincare education is relaxing and learning how to do facials (especially facial massage).

Getting a facial in a spa setting can be quite relaxing

Getting a facial in a spa setting can be quite relaxing

If you have never received a facial before, it may be easy to dismiss it as an extraneous expense. Nonetheless with regular treatments, you will be sure to note the difference (every month will show optimal results). In fact, facials are a wonderful way to keep your skin glowing and feeling healthy.A perk of facials is being able to use professional only products. For instance, more aggressive exfoliation products are sold to skin care professionals, and are not available to consumers for day to day use.

Before a facial, you will fill out a consultation form: this helps the esthetician determine what contraindications that may come up. For instance, Accutane and Retin-A users and recently waxed skin (in the last 24 hours) will not be able to get facials.

Double Cleanse: This involves removing traces of makeup and surface debris from the face! Generally, the first cleanse consists of an oil-based cleanser. The second cleanse is a water-based cleanser, and both are promptly removed with sponges.

Skin Analysis: The esthetician will analyze the skin and check for skin abrasions, signs of sun damage, and excess sebum. The purpose behind this is to determine skin type, and to select the most beneficial products.

Exfoliation: Your skin will be gently exfoliated using a manual or chemical exfoliant to remove dead skin cells.

Massage: This is a extremely therapeutic method of manipulating the body by kneading and stroking the skin with the hands. Massage benefits include increased circulation of the blood supply to the skin, body tension relief, softer and improved skin texture, and stimulation of glandular activities. Depending on the area, estheticians are licensed to massage the face and neck only.

Toner: Toners help bring the skin back to a normal pH and cleanses the skin. They work with cleansers, and are selected based on skin types.

Moisturizer for normal and dry skin types

Moisturizer for normal and dry skin types

Mask: Masks are designed to provide the skin with benefits depending on your skin type. For example, dry skin types are suitable for richer masks, while oily and acneic skin types may use clay or mud masks.

Eye Product: Since the eye area is the most delicate, a moisturizing eye product will be applied gently.

Moisturizer: Moisturizers add hydration to the skin, balance moisture and your natural oils. Remember that oily skin needs hydration as much as dry skin types do, so moisturizing properly can reduce oily appearances. Normal and dry skin types may use moisturizers with vitamins, humectants, and other ingredients that promote cell renewal.

Sunscreen: The last step in a facial involves sunscreen: this is a must especially if using products that are sensitizing to the skin. Sunscreen will protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. In fact, studies show that 90% of wrinkles come from too much sun exposure, and the remaining 10% comes from the typical aging process.

If going to a high-end spa is out of reach, why not go to a school instead? You can receive facials and other services from esthetician students (under the supervision of licensed esthetician teachers), usually at discounted prices.

Have you gotten a facial before? What is your favorite service? Let me know in the comments below!