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What is a Facial?

May 08, 2016 CASSANDRA ROBINSON

A facial is a beauty treatment to restore a healthy, clear complexion and give you radiant skin. Most treatments will involve cleansing to get rid of any dead skin, using toner to clean away dirt and unblock pores and moisturising to rehydrate and brighten the skin. Most spa facials will also involve a massage to leave you feeling pampered, relaxed and refreshed.

Spa facials can also involve creams, oils, gels and even oxygen jets, so it’s best to enquire about the treatment beforehand. Some involve a consultation with a beauty professional before the treatment to assess skin type and texture, and to tailor the treatment around the individuals needs. If you’re particularly unsure about your skin and how to care for it, this may be a good idea for you.

A spa facial treatment can last between 15 minutes to an hour and a half depending on the treatment you go for. Once the treatment is over, your skin should look and feel soft and fresh.

How can I make sure my radiant skin lasts after a spa facial?

If your beauty routine consists of splashing water over your face or quickly removing the day’s make-up with a harsh make-up remover then your skin will almost certainly not be looking its best. If you’re always wondering how other people have such a clear complexion and radiant skin (without any make-up) but yours always looks dull and lifeless then it may be time to start thinking over your beauty routine. A skin treatment will help your complexion in the short term but it’s up to you to ensure you keep your new found radiant skin looking healthy in between treatments.

It’s important that skin is kept clean otherwise it won’t be able to kick-start the cell renewal process that helps keep it looking young. So cleanser, toner and moisturiser should be used every day, whichever skin type you have. You’ll need to base the products around your skin type, so if you have an oily, rather than a clear complexion, go for products that are formulated to help oily skin etc.

Try to exfoliate at least once a week and apply a face mask as part of your beauty routine to boost your skin. If your skin’s left red and tight you’ve probably been too harsh, or the product isn’t right for you – try out new products, be gentle and take your time! Finally, try to drink at least two litres of water a day, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and quit smoking to ensure your skin is healthy and hydrated.

What about face masks?

There are so many different types of facials and face masks. If you are going to have a spa facial then you are likely to have a choice of different types. Some beauty therapists will talk to you about your skin type and choose the products to use on you based on your answers. This is great because it means that you don't need to try and work out what the best products are for you. 

Face mask products can have different textures and consistencies such as:

  • Thick and creamy
  • Wet gels
  • Thin peels
  • Dry clays
  • Oily
  • Lumpy

When it comes to face masks that you apply yourself at home there are countless types and brands. If you know your own skin type then getting a mask that you can apply yourself can be a great way of keeping your skin looking great between spa facials. If you are using a face mask at home and have sensitive skin, it would be a good idea to test out a small amount of the mask on a small area of your face first to check that you don't react badly to it. 

You could also make your own face mask! Popular homemade face masks have involved vitamin and mineral rich fruits and vegetables and foods with health giving properties such as avocado, banana, chocolate, olive oil, egg white, coffee and more. If creating a scrub there are some things that may be good to use such as oats, sugar and even cat litter can be used for a clay mask!

You should aim to keep your face mask on for around 10-15 minutes, although some can be shorter or longer depending on their ingredients.

Side effects of facials and face masks

These treatments are generally very safe and not thought to have side effects but there are a few things you should be aware of and make your beauty therapist aware of. 

  • If you have any allergies, always tell your therapist as they may need to change the products used on you
  • If you are pregnant, tell your therapist, who will be able to decide whether the products and treatment is suitable for you
  • If you are uncomfortable, let your beauty therapist know
  • If the products used on you cause you pain or discomfort, let your therapist know
  • If you are in doubt about the techniques that your therapist is going to use during your treatment then don't be afraid to ask questions. They should be well trained and able to answer your questions

Once you have had your facial treatment, it is recommended that you don't wear make up for at least 24 hours, to enhance the effects and to give your skin a chance to take in all the goodness you have just provided it with. Your skin is also likely to be a lot more sensitive in the hours following your treatment, so make up could cause problems.