For most, facials are a treat. A luxury you bestow upon yourself to give your skin an added boost of nourishment and care. They’re also a leap of faith in that you’re putting your complexion in someone’s hands for the next hour or so. And while a fair amount of responsibility definitely lies in your esthetician’s abilities and knowledge, doing your own due diligence pre-treatment is key to getting the best results from your facial. In fact, there are some key things you should always ask your facialist before an appointment.
Yes, having a clear understanding of both your specific skincare needs and the right treatment for those needs is key to having a great experience in the treatment room. ”Sometimes, you just don’t know what to look for in a treatment menu,” says renowned celebrity esthetician and La Mer’s newest Global Skincare Advisor Georgia Louise. “Sometimes you want brightening and sometimes you want extractions, or maybe you need both, so I believe in bespoke facials to do whatever your skin needs.”
Beforehand, however, some questions need to be asked of your esthetician, says Louise. Failure to do so can mean the difference between radiant, glowing skin and a serious skin reaction. To find out exactly what these inquiries should entail, The Zoe Report sat down with Louise (whose celebrity clientele includes Sandra Bullock, Emily Blunt, Michelle Williams, and Christy Turlington) and got the skinny on what ground should be covered pre-facial.
Question #1: “What Should I Avoid Pre-Treatment?”
Louise explains that, often, clients do their own pre-facial prep, which can lead to some disastrous results. “I find that some people may decide to pop their own pimple before a facial or do a harsh exfoliant with vitamin A — and their skin breaks out,” she explains, adding that, in the week prior to a facial, you should be gentle on your complexion. “Don’t pick it, don’t aggravate it, don’t do anything out of the ordinary like go and have a laser treatment or use a harsh Retin-A. Just give your skin a break for a week so you can set yourself up for an amazing experience.”
Question #2: “What Do You Recommend For My Skin?”
While one may assume that estheticians have a magical ability to glance at a person’s face and automatically know what their skin needs, this is just not so. They are the experts on treatment, but you are the expert on your own skin's behavior, so an open dialogue and conversation pre-facial is crucial, says Louise. “It’s really important to understand what your skincare goals are,” she explains. “I may have things that I see in you, but there may be things I don’t see that could be bothering you. Knowing what you’re looking to achieve in your treatment is a vital first step.”
With this first step, comes the crucial question you should always ask: What do you recommend? “This is when I go in and give my own assessment of the skin,” Louise explains. “I’ll say, ‘Well, I see some pigmentation on the cheeks’ or ‘the pores seem a bit enlarged’ or ‘you look dehydrated.’ Then, we have a dialect and can go into the nitty gritty elements of the treatment [based on the discussed needs].” Moral of the story here? Never go into a treatment cold and assume one facial fits all.
Question #3: “What Modalities Do You Have?”
Microcurrent. Ultrasound. Microdermabrasion. Many estheticians have specific modalities they swear by and incorporate in their facials. And while every modality has its strength, not all will work the same magic on your skin or are even appropriate for what your skin needs. Louise suggests getting the gist of these techniques prior to stepping into the treatment room, especially for those with sensitive or reactive skin. If something sounds too abrasive or harsh on the complexion, communicate this to your facialist to avoid harsh and possibly painful consequences.
Question #4: “What Products Are You Using?”
Riding on the above notion, products are another major component to any facial, and every esthetician has their roster of tried-and-true brands and products. Again, the active ingredients in some formulas may not agree with your skin, so doing your research beforehand is important. Getting this intel as early as possible will give your esthetician ample time to make any necessary product adjustments and help avoid a chemical reaction or skin flare up.
Question #5: “What Should I Do (And Avoid) Post-Treatment?”
Even if everything goes smoothly in the treatment room, there’s some damage that can be done when you leave. If you’re going in for a first-time facial, make sure you ask your esthetician what to do and what to avoid post-treatment. Some basic rules of thumb will always stand — and, while fairly obvious, everyone should be well aware of just what they are, says Louise. “You should wear plenty of SPF and a sunhat for two days,” she explains. “I would avoid extreme temperatures immediately after — both hot and cold — because your skin is still regenerating and calming down from the facial and you don’t want to exacerbate by adding extreme climates to the skin.”
You should also follow the targeted regimen your facialist recommends based on your skin concerns (discussed earlier). “A good esthetician will often give you a protocol to follow, whether it be to not wash your face that evening or use a specific cleanser or moisturizer,” says Louise, who believes a solid serum is always good product to keep in-stock for post-treatment (and everyday) nourishment. “Serums are what we call the treatment go-to. I always like to make sure that every client has a serum in their collection as that’s the powerhouse product.”
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