A facial is a procedure involving a variety of skin treatments, including: steam, exfoliation, extraction, creams, lotions, facial masks, peels, and massage. They are normally performed in beauty salons but are also a common spa treatment. Facials are generally categorized, for example:
- European facial
- LED light therapy facial
Facials are used for general skin health as well as for specific skin conditions. Most of us lead busy lives and taking care of our skin isn‘t always as high on our list of priorities as we‘d hope. Skin needs a thorough cleansing session at least once a week to prevent it from looking dull, but a daily beauty routine should be followed if possible. However some women can go over the top with cleansers and exfoliators, vigorously stripping their skin of its natural defences and essential nutrients. It‘s often hard to know exactly how we should be caring for our skin and with so many products available it can also be hard to know where to start.
A beauty professional will be able to look at your skin and recommend the best products to use (e.g. products for oily, dry or normal skin) and offer advice on the most appropriate routine for you. They will also be able to offer treatments to restore a brighter, glowing and clear complexion. Although a good spa facial treatment will leave you glowing when you leave the salon, it‘s important to know that there are other factors determining how skin looks, such as smoking and the amount of water you drink.
What is a facial?
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.
There are different kinds of masks (e.g. cactus, cucumber, etc.) for different purposes: deepcleansing, by penetrating the pores; healing acne scars or hyper-pigmentation; brightening, for a gradual illumination of the skin tone. Some masks are designed to dry or solidify on the face, almost like plaster; others just remain wet. The perceived effects of a facial mask treatment include revitalizing, healing, or refreshing; and, may yield temporary or long-term benefits (depending on environmental, dietary, and other skincare factors).
Masks are removed by either rinsing the face with water, wiping off with a damp cloth, or peeling off of the face by hand. Duration for wearing a mask varies with the type of mask, and manufacturer’s usage instructions. The time can range from a few minutes to overnight. Those with sensitive skin are advised to first test out the mask on a small portion of the skin, in order to check for any irritations. Some facial masks are not suited to frequent use. A glycolic mask can only be used once a month without the risk of burning the skin.
Masks can be found anywhere from drugstores to department stores, and can vary in consistency and form. Setting masks include: clay, which is a thicker consistency, and will draw out impurities (and sometimes, natural oils, too) from the pores; a cream, which stays damp to hydrate the skin; sheet-style, in which a paper mask is dampened with liquid to tone and moisturize the skin; and lastly, a hybrid/clay and cream form that includes small beads for removing dead surface skin cells.
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
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.
However, beauty expert Shahnaz Husain advises, “The skin type should be kept in mind while selecting a facial. The beauty therapist analyzes the skin and suggests the treatment that’s suitable for a particular skin type — oily, dry or combination.”
For a woman with a normal skin type, a facial massage is provided by using nourishing creams. Moisturizers are also used. Husain suggests, “If you have normal or dry skin, ideally opt for the classic facial or a plant stem facial.”
Classic facial: The classic salon facial includes cleansing, toning and massage (done manually or with the help of gadgets), mask and protection coverage. All the areas of the face and the neck are treated according to specific needs. This facial is done following a specific direction and movement of the fingers. Different strokes and pressures are applied to various areas.
Duration: 1 hour
Plant stem cell facial:This facial helps rejuvenate the skin and makes it look younger. The plant cells are introduced into the skin through external cosmetic care. They help the skin at the cellular level and activate the process of repair and replacement of dead and damaged skin cells. The facial stimulates the cellular regeneration process in the skin, reducing the signs of ageing. This facial comprises an exfoliator, cream, mask, serum and an under-eye gel.
Duration: 1 hour
“For those with oily skin, a facial massage with creams or moisturizers is not advised,” says Husain. The facial treatment for oily skin includes deep cleansing with exfoliation, toning, mask and protection. The masks and other procedures help remove excess oils, shrink the pores and make the skin soft and translucent.
Pearl facial: This facial is ideal for those with an oily skin. It helps remove tan and brightens the skin. Deep cleansing is done next, to refine the skin. This is followed by a light facial massage with pearl cream and application of a pearl mask. It helps retain moisture and revitalizes the skin.
This facial ensures natural lightening of the skin, giving fair and radiant skin with an even color tone.
Duration: 1 hour
Silver facial: This facial is done to detoxify and purify your skin. The silver facial consists of a glow scrub, gel, cream and pack that offers dull skin an instant lift. This facial not only restores the natural pH balance of your skin, but also clears the pores and deep cleans to prevent the formation of blackheads.
“The silver facial revives your skin by giving it the right amount of moisture, and evens out your tone, leaving your skin evidently supple and charming.”
Duration: 40 minutes to 1 hour
Combination skin needs to be treated carefully, since the face has both dry and oily tissues. After cleansing, the dry area of the skin is massaged and the face is toned with a cold compress, using a rose-based skin tonic.
Platinum facial: The platinum facial is said to recharge and energize your skin. It influences the skin at the cellular level and helps to ensure the strength of its supportive tissues. It maintains the desired moisture level. It has powerful anti-oxidant effects which protect the skin’s youthful properties and impart radiance.
Duration: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Benefits of a facial
- Professional cleansing, exfoliating and toning are part of a facial, and hence protect and preserve youthfulness.
- A facial delays the signs of ageing, fine lines and wrinkles and keeps the skin soft and supple.
- Both, the skin and muscles, are toned, which preserves firmness and elasticity.
- It induces relaxation and helps reduce stress and fatigue.
- Improves blood circulation, strengthens the supportive tissues and improves the skin’s resilience.
- A facial also helps in lymphatic drainage, which flushes out toxins from your system and purifies the skin.
Keep in mind
- You can go for a facial every 4-6 weeks and clean-up every fortnight.
- Make sure your facial regime includes cleansing, exfoliation, black head removal, mask, steaming and miniaturization.
- Ensure that the face and the neck area is massaged thoroughly. The massage should be gentle and not harsh.
- “If your skin is dry, then ensure that a hydrating ingredient is a part of your facial mixture. For those with oily skin, make sure alpha hydroxyl acid or beta hydroxyl acid is used which help to reduce excess oil flow. Those with sensitive kin should stay away from fragrance-based ingredients which can lead to eruptions.”