When I was 16 years old and had pretty bad acne, my mom made me get a facial. Not just any facial, an extraction facial. Do you know what that is? It’s when they use their fingers to push all of the gunk (I mean all of it) out of your pores. Basically, it feels like someone’s trying to pop a pimple in every single one of your pores, even if there isn’t one. Ouch. I left with a red, blotchy, swollen face and a pretty gruesome idea of what a facial was.
Now, at 27, I thought maybe it’d be time to get an “adult” facial. People rave about facials, but because of my teenage trauma, I had no interest. That is, until an esthetician at Ulta talked me into it. I told him about my past experience, and he calmed my nerves by taking a look at my skin and telling me what I actually needed. He said I certainly didn’t need an extraction, and instead, he planned to rid my complexion of dead skin cells and soothe any redness that tends to show up on my cheeks. Already, I felt like he understood my skin, so I was down.
I started off by laying down in basically a glorified dentist’s chair, which made me nervous — I hate the dentist. But once he started cleansing my skin and removing my makeup, I relaxed. There’s something about someone massaging your face that is so weird and soothing all at the same time. He did a double cleanse, then applied a product to remove dead skin cells and improve my skin’s texture. Honestly, it smelled like crap, but it didn’t hurt so I was okay with it. Next came the oatmeal mask — it had other stuff in it too, but it smelled like oatmeal and was so calming on my skin. He finished with a hot towel and moisturizer.
Now, for the results. Holy moly. Instead of leaving the salon with a puffy red face, my skin looked amazing. It was even-toned, SO soft, and honestly looked like I was wearing makeup. That soft texture remained for the next few days. It’s like my skin was a blank slate — my products worked better and my makeup looked better. After this experience, I highly recommend getting a facial as often as you can. BUT it’s important to make sure you’re getting the right treatment for your skin. Rather than choosing one off the menu, have the esthetician look at your skin first and help you decide what’s best.
Because I asked my esthetician about a million and one questions while in that chair, I thought I’d share with you what I learned.
1. Your Skin Isn’t Dry
What?!? I’ve always had dry skin — or so I thought. Every time I washed my face, it felt tight and needed moisturizer immediately. And then, my esthetician told me it was the products making my skin dry. He said if you use the right cleanser, your skin should just feel like skin. That blew my mind. Ever since I’ve been using Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel and he’s totally right. My skin just feels like skin after I use it. Of course, I still need to apply moisturizer, but it doesn’t have that same tight and dry feeling it used to. In reality, my skin is dryer than normal because of how it reacts to other cleansers, but not as dry as I thought.
2. Don’t Use Your SPF Moisturizer at Night
I didn’t think it really mattered if I used my day cream at night, but apparently I was wrong. You’re not supposed to sleep with SPF on your skin. I’m not exactly sure why, but he was very adamant about that. Instead, night creams are specifically designed for the state of your skin when you’re asleep. It’s made to soak in throughout the night and react to the warmer temperature of your skin while you sleep. He also recommended I use a serum before my night cream, so I’ve been combining Dermalogica Age Smart Overnight Repair Serum with their Pure Night moisturizer.
3. Skip the Clarisonic
I thought the Clarisonic was a miracle worker for all skin types, but once again I was wrong. For skin that falls on the dryer, more sensitive side of the spectrum, the Clarisonic can be too harsh. (Even the brushes they call “sensitive”.) So the good news is, no more spending ridiculous amounts of money on skincare tools…just on products :).