A First-Timer's Facial Before and After
Women's skin-care regimens are becoming the trending topic of 2018 and it's not just beauty behemoths like Vogue talking about it, either. A slew of online think-pieces have cropped up everywhere from The Outline and Vox to The New Yorker and they're asking a lot of questions: Is skincare the new self-care? Is it empowering? Is it all just a big, fat scam? It's both confusing and fascinating to a person such as myself, who has only been washing her face with any regularity since she was 29.
And trust me, it was out of laziness, not because I had great skin. While the regular breakouts of my teenage years have (mostly) subsided, the oiliness and redness has not. As I've slowly stepped up my game when it comes to actually taking care of myself, but I've never gotten a facial, not even before my wedding. I didn't even know what happens during a facial. I'd always wanted to try one, and I wondered if it would be the panacea to erase my blackheads, minimize those pores, and give me that dewy glow everyone is so eager for.
After a lot of hemming and hawing, I finally booked a custom facial at Allyu Spa. I picked a Thursday after work and despite a busy week, felt a little excited about doing something that honestly sounded so totally decadent for myself. Read on to check out my facial before and after.
Right before my facial, I was actually feeling a little frustrated with my skin. A couple troublesome red spots had popped up, it was feeling (and looking) oilier than ever while somehow also being dry and flaky, and it seemed that toying around with actually building a skincare regime for myself just wasn't going that great. So I should've been relieved to have a facial on the books, right?
On the day of the appointment, I panicked. Suddenly, I remembered being told not to get a facial before an important event. Go figure I had a birthday party coming up that weekend. Was my face going to be a red, blotchy mess? Was it going to make me breakout? I'd been curious about extractions: would I need to skip them now or risk looking totally enflamed come Saturday night? If I had to skip parts of the treatment, was I going to feel like I completely wasted my money?
And really, What was I thinking?!
Allyu Spa ended up being the perfect place for my first facial. While there are plenty of spas and facialists that are all about giving you good, quality skin care quickly and efficiently (think more doctor's office than day spa), that wasn't what I wanted for my first one. Allyu was all about the experience. They immediately had me pop off my shoes, slip on some sandals, and relax while I sipped cucumber water in a tent-like meditation room just barely lit by the moodiest of lighting. Before I knew it, my facialist, Krista, was ready and it was time to get started. Here were my key takeaways:
- If you're nervous, ask the facialist to explain each step of the process as she works. I found this to be very comforting and informative! I also asked about extractions up front because I was worried, and Krista put those fears to rest.
- The cleansing and hydrating portion definitely smells the best, which was almost like getting a little aromatherapy.
- Claustrophobic? Speak up! Krista asked me if I was because she was going to use hot towels and steam intermittently on my face. I had no issues with the towels, but was suprised that the steam actually made me feel a little trapped. While the hot steam feels great on the skin, it can make it kind of hard to breathe.
- The good news? Extractions don't hurt! The bad news? They don't feel great, either. Instead of a prick or a poke, it just felt like someone was pressing very, very hard on my face. It was the most uncomfortable around my nose, especially near my nose ring. It still didn't hurt, but I admit I was glad when it was over.
- Having a hot towel wrapped around your face feels pretty awesome.
- The whole process (at least at the more luxurious spas) ends with a hand, arm, and even a bit of an upper back massage.
My biggest question going into this experience was: would I even really be able to tell that I'd had a facial afterward? And the answer was yes! Despite the fact that I knew no one else was paying attention to them, the pores on my nose really bothered me. After the facial, it was as if they shrank to half or a third of their original size. My skin looked smoother and brighter, and though I was still doing my absolute best not to touch it (dirty hands + recently cleansed face = a big no-no!), it was definitely softer, too.
Krista gave me a few key tips for what to do after a facial to help prevent the breakouts that sometimes occur:
- Don't touch it! If you do, grab the hand sanitizer first.
- Change your pillowcase when you get home so you don't rest your nice, clean face down in the same old bacteria.
- Wash with a sample of the cleanser they used if they provide it or go for a more gentle wash than usual so you don't irritate your skin.
My most surprising revelation of my facial? I didn't just love it, I'm a total convert. I've never enjoyed massages as much as I wish I did, but now I know that facials are the pampering treatment for me. I'll definitely be going back.