Day Spa Services 1: What’s in a Facial?

by Glenn Reynolds

This article is the first of a series on Day Spa treatments. Throughout this series, I will highlight some of the major therapies in use at Day Spas giving basic information in order to help spa-goers get the most out of their experiences.

If you are new to having face treatments at a Day Spa, here is a quick guide to what happens during the process:

1. Cleansing the skin
The therapist (also called an aesthetician) will clean your skin of residue and excess oil in order to assess your skin for treatment.

2. Assessment
Eye pads soaked with moisture (and usually a scent) are placed over your eyes to enable the therapist to turn on a powerful lamp to assess your skin. They are looking for any signs of damage or irritation, as well as classifying your skin into a type (oily, dry, combination, mature, sensitive). This will enable the therapist to identify which skin products will be most useful in treating your skin.

3. Steam and exfoliation
Your therapist will usually start a steam device for blowing warm humid air across your face. This softens the skin and allows for better exfoliating. Here, the therapist will apply a product that is designed to remove old, dead skin cells and continue the cleaning process. Usually these exfoliant products contain a slightly gritty material, or use certain chemicals to gently remove this excess material.

Sometimes a therapist will perform a manual extraction of blackheads. This involves squeezing the skin with fingers and/or a tool to remove the blackheads forcibly. This treatment is not universally performed as it may damage the skin.

4. Massage
During the course of your facial, there will be time given for your skin to rest a while. During this time, your therapist will perform a massage routine over your scalp and face, in order to relax the muscles and enduce a further level of relaxation during your facial.

5. Mask
After properly cleaning your skin, your therapist will now apply a masking product designed for your skintype (identified earlier) that is usually painted on your skin and left for an extended period. Masks are designed to provide minerals to the skin and either absorb or replace oil depending on skin type, or replenish dull skin. A scalp massage can be performed at this time also.

6. Tone and Protect
Once the mask is removed, toners and protective moisturisers are used to finish the process and provide your skin with a barrier to stop the elements further damaging skin.

Eye treatment – during your facial, targeted products can be used to provide therapy to the delicate tissue around the eyes. This is useful as exfoliants and face cleansers are usually too strong for this area.

Stimulating circulation – further enhancements of the facial process can include products designed to stimulate the circulation in the skin, providing more blood supply to the region to cleanse and nourish the area from within, and provide a little colour to the face.

Lip treatment – products designed to moisturise and protect the lips can be added to the routine.

How often should I have a face treatment or facial?
Usually a regular maintenance facial is performed once every 4-6 weeks.
(NB. This timeframe is suggested under the assumption that you are regularly cleansing, toning and moisturising your skin once/twice every day.)
If you have a particular skin condition that needs concentrated treatment, sessions can be closer together.

Next Article – Day Spa Services 2: What’s a Swedish Massage?

For related posts, see:

What to Expect at a Day Spa
5 tips for Day Spa virgins
Day Spa etiquette
Day Spa FAQ

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rose July 25, 2007 at 3:22 am

Hi Andrew,

Is a facial identical for men and women? Or is the process different in any way based on gender? Just wondering. Thanks.


Andrew July 25, 2007 at 2:20 pm

Hi Rose,

Good question. As far as I can tell, the facial process is the same, but sometimes the therapist will use products designed for men.


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