May 26, 2015 Stacy Cox Spotlight

A Complete Guide to Facials

Here at MDC, we would love to think that we have all the answers for you. However, there are certain issues that require the insight of a pro. Today we asked skincare guru Stacy Cox to give us the rundown on all things facials. Take it away, Stacy!

If you’re like me, you view facials as a skin necessity. Facials have the power to clear clogged pores, soothe tired skin and leave you with a hydrated complexion so amazing you’ll swear you’re a newborn baby. If you’ve never had a facial and have listened to one too many horror stories about them going wrong, allow me to put you at ease. As a veteran esthetician (my career has spanned over 16 years), I've had the privilege of working with countless facial first-timers and have walked all of them through the process unscathed. Allow me to answer all your burning questions on facials so you know what to to do before, during and after your treatment.

Guide to Facials

Stacy, what’s the best way to prepare for a facial?

When you're excited, anxious or just very relaxed, it’s easy to forget to share important skin information with your skincare therapist. Create a list -- on your phone or a piece of paper -- of products you're currently using on your skin at home, how often you get facials, any allergies you might have, as well as medications you're taking so you can get the best experience possible. If you're currently pregnant, claustrophobic or have aversions to certain scents these are very insightful things to share with your esthetician so he/she can use the safest equipment to protect you and select the appropriate products to amplify the outcome. Think about what goals you are looking to achieve, what bothers you about your skin and what issues or concerns you’d like to work on. Rather than simply wanting to look 10 years younger (which is a focus for most of us), think more along the lines of treating  dryness, oiliness, fine lines, sun damage and other aligning issues and concerns. Allow the esthetician to do a thorough evaluation and make suggestions as to which facial treatment and skincare products best fit your needs.

Another thing to note before your facial is you should avoid too much sun exposure before your facial (ideally up to a week prior). If you want to focus heavily on pore-cleansing and extractions, it’s best to schedule your facial for the end of the day or week so you can have some free time to allow your face to rest. If the facial is in preparation for a big event like a wedding or a class reunion, schedule the appointment five to seven before the big day.

Are there certain facials that are better for specific skin types?

Absolutely, at Pampered People, my skincare studio, we have many different facials on the menu for a reason!  And, don’t worry about making that decision on your own. When I meet with a new client, I have a discussion about their needs and goals so we can figure out the right treatment together. For the most part, there are two overarching facial treatment categories:

●      Spa Facials: These types of treatment typically include cleansing, exfoliation, a nourishing facial mask, serum, SPF and/or moisturizer. There are no extractions involved.

●      Invasive Facials: These treatments include all of the spa facial components listed above, as well as added targeted treatments such as extractions. Extractions  should always occur after the skin has been properly prepped. From a sensory standpoint, for most clients, this doesn't mark the highpoint of the facial experience. It's not a relaxing service, but if you've been eyeing some blackheads on your nose, it's safer to have a professional remove them than to try and tackle them on your own. Facials can also include add-ons and other targeted treatments such anti-aging eye treatments, peels and microdermabrasion.

RELATED: What You Need to Know About Facial Peels

What should people do post-facial, in terms of care and recovery?

Post-facial rules can be dependent on your skin sensitivity and the intensity of the facial. The basic “facial after-effect” includes a rosiness that can last up to two hours. Many people ask if they can apply makeup after a facial. The answer is yes, technically, but I encourage clients to give their skin a treat by giving it a chance to breathe and soak up the effects of the treatment. Having your facial later in the day or early evening is ideal, as you leave the treatment with “bed-ready” skin that will rest for another few hours.

How much should you consider tipping for good service?

The standard tipping rate is 20 percent on the service charge.

How often should someone come in for a facial to see good results?

If someone is dealing with acne or hyperpigmentation, they may need to be seen every week for a series of intensive and targeted treatments, and every four to six weeks after improvements have been made. Seeing someone every four weeks ensures skin issues are treated regularly.

Any suggestions of how to care for your skin in between?

Caring for your skin in-between visits is very important.  A good home care regimen is crucial and wearing (and reapplying ) SPF of 15 or higher is the "fountain of youth" beauty secret people are always overlooking but shouldn't. Do your part to keep your skin youthful and healthy!

Want more skincare advice? Check out our skincare tips and tutorials!



    About the Author: Stacy Cox is a Los Angeles-based esthetician and owner of day spa Pampered People in Studio City, California.