What To Expect When Going To Get A Facial

What To Expect When Going To Get A Facial

So, you made the big jump and scheduled your first professional facial. Very exciting! No matter what you’re hoping to get out of your facial, you’ll walk away from your appointment with glowing and replenished skin. 


However, just like other medical procedures, you don’t want to walk into a facial appointment unprepared. Rather, you should know exactly which questions to ask, which questions you will be asked, and what will happen once the facial begins. 


Perhaps even more important is knowing what to do for your skin before and after a facial, since certain actions counteract the benefits of the facial (which would mean a big waste of money!). For everything you need to know about getting a facial, keep reading! 


What Should You Do Before Your Facial?


Since this is your first facial, there is very little you have to do to prepare. The person you made your appointment with would have told you if there was anything urgent that you needed to know or if there were any important instructions to follow.


For the most part, try to avoid making your skin any more sensitive than it has to be in the day or two leading up to your facial. This may mean cutting back on skincare and acne products that dry out the skin. You might also want to stay out of the sun to avoid the potential for sunburn (note: if you do get sunburn, reschedule for a later date).


Really, all there’s left for you to do is get super excited about how amazing your skin is going to look once you get this facial! 

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What Will Happen During Your Facial?


First, your esthetician will likely ask you a series of questions to better understand your skin type and lifestyle. This will help them decide how they’ll treat your skin and which products they’ll use.


Next, it’s your turn to ask the questions. If you’re feeling nervous about the facial, ask your esthetician to walk you through, step by step, what will happen. State plainly that this is your first time and clarify what you would like to accomplish with this facial. Brighter skin? Less acne? Smaller pores? Whatever it is, your esthetician can target their procedure to match your needs.


In general, a beginner’s facial involves cleansing of the skin, steaming, and professional extraction of clogged pores/acne lesions. Your esthetician may also use various products to further exfoliate and hydrate the skin. 


Expect any basic facial to reduce inflammation, even skin tone, smooth out skin texture, and improve complexion. Facials also work to make your pores smaller and even unclog them, lessening the risk of acne. 


Once you’ve lost your facial virginity, you can venture into the world of chemical peels, hydrafacials, and microcurrent facials. However, you should probably stick to the less extreme stuff for your first time, and your esthetician will most likely agree. 


So, what happens next? 


The facial process will, among other things, make your skin extremely sensitive. As such, be extra careful how you treat it immediately afterwards. Give your skin the time it needs to heal and get the best out of your facial by following the dos and don’ts below.


What Should You Do After Your Facial?


  • • Do be patient. It’s normal for your skin to be red, raw, and even acne-prone after a facial, but this doesn’t mean the facial was unsuccessful. Rather, you just had something done to your skin that made it especially sensitive, so it’s responding accordingly. Resist the urge to use any irritating skincare products or acne treatments on your skin, and instead let the facial work its magic. 

  • • Do cleanse your skin gently, with a special emphasis on gently. If possible, use a gentle, hydrating cleanser that is specifically made for people with extra-sensitive skin. This should ensure that you irritate your skin as little as possible while still performing the necessary cleansing. 

  • • Do wash your makeup brushes before using them again. You should clean these brushes regularly anyway to avoid debris, makeup residue, dirt, and bacteria from building up, but right after a facial is the perfect time to do it. Remember to wait at least a day before putting makeup over your skin. 

  • What Should You Not Do After Your Facial? 



  • • Don’t put on makeup. Okay, so your skin is looking a little red and puffy after your facial, and you want to cover it up with foundation or concealer. This is a completely understandable reaction.

    Instead, be ready to lay low for the next 24-48 hours if you aren’t comfortable going out without makeup, as using makeup clogs your already sensitive pores and allows for bacteria growth. If you scheduled your facial for the afternoon before your big work meeting, consider rescheduling.

  • • Don’t use toner or exfoliators. Stay away from anything but the basics: cleanser, sunscreen, and maybe moisturizer. The whole point of your facial was to exfoliate, cleanse, tone, and even out your skin texture, so you can afford to go a day or two without using additional products. Be especially cautious when adding exfoliants back to your routine—wait at least three days after your facial to do so. 

  • • Don’t touch your face. Seriously, do whatever you need to do to make sure you are not tempted to move your fingers anywhere near your face. First of all, you don’t want to accidentally transfer dirt, oil, and other debris from your fingers to your face at a time when your pores are significantly open and are therefore more prone to clogging. 

  • Secondly, you may still see some pimples that need popping, but trust that the esthetician who performed your facial left them there for a reason. When in doubt, keep your hands occupied as much as possible, and wash them with antibacterial soap before touching your face.

  • • Don’t try to treat your acne. Acne-fighting ingredients, such as salicylic acid, are as harsh as they are powerful, and your uber-exfoliated skin will not respond well to them. Trust that your facial products are working hard to repair your skin and reduce the opportunity for acne growth. 

  • Wait at least three days (preferably more) before adding acne treatments back to your routine. Your esthetician or dermatologist will give you more patient-specific guidance as to when it will be safe for you to do so. 

  • • Don’t expose your skin to the sun for at least three days after your facial. The level of exfoliation you will have just experienced will be such that exposure to UV rays would be especially damaging to your skin, so avoid them as much as possible. Once you start to spend more time in the sun again, always wear sunscreen, and make sure to reapply as directed. 

  • • Don’t work out. Give yourself a break for the next day or two to avoid any excessive sweating. Like oil, Sweat travels into the pores and clog them, leading to an increase in acne. And nothing is more frustrating than getting a breakout right after an expensive facial. If you absolutely cannot go a day without working out, go to the gym before your facial. 

  • • Don’t go to other spa treatments afterwards. Your first facial may coincide with a trip to the spa, so you may be tempted to fit in a bunch of different treatments over the course of a couple of days. However, certain ones should be done before your facial. A trip to the sauna, for example, is somewhat redundant after a facial and can be harmful to the tiny blood vessels in your face. In addition, any type of massage that requires you to lay on your stomach (and therefore also on your face) can irritate your sensitive skin. Design your spa schedule so that your facial is one of the last things you do. 

  • The Takeaway


    Let’s summarize how the facial process should go:

    1. Make an appointment with an esthetician. Make it known to them that this is your first time getting a facial.

    2. Avoid any products that make your skin extra sensitive at least 24 hours before your appointment.

    3. Go to your appointment. Answer any questions your esthetician has for you, and then address any concerns you have. Make it clear to them why you want to get a facial, so they can build their treatment around your needs.

    4. After the facial, be patient and gentle with your skin. Avoid harsh products, exercise, the sun, and anything else that irritates your sensitive skin for at least a couple of days.


      You may find that you love the experience and want to go right back to the esthetician in a month or so. Or you may be underwhelmed and decide that the service does not live up to its price. Either conclusion is valid, as every person’s skin is different and has different needs.


      Using our Vitamin C Clay Mask is a great way to reduce acne, exfoliate your skin, and achieve glowing skin at home, especially if you can’t afford a facial every 4-6 weeks. 


      Remember that facials should function as a supplement to a regular skincare routine rather than a replacement for healthy skin habits. The best way to maintain consistently radiant skin is by cleansing your skin daily, moisturize, wear sunscreen, and treat any breakouts with precision. 




      What to Expect at Your First Facial (byrdie.com)


      Getting Your First Facial? Here’s What to Expect (skincare.com)


      What To Expect from Your First Facial | Teen Vogue


      What to Do After a Facial: 11 Things You Should Definitely Skip | SELF

      Dark Marks or Acne Scars?

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