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How to Pick a Beauty Day Spa for Your Cosmetic Facial Needs
If you’re not lucky enough to be born with great skin genes, the next best thing may be a good facial. Besides giving you a smoother complexion, cosmetic facials can also erase fine lines, help to stop breakouts and give you an all-around nice glow. Many facials even feature sensory treats like massages with scented oils, so you can de-stress while your pores are deep-cleaned. But finding the right facial can be confusing, and the choice–at $50 to $150–costly. How do you separate the hype from what really works? Read on.
What to know at the start
Your best chance of having a good experience is to make sure both you and your facial technician have all the information you need. Here are some areas you need to cover before you put your skin into a stranger’s hands.
–State your expectations. The more specific you are, the happier you’ll be with the result.
–Mention any medical conditions. Allergies, pregnancy, heart conditions and high or low blood pressure are all conditions that might require a technician to make adjustments in a treatment.
–Discuss your skin-care routine honestly. Certain home treatments (whether over-the-counter or prescription) can cause reactions to some ingredients used in facials. Speak up or suffer.
–When making the appointment, ask how long the treatment takes. Facials can last from 30 minutes to two hours; know up front so you don’t have to leave mid-steam.
–Is the salon or spa state-licensed? It should be. Call the place beforehand, or check to see whether a license is on display in the reception area when you get there.
How to pick the right technician
Although day spas now perform serious skin care and doctors are getting into the beauty business, remember that they are not interchangeable. Here’s a quick comparison of their very different areas of expertise.
–can use cortisone injections to eliminate pimples.
–can give you prescriptions and antibiotics to treat severe acne.
–can do deep acid or laser peels that remove wrinkles and reduce the appearance of sun damage.
–can diagnose and treat recurring skin problems like rosacea or eczema.
–can deep-clean, smooth and soften skin.
–can minimize or prevent minor breakouts.
–can treat both stress symptoms and skin problems through face, scalp and shoulder massage and use of aromatherapy oils.
Salon safety check
When someone is steaming your face, peeling your skin, or emptying your pores–not to mention those of other people–the last thing you want to worry about is questionable hygiene. Follow this short checklist to help determine whether the salon you visit is up to top sanitary standards.
–Scan the treatment room. It should look spotless–with clean, folded towels and, ideally, a sink.
–Do the glove test: You should see boxes of disposable gloves, indicating that a fresh pair is used for each client.
–Make sure the instruments are sterilized in an autoclave (heat machine) or antibacterial solution–not in soapy water.
–Check out the sheets and pillows on the facial bed or chair; they should be changed for each client.
–Follow your nose. Sniff around–literally. A sanitary salon will smell fresh and clean, not stuffy and stale.
Getting mixed signals? Then trust your gut: If you have doubts for any reason, walk out.
Get up and leave if…
- Your facialist skips the consultation and goes straight for her tools. She can’t plan an effective, safe treatment without doing a skin analysis first.
- An extraction is so painful that you’re flinching. Despite what some people may tell you, red welts are not an acceptable side effect of a facial.
- You feel intense burning or tingling after a mask or cream is applied. That’s your skin being irritated. If your facial technician is good, she will quickly rinse the product off.
- Your facial technician can’t answer questions about what she’s using on your skin.