Everything about facials

Everything you always wanted to know about facials (but never asked)Everything about facials at Christiaan Salon and Day Spa, Providence, RI

If you want great skin, the kind that looks natural and healthy, you have to take care of it.  You don’t need a million expensive products and you don’t need a complicated regimen.  But you do need to make mindful choices.  Using the right products and techniques to clean and moisturize your skin is part of that care.  Eating right and exercising is another part.  Having periodic deep pore cleaning, and specifically, facials, is one of the best ways to keep your skin looking fresh, bright and young.   In fact, having regularly-scheduled facials can be an important part of your on-going skin-care program.

Why should I get a facial?
Just the same way you keep in shape, you get a stylish haircut and you keep your nails neat, you need to look after your skin – technically, your body’s largest organ.  We all know the feeling when our skin is dull and sallow, maybe after a long winter of drying indoor heat.  And we all dread the exasperation of breakouts or oily skin in summer.  With just a bit of care, you can have the kind of healthy-looking, glowing skin that people notice.

I’m a bit nervous.  What happens, exactly?
Don’t be nervous!  Here’s what to expect:

Your facial should start with a consultation.  The esthetician will introduce him or herself, and speak with you about your skin concerns, your diet, and other health-related habits such as water consumption, any drugs or supplements you are taking, and your current skin-care program.  You may need to fill out a form including some or all of this information.  A good consultation begins with understanding your concerns, your needs and your current habits and routines.  That, plus understanding any lifestyle situations that can affect the skin such as sports, time spent on the water or under tropical sun, outdoor activity in general, a deficit of sunlight, etc., will help him or her to make recommendations for you.

After your consultation, your esthetician will wrap your hair with a towel, and cover your eyes.  He or she will perform a skin analysis using a brightly-lit magnifying lamp.  He or she will determine your basic skin type (dry, oily, combination, sensitive or normal).  He or she will also notice if you have any relevant skin conditions (acne, blackheads, whiteheads, aging, sun-damage, dehydration, etc.).

Once your esthetician understands your skin, he or she will begin your facial with a thorough cleansing.  He or she will select products appropriate to your skin, and may use cotton pads, wipes or sponges.   Various deep cleaning techniques may be used, including steam, exfoliation, extractions and masks.

A steam treatment is a common part of a facial.  Most spas use a machine that directs steam in a vapor upward.  The steam treatment is very relaxing.  It also helps loosen and soften blackheads and whiteheads.  If you have very sensitive skin, however, steam treatment may be too aggressive.  This is why the consultation is so important.

After the steam treatment, your esthetician may suggest exfoliation.  An exfoliante removes the outermost dead layer of skin cells, to allow new, healthy ones to show through.  One kind of exfoliant does this by being abrasive, and literally rubbing the old skin cells off.   These exfoliants use their gritty texture to buff your skin.  Other exfoliants use enzymes and acids to do the same thing.

Extractions are the removal of blackheads or whiteheads.  This is a personal decision.  Some people tolerate them well and find them useful in keeping their pores clear.  However, extractions can be uncomfortable, especially for people with thin or ruddy skin.  If done improperly, extractions may cause broken capillaries and discoloration.

Your facial will include a facial massage.  A facial massage is very gentle, employing upward strokes and effleurage.  This is extremely relaxing, but also stimulating to the skin and facial muscles.  It enhances blood flow, and feels wonderful.

Your facial will also include a facial mask.  This will be targeted specifically to your skin type and condition.  One sign of a reputable salon is that the aesthetician should stay in the room during the mask, providing a scalp massage or some other service.  You should not be left alone in the room wearing your facial mask.

Finally, your facial will conclude with a last cleansing and application of finishing products:  toner, serums, moisturizer and sunscreen.

And, before you leave, your esthetician should provide some guidance on your home skin-care routine.  He or she will make some recommendations based on observations and your input.  You should never feel obligated to buy any specific product that was used on you or is being recommended.  Your esthetician should be able to provide examples of similar products at any price point.  The advice is meant as a service, and you can get the most out of it if you approach it with an open mind and willingness to learn, as well as clarity about your personal budget.  Expensive products usually use expensive ingredients, and many people get great results from them.

Who will be giving me my facial?
A professional facial is given by a licensed esthetician with special training in skin care.  They are sometimes called facialists.  Ask friends and those you trust for recommendations.  Ideally you will find an esthetician who is knowledgeable, fastidious and passionate about his or her work.  Try to avoid having facials done by cosmetologists.  Their specialty is hair, not skin.

How much will my facial cost at Christiaan?
Glo Facial $72 / 60 minutes
This treatment is for you if your skin is in need of tender loving care and deep hydration. At the core of the treatment will be gentle exfoliation to slough away dead skin so that nourishing actives can penetrate to replenish moisture. Mask treatments and concentrates will strengthen integrity and moisturizers will protect barrier function and keep irritants out. 

How often should I get a facial?
Every person’s skin is different, and all react differently to facials.  To decide how often to have a facial, we take a look at how long it takes the skin to renew itself.  It takes about a month for a newly-formed skin cell to work its way out to the top layer, to be sloughed off and replaced.  That represents a one-month skin cycle.   So, generally, it is recommended that you should get a facial monthly, to assist in the process.  If that seems like too much, then at least try to get four facials a year, seasonally.  Unless you are battling a case of acne, you don’t need to have facials more frequently than once a month.  Just like anything else, use common sense, and don’t over-do it.

Variations of the Classic European Facial
There are many different kinds of facials offered these days.  It can feel overwhelming!  Do I want an anti-aging facial, an oxygen facial, a collagen facial or a deep-cleaning facial?  Don’t worry!  Here’s a secret:  The different names are more a result of the different skin care lines than anything else.  All facials are variations on the classic European facial.  If you pick something that’s not right for your skin, your esthetician will guide you toward something that is.

If the facial is called anti-aging, it probably uses a line formulated for mature skin, often with anti-oxidants like vitamin C.  If it’s called an oxygen facial, that’s because a mist of pure oxygen is part of the treatment, or maybe it uses products formulated to deliver oxygen directly to the skin.  If it’s a collagen facial, then special collagen sheets are placed on the skin.  An acne facial will use extractions to clear out blackheads and whiteheads.  A photo facial is a separate treatment that uses light (either LED or IPL) to treat brown spots, mend broken capillaries, and boost collagen.  And lastly, there’s the mini-facial, which offers a quick, simple, 30-minute treatment without extractions.  Ask the aesthetician to explain and guide you through the selection.

Congratulations on deciding to make great skin a priority in your life!

More Tips on Facials

Christiaan Salon and Day Spa Facials page

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