The majority of women in the UK see facials as a treat – a lot of French women – and New Yorkers – see them as maintenance – and go more often than we do.

So if you’re not in the latter group – let me give you some tips to make sure you get the most out of the facial that you DO have…!

Chantecaille Flower Facial

  •  If you can,  try and have a facial by a person – not a high street brand.

The best facials come from people who can mix it up a little.  Avoid high street facials if you can.
It’s better to save up and go to someone/somewhere whose reputation precedes them.
They will be more inclined to be interested in helping your skin than selling you products.
There are, of course, exceptions to this rule – unfortunately they are usually the high-end brands and are not always easy on your bank account! If this is not an option – always take recommendations of friends above advertising.

  • If your therapist doesn’t take a health/skincare history or talk to you beforehand – leave.

Anyone worth their salt will take a full skincare history before they lay a finger on you – if they are using machines on you they should also ask questions about your health concerns/allergies etc. If they don’t, do not get on the bed. I’m serious. Get back to reception/speak to a manager/or just leave.
Think about it – would a doctor give you a prescription without examining you? A dentist drill a root canal without an x-ray? And most importantly – would you LET them?  You cannot give a decent, safe facial without information on your client.

  • Check the room.

Take in your surroundings straight away. The room should smell clean. Not overpowered by candle scent – although light/unscented ones are fine. The bed should be clean, immaculate, freshly made and ironed. Lights should be dimmed/able to be dimmed.  The temperature should be comfortable – too cold and your muscles will tense up and too warm and you’ll be sweating – this is a facial not a sauna.

  •  Look at the therapists trolley/working area.

Is it clean, free of spillages and oils droplets, with products lined up nicely or does it look like your kitchen after the teenagers party the night before?

  • Speak up

Any therapist who asks ‘is that music OK for you?’ is asking so that you have the option of saying yes or no..
If you’re cold, tell them.
If you’re too hot, tell them.
If the music is too loud, ask them to turn it down.
If the pressure is too firm/soft, tell them.
You can also gently hint if you would rather not be spoken to – critical in a ‘mass market’ facial where they are trained to ‘talk you through the products’. No thank you. Between the kids, work and the husband – I usually don’t want to hold a conversation. If the place is on fire – please feel free to wake me up. Otherwise, please leave me to snore.

Any decent therapist wants your experience to be as near-perfect as possible.

  • The procedure itself

Should include two cleanses, maybe steaming, extraction (if wanted), masks, massage and machines (if applicable).
The key part of this is the massage – this should be firm – you should feel it working – and should last at least 20 minutes. You need to be pink when you come out of this room -not just look like you’ve had your make-up removed.  For further info on massage click here.

  • Avoid add-ons

If you want you eyebrows plucked/waxed or dyed – ask beforehand.  If you are going somewhere like Bliss, a big part of their treatments is the up-sell. If they ask ‘would you like a quick blah blah mask?’ it is going to cost you, if they say ‘would you like a blast of oxygen’ it is going to cost you. Forewarned is forearmed. (In Bliss’s defence they do let you know this – not everyone does)

  • Tissue

Ah tissues. The very word fills me with the jitters. Tissues have no place in a facial. Even the softest, quadruple-ply whatever – muslin cloth does the job – and without scratching the skin and completely soaking up all your natural oils to boot. And what is more irritating than the constant ‘whooshing’ of people pulling the tissues out of the box next to your ear?
Stop it. Immediately.
And stop using tissues on your face if you do it at home.

  • Overtoning

There is no need to tone in between every stage – it’s pointless. Takes off all the good stuff you’re trying to leave in. Spritzing with a floral water is fine – get thee away from my face with all the cotton wool soaked in toner. Stop. It.

  • And finally…. the facialist herself (not being sexist here – they are more often than not, a woman)

Namely – breath and fingers. Someone tried to give me a facial once after they’d clearly just come back from their break. Their cigarette break. Vile. This also relates to garlic, bad breath, onions, curry.. you get the drift.
I know it SEEMS like common sense but don’t be shy – if she smells – she smells… complain – you’ll be doing the next client a favour.

My favourite therapist ever has a slight tendency towards OCD. (LM this is for you!)
Spotless room, spotless person, borderline bleach aroma (not as bad as it sounds), obsessive cleaning, obsessive about the client experience…damn near perfect….