Despite their popularity and the continued growth of spas and salons – the average woman in the UK has a facial ‘as a treat’ across three occasions, a birthday, Christmastime/celebration or their wedding.

There is nothing more frustrating than looking forward to something, paying out good money and coming away feeling dissatisfied so I thought a general guide of what to have and when might prove useful.

Most facials contain the following steps:

Exfoliation (sometimes with steam)
Application of product

Types of facial

Will include massage, extractions, steam and possibly machinery

Lots of massage, possible steam and lots of masks/serums

Massage, clay masks, steam, extractions

Machinery such as FRAXEL, fractional, light therapy, galvanic, Caci, lasers, microneedling and serums/massage

Deep cleanse, exfoliation, extraction, masks, hi frequency

There are lots of facials on offer – this is just a broad spectrum to give you a basic idea.

Getting married

You don’t want to walk down the aisle on the biggest day of your life with a beetroot face or spots. If you want to gear up for your wedding and your skin needs a little help…

  • Try and start around 4 months before – 6 if you can afford it.
  • Have a couple of maintenance facials 6 weeks apart and then a pampering facial a couple of days before the big day itself.
  • Avoid invasive machinery, extractions and anything you haven’t had before on the last facial before the wedding.

If your dress of dreams is backless or low on the back and you’re worried about spots on your back, speak to your facialist – they can treat it.


If you fancy a one-off treat for a special occasion go for pampering.

  • You want something that includes plenty of massage, masks, serums and moisturisers to leave your skin plumped up and bouncy – something that will last for around 48 hours.
  • Avoid extractions or too much steam which can leave you red faced and dehydrated.
  • This is not the time to have a go at those spots.

Facials with a purpose

If you have any of the following…

Sensitive – avoid steam, deep clay masks, most machinery – especially microdermabrasion and blackhead extraction

Rosacea – avoid steam. Deep clay masks, fruit acids, microdermabrasion

Acne – avoid mineral oil massage – ask what they are using for massage – a lot of brands and more surprisingly, well-known facialists, use mineral oil as a massage lubricant.

Ageing – avoid too much steam.

If you are receiving chemotherapy or recently finished treatment – avoid massage. Especially lymph drainage massage. Most good facialists should ask you to fill in a questionnaire before your treatment to highlight any concerns anyway – if they don’t, you shouldn’t trust them with your face.

I’ve written previously on what to expect from a good facial – this will hopefully just give a little guidance as to which type to spend your money on.