Cheat Sheet – What facial?

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 microdermabrasion, light therapy, galvanic, Caci and serums/massage


Deep cleanse, exfoliation, extraction, masks

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 you 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 machinery, extractions and anything you haven’t had before on the last facial before the wedding

If your dress is backless or low on the back – consider a back facial. All those people staring at your back acne while you’re saying your vows. Eeww.


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 treament – 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, leave. Simple as.

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.