What is a Facial, anyway? A guide for Facial Virgins.

You've heard about 'facials' but what are they? 

The word 'facial' is a very generic one, and it can mean many things to many people. 
Here we demystify the steps and break it down, so you can understand if a facial is something you would enjoy (spoiler: we know you will.)

Generally speaking, a facial is a treatment performed by a trained beauty professional.  It involves lying down, or in some clinics it means reclining in barbers-style chair.  
Your skin will be cleaned using anything from gels, creams, polishes, or enzyme solutions.  
Sometimes devices are used to enhance this cleansing routine, such as mechanical brushes, vibrating ultrasound devices, or currents emitted onto the skin to change the permeability of the upper layers of the skin.

In our Melbourne skin spa, we will regularly use a chemical peel as one of the steps in our facials, allowing us to work deeper into your congestion, pigment or to brighten up your complexion.  Not all facials will include a peel though, it's totally dependant on your skin's needs on the day.  

Once the cleaning steps are finished, the next steps of a facial start to vary greatly. 

They may include.

Masks
Made of gels, or creams or clays, masks are applied thickly to the skin and left on for at least 5 and possibly up to 30 minutes.  They can also be sheets of silk, collagen, even gold leaf is sometimes used.  As a Mask sits on the skin, the point is to have a big dose of nutritive or corrective ingredients in contact with the skin over time.  Your skin will benefit from this step if the mask selection is right for you. 

 Steam
Some clinics apply steam to your skin.  The idea is that it will 'soften' or 'deep clean'.  Natashas Skin Spa doesn't do this, because basically steam simply makes your skin sweat.  There isn't much benefit to it, and in fact it's causing water loss and salt loss.  Nothing really beneficial and at the same time so many people find this step unpleasant.  Plus, it gets your hair all icky and we aren't into that.  

Massage
One of the most important steps in a facial is the working of your facial muscles in a way that is precisely designed to smooth, relax and ease tensions in the face.  It will do so much to make you look fresher, calmer and less stressed. 
When it's done skilfully, it brings blood to your facial muscles and skin.  Blood is the very life-force of your body, carrying with it oxygen to help with so many chemical reactions in the skin, with nutrients from within to repair and help skin function correctly.   Plus, it feels ah-maaazing in the right hands. 

Hot Towels
Not all beauty salons do it, but we ensure our facials always include hot towels.  
They're prepared by soaking a fresh clean soft towel in aromatherapy oils, then stored in a heated cabinet.  They're unfolded on your skin, carefully wrapped around your face and pressed in to warm and soften the mask.  The mask or massage oil is gently and carefully wiped away.  The warmth is soothing to the mind and a delicious step in your facial ritual. 

Technology
Our most advanced facials include things like Radio Frequency skin tightening, or Laser Photo Rejuvenation to remove pigment, freckles and red veins.  We also use a lot of GemLight, an LED light that activates energy inside skin cells, but doesnt' hurt, cause any redness or have any side efffects whatsoever.  It's extremely relaxing and effective.  Not all facials include a technology, but the ones which mix both spa-style facials with skin clinic-style tech, are what we are famous for and what works best.  

Skincare applied at the end...
All facials should conclude with an application of the skincare that is best for your concerns and which you would be recommended to wear each day or night.  
If it's day time, a tonic lotion or mist, a serum, protective cream and a sunscreen will be applied.  Eye cream is always used in our spa to treat this precious area of skin. 

If it's night time, we apply a tonic lotion or mist to rehydrate, a serum to lock onto that hydration and hold it in the skin, while also giving a dose of corrective nutrients specific to your concerns;  a moisturiser suitable for night wear is applied, and sunscreen is omitted because you're going to head to sleep without needing to do anything more. 
This is one reason why facials are more popular in the evening, it's just so lush to head straight home to bed with exquisitely clean, fresh and pure skin. 

Facials are different everywhere you go.  
What makes a facial great, is a combination of the skin clinics ambience, cleanliness, the makeup of a beautifully relaxing facial bed at the right temperature.  It's the right music at the right volume, and a completely calm environment where you can escape from life for a little while. 

The facialist needs to have beautiful hands, an innately caring, yet confident touch. 
 
She must have an extensive knowledge of skin, with the ability to diagnose skin conditions and gently discuss your lifestyle to get to the root of any skin concerns, all without making you feel bad about your skin, because really, who wants that? 

Then, she needs to have the ability to select professional strength products that are perfectly suited to your skins requirements, pairing and blending them in a way that creates balance for the skins ecosystem.  
She must apply each step with methodical care, so you feel each side is evenly touched, evenly saturated.  Removing each step with equal care, and without disturbing your hair or leaving it greasy.

A great facial does not make you break out afterwards, so if you have experienced this in the past, it's highly likely your facialist used the wrong things on you, or didn't observe proper hygiene during the ritual.  A facial should only improve your skin, leaving you feeling fresh but not oily, glowing and calm. 

Before booking your next facial, we recommend calling around Melbourne skin clinics and beauty salons to ask what they include and why.  
Find out if they customise the rituals, and how they do that - or is everyone just given the same thing every time? 

Ask them how long the massage is, it's the best part, and the part that you really cannot replicate yourself at home, plus it brings the most benefits to your complexion and peace of mind. 

If you have a favourite step or favourite part of a facial, tell them.  

And if you would like to experience Southbank Melbourne's very best facials, from therapists with hands of liquid gold, please do call us.  
Come in, lie down, and as we say at Natashas Skin Spa, 'Grow Young With Us.'