5 Things You Really Need To Know About Facials

Facials are one of the most misunderstood beauty rituals out there. Often seen as unnecessary or ineffective, the treatments are rarely thought of as part of a healthy skincare routine — and they’re pricey. But regularly seeing an aesthetician should be thought of as essential part of any glowing skin regimen.

To get all the facts, we asked Regine Berthelot, North America and Treatment Director of French skincare powerhouse Caudalíe, to put a few facial myths to bed. Check out Berthelot’s tips below and consider making time for this indulgent extra step.

1. Facials are NOT fast fixes.

Facial treatments are a lot more preventative than they are curative. Think of visiting the spa like a trip to the dentist: “I always make the analogy that going to the dentist to clean your teeth is like your facial, whereas brushing your teeth at home is your home care maintenance.” So just like you see the dentist for check-ups and plaque buildup removal, you should pencil in time with the aesthetician to keep your skin healthy and toxin-free.

Skin-saving benefits aside, Berthelot also cites happiness as a reason to get facials regularly: “The more you take care of yourself, the better you feel.” It’s no secret that mood impacts your complexion in a big day.

2. You shouldn’t be handing blackheads yourself.

Just like you should leave handling your cuticles to the professionals, you should also save extractions for your next appointment with the aesthetician. According to Berthelot, you must use a specific technique to remove a blackhead: “It must be pushed up from underneath. If it’s not done properly, it can create an irritated surface.”

Berthelot also emphasizes the importance of seeing a facialist to prevent blackhead buildup. If a blackhead is not completely removed, the idle dirt will build up and cause your pores to get bigger.

Berthelot sees extractions as the most important part of a facial, as it’s the first step towards a deep clean. In most cases, blackhead removal is the most delicate element of the treatment, so it’s important to go to a pro.

3. Facials are a mind game.

When asked about the pluses of getting a professional facial, Berthelot cited tricking the brain as a major benefit. Part of a good facial is an excellent massage: “The better the massage, the more blood circulation and draining effects for increased radiance.” And a massage is more effective when done by someone other than yourself. “When you have someone else massaging your skin,” Berthelot explains, “your brain is surprised and you enjoy the experience so much more. When you massage yourself, your brain already knows what you’re going to do, and there’s less of a ‘wow’ factor.”

4. You see more benefits when you stick to a schedule.

Newsflash: You can train your skin. That’s right, according to Berthelot, making time for a facial every 4 weeks or so can whip your complexion into shape: “When you receive facials regularly, it’s like training your skin. Skin cells like routines, and they will respond well to that.”

Before making a crazy facial schedule, you need to consider your skin type. While Berthelot suggests getting a treatment every 4 weeks, you can go more or less often based on your skin’s behavior. “Someone with oily skin can go every three weeks, and if you have dryer skin, you can go every five weeks.”

Don’t have time for a full-on facial? Berthelot recommends a few at-home quick-fixes: “After you exfoliate, you can always steam up your skin in the shower or over a bowl of hot water. When you open the pores, it allows for the product to be absorbed deeper into the skin.”

5. Just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s good.

When choosing a facialist, it’s important to trust your instincts: “I would always suggest going with your gut feeling. When you feel it’s right, you know. You should never feel like your esthetician is pushing products — it should be a recommendation for your best interest.”

A sign of a good treatment is also good skin. “If your skin is reacting well,” Berthelot adds, “then that’s a great sign. You want to feel like your esthetician is an expert rather than feeling like you’re a number.” In other words, you have every right to get up close and personal with your aesthetician.