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The First Timer's Guide to Getting a Spa Facial

All the best tips on everything you need to know about facials for men, from the different spa treatments to whether you should shave beforehand.

Everything you need to know before booking an appointment.


By Mario Abad, Men’s Health

If you've never stepped out of a spa after getting a facial, you're missing out on quite the sensation. You'll find yourself looking in the mirror any chance you get, marveling at how radiant and smooth your skin looks and wondering why you haven't done this more often. It's an experience that's not only relaxing, but provides almost instant results.

The numbers speak for themselves. Growing volumes of men are visiting spas for treatments including facials, according to a study from the International Spa Association. Men now make up 47 percent of spa-goers—up from 31 percent less than a decade ago.

If you have the time and financial means, it's totally worth it to get a facial. After all, there are things you just can't get from your daily grooming routine. A professional esthetician can assess your skin's specific needs, and tailor a personalized skincare regimen to help your skin look its absolute best.

Before you book your first facial, it's important to know how to prepare beforehand, as well as what to expect once you're there. We caught up with Renee Rouleau, a celebrity esthetician and skincare expert with over 30 years of experience, to weigh in on the most common questions guys want to know before getting a facial. Whether it's your first time getting a facial or just want to know more about the process, here are the best tips to help you get started.


What to Know Before Your Facial

Rouleau says to go ahead and perform your normal skincare routine the morning before your facial. "I prefer to have people not do anything special, and come in with what their skin would normally look like," she notes. "When people prepare their skin excessively, I can’t see the amount of oil or the hydration levels of the skin as much."

However, make sure to not use any exfoliating products at least four days before your facial. You want to make sure your skin isn’t overly sensitive when you go in for your appointment.

When it comes to facial hair, Rouleau recommends you shave the morning of your appointment. "Because a facial treatment includes a face, neck, and shoulder massage, if a man has too much stubble, an esthetician won’t be able to treat that area as well and therefore, this area of the face can get neglected," she explains.

Your esthetician will also appreciate this, because touching the stubble can irritate the hands. If you have a full beard and don’t want to lose it, that’s fine—but the esthetician probably won’t work in that area.


What to Expect During Your Facial Appointment

Be prepared to talk about your skincare routine and share any concerns you have. You may want to consider bringing the products you are currently using, so your esthetician can see what your routine is like. This will allow them to be able to customize your treatment or recommend the best facial.

For example, if someone has acne, they may have a lot more extractions during their facial and a deeper exfoliation to try to unclog pores. The esthetician may also do a light peel with salicylic acid in it, which makes it more anti-bacterial. "An acne facial treatment will be highly customized to the individual with more anti-bacterial ingredients," she says.


How Often Should You Get a Facial?

According to Rouleau, the frequency of your facials really depends on your skin. If you are experiencing a lot of clogged pores or acne breakouts, you may have to get a facial every two or three weeks in the beginning in order to get on top of managing the breakouts and pores. After that, you can usually go into maintenance mode and have a facial every five or six weeks.

"I also recommend getting a facial with every change of season," she says. "It’s good to re-asses your skin especially with the changing environmental conditions."


So Why Should Guys Get Facials?

One of the main benefits of facials is the valuable one-on-one time you get with your esthetician. During your facial, they can give you their professional advice, skin tips and tricks. "This is knowledge that you can take home beyond the duration of your facial and apply it to your lifestyle in the long term," says Rouleau.

It’s also a great time to problem-solve your skin care issues, whether it's dry skin, redness, irritation or acne; a great facial will be customized to the issues you are experiencing.

This is why seeing a licensed esthetician like Rouleau—rather than trying to do your own at-home treatment—is beneficial. "People usually have a difficult time eliminating blackheads at home because home care products typically only reduce clogged pores," she notes. "Most facials include a form of exfoliation using ultrasound, bio brasion (a more effective form of microdermabrasion), enzymes, or acids. Some of these exfoliating ingredients can be found in your skin care products, but during a facial, you will receive them at a professional strength."

Not to mention, a good facial also gives you time to clear your mind, re-energize and de-stress both physically and emotionally.


Other Important Facial Tips

Be prepared to turn off your cell phone before your appointment. "Your facial should be a no cell phone zone to ensure your best experience," she says.

You may also want to bring along a breath mint or brush your teeth before your appointment to ensure you don’t feel self-conscious. "I can’t tell you how many clients apologize for having garlic with lunch that day, when truthfully I don’t even notice. But I don’t like clients feeling self-conscious, as this distracts them from their experience."
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Men's Magazine: The First Timer's Guide to Getting a Spa Facial
The First Timer's Guide to Getting a Spa Facial
All the best tips on everything you need to know about facials for men, from the different spa treatments to whether you should shave beforehand.
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