In the last few posts, I’ve talked about how a good daily skincare routine, targeted to your own individual needs, is the best way to keep your skin in a healthy state, rendering you the kind of annoying, smug person who can run out the door with only a dab of tinted moisturiser and still look fabulous.

However, to keep your skin in a really disgustingly good shade of health, sometimes you need to hand it over to the professionals. (Don’t worry. They’ll give it back.)

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So relaxing, you may actually fall asleep…

I am talking about Getting A Facial, which for some reason, seems to freak people out a bit. Don’t worry, it needn’t. Here are some excellent reasons to treat yourself to a bit of intensive skin TLC:

1. A professional beauty therapist will be able to assess your skin and give you the best advice about your individual skincare needs. They can tell you what you need to work on, which is not always the same as what you THINK you need to work on. For example, I have quite oily skin, and I thought I needed to use astringents and mattifying products to reduce the oil and stop my skin from breaking out. My clever beauty therapist was able to tell me that actually, my skin was dehydrated, and that if I used proper hydrating products it would stop over-producing oil to compensate. A skincare professional will be able to advise you on what products to use for your skin and how to use them to best effect. Once you understand your skin, you’ll know what to look for when considering new products as well.

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My excellent beauty therapist, Ann-Marie, very obligingly posing at Glow Girl Salon in Newtown.

2. There are some things you can’t easily do for yourself. Blackhead removal is the number one example. A skilled beauty therapist, using some kind of black magic I have never fully understood, will be able able to physically remove your blackheads without harming your skin or leaving a mark. Stronger treatments like chemical peels, which offer deep exfoliation and totally revitalise your skin, should also only be done by professionals.

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3. It’s a very relaxing experience! A proper facial should take place in a lovely, quiet salon, with a comfortable temperature and soothing music playing. There is also usually some sort of massage involved. What more could you ask for?

So, assuming that you are now THOROUGHLY convinced that you need to book yourself in for a facial ASAP, here are some tips for getting the most out of your facial:

– Pick the right salon. Don’t just automatically make an appointment at the nearest Ella Bache. Independent local salons are often the best. Google salons in your area, read reviews, ask around. I am pretty evangelical about my preferred salon, Glow Girl in Sydney’s Newtown, and your skincare loving friends are likely to be just as evangelical about their favourites if you ask for advice.

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My salon is totally my happy place.

– If you go to a salon and don’t feel it has quite the right vibe/style/attitude/coffee for you, don’t be afraid to try another one. The same goes with individual beauty therapists. Shop around until you find the right salon and therapist for YOU, not for your Mum of your friend or your favourite skincare blogger…

– Schedule your facial for the end of the day, on a day when you don’t have to go anywhere but straight how afterwards. Depending on the treatment you have had, you might look a little bit red or shiny afterwards, and your skin needs an evening to recover. Also, your facialist will have just put loads of lovely treatments and serums and nourishing moisturisers onto your face, and the results will be better if you give them time to do their work. That means skipping your evening skincare routine and not washing your face again until you wake up in the morning.

– Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Some good ones include: What do you think my skin’s main issue is? How should I look after my skin after I leave here? Are there any after-effects I should be expecting? What is the one thing that you would recommend I do, to really make a difference to my skin?

– Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want! If you’re worried about your blackheads, ask your beauty therapist to focus on extractions. If you’re really there for a lovely, relaxing facial experience, tell them that. If the room is too cold, speak up. If listening to Enya triggers homicidal tendencies in you, ask for a change of playlist. You are paying for a luxurious treat, and there’s nothing wrong with (politely) making sure that’s what you get. Your beauty therapist wants you to be happy with the experience and come back, so communicating your wants and needs clearly is in everyone’s best interests.

Happy facial-ing, everyone! I’ll be flying from Australia to Europe for a holiday next week, so you can expect a post about in-flight and travel skincare shortly.

xx LML