Facials 101: What is a facial & what does it do?

A facial is an amazingly refreshing way to recharge your skin and blast all the impurities away from the surface of your skin.

Facials are soothing pockets of relaxation that can help you to centre yourself, bond in a facial session or take some time from being overworked! If you’re thinking about getting your first facial, today we’re going through what you should expect.

What is a facial?

Beautician applying facial to woman's face in spaA facial is a set of skincare treatments for your face. The goal of a facial is to gently exfoliate your skin, wash away impurities and remove dead skin. Facials are usually done in aesthetic clinics, dermatologists, beauty salons and day spas. Facials change from provider to provider, with different skincare products used and different packages available.

Essentially, a facial uses steaming, exfoliation and extraction to recharge the skin. Facials boost collagen production, remove dead skin cells, improve the appearance of fine lines and blemishes, clear your pores, moisturise and hydrate. And finally, facials have to be performed by a licensed aesthetician.

How is a facial done?

As mentioned, facials change from spa to spa and clinic to clinic. However, a facial’s general routine and outline remain the same.


Some spas will treat you with a comforting robe before the facial begins, especially if you are booked for a body massage following the facial. Sometimes, you will be asked to lie on the bed whilst relaxing oils such as lavender are massaged into your shoulders. Again, the preparation stage is different from spa to spa.


Before the facial begins, your skin will be cleansed. Depending on your skin type, a special soap is used to clean oily or dry skin. Some spas will use water in place of soap. The only essential outcome of cleansing is that the skin is finished as clean and free from surface dirt. This stage is soothing, with the aesthetician using tender strikes to cleanse your skin.


After the makeup has been cleansed from your skin, you will be exfoliated. Some spas will use a gentle exfoliator, whilst others use facial scrubs. In this process, dead skin cells and impurities not embedded into the skin are exfoliated away.


Many spas will skip the steaming stage, but others believe it is one of the most important parts. Steaming opens the pores in the skin, so it is prepared for extraction. The aesthetician will aim the steamer at your face for 10 to 15 minutes, ensuring you can breathe properly and comfortably.


The hardest part of facials for both client and aesthetician is extraction. After your pores have been opened by steaming, the aesthetician will remove skin impurities within the outer layers of the skin. Extraction can remove mild acne, blackheads and whiteheads. Any imperfections that are deep in the skin will need to be discussed with a dermatologist.


As mentioned, facials are different at competing spas and in different packages. However, in the finishing stage, you usually have a cold towel put over your face to close the pores. Some spas will offer a gauze mask or mild laser treatment to finish the facial.

What are the benefits of a facial?

The multi-step, multi-purpose skin treatment has some wonderful benefits for your skin. They include:

  • Deep Cleaning: Deeper cleaning removes bacteria that can cause skin problems. Unclogging your pores also allows for the absorption of other skincare products. Your skin will look softer, feel smoother and look better overall.
  • Anti-Ageing: Facials can slow down the ageing process and prevent wrinkles from forming. The anti-ageing creams are used to increase blood circulation and oxygen flow, as well as the production of collagen to improve your skin’s elasticity.
  • Relaxing: Facials relax your mind and massage your facial muscles. As we also boost circulation, detoxifying your skin leaves you feeling healthy and relaxed. The aromatic nature of lavender-based facials is also calming.
  • Skin Rejuvenation: Every facial step is designed to refresh and rejuvenate the skin. As the facial removes dead skin cells and impurities, you will be left with healthy and radiant skin.
  • Zap Skin Issues: Regular facial treatments will help treat and heal blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, sun spots, sun damage, acne, inflammation, redness, rosacea, dehydration, wrinkles, fine lines, acne scarring, loss of firmness and elasticity.

The different types of Facials

As mentioned, there are many different facials, so we can’t go through all of them today as we’d be here forever. However, we thought it would be a good idea to go through some of the most common ones so you can get an idea of your options:

  • Basic: Steam pores, exfoliate skin and finish with moisturising cream.
  • Acne reduction: Reduces excess oil on the skin for long-term acne management.
  • Aromatherapy: Uses essential oils for a therapeutic and sensory experience.
  • Anti-Ageing: Wrinkling and sagging is reduced using collagen and other compounds.
  • Chemical Peel: Removes the top layer of skin to reveal new healthier skin.

Facials in Conclusion

The type of facial you opt for will depend on your needs. For example, there are facials for acne-busting, skin rejuvenation, removing blemishes, managing pigmentation, oily skin, dry skin etc. The list of facials really can go on forever!

Speak to a qualified aesthetician, and they will be able to recommend the best facial mask for your skin type.


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  • Clarissa says:

    There is nothing as rewarding as a good facial. I try to have one at least once every 2 months or so. Aromatherapy is my favorite as I am a sucker for amazing smells. It just makes the experience that much more amazing and relaxing.