An Esthetician' s Guide to Getting a Facial

  Skincare is IN and we’re totally excited about that! With so many treatment options, new skincare products, and facial videos out there it can be hard to decipher what’s best for you. We are firm believers that receiving periodic facial treatments from a well trained esthetician is a big part of keeping skin healthy and radiant. Seeking help from a skin care professional can sometimes be intimidating if you don't know exactly what to expect.  Luckily, our founder is a well-seasoned esthetician and provided us with a step by step guide to ensure you receive the most out of your skin care treatment.

The state of Illinois requires 750 hours of education before you can take your licensing exam. This is where our founder attended school.

The state of Illinois requires 750 hours of education before you can take your licensing exam. This is where our founder attended school.

scrub me secret: estheticians are skincare specialists that attend a special trade school in order to obtain a license to perform facial treatments and other services.  Each state requires a different amount of education hours and continuing education hours.


  1) Making the facial appointment:

When picking a date to schedule your first appointment opt for a time when you do not have important events or a vacation in the upcoming week.  This is ideal for your first facial because there is always a small chance of residual redness or inflammation from extractions, especially with your first facial. Plan to arrive to your treatment with little to no makeup on. Also, if you have a workout or sweaty activity scheduled that day, it’s best to plan your facial for after that.

scrub me secret: there are facial treatments that are amazing to prep your skin and make it glow before an event or vacation. these treatments tend to not include extractions or anything that requires down-time after the facial. oxygenating, collagen infusion, and skin lifting treatments are popular the day of an event or right before a vacation.


When calling to schedule the appointment also request to have a consultation before the facial.  Most estheticians will have a small consultation with you before beginning treatment but scheduling one will guarantee there will be time to thoroughly discuss your skin and skincare routine.  Lastly, when calling to make the appointment ask if there are any special offers for new customers.

Your esthetician will look at your skin closely under a magnifying lamp.

Your esthetician will look at your skin closely under a magnifying lamp.

2) The Consultation:

 Upon meeting your esthetician he or she will probably have a couple of beginning questions or have you fill out a questionnaire.  It's important to let your esthetician know about any allergies you have or if you are an expectant mother before beginning the facial as this affects which products can be used.  When you get into the treatment room your technician will take a closer look at your skin under a magnifying lamp and assess your needs.  Ideally, you will discuss what you would like to get out of the facial and what you use as home care.  From this, your esthetician will be able to let you know what you can realistically expect from the first treatment and how to best achieve your skincare goals.  Many of the issues, such as acne, discoloration, and wrinkles cannot be treated in just one session.  You and your esthetician can set up a timeline for how often you should come in for treatments.  When treating ailments such as acne, facials are usually suggested every 3-4 weeks.  Aging, dry, normal, and oily skin types are suggested to return for facials every 4-6 weeks.

Don't be afraid to ask questions during your consult.  Ask what type of products will be used during the facial, what their method for extractions is, and what kind of after care will be used on your skin.  Never ever have a facial without knowing what to expect.  Ask your esthetician for a step by step breakdown of the facial treatment so you feel more comfortable.

scrub me secret: to treat discoloration spots, scarring, and deep wrinkles there are other more targeted treatments that can be done during a facial.  The most popular ways are through chemical peels and microdermabrasion.  These treatments tend to be something you can add to a facial or have on their own.  If you are interested in something like this it is best to have a basic facial first so your esthetician can best know your skin before attempting more aggressive treatments.

3) The treatment:

Every facial differs a little depending on the facility. A typical facial consists of five key parts: cleansing, refinement, extractions, mask, and after care.  The cleanse is to remove makeup, residual product, and dirt and oils on the surface of the skin.  Even if you came in with clean skin your esthetician should still cleanse first to ensure you are fresh and ready for other products to be used. Refinement is the step before extractions.  This step usually involves some sort of exfoliation whether it is mechanical or chemical.

scrub me secret: at our scrub me skin care studio facial massage is a big part of a lot of our facial treatments. we use different techniques like lymph drainage, skin lifting massage, gua sha, and cooling globes to treat the face. this is not very common in basic facials but you can find spas & skin care studios like ours that offer these services!

Steaming your face is not only relaxing, it also helps make extractions easier.

Steaming your face is not only relaxing, it also helps make extractions easier.

During refinement you lay underneath a warm steam.  Steaming your skin helps soften dirt and debris in the pores and opens them up so extractions can be easier.  What are extractions?  This part of the treatment may not be the most relaxing but, trust us, it is much needed!  Your esthetician will take about 10 minutes to squeeze out any blackheads, clogged pores, or pimples that are ready.  This part can be a bit uncomfortable for some skin types.

scrub me secret: many articles state that extracting pimples and blackheads can damage the skin more and cause scarring.  This is true, but only if the extraction isn't performed correctly.  When you squeeze your own congestion at home it is easy to scrape off the surface of the skin or pick it off.  Also, many use their nails which is also damaging to skin and may introduce more bacteria. There are also instances where a pimple isn’t ready to be extracted and doing so causes more damage to the skin.  Estheticians are trained to properly squeeze and extract from the skin without causing permanent damage.  After professional extractions acneic skin types may need a few days for residual inflammation to go down and some pimples to heal.

 Next, comes the mask portion of the facial.  A treatment mask will be chosen during the consultation to suit your skin type or whats needed that day.  Popular masks include: oil clearing, hydrating, soothing, and anti-aging.  These are just a few examples of the many mask options out there.  The mask usually sits on the skin for 10-15 minutes and is then removed with a warm towel.  Lastly, after care products will be applied to the skin.  This includes: toner, eye cream, serums, moisturizer, and SPF.  Have your esthetician tell you exactly what you are leaving with on your skin in case you really like a product or have a reaction.  After your facial you will discuss home care and how to tend to your skin in between facials.  Don't forget to schedule your next appointment before you leave!

Each time you come in for a facial your esthetician will decide what kind of treatment your skin needs.

Each time you come in for a facial your esthetician will decide what kind of treatment your skin needs.

4) Post care:

 After your facial your esthetician will give you instructions as to how to best care for your skin at home.  It is crucial for you to do your part at home or you will not receive the results you wish to obtain.  During your consultation you and your skincare technician will have discussed what products you have at home and decide how to best use those and whether you need to purchase new ones.

scrub me secret:  we know facial care products can get a bit pricey and not everyone can invest in them.  let your technician know your price points or ask if they can recommend any products from drug or health food stores if you need something really affordable.  also, ask for specific ingredients that suit your skin type and you can research products that contain the ingredients you need.

scrub me products have amazing ingredients at a low cost!



Remember, a good facial goes a long way but you must supplement it with good home care.  Together you and your esthetician can work toward your best skin possible!  Want a facial from the owner of scrub me™ herself?  Visit our scrub me skin care studio located in Chicago!