You know how, during a facial, your esthetician gives your skin the exact treatment it needs to look its best? Well, what if you could get inside your esthetician’s head for a half hour, channeling that same expertise to inform your morning and evening skin care rituals? In truth, day-to-day skin care routines might matter more than facials — and that’s exactly why consultations were invented. So you can bring the knowledge that’s relevant to you out of the spa and into your home. After years of having these conversations with clients, I’ve crafted a list of questions to ask your esthetician that will help you get the most value from your facial when you decide to book.
5 Questions to Ask Your Esthetician
1. What’s my skin type?
Think you know your skin type? It’s still helpful to have a professional take a close look. Many people have mixed types and don’t know it. Plus, our skin’s needs change over time. Your esthetician’s trained eye might see signs of change you haven’t noticed yet.
For example, you may think you are dry when, in fact, your skin is actually dehydrated. It’s an important distinction because exfoliation is very beneficial to dry skin, but can be damaging to dehydrated skin. Dry skin lacks oil, while dehydrated skin lacks moisture. Dehydrated skin feels rough and flakey but can still produce oil underneath a dehydrated skin surface, often leaving clients confused as to how to address their needs.
2. What’s the best daily skincare routine for me?
Skin care recommendations from friends and influencers are powerfully persuasive. But what works for your friend or even your sister might not work for you. In fact, what worked for you in your 20s probably won’t in your 40s. And lifestyle changes — a career shift, for instance — can change your skin care needs if it means you’re spending more time outdoors or in front of a screen.
Part of aging gracefully is developing a skincare routine that works for:
- your skin type
- your lifestyle
- your environment, including climate
- your concerns and goals
This made my list of questions to ask your esthetician because a professional will have the objectivity and expertise to help you take a realistic look at your current products and routine and make adjustments that fit your life.
One example of a routine change based on lifestyle, is for someone with acne prone skin who also works out almost daily. Acne prone skin needs extra attention after sweating. The heat stress and bacteria can exacerbate unwanted lesions (i.e. pimples). I recommend using a salicylic acid product or a botanical astringent within 10 minutes of heavy exercise. Whether you work out in the morning, midday, or evening will affect the custom home care routine provided by your esthetician.
3. What results can I expect from this treatment?
Realistic expectations are key, and you’ll see different results from regular facials over time than you will from occasional, sporadic ones. I like to tell clients what benefits they can expect immediately and what effect treatments should have long term.
After one facial, the skin will have a luminous glow that comes from professional exfoliation, botanical anti-inflammatory ingredients, stimulating massage, and layers of hydration. Issues on the superficial layers of the skin, like soft lines around the eyes, will be plumped and diminished. Sagging skin will gain some tone and elasticity. Blackheads are extracted.
Some changes aren’t immediately visible, but are still a very effective part of the treatment. One example: Collagen and elastin production is increased in the process of receiving a facial, though they’ll take some time and continued attention to add density.
Another benefit that takes a while to set in is the stress relief you receive. Psychological stress increases cortisol levels and inflammation, damaging cells over time and weakening the skin’s resilience to environmental stressors. A high quality facial should deactivate your stress response, reducing the cortisol that causes inflammation in your skin and helping to strengthen the skin’s barrier function.
4. What products do you use on your skin?
Seeing how your esthetician puts knowledge into practice can make abstract concepts more tangible and give you insights into how products work together.
For instance, I give my routine a 180 from summer to winter, and I love coaching clients on how to switch their seasonal lineup without wasting a drop of the high-quality products they’ve already invested in.
How do we accomplish this? By moving our richer winter products to the evening for summer, and lightening up daytime products. Some winter products are set aside for next year, some get used up before the seasons change, and some get incorporated into their summer routine.
Here’s what I’ll be using this summer. This routine balances my skin care desires and goals: caring for my skin as it ages while minimizing hyperpigmentation and some mild acne.
These products are all from Eminence Organics. I use this line because it combines the intelligence of nature and the latest scientific findings to make botanical products that nourish my skin for a truly healthy glow. The ingredients are ethically grown organically on European farms and certified by Biokontroll Hungaria. The entire line is free of harsh chemicals.
- Charcoal Exfoliating Gel Cleanser
Charcoal, malachite gemstones, and blue matcha wash away impurities and reveal a balanced complexion.
- Bright Skin Licorice Root Exfoliating Peel
Lactic and mandelic acids gently exfoliate dead skin cells while licorice root, African potato, and tara tree brighten the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
- Neroli Age Corrective Eye Serum
This award-winning serum nourishes and hydrates the delicate skin around the eyes with neroli oil, coconut water, and green apple stem cell technology.
- Citrus & Kale Potent C + E Serum
In this formula, vitamin C salts convert to vitamin C on contact with the skin, minimizing degradation of antioxidants before use. (How cool is that?) And vitamin E from avocado nourishes and protects the skin.
- Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Concentrate (launching this month!)
Botanically-sourced hyaluronic acid meets vitamin-rich strawberries and rhubarb in this skin-plumping and nourishing blend.
- Stone Crop Whip Moisturizer
This moisturizer is great for summer. Succulent stone crop cools sun-exposed skin and brings regenerative properties to support healing and rejuvenation throughout the day.
- Lilikoi Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF 40
Lilikoi (passion fruit) seed oil moisturizes while cocoa seed extract, satsuma mandarin peel, and mineral-based SPF 40 protect the skin from sunlight, blue light from screens, and pollution.
- Firm Skin Acai Cleanser
Antioxidant-rich acai berries, sea buckthorn oil, and hyaluronic acid from marshmallow plants, revitalize mature skin at the end of a summer day.
- Birch Water Purifying Essence
Nutrient-rich birch water purifies the skin while botanical collagen increases elasticity and improves barrier function, helping the skin retain the benefits of subsequent products.
- Eight Greens Youth Serum
Concentrated whole plant yucca, chasteberry, and flax seed extract tighten and brighten skin with phytoestrogens, omega-3s, and antioxidants.
- Lavender Age Corrective Night Eye Cream
Lavender, evening primrose, and Eminence’s anti-aging stem cell complex diminish the signs of aging while you sleep and leave skin looking radiant.
- Facial Recovery Oil
Calm, balance, and hydrate with ylang ylang, clary sage, and olive oils. Antioxidant sage leaf extract rejuvenates and tones.
- Marine Flower Peptide Night Cream
Peptides inhibit aging, and applying them to the skin ensures your body has the materials it needs to make collagen, keeping your skin plumper, firmer, and more radiant. Eminence sources its bioactive peptides from marine algae!
5. What’s the best way to pamper my skin between facials?
Last but not least, this is one of my favorite questions to ask your esthetician because it shines in a one-on-one format. We’re used to seeing messages that imply one product can work wonders for everyone. Not true.
Some people may benefit from a super-hydrating mask. Others may need a peel. Results can even be influenced by the other products you’re using. Ask your esthetician how you can further your skincare goals on those days when you have a bit more time to spare.
A facial doubles as an opportunity to chat with your esthetician, whose trained eye can pick up signs you’ve missed or lifestyle details that reveal a skin care need. This is skin care gold, saving time and money ill spent on products that aren’t right for you.
However, digesting the wealth of information your esthetician can provide takes time. Consider asking just one of these questions with every appointment. We want to ensure that you also get the benefits of relaxation that come with your treatment! (More on those rejuvenating benefits and how to get them here: The Science of a Relaxing Facial.)
Live in the Ann Arbor area and want the skin-toning benefits of regular facials from an experienced esthetician with personalized skin care tips on the side? Book a facial at Jessica’s Apothecary & Spa.
Think you’re ready for the full download? Book a virtual skin care consultation with me today. We’ll take a closer look at your skin type and the elements your skin is up against daily. I’ll also recommend revitalizing, plant-based products for your skin. Schedule a virtual consultation with Jessica to receive custom, personalized responses to each of these questions, and more.