Saturday, February 14, 2015

Where to look for a great facial

Finding a good professional facial involves two key elements. First, you need to find a qualified and experienced aesthetician (a person licensed to perform facials). Then you want to find someone who uses quality products. Both the aesthetician and the product need to be good for the facial to be worth your time and money. You may have to go through some trial and error before you find the perfect facial for you.

The easiest way to find someone who is good at her craft is through a friend’s referral. You want suggestions from someone who has had a lot of facials, a person whose opinion you respect. If your friends don’t get them, ask if someone they know can steer you to a good place for a facial. If you’ve just moved to a new town, ask everyone you meet for a referral, and if the same name keeps coming up, you can start there. (Prior to my books being published, my entire business was built from referrals. It’s the best advertising there is.) If you can’t get a referral, do an Internet search and start calling salons.

When a client moves out of town, I call around to salons in her area to gather information that will help me determine where she might find a good facial. I recommend doing this yourself if you don’t know where to go. Believe it or not, these initial calls will tell you a lot. Keep in mind, you’re looking for a professional. Ask to speak to the aesthetician if she’s available. If not, you’ll have to settle for whoever can answer your questions. Here’s what to ask: 

1. What type of business is it? Is it a full-service salon with hair, nails, and massage, or exclusively skin care? Is it a salon with several aestheticians or an individual running her own business? The individual business owner is more likely to provide the most private environment. She may, however, be leasing space within a large salon, so if size matters to you, be sure and ask. Large salons tend to be less private, with many people coming in and out of them all day long. Some people like more privacy; others enjoy the energy of a busy salon. 

2. Which products does the salon use? If you’re not familiar with the products they use, don’t worry. Eventually you’ll have firsthand experience with different product lines and can make an educated decision about their effectiveness with your particular skin. If you know the products they use, you may or may not need to ask further questions.
Are samples available? I rarely sell products to a first-time client. Not that I won’t, but I prefer to send my client home with samples so she can determine, in the privacy and comfort of her own home, if they are worth the investment. High-quality, effective products will sell themselves without high-pressure sales tactics. If you can’t sample the product (and even if you can), be clear about the salon’s return policy before you decide to buy. 

3. How long has the aesthetician worked there? Is she new? Has she worked in five different places in the past two years? If she’s worked there a long time, at least you know she’s stable and probably has a large and satisfied clientele. If you are just going for an occasional facial, these particular questions aren’t going to be very important to you. But if you are looking for a salon or an aesthetician to get regular facials from, keep this in mind: you are looking to build a relationship. The aesthetician’s personality, her knowledge about skin care, her reliability, stability, etc., are all going to be important qualities to look for. If she tends to move around a lot, and you like her facials, you may find yourself moving around with her. This may not necessarily be a negative, although it could get quite inconvenient for you. 

4. How long has she been an aesthetician? The first few years after skin care school are when your education truly begins. Right after school and without practical experience, you simply don’t know as much as you will in later years. A novice aesthetician is not what you are looking for. Does she use the product herself? You’d be surprised how many people don’t use the products they sell. That’s a very bad sign. The skill of the aesthetician plus her commitment to a quality product are what make a facial great. 

5. How long is the facial? The person you speak to may ask you, “Which one?” I’ll tell you right now I’m not a fan of “menus” when it comes to facials, yet most salons will have one. In my own business, I have one facial that includes everything possible for each individual’s skin to be its best. I do not add costly steps while “en route,” nor do I believe the client should be deciding what her skin needs. It’s not a restaurant where you order what you want; it’s a treatment based on a professional analysis of what’s going on with your skin. The aesthetician should decide the course of treatment for the client, not the other way around. Facials usually last from one to one and a half hours. Anything less than an hour may not be enough time to have quality work done. In recent years I have added a one-hour facial that I provide for those who are stretching to afford a facial and for younger, teenage clients. It is simply a pared-down version of the original.

6. Does the salon use machines? Here are some of the machines and other items that might be used in a facial: steam, brush machine, the vacuum, galvanic current, high-frequency, oxygen facials, comedone extractors, and lancets. See Machines used in facials—are they necessary? for detailed information about all the different machines that you may encounter in a facial.

7. What about extractions? I am wary of a place that doesn’t provide this service. I’ve heard more than one story of clients in desperate need of extractions who find themselves in a salon that refuses to do them. Conversely, I know many clients who truly needed few or no extractions and were “mashed” needlessly. Once again, the skill of the aesthetician comes into play. But an aesthetician or a salon with a “no extractions” policy is saying that they are unwilling to treat all skin conditions. They will not be able to give you what you potentially need. If you know you need extractions, asking this question will quickly eliminate any salon that refuses to do them. If you positively don’t need extractions, or you simply abhor extractions and don’t want them done, then going to a salon that doesn’t provide that service won’t be a problem for you.

8. How much does the facial cost? Prices vary, so you’ll want to call around and know the going rate for facials in your area, so there are no surprises. If one facial is a lot more expensive than the next, you’ll want to find out why. Price is another area where menus come into play. And again, this is another reason I don’t like them. I believe each person should get a whole and complete facial dictated by his or her individual needs. One facial may cost less than another, but perhaps you won’t get everything your skin needs for the lesser price.

Is the price all-inclusive or can extras be added? Unfortunately I have heard many stories of clients who went in to get a $90 facial and came out paying $130 or more. Ouch! There is a little trick you’ll want to watch out for, and it goes something like this: you go into the salon you’ve chosen expecting a $90 facial. But as the aesthetician works on you, she keeps mentioning how dehydrated you are or repeatedly noting some other problem. “You need deep exfoliation,” she says. And you agree. Then when you get your bill, you may be surprised to find you agreed to an extra $20 or $30 service! Make sure to ask if the facial includes everything or if exfoliation, masks, ampoules, etc., are an extra charge. If some of these are not included, you still may want to add them, but certainly you want to know the cost beforehand. A facial, in my opinion, should include everything needed for that client during each treatment without extra charges being tacked on.

9. What will my skin look like afterwards? Your skin should look radiant. It should be clean, clear, and healthy-looking. Unless you have problem skin that requires a lot of extraction, your skin should not be red, irritated, or feel greasy with excess cream needing to be wiped off. Your skin should look and feel great.

10. Will makeup be applied after the facial? There are two reasons you don’t want to apply makeup after a facial. First and foremost, your skin has just been thoroughly cleansed. The last thing you want to do is cover it up with makeup. Second, it is a signal you’ll no doubt be in for a big sales pitch. You’re a captive audience when someone is applying makeup to you, and it can cause even the strongest resister to cave in. Let your skin have a break from makeup for a while. Perhaps the salon wants to use makeup to hide the work they did in the facial. Remember, your skin should look great afterwards. Why cover it up? You may be going out right after a facial and need to apply some makeup. Go ahead, but don’t make it an after-facial habit.
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