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.
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.
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.
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.
For more information, see:
- What to expect in a facial treatment
- Facial frequency: How often should I get a facial?
- MYTH: Facials make your skin break out