We know, we know, going for facials weekly sounds indulgent and expensive. That's why many of us resort to homecare.
I (Agent G) am one of them. I used to think that good homecare was enough, too! Not only is it cost-saving, it is also more time-efficient than going to a salon for facials. As long as I'm not breaking out that often, it's good enough ... right?
2019 has, however, been a year of transformation for me and my attitudes towards facial is definitely one area of change. I got to know a facial salon that made me want to commit the time every month for a facial and since then, I have seen a huge improvement in my skin. My face didn't just break out less often, my skin became a lot softer with my complexion becoming brighter and more even over time. Of course, I became even more committed towards going for facials after I started receiving compliments.
"Wah, you look a lot younger now compared to the last time we met!"
"If you didn't say, I thought you're in your 20s leh"
You can imagine how happy I was after hearing those comments :D There is truth after all in the saying that some things are better left in the hands of experts!
My experience made me think about the age-old conflict between homecare and professional facials. After talking to some facial professionals I personally trust on this topic, I now have 8 reasons why homecare products, no matter how great, are not a substitute for facials.
Read on to find out what they are.
Do you remember those days in Secondary School when your face always looked and felt so supple, taut and bright?
Well, the skin naturally renews itself every 28 days when dead cells are pushed to the surface. Plump skin cells continuously move from lower layers of the epidermis to the upper layers. When they reach the surface, they become flat, platelike envelopes filled with keratin, a protein that prevents evaporation. This is called desquamation, a natural, gentle, self-exfoliation process that sheds dead skin in an orderly manner.
Unfortunately, contaminants in the environment often disrupts its function. Harmful UV rays and chemicals can weaken the skin and slow down the renewal process. Bad cleansing habits - using products that are too harsh - can often strip the moisture from our skin and dry it out. Not cleansing the face fully from makeup will cause foreign bodies to clog pores while you sleep. Age, too, plays a part. Production of keratin slows as we get older, resulting in drier skin. Desquamation then becomes less efficient, causing a thicker layer of dead skin to build up.
A great facial helps to facilitate the renewal process by incorporating a mechanical removal of the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of our skin. New cells are then able to grow on the surface of our skin in a better condition which improves the skin's appearance over time.
How is removal at the salon different from what you do at home? For one, most professionally done facials start with double cleansing that incorporate facial massages that removes dirt a lot more thoroughly. They may also use a variety of products such as jojoba scrubs and enzyme peels that help to loosen dead skin and blackheads to make them more amenable for removal.
It may not be sufficient just to exfoliate our skin. Even when we apply homecare products religiously, most of us are still plagued with blackheads and whiteheads. If not dealt with properly, these may become acne and breakouts.
That's where professionally trained facial therapists come in. A skilled facial therapist will know what to extract, what not to extract and how to extract the whiteheads and blackheads to minimise those breakouts.
This is the secret behind huge transformations like this. Without blackheads and whiteheads, acne cannot establish its root on your face, allowing you to eventually recover from acne breakouts.
We can do extractions by ourselves of course but the process may not be as precise or done in the most sterilile environment and this might possibly lead to worse breakouts and even scarring.
You may have found a set of homecare products that suits your skin. But a trip abroad, post-partum hormones or even workplace stress from a new boss may just throw your skincare routine out of whack. Suddenly, the products that used to work for you may actually cause you to break out more. Now what?
When you rely purely on homecare, you may not be as aware of changes in your skin as compared to when you go to a facial salon regularly. Monthly facials are like regular checkups. Your therapist can monitor the state of your skin and advise you to change your skincare routine or products, and even modify your facials to suit your changing needs.
That's what happened to me. I was so busy with work that I didn't realise an eczema patch was forming close to my nose bridge until Winnie, my regular facial therapist at The Bund Beauty @ Ang Mo Kio, pointed it out. What had appeared to be a pimple was really an area that had become sensitive possibly because of frequent contact with her spectacles. On top of being more careful during facials, Winnie recommended that I apply a cream on that area that would help the sensitive skin.
Pardon Agent G's #nofilter #nomakeup face
True to Winnie's predictions, the patch disappeared within a week! She also mentioned that eczema or sensitivity patches usually start small. They are easier to treat in the early stages but procrastinate till the patch becomes bigger and you'll have a much harder time controlling the condition.
Imagine how grateful I was to have such an experienced facial therapist like Winnie who could help monitor my skin!
Winnie isn't the only experienced facial therapist who can do that though. In fact, facial therapists at Indulgence Beauty go a step further by using sophisticated diagnostic machines to give a more objective assessment of your skin condition. These machines take photos of your skin condition using both normal photos and infra-red ones to spot problems even before they show up on your face.
They keep these records over time so you can look back on your facial condition from your initial visits and see how far your skin has come.
At Indulgence Beauty, we believe in scientific, data-based diagnostic methods supplemented by our experience to more accurately identify skin issues for customers. This way we can then design solutions that work more quickly and effectively!~ Anna, Indulgence Beauty
With monthly checkups at the facial salon and quick rectification of skincare routines for your current skin needs, you will probably find yourself ageing much more gracefully than those who aren't as vigilant. You may even find yourself saving money as you don't have to spend on numerous facial products that may work well on others (on social media) but are actually not suitable for your skin condition!
That's why I'm starting to think of facial visits like our visits to the dentist - necessary for a more thorough care. Breakouts, larger pores and drier skin are signs that our skin needs some TLC!
Even if you have many products in your bathroom cabinet, they cannot compare to the variety of professional products good facial salons possess.
Placenta Facial at Geranium Skin Boutique
Some facial salons like Geranium Skin Boutique carry products customised to every skin type including sensitive, ageing, oily, dehydrated skin with ingredients that specifically tackle each concern. This ensures that they can provide you with exactly what you need when your skin changes.
Some facial salons even have their own research facility that develops their own array of products such as Face Plus by Yamano. This Japanese salon uses pharmaceutical grade amber in their products which truly clarifies and hydrates the skin like nothing else. I didn't believe it until I used their top-end Kohaku Bidou Lotion. It's so good, I haven't stopped since! (Nope, this is not sponsored - I actually intentionally visited Face Plus by Yamano in Japan to buy it for myself)
Not only do facial salons offer a wider variety of products, the products used are also of a higher quality. They're made with dermatologist-approved ingredients and are usually of higher concentrations to increase efficacy. You can't get these products off the shelves because they have only been okayed for trained beauticians and therapists to use.
In fact, Allumer Japanese Beauty Salon is one of the first to bring in Stem Cell Beaute, a herbal peeling facial.
Beaute Revive Facial Treatment at Allumer Japanese Beauty Salon
This treatment results in deeper exfoliation that cannot be found in homecare products. It also allows for better absorption of other skincare products, improved hydration and increased collagen production! As herbs with lots of active ingredients are used in the process, we find that it is much more effective and yet still suitable for those with sensitive skin compared to typical chemical peels.
Fluid and toxins can build up in the underlying tissues and skin because of products and pollution. With proper facial massage techniques used during a facial, puffiness can be reduced through detoxification, leaving you with a new and improved complexion.
Massages also work wonders on improving circulation. They help to bring more oxygen to your skin, encouraging healthy cell renewal by stimulating and speeding up the process. Through your capillaries, an exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide; and nutrients, hormones and waste takes place to help your skin glow and look clearer. It sounds very basic but it is one of the most important steps to improving skin health.
Facial Reflexology at Organics Beauty
Some facial massages can even make your face appear smaller, eliminate headaches and TMJ. We're talking about the popular Small Face Correction, of course.Those who have tried it often see visible results that keep them going back every few months.
Some even turn to Small Face Correction to correct their teeth grinding. Agent MF is one such example!
Agent MF experienced fewer teeth grinding issues after regular Small Face Correction.
When you use your own skincare products, you often apply it with just your hands. But the skilled hands of a facial therapist are extremely different from your untrained ones. Almost everyone who goes for facials raves about how soft and gentle the therapist's hands are.
Additionally, any facial beyond a basic cleansing will involve some cool machines. This includes anything from the simple blackhead vacuum to radiofrequency treatments and micro-needling.
They're not just fancy pieces of equipment. Advanced facials can remove pigmentation and dark spots through product or machine-based treatments. A good facial can bring an evenness of tone to your complexion and reduce redness, improving the appearance of your skin.
Lying on your own bed gives you time to relax at a lower cost, for sure. However, how many of us actually just lie down and relax with a gentle tune in the background? We are definitely guilty of scrolling endlessly on our devices!
At a facial salon, you're basically forced to give yourself time to relax. The lights are dimmed, calming music is played and the facial process itself is sleep-inducing. Facials can work holistically by giving your mind, body and spirit a lift.
Facial at Face Plus by Yamano
If you're someone who prefers having chats instead of taking a nap, you can also take this time to offload your troubles to your therapist. We think the cosy room and lack of constant eye contact make it feel like a less intrusive and judgemental space.
With the added facial massage included, you will leave feeling emotionally lighter and less stressed. A definite bonus to your new glowing skin!
What do you think about homecare vs facials? Share your thoughts with us below!