Facials are the perfect way to improve or maintain a healthy complexion, and whether you invest in them regularly see them as a special treat, it’s important to find the right one for you. But how? “Take advice from your therapist to find out what your skin really needs and what it’s lacking; this will set you on a good path to choosing the right facial for you,” says Emma Hardie, skincare expert and founder of the bestselling eponymous range. Discover which facial is best for you with our expert guide…
The Low-Down: Sometimes at-home application of serums and moisturising creams just won’t cut it if your skin is suffering from intense dryness or dehydration. Hydrating facials focus on humectant-rich ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, which plump and flood skin with moisture. The types of products used will most likely be in (sheet) mask and serum form, along with rich creams, as they best quench the skin. Massage techniques are often used to ensure products reach the deeper layers of your skin (in other words, deeper than the surface level that covers 10-15 layers). To get the most out of a hydrating facial, continue to use hyaluronic-rich formulas in-between facials, which we recommend having every month to maintain a healthy skin condition.
Best for: “A hydrating facial is good for all skin types but particularly those who want increased radiance,” says Emma.
Space NK Loves: Darphin Intense Hydrating Facial.
The Low-Down: Microdermabrasion features a small tool that uses rough grains to buff away dead skin, and is great to “resurface the skin and minimise lines, scarring due to acne, large pores and pigmentation,” notes Emma. Collagen production and cellular renewal are stimulated, making this the perfect treatment to ward away any signs of ageing or tiredness. It’s invigorating rather than relaxing, but gives dramatic, impressive results. Expect to see a little redness following a treatment as new layers of skin can feel sensitive, but after a couple of days your complexion will be super soft to the touch and look ultra-revived.
Best for: Damaged or scarred skin.
Space NK Loves: Fere & Co Leo Deluxe Oxyjet Facial at Neville.
The Low-Down: Retexturizing, pore-refining and oil-absorbing, an acid-based peel (usually a glycolic acid or AHA) is amazing for removing the top layers of dead skin – without opting for microdermabrasion. A good facialist will find a suitable acid for your skin type; if you’re more on the sensitive side, a less intense peel will be used, and for a shorter amount of time (a minute or two rather than 3 or 4). If you’re used to having peels, on the other hand, you may be able to opt for something slightly stronger. Peels can feel tingly when applied (usually in liquid/gel form and by hand), but this feeling won’t last, and your will skin emerge deeply exfoliated and glowing.
Best for: Skin with enlarged pores and areas of blemishes.
Space NK Loves: Gel Peel at Cowshed.
The Low-Down: Colour light therapy is renowned for its acne-tackling abilities. Light penetrates skin to remove dirt and calm inflammation, acne and enlarged pores. The results are usually instantaneous and can aid acne dramatically. LED (light-emitting diode) is gentle and comfortable, so don’t be afraid of this futuristic treatment. The blue light in LED devices targets bacteria that causes acne, while red light reduces areas of inflammation. The light also boosts collagen production, so it’s ideal for ageing skin or those concerned with fine lines.
Best for: Acne-prone skin.
Space NK Loves: Cowshed Detox & Brighten Express LED Facial.
The Low-Down: Anti-ageing facials focus on lifting and sculpting. “A major contribution to ageing is the ever-increasing lack of productivity in cells in the dermis and epidermis”, notes Sarah Chapman, renowned facialist and founder of Sarah Chapman Skinesis. It’s because of this that anti-ageing treatments rely on facial massage techniques to plump skin and use ingredients like collagen that focus on regenerating tired complexions. Micro-needling and extractions are also often included to remove dead skin cells and reveal a more youthful surface beneath.
Best for: Fine lines or dull complexions.
Space NK Loves: Sarah Chapman Stem Cell Collagen Activator Therapy.
The Low-Down: Brightening facials focus on powerful antioxidants such as vitamin C and, since they’re monitored by an expert professional, tend to feature formulas with a higher strength than at-home products. Said formulas are usually applied within acids or enzyme peels, which are left on for an amount of time suitable for your skin type (sensitive skins will not experience it for very long but may sense some tingling). As a big part of radiant skin is hydration, brightening facials also ensure the face is moisturised throughout with the use of nourishing masks and serums. With the focus on putting the glow back into dull skin, you’ll discover a more even texture and over time, reduced pigmentation.
Best for: Pigmentation and skin that looks dull and tired.
Space NK Loves: Omorovicza Illuminating Facial.
“For some of us a facial can be a rare treat and for some it is part of a regular healthy skin maintenance”, says Sarah. “Either way you need to extend the results for as long as possible”. While your facialist will recommend aftercare products, it’s best to stick to skincare that is calming, especially if you’ve had dermabrasion or a strong peel.
Opt for soothing serums such as Dr Barbara Sturm Calming Serum, which is great for even the most sensitive skin, or Malin + Goetz Replenishing Face Serum, which contains natural plant extracts such as gentle camomile. As with your usual skincare routine, diligent use of a good SPF following a facial is a must as skin can become more sensitive to the sun. Darphin Intral Shield SPF 50 not only protects from harmful UV rays, but also has a super-smooth texture which isn’t greasy. Always avoid dehydrating food and drink, and wearing makeup and gym visits immediately afterwards too, to give skin the best chance to enjoy the full benefits of the facial.