Facials have long been perceived as an infrequent indulgence that’s
often the result of either a gift, guilty feeling or skin emergency. As they can be
quite expensive and require a couple of hours out of your day, they
often slip to the bottom of our priority list. However, a regular facial
will not only provide an enforced few hours of relaxation and
pampering, but provide you with targeted and invaluable advice for you
to continue implementing yourself at home. There’s nothing quite like an
hour with an incredibly experienced skin expert, listening to them
diagnose any issues and provide advice on products or routines; if
you’ve ever suffered with breakouts, dryness, enlarged pores or uneven
tone, then they could provide bespoke recommendations that only an
appointment with a dermatologist could provide. (Read my recommendations of some of the best places in London to try here) However, if you’ve never had a ‘proper’ facial before (sorry – the ones where they essentially cleanse, tone and moisturise your face for you don’t count!) you may be surprised to find out what actually goes on behind closed doors. The first time I had a ‘proper’ facial I left feeling like I’d just taken part in a really odd ritual, but over fifty facials later and I realise it’s just the way it is… So here are the three things to expect so you don’t freak out on the therapist’s table!

The first time I walked into a treatment room and was asked to take my top off, I wondered if I’d wandered into some dodgy massage parlour by mistake. What have my boobs got to do with treating my skin, I hear you ask? Well the vast majority of good facialists will ask you to bare your neck and shoulders so they can not only extend the treatment beyond the jawline (as we age our neck and decollatage need a little boost too,) but give you a little neck rub too. They’re also more than likely to massage your chest area to aid with drainage, reducing puffiness and helping the entire experience to leave you feeling refreshed. Don’t think your facialist is taking advantage or getting cheap kicks where they can find them, and remember they see hundreds of boobs every year – if you accidentally flash a cheeky nipple they probably won’t even notice.

Possibly the most horrendous, but necessary, part of any facial is when they start extracting the gunk that’s residing just beneath the surface. In the simplest of ways, they get down and dirty with your skin and literally squeeze out the blackheads or blockages; it’s not something I’m normally fussed about or would do at home, but it’s a great way to leave your complexion looking utterly flawless. It’s not painful, but it’s not exactly comfortable either – especially when they start sticking fingers up your nostril or working around a bony bit of your face. Don’t think your skin is any different from anyone else’s if this process happens while you’re laying on the table; just lay back and remain still until it’s over… Then the actual pampering can begin.

A facial isn’t always just about the face. While a treatment is getting to work, it’s incredibly common for your facialist to start massaging your hands, arms, feet, back or neck. In my experience, it’s much more comforting to extend the treatment to other areas than feel like your beauty therapist is lingering in a corner playing on their iPhone. I also find it to be a much more relaxing experience if the rest of my body receives a little pick-me-up too, killing two birds with one stone – without any additional cost. If you have any specific needs it may well be worth discussing them before you lie down, or letting the facialist know of any problematic areas that you’d rather they not interfere with. But basically, just go with the flow and enjoy it.

Have you ever had a facial before and wondered what the hell was going on? Or are you a seasoned professional who just lays on the table and lets them get to work? 

Image courtesy of Face Place London; Face Place have been Hollywood’s trusted skin care experts for over 40 years, famously coveted by A-listers and beauty aficionados at their West Hollywood and New York Clinics. Face Place specialise in a unique, clinical approach to skin care and are responsible for keeping some of the most beautiful and famous faces glowing – including mine. Treatments start at £90.00. More details (as well as pricing details) on their website here.

Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.  




  1. Gweni Rees-Evans
    November 21, 2015 / 11:39 am

    Haha I love it when they give you extra massages! I fall asleep in facials all the time – so relaxing! Could definitely do with one today actually. Fab post as per usual, Gweni

  2. Tasha Rose
    November 21, 2015 / 2:58 pm

    With myself being a beautician, I found this post very funny, so true, the faces of some clients when you have to ask them to take their tops off, sheer confusion haha!

    • Hayley Carr
      November 22, 2015 / 7:07 pm

      I can only imagine!!

  3. Holly Shannon
    November 21, 2015 / 6:48 pm

    I had a dermabrasion facial once where they sucked the gunk out with a machine, it was amazing!! I've been really lucky with my facials, but a friend had one where the therapist had bad breath :/ xHolly ∣ Closingwinter

    • Hayley Carr
      November 22, 2015 / 7:07 pm

      Oh god. I've had those in my time too – nothing worse than someone right in your face with awful breath.

  4. Megalolz!!!!
    November 21, 2015 / 8:18 pm

    I have been meaning to get a facial booked for age!. I have never had one but would like to give it a go!

  5. Beauty Bloss
    November 22, 2015 / 7:24 am

    I love a good facial in a day spa and you've just got me thinking its been too long. A massage would be bliss right now xThe Beauty Bloss

  6. Yujung Kim
    November 22, 2015 / 8:18 am

    Thank you for sharing!! Absolutely appreciated:))

  7. Helen Miller
    November 22, 2015 / 10:32 am

    I was lucky enough to have a facial at Face Place a few weeks ago and thought it was a great experience. My skin felt really clean, looked lovely, smooth and fresh but was very well moisturised as well. Some facials can leave your face looking either oily or feeling parched as though everything has been removed from it – but not at Face Place – you can walk straight out and face the day.I also found it very relaxing.The best facial ever!

    • Hayley Carr
      November 22, 2015 / 7:06 pm

      It's a great place to get a facial. I popped on a touch of makeup after and headed out to dinner too… No faffing or worrying about the excess moisture!

  8. Missy Vintage
    November 22, 2015 / 11:24 am

    I've had some facials where they also include a foot massage which is ok(ish) if it's midway/towards the end of the treatment as I'm already relaxed but one therapist started off at the feet and I had to ask her not to by my third visit – I'm not a huge fan of foot massages and having my feet touched straight away just made me feel tense through the rest of the treatment!

    • Hayley Carr
      November 22, 2015 / 7:06 pm

      There's nothing worse than being taken off guard and then it puts you on edge… I hate when I'm not sure what's going to happen next!

  9. beccagiveslove
    November 22, 2015 / 12:35 pm

    I've never had a facial, but they sound so so fun to do! becca | beccagiveslove

  10. Lauren Powers
    November 22, 2015 / 4:36 pm

    I haven't had a facial before and keep telling myself I will do it 'next month' every month. I need to have a look at good places near me that do themLauren x |

  11. Andrew BeautyandTheBoy
    November 22, 2015 / 4:45 pm

    Yup ive had these the first facial i had i was like….why are they massaging my arms it was nice haha but it took me off guard

  12. Pam Scalfi
    November 23, 2015 / 11:07 am

    ive had a few before, so the above is pretty accurate! My mum however was not used to these things so she was pretty freaked out :PPam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

  13. Nail Pixi
    November 27, 2015 / 9:55 pm

    I once had a facial where she places a thin piece of muslin over my entire face ( thankfully it had nose holes!) and the preceded to dump this part gloopy mask type thing that was so thick and so much of it, it dropped off my face into my hair and because of the muslin I didn't feel like it is anything at all!!

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