The ultimate guide to different facials for every skin type

The “facial” is one of the most common treatments performed in beauty salons and spas. The word “facial” is actually a broad term that refers to a group of skin care treatments including exfoliation, steam, creams, extraction, masks, lotions, massages, and peels.

Facials are used for a variety of purposes, from improving the general health and appearance of the skin to treating acne and signs of aging. Keep reading to learn more about the all the types of facials advertised in your beauty parlour.

Types of facials

It’s important to determine what your skin needs before you schedule a facial. Does your skin need hydration? Brightening? Exfoliation? Anti-aging treatment?

Below, we discuss facial types and benefits, as well as what sort of facials you should look for if you have oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, or aging skin.

Classic Facial

BW-Spa-Style-Facial-X-ACCORDIONBest for someone with normal skin

The basic facial focuses on relaxation and improving the general health of the skin.

This procedure includes a head and neck massage and a deep cleansing skin treatment. Ask for extractions if you suffer from acne.

Benefits: relaxation; refreshed appearance.

Lymphatic Massage Facial 

Great for people who clench their jaw or grind their teeth

Most facials include some type of facial massage, but this one focuses on massage as a way to reduce swelling caused by water retention. This facial is also effective in relieving tension headaches.

During this kind of facial, the clinician will massage specific points on the face to stimulate the lymphatic glands.

Benefits: reduced puffiness; relieved tension.

Microdermabrasion Facial 

Best for someone who wants serious exfoliation 

This facial involves microdermabrasion, a technique that buffs the surface of the skin – removing dead skin cells and stimulating your body to produce collagen.

Benefits: reduced skin damage; younger appearance; softer skin.

Side effects: redness.

Fruit Acid Facial

Great for normal skin 

Orange-Pack-minWe commonly associate the image of cucumbers over the eyes with relaxation and spa treatments.

Fruits contain a variety of natural skin-improving acids. A fruit facial utilizes fruits like apples and lemons to cleanse, hydrate, and improve texture/tone.



Acupuncture Facial

Best for relaxation and rejuvenation 

This one sounds scary, but when done right it shouldn’t hurt at all.

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese technique that involves inserting needles about 1mm into the skin. During the procedure, the clinician will push about 30 needles into wrinkle-prone spots on the face and leave them there for 15 minutes.

Acupuncture is said to promote relaxation and stimulate collagen and elastin production.

Benefits: bright eyes and a radiant complexion; minimized wrinkles.

LED Facial

Best for someone with acne/redness

Also called “Color Light Therapy,” an LED his facial utilizes LED lights to calm inflammation and breakouts and stimulate cell regrowth (which fights signs of aging). The treatment is relaxing and painless.

Benefits: improves acne and reverses signs of aging; reduces sunspots; improves overall complexion; minimizes redness.

Note: For those with moderate-severe acne, several treatments may be required.

Brightening Facial

Best for someone who wants a brighter/lighter complexion

This facial aims to brighten dull, “tired” skin and to reduce hyperpigmentation.

The procedure typically involves masks, acid treatments, and enzyme peels to remove dead skin cells. It attacks pigmentation problems Vitamin C and other antioxidants.

Benefits: improves skin tone; minimizes hyperpigmentation; boosts radiance; boosts skin defense.

Hydrating Facial

hydrating-facial-imageBest for someone with dry skin

If the products you use at home just aren’t doing it, you might want to consider a hydrating facial. This procedure generally includes humectant-rich masks and products designed to moisturize, plump, and soften skin.


Firming & Contouring Facial

Great for aging skin

This one is a little different. A firming and contouring facial involves the use of microcurrent devices that temporarily tighten the muscles in your face and restore lost energy.

Mild levels of microcurrent are typically delivered to the neck and face through wet sponges. This procedure may also involve firming massing techniques.

Benefits: temporary lifting of sagging skin; smoothed wrinkles; drains lymph nodes.

Note: this facial is not relaxing.

Decongesting Facial

Best for someone with acne

This facial is designed to clean out pores and remove blackheads – you can think of it as “professional blackhead removal.”

The procedure will likely involve a gentle acid peel, like AHA or lactic acid.

Benefits: clean pores; fewer blackheads.

Side effects: temporary redness and slight discomfort.

Anti-Aging Facial

For late 30’s and older

This is a twist on your traditional facial that concentrates on a variety of age-related concerns. Depending on the spa, this facial may include any of the following:

  • Resurfacing (like microdermabrasion)
  • Hydrating
  • Cleansing
  • Brightening (like acid peels)
  • Exfoliation
  • Masks
  • Antioxidant-packed serums
  • Deep pore cleansing
  • Extractions

Side effects: temporary redness and peeling; sensitivity to sunlight.


For serious hydration

This is basically a hydrating facial on steroids. During the procedure, the clinician will use a device to suck all the gross stuff out of your skin. That same tool will then be used to infuse the skin with an enriching serum.

This facial is gentle, producing skin that is soft and radiant without inflammation or redness.

Gem Facial

5c9c1648-e74e-45af-86f2-490ff77342d5-minFor the mystic

Gemstones have long been used to “balance energy” and to treat a variety of skin and internal health concerns.

A gemstone facial involves the use of stones like onyx and amber combined with aromatherapy and oils to improve the skin’s appearance, balance energy, and create a unique sensory experience.

There is no scientific evidence to support the use of gemstones in any sort of medical treatment, but at the very least you can expect relaxation.

Skin types & facials 

If you have dry skin…

Dry skin is prone to dehydration, which slows the natural exfoliation cycle. People with dry skin should choose facials that involve gentle exfoliation such as enzymes.

Dry skin also needs water and oil to balance it out. Look for a procedure that involves a nourishing mask.

If you have oily skin…

Oily skin tends to attract dirt and grime. Look for a treatment that involves a chemical exfoliant – like salicylic or glycolic acid.

These acids are able to penetrate into your pores and remove congestion caused by excess oil. It’s also a good idea to ask for blackhead extraction.

If you have sensitive skin…

People with sensitive skin should avoid any facial that involves rough exfoliation or fragrance. Instead, choose a facial that involves a gentle enzyme.

How to maintain radiant skin post-facial

Maintain the following habits to keep that radiant, post-facial look:

  • Cleanse your face morning and night to remove makeup, oil, and debris
  • Use a toner and moisturizer after washing
  • Always use sunscreen to protect against UV damage

How much does a facial cost?

We’ve discussed all of the most common facial types, but what about price?

The cost of a facial varies dramatically based on three things:

  • Geographic location
  • Type of facial
  • Place you get it

With these factors in mind, a facial can cost anywhere between $60 to more than $300.

Click here to learn more about professional LED and radiofrequency facial treatments.

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