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What is a Facial, and What Should You Expect?

BY: Groupon Editors |Aug 31, 2022

Though it's possible to achieve healthy skin at home, many people turn to skincare professionals when they need some extra help. And one treatment they often turn to is the basic facial. But what is a facial, anyway? Though the name is unassuming, the treatment can truly benefit skin, especially because every facial is tailored to the individual's skin type. Read on for our in-depth look at this popular spa treatment.


What is a facial?

A basic facial is a skin treatment that cleanses pores, exfoliates away dead skin cells, and treats common skin concerns with a custom mask. This multi-step process is meant to rejuvenate and nourish faces, making skin appear healthier and younger. It is also a popular spa treatment to pamper and relax, right up there with a massage.

What happens during a facial?

Each facial begins with a consultation that helps the aesthetician determine the right products for your skin type and concerns. Once that's been determined, the relaxing part begins! Most basic facials include some version of the following five steps:

1. Cleansing

Aestheticians massage a cleanser into the face, neck, and décolletage to remove any traces of makeup and dirt. Using warm water paired with a facial sponge, cloth, or cotton pad, they remove the cleanser, dry faces, and evaluate skin. This step helps them determine what type of custom mask they will apply later.

2. Exfoliation

Depending on the spa you're visiting, your aesthetician may buff away dead skin cells with an exfoliating cream or scrub and/or open up pores with steam.

3. Extractions

This process is done to clear individual pores that have become clogged with excess oil or dead skin cells, which can form blackheads and acne. Aestheticians will perform the extractions either by hand or with a special metal tool.

4. Massage

A facial typically also includes a massage of the face—and often the upper body, too—that may be used to improve lymphatic drainage.

5. Masks and more

Aestheticians then apply a custom mask, perhaps a clay-based one to treat oiliness or a hydrating one to combat dryness. The facial concludes with a serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen if it's daytime.

How long does a facial take?

Most basic facials last 60 minutes.

How much does a facial cost?

Like most spa services, facials prices are based on the specific treatments used. A facial that includes microdermabrasion or a special chemical peel, for example, will cost more than a basic facial, which typically averages around $75. Of course, you can also find great facial deals on Groupon that will let you try the service for much less.

What are the benefits of a facial?

Basic facials deeply cleanse skin and may help fight certain skin problems, such as mild acne or dryness. The treatments leave faces glowing and are typically very relaxing, as they include a massage component.

Is there a facial that can help wrinkles?

Basic facials may temporarily improve skin, but they can't treat severe skin issues, including wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and anything more than very mild acne. Those skin concerns typically require more intensive solutions, such as chemical peels, microdermabrasions, or collagen-inducing laser treatments.

Is there a facial for men?

Men's facials are a lot like women's facials but are formulated to the unique needs of men's skin. They usually deal with problems men commonly face, such as razor burn and ingrown hairs, dullness, and sensitivity.

What are facial reviews like?

Check out what some past Groupon customers had to say about their experiences getting a facial:

"Deanna was a joy! This was my first facial and she made sure to explain everything to me and take care of all of my special skin care needs. I will definitely be returning!" – from Amanda W.'s review of Sorelle in Chicago

"My skin feels significantly better immediately! I recommend this place to anyone and everyone! I am going back for oxygen facial next!" – from Min J.'s review of SKN Spa in New York City

"Great Spa, my esthetician, Tess, was incredible - one of the best facials I've ever had- my skin is still glowing. I live nearby but the whole experience, going to the hotel spa, made us feel like we were on a luxurious vacation." – from Tracy M.'s review of Spa InterContinental in LA