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a guide to facials for men

it’s happening – the revolution to get men into the beauty game. from an ever-expanding line of men’s facial products to a rising trend of men’s advertorials for makeup, it’s about time that the beauty and appeal of self-care spread to men.

this global shift in perspective is also apparent in singapore. you can see an increasing number of unisex and men’s grooming places popping up all over town. while this new wave is an exciting change, the men’s beauty industry is still relatively new.

if you’re still on the fence in deciding if facials are worth the time and money, this guide will send you over the edge. and before you know it, you’ve got a facial package under your name. congratulations.

what are facials?

facials are regimens performed by a licensed aesthetician to maintain, preserve and improve the skin’s condition. they usually include cleansing, exfoliation, massage, extractions and masks.

you can think of it like this: if the basic skincare you do at home is like self-washing your car, going for a facial is like going to a professional car wash. for this reason, you only need to go for facials every four to six weeks. each facial might last anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes.

how are men’s facials different from women’s?

in a 2018 study published in the international journal of women’s dermatology, the results show that men’s skin has:

– thicker skin

– deeper facial wrinkles

– prominent sagging around lower eyelids

– higher sebum production level

– higher levels of skin pigmentation

– higher rate of transepidermal water loss

this also means that you cannot show up at generic facial salons and request the typical regimen offered as it is most likely tailored for women’s skin. treatments for men might require a deeper cleansing mask to tackle clogged pores as a result of excess sebum production, deeper hydration treatment, and a focus on problem areas around facial hairs and eyelids.

be sure to reflect the skin conditions or problems that you have with the aesthetician. conditions like acne and ingrown hairs as a result of shaving will require more attention and even specialised formulation.

what to expect from a facial

while the exact facial treatment methods will differ according to the skin characteristics and conditions of each individual, there is a typical procedure that most basic hydration facials follow.

1.preparation of the skin

most if not all facials will be in individual rooms, much like a massage room. the aesthetician will ask you to remove your top to prevent any encumbrance while performing the procedure and to prevent any product from staining your top. you can choose to wear the gown provided for you or you can just lay underneath the duvet or towel facing up. the aesthetician will also let you wear a headband to hold up your hair.

starting off the procedure is the cleansing process. the aesthetician will apply a product designed to cleanse your skin from any impurities. this is to clean the canvas of your skin to prep it for the subsequent products

2. application of products or steam to open up pores

after cleansing, the aesthetician will apply other products on your skin designed to open up your pores. either products will be applied or a steam machine will be brought in to gently warm and open up your pores. sometimes the steam might get too overwhelming so do inform your aesthetician if you’re uncomfortable. sometimes a warm and damp towel is also used to open up your pores.

3. exfoliation and extraction

this process might be the only off-putting part of a facial. to clear the clogged pores, your aesthetician uses hands or special sterilised tools to extract deeply rooted impurities. there might even be tears shed uncontrollably as the face is one of the most sensitive areas of the body. however, this is not to say that you should avoid facials just because of a little discomfort! in fact, with all the grime cleaned off, the subsequent product will be better absorbed.

4. massage

most massages are probably a form of acupressure or lymphatic drainage. these methods are designed to tone your facial muscles and decrease puffiness. this also massages the product into your skin, enhancing efficient absorption.

this can be a major relaxation point as your aesthetician skillfully applies appropriate pressure across your face, neck and shoulders.

5. mask

the aesthetician might use a brush or spatula to apply the mask to every area of your face except for the eyes and nostrils area. as you need time for the mask’s properties to do their work, you might be left alone to let it set in for around 10 to 20 minutes.

6. lock-in treatment

after scraping and wiping away the mask, the aesthetician will apply another product to lock in the treatment. try not to wipe this away or touch your face afterwards.

how to prep for a facial

to shave or not to shave?
for those with a heavy set of facial hair, it is generally recommended to shave the night before. as shaving is sort of a harsh physical exfoliant, your skin might be sensitive and might react to the additional exfoliants during the facial. it is also not recommended to go for a facial with stubble as the hair follicles can trap products and prevent them from penetrating.

postpone your workout
postpone your exercise for one or two days as sweat and heat might irritate your newly exfoliated skin.

sticking to a skincare routine at home
sticking to a regular skincare routine can help to minimise additional treatments and longer extractions during the facial. having a well-taken-care-of skin is the ultimate self-care treatment you can give yourself. if you haven’t, here’s a simple 5-step routine that you can easily incorporate into your shower or morning routine.

listen to your aesthetician
if the aesthetician has some advice on how to take better care of your skin such as switching up your skincare routine or incorporating some new steps, heed their advice. since you probably signed a package, you will most likely stick with the same aesthetician throughout. you will also want to see some results of the facial over time, so if little tweaks in your routine can yield better results, why not?

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