We hear about a new facial treatment every other day. With all the trendy celebrity facials and skincare routines, it’s difficult to catch up and decide on a facial that’s suitable for you. That’s why I’ve put together a guide to the different types of facials for all skin types and issues.
It all started with the vampire facial, the LED light mask, the non-surgical facelift… The thing is some of these treatments are patented while some are just derivatives, which is why things can get confusing. But mostly, facials are a combination of different techniques and treatments to achieve a certain result like brightening or smoothing the skin.
Beauty salons and facial spas prefer naming these treatments differently. That’s another reason why it gets confusing. But it’s actually all about branding and marketing. This guide to every single facial will show you the different types of facials and what you can expect from them.
Different Types of Facials
1. Classic Facial
Also known as the European facial, the classic facial is the most basic type of facial. A classic facial includes steaming of the face, exfoliation, extractions, massaging, maybe some masks, and then the application of serums and moisturizers.
You can get a classic facial as an addition to your skincare routine. You can also get it whenever you feel like pampering yourself. A classic facial is good for maintaining healthy skin as well as targeting specific skin issues like acne reduction.
The benefits of a classic facial are maintaining clean, decongested, and glowing skin. It deeply cleanses the face, unclogs pores, evens out the skin tone, and gives you a more radiant complexion.
The classic facial is suitable for all skin types. But people with dry skin and sensitivity should be cautious to avoid any possible irritation, especially during steaming. Then again, if your aesthetician is a professional, they’ll know how to handle different skin types.
This basic facial is highly customizable. All facial spas have their own signature classic facial where they use additional methods to enhance the experience. More on that in a bit.
2. Lymphatic Massage Facial
Lymphatic massage facial (lymphatic drainage) is usually a part of other facials such as a classic facial. Besides giving you a super-relaxing experience, a lymphatic massage facial reduces puffiness and built-up tension around the face and neck.
It’s all about massaging specific areas on the face and neck to relieve tension and blockage. Lymphatic massage can give you a healthier complexion by increasing circulation. It also helps remove water retention and toxins.
3. Microcurrent Facial
Also called microcurrent therapy, microcurrent facial refers to any facial treatment that involves an electrical device. No need to freak out over getting electrocuted.
The procedure is completely safe and pain-free. You can get the facial alone or as an additional step to other facials. The most popular microcurrent facials are Galvanic and High Frequency.
4. Galvanic Facial
Galvanic Facial includes the use of galvanic currents to stimulate the face. It’s considered a non-surgical facelift. The procedure is all about stimulating the muscles.
This treatment tones the facial muscles and repositions them to give you a more lifted face. It reshapes the face, giving you a more defined look.
The galvanic facial is the ultimate exercise for your face. Out of all the different types of facials, this is one of the best anti-aging facials for wrinkles and aging skin to contour the face.
It’s suitable for all skin types to eliminate the signs of aging. The facial also includes infusing several skincare products into the face. The currency makes it easier for your skin to absorb these products more efficiently.
The Galvanic facial is perfect for minimizing wrinkles, toning up the face, promoting collagen growth, and firming the skin. The results are visible almost instantly. But you need several treatments to maintain the results.
5. High-Frequency Facial
High-frequency, sometimes referred to as radiofrequency, is a type of facial treatment where electrical currents produce a certain amount of heat to stimulate deeper layers of the skin.
This anti-inflammatory heat kills bacteria. So it’s perfect for acne-prone skin to treat existing acne as well as prevent the formation of new ones. The benefits also include getting rid of acne scars.
Additionally, radiofrequency is one of the most popular treatments for skin tightening. It stimulates collagen production and helps firm and tighten loose skin, especially caused by loss of skin elasticity.
Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive type of facial treatment. Basically, there’s a device with a crystal or diamond tip.
This device brushes off the upper layer of your skin while vacuuming anything that comes off. It works like sandpaper over the face. It’s like an elaborate physical exfoliation.
This treatment removes dead skin cells accumulated over the face. It promotes cell turnover, and collagen and elastin growth.
The resurfaced skin looks healthier with less visible lines, pores, and scars. It’s perfect for anyone at any age who wants to get rid of fine lines, scars, and dullness.
Microdermabrasion can give clean, softer, plump, and glowing skin. You need to avoid sun exposure after the treatment.
You can expect a certain amount of redness after the treatment. So, I wouldn’t book an appointment the day before my wedding.
7. LED Light Therapy
LED light therapy is a non-invasive facial treatment that uses different wavelengths of light to treat different skin issues. The different colors cause different reactions on the skin.
For example, blue light therapy fights inflammation. That’s why it’s perfect for getting rid of acne-causing bacteria and breakouts.
On the other hand, red light and near-infra-red light help your skin heal faster. It promotes collagen growth and skin rejuvenation. This light helps minimize lines and wrinkles.
LED light therapy is suitable for all skin types. It can be a complementary treatment for different types of facials. You can also try at-home options and get an LED mask from Sephora.
8. Laser Resurfacing
Laser resurfacing is an invasive type of facial treatment. The most popular laser used in laser resurfacing is the Fractional CO2 Laser. The term fractional is important.
The laser uses fractioned beams to create microscopic wounds in a pattern. The non-wounded cells support wounded ones to speed up healing.
This healing process stimulates new cell generation. Laser resurfacing is the best type of facial for getting rid of fine lines, acne scars, age spots, and enlarged pores, and smoothing skin texture.
This type of facial can be painful for some people. So, you need a numbing cream prior to the procedure. The number of treatments you need depends on your skin. Following the facial, you may experience a feeling of sunburn.
Laser resurfacing can help you get rid of skin irregularities, blemishes, and scars. However, people with active acne are not good candidates for laser resurfacing as it may cause more damage to the skin.
You can expect redness for a while and then your skin will start to peel off. You need to frequently moisturize your skin and wear sunscreen. The recovery takes up to 2 weeks.
9. Acupuncture Facial
Acupuncture facial is a treatment where they place tiny needles on several parts of the face. These controlled micro-injuries stimulate collagen growth.
The benefits of acupuncture facials are firming up loose skin, minimizing wrinkles, and getting rid of scars through cell regeneration.
10. Anti Aging Facial
An anti-aging facial is a general term used for facials that target specifically age-related skin issues. An anti-aging facial can include a chemical peel, microdermabrasion, or microcurrent therapy.
A combination of different types of these facials addresses issues like wrinkles, lines, sagging skin, sun damage, dark spots, and textured skin.
If you want more than a facial, see the most effective non-surgical anti-aging treatments.
11. Brightening Facial
This facial targets issues like hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone. As suggested by the name, the facial brightens up the skin and improves your complexion.
The key ingredient in this facial is the infusion of vitamin C serums as well as other antioxidants and fruit enzymes on a clean and exfoliated face. A brightening facial can be part of light therapy or a classic facial.
12. Hydrating Facial
A hydrating facial is like watering a plant. It’s specifically designed to hydrate dry and dehydrated skin. It starts with a classic facial but the products are specifically chosen.
These are potent humectants like hyaluronic acid to deeply hydrate and moisturize your skin. A hydrating facial gives you plump, bouncy, and supple skin instantly.
Chemical exfoliants like lactic acid are known to smooth out the skin while increasing hydration. So depending on your facial, you might also get exfoliation included in your hydrating facial.
If you’re suffering from blackheads, whiteheads, and dullness without a major acne problem, Hydrafacial may be just for you.
The Hydrafacial machine deeply cleanses the outer layer of your skin in a vacuum-like manner. It sucks any dirt and grime on the face. It’s the ultimate decongesting facial.
After cleansing, the same device infuses several serums into the skin, giving you clean, hydrated, bright, and radiant skin.
Hydrafacial is suitable for dry, normal, combination, and oily skin. This fun facial is sometimes the first step for other facials. The results are instant and you can get the facial whenever you feel like it.
14. Chemical Peels
Chemical peels are invasive facial treatments where chemical acids are used to promote skin turnover. There are 3 different types of chemical peels such as light, medium, and deep.
Also, there are several types of acids, the most popular being glycolic acid, in different concentrations to address various skin issues.
Chemical peels are among the most effective skin resurfacing treatments. The benefits include decongesting the skin, getting rid of deep-set wrinkles, scars, age spots, and photodamage.
It’s the ultimate anti-aging skin rejuvenation where your skin slowly peels off and resurfaces a much healthier layer. Chemical peels boost collagen growth through skin turnover.
The pain and the cost depend on the type of peel you get, which is for your dermatologist to decide. Some types of chemical peels require a physician in a medical facility.
But a light peel, also known as lunchtime peel, can be done in facial spas. The lightest chemical peel may take 2 days to heal whereas a deep peel may take up to 6 months. Learn more about different types of chemical peels.
15. Oxygen Facial
An oxygen facial includes the use of a device that sprays out oxygen in a highly pressured form. After exfoliation and cleansing, your aesthetician applies several vitamin-rich serums to your skin.
That’s where the device comes in. It feeds and nourishes the skin by infusing these antioxidants into it. Oxygen facial is suitable for all skin types.
It’s perfect for hydrating and brightening the skin. People with dull and tired-looking skin can find this facial highly beneficial.
A micro-needling facial is inflicting controlled wounds into the skin through tiny needles. This is an invasive treatment that requires numbing cream to avoid pain.
Microneedling promotes cell turnover and collagen growth by creating tiny muscle tears. These microscopic injuries cause your skin to switch to an urgent healing mode. And this results in healthier skin.
It’s a very popular anti-aging facial treatment to tighten the skin and get rid of lines. There are some at-home anti-aging kits as well, but they can have potential risks, especially the cheap ones by unreliable brands.
17. Dermaplaning Facial
Dermaplaning is a type of advanced physical exfoliation where they use a surgical scalpel blade to gently scrape off the outermost layer of the skin. This way, it removes dead skin cells over the face as well as peach fuzz.
After dermaplaning, your skin is infused with several antioxidants. You get clean, smooth, and fresh skin. Dermaplaning is suitable for all skin types. But people with active acne should stay away until the breakouts dry out.
Because the resurfacing treatment will irritate the acne and cause further inflammation. Benefits of dermaplaning include smoother and glowing skin and better absorption of your skincare products.
Also, you can try dermaplaning at home, which won’t be as effective but can still help to enhance your overall skincare routine.
18. Enzyme Facial
The highlight of this facial is the facial masks they use in the treatment. The enzyme facial starts with basic steaming, cleansing, and exfoliation.
And then, a type of mask stays on the face for about 30 minutes. The name of the facial comes from the fruit enzymes used in the mask.
An enzyme facial is ideal for hyperpigmentation, fine lines, mild scarring, and sun damage. There’s no visible skin peeling in an enzyme facial. However, you do get healthier, gently exfoliated, and brighter skin.
19. PRP Facial
Also known as the vampire facial, PRP refers to platelet-rich plasma facial. In this facial, your doctor draws your blood and puts it through a special machine to create what is called platelet-rich plasma.
This highly concentrated form of proteins is infused into your skin through micro-needling. The growth factors in the plasma help with collagen growth. The vampire facial is perfect for tightening the skin and reducing the signs of aging.
20. Aromatherapy Facial
This facial is as relaxing as it gets. Aromatherapy facial starts with steaming and cleansing. And then a combination of essential oils is used to massage the face and the neck area. It’s all about relieving tension through therapeutic oils.
All skin types can benefit from an aromatherapy facial to nourish the skin with antioxidants. After the massage, vitamin-rich products are applied to the skin. You can leave the spa relaxed, replenished, energized, and freshened.
So this is a list of different types of facials you can get. Now that you have an idea about what’s what, you can consider getting a facial suitable for your skin type.
You might be wondering if facials are worth it. Yes, facials work and they are absolutely worth it. You don’t need to go out of your way and start with something aggressive.
Even a very basic classical facial makes a huge difference in your complexion instantly and makes your skin glow. But remember one thing; no matter how easy or simple a facial sounds, things can always go wrong if you go for sketchy, unreliable places.
Pick your spa wisely. Go for board-certified dermatologists, licensed aestheticians, and medical professionals. Ask around, read reviews, and go for a consultation.
Just because some spa offers the cheapest facial in town doesn’t give them the right to do whatever they want with your face. Be selective.
If you’re not ready to splurge on a facial, no worries! Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to give yourself a facial at home.