What are the pros and cons of facials?

Are all facials the same?

When it comes to facials, most of them have the same first basic steps There’s a cleansing step to remove any dirt or debris. Second, if your skin is oily, the face is steamed  Then, there’s usually a mini treatment next, meaning something like a face mask, an extraction, or exfoliation. Afterward, a face massage with a cream, serum, or lotion is applied, and it is worked into the skin through a massage. This is the longest part of the facial is the massage which promotes circulation. Lastly, a moisturizer and sunscreen should be applied. These steps are the foundation of a facial, but depending on the clinic, you can also add on things like microdermabrasion, chemical peels, microneedling, or lasers. These treatments should be done by estheticians or dermatologists with proper certifications. 

But, while all facials have some of the same basic steps, let’s talk about the difference between doing a facial in a clinic versus at home. 

For one, if you do a facial at home, you’re responsible for choosing your own products and getting what’s right for you.

If you get a facial done in a spa, you’re usually limited to the products they have on hand. However, good places will have a wide selection of non-fragranced options.

Where should I get a facial?

There are a couple of different places you can get a facial. The first place is a spa-like clinic or “medispa.” These are geared towards relaxation and meditation whereas dermatology or plastic surgeon’s office are more sterile and have less of an ambiance. However, in a doctor’s office, you might have access to more advanced treatments such as chemical peels, lasers, and access to more information. There are more likely to be thoroughly trained estheticians at a spa or  clinic too. Of course, there are trained estheticians at spas, but sometimes its less easy to identify their level of training. In contrast, medical estheticians need to pass bloodborne pathogen management training, learn anatomy, and attain advanced licensing credentials. Oftentimes, estheticians at clinics are also learning from or shadowing a doctor/dermatologist. A lot of them are training for PA or med school as well. 

Should I get a facial, or do it at home?

If you know products and ingredients very well, you’ll probably be able to create a routine at home. But, if you have no idea where to start, it might be better to go to a professional and have them make some guidelines and specific recommendations for your skin type. Then, you could take these suggestions and use them at home. However, if you’re looking to do an advanced treatment like microneedling or chemical peels, go to a professional. And also, if your skin reacts poorly, they’ll know what to do. Whereas if you were at home, you may just have to deal with the results. 

Is it cheaper to get a facial or to do it at home?

It’s true that getting a treatment done professionally is more expensive, but at the same time, it’s more of an experience. Cassandra loves facial massages, especially when it’s done by those who know facial anatomy. Good facial massages truly relax facial muscles that are tensed and crunched all day. This can make a huge difference in mood and stress management. 

It is a great feeling! But, as mentioned before, facials can really add up, and the additional treatments increase the price as well. A regular facial is normally between $80 to $120. But, if you’re getting more specialized treatments like PRP (platelet-rich plasma), the facial can turn out to be $200 all the way up to $1000, namely if it’s done by a derm.

So, if you don’t have any major concerns like trying to treat scars or acne, you can get a facial a few times a month. If facials are a bit costly, Cassandra would suggest investing in a good cleanser, retinoid, and sunscreen. You can do this instead of getting a facial every 1-2 months.

What are the pros and cons of at-home facials versus spa facials?

At-home facial pros 

-If you know the products you need to use, you can do more facials for a much lower price.

-It might be easier to be more consistent, but this kind of depends on which type of facial you enjoy more.


- There may be a lack of knowledge about skin type and what products to use.

- If irritation occurs, it may take longer to find a solution.

- Skincare needs often change, and it might be harder to asses those changing needs at home.

Spa or clinic facial pros 

- You can quickly find out the products you need for your skin type and concern from a doctor or esthetician.

- If you’re seeing a doctor, they’ll tell be able to give a medical diagnosis and provide specific facial treatments. 

-For many, facials are a wonderful self-care experience

-Professional facial massages are a great source of circulation and lymphatic drainage 


-They can be costly

- Be careful because some estheticians only work with certain skincare products, and sometimes they try to push those brands to increase sales. So, just be aware of that. Cassandra’s favorite people to get facials from are those who are knowledgeable about multiple brands across the spectrum. And when you say that you don’t want to purchase any extra products, good spas or clinics respect that. 

Overall, if you choose to get a facial somewhere, make sure the person has good reviews and does great massages. At reputable clinics, you should first be able to speak to someone and get a consult. They will also give you or offer patch tests in preparation for chemical peels. On the other hand, if you like the products you use at home and aren’t crazy about facial massages, an at-home facial may be perfect for you. 

Cover Photocred: Freepik