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Your First Visit to an Esthetician, Explained

So you’ve been lurking the SkincareAddiction subreddit and even joined a few private Facebook groups focused on skin care. You’ve been buying whatever hot, new kbeauty product is being discussed, follow a few skin care gurus on social media, and even began checking out skin care blogs. But, you’ve never actually visited an esthetician.

You’re not alone. For so many starting out on their skin care journey, a visit to an esthetician is usually one of the last stops and a place that many only arrive at after they’ve exhausted their funds elsewhere, trying every recommendation from their beloved forums, groups, and DIY treatment they’ve read about. There are a lot of blog posts out there to tell you all the benefits of why you should visit an esthetician, but there are very little detailing what should happen when you arrive. In this post, I’ll try to explain what your initial visit will be like, suggested treatments for first timers, how much you should expect to spend, etc.

How Do I Find an Esthetician?

Personal referrals are a great place to start and many estheticians would tell you that most of their new clients come from existing clients. So ask your friends who they go to see and why? Ask them what their favorite treatments are. Visit the esthetician’s website and anywhere else there might be reviews to see what others think of their services.

Another great way to find a local esthetician is through social media. Most have gravitated towards Instagram where we love to post before and after photos. But estheticians are also on Facebook and Twitter as well.

You can look to the media for suggestions as well. Skin therapists can be featured in beauty publications both print and online. And a little insider tip: most of us do not have publicists so if an esthetician has made it into a magazine, you can trust that happened on their own merits and their work (which is other people’s faces) has caught editors attention.

Lastly, if you’ve visited a dermatologist it is likely that they can give you a recommendation for an esthetician as well

How Do I Know if I’ve Found the Right Esthetician?

There are a few good ways to filter out the right esthetician for you. The easiest way is via consultation. Most estheticians will have either a complimentary or very low cost consultation service that can be booked with them. During a consultation, the right skin therapist will listen to your skin care concerns, examine your skin either with specialized facial devices or by touching and prodding the skin, and provide treatment recommendations. They will educate you on what is working in your current routine and what needs to change. You will have ample opportunity to ask questions and some (like me!) even allow you to bring in your current products to learn more about why they are/aren’t working. If you feel like your consultation process went smooth, then that is the right esthetician for you.

(Looking to book a skin care consultation in the Bay Area? Say no more, fam. Book my Ready to Glow Consultation + Mini Facial here.)

If you can’t book an in-person consultation, call and see if you can have a 15-20 minute chat to answer any questions you may have. During that call, it’s important to be clear about your skin care concerns and ask for suggested treatments. No skin therapist will diagnose your skin over the phone but they can give you a better idea of what treatment to start with. Once you come in, they will be better prepared to provide you a detailed treatment plan.

Also, pay attention to the skin therapist’s language. If you are feeling insecure about your skin, do they speak negatively towards your skin condition(s) in their marketing? After a consultation or conversation, did they make you feel like you were inadequate or like you weren’t doing enough for your skin? If so, that’s probably not the right skin therapist for you.

What Should My First Treatment Be?

I tell everyone to start with whatever is listed as the “Signature”, “Basic”, “Special of the Month”, or “Custom” facial. Those facial types typically last the standard 50 minutes to 1 hour, at least, and enable a skin therapist to fully engage with your skin. Mini facials, unless it is used as a consultation, are a bit of a scam in my honest opinion.

During these base level facials, you’re also allowing the esthetician to see how your skin responds to their skin products. Leaving products on the skin for 10 minutes versus 2 minutes is a huge difference. These facials also come with extractions (or at least they should).

Your first treatment should definitely NOT be a chemical peel or microdermabrasion (unless you’ve consulted with your skin therapist first). You could book these appointments but your skin may not be a great candidate for these slightly more invasive services. Unfortunately, you won’t know until the skin therapist has a chance to look at your skin.

How Much Should I Spend on My First Visit?

The initial service price ranges depending upon your area, of course. In the Bay Area, it ranges between $85-$130. However, you should plan to spend the same amount as the service on your home care products. For example, my Essential Glow Customized Facial is $115. Clients can also receive a full skin care regimen which includes cleanser, toning pads, a hydrating serum, and a moisturizer for about $109. Adding serums bumps up the price, of course. But sticking with my basic example, a client can expect to spend at least $224 on their first visit (cost of treatment and home care products).

Skin care is self care but it’s also an investment. Most estheticians will recommend you use the products they use to guarantee consistent, good results.

What Happens When I Get There?

If you haven’t filled out a consultation form prior to arriving (some estheticians make them available at the time of booking, if you book online), then you will need to fill out a consultation form. Sometimes they can be lengthy but every single question is important to us and can affect the treatments that we perform.

Before you lay on the facial bed, you may be asked to undress from the waist up or whatever is most comfortable for you. Then you just relax while your skin therapist performs magic on your face for the next hour

These are the top things I think you should know when looking for an esthetician. If you’re looking for an esthetician in the Bay Area, book me!