Professional Salon Treatments You Cannot, And Should Not Recreate At Home

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If you wanted a funky new hairstyle, would you grab the kitchen scissors and cut your own bangs? Would you, in good conscience, decide that bleaching your own platinum highlights sounded like a sane Wednesday night activity?

Of course you wouldn’t, and you can be absolutely sure that anyone who has survived a packet-dye failure over the laundry sink, would passionately jump through your bathroom window and whack a box of unopened Blonde Bombshell mix straight our of your hands. Just like your hair, when it comes to your skin- the organ that literally protects and holds everything together- it’s best to leave its maintenance to the professionals.

Yes, salon-quality facials are not cheap. You’re investing in an assurance that a therapist knows exactly which products and treatments will revitalise your skin. They study the origin of every pore and blemish, diagnose where you sit on the infamous oily to dry spectrum, and mentally sift through the hundreds of treatment options known to mankind to suggest something that will bring you positive results.

Of course you’re allowed to lather on a sweet-smelling, pink face mask after a particularly straining day at work, just like you can give a curling iron a hot go before a blind Tinder date. But when it comes to the important things- peels, extractions, lasers- you simply cannot achieve the same results on your own.

Microdermabrasion.

Now, unless you’re some kind of low-grade closet masochist, this is not the kind of treatment that you can lie back and relax throughout. Honestly, if your therapist is doing it properly, you’re going to feel a strong sensation of sandpaper scraping across your face. The pain is temporary, and the results aren’t usually immediate, but trust me, your pores will thank you. Microdermabrasion is exfoliation on steroids. Anything nasty hiding beneath your pores waiting to break free will be abruptly evicted. Any residue scarring or pigmentation from previous life experience will also benefit from a thorough once-over from your therapist.

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At home, there may be masks, scrubs and nails at your endless disposal for a deep exfoliation, as well as an unobstructed view of The Bachelor. But if you’re like me, and sometimes can’t help but pick and squeeze any budding skin imperfections, it’s sadly likely that your home-job will only do more damage. Ever had any tiny white bumps that are too hard to squeeze? They’re called Milia, and are actually quite simple to remove- given it’s done properly. Your therapist will use a sterile needle to extract them, a process that is clean, efficient and surprisingly quick.  Take it from someone who found out the hard way, they cannot be squeezed or flushed out with excessive exfoliation products.

If Microdermabrasion is the Batman of skin treatments, Milia extractions may very will be the Robin.

Omnilux Light Therapy.

This treatment, unlike the aforementioned highly abrasive poking and scraping, is so relaxing I’ve nearly fallen asleep- twice.

Imagine you’re lying on a warm beach in St. Tropez, the radiant afternoon sun shining down on your face. 20 minutes under the Omnilux machine basically mimics that entire fantasy, minus the post-tanning leathered look of course. This is one of those treatments that you can definitely feel, but may be sceptical to try as it doesn’t seem to be effectively painful like some of the others. Omnilux targets your collagen production through LED light therapy, working on a cellular level to iron-out any fine lines and generally improve your natural glow.

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It may seem obvious, and you’ll probably be given a pair of those extremely sexy tanning goggles from the eighties anyway, but do not open your eyes once that red light goes on. Just lie back, mentally check through your grocery list, and enjoy 20 minutes of uninterrupted warmth. If anything, you gain a greater understanding as to why snakes lie out on giant rocks all day absorbing the sun’s warmth. 

Peels.

While we’re on the subject of snakes and their skincare regime, how can we possibly ignore the elephant in the room? Most snakes shed their skin about as often as dermatologists recommend you get a peel throughout the year. Yes, the concept of your skin peeling off you face is, and should be, terrifying, but as nature has proven, it’s probably the most efficient way to reset and revitalise your face. HydroPeptide boasts an impressive range of effective peels, my favourite being the Blueberry Anti-Stress. Yes, it smells like a muffin, and despite making me hungry it did in fact do a great job at alleviating some niggling anxieties.

Peels in general are designed to penetrate deep into your pores, redesigning the top layer of your face. Depending on the concentration of active ingredients, they can sting, burn and tingle for what seems like the longest three minutes of your life. You’ll be given a rigorous cleanse before and after, and anything particularly spicy is usually followed by a moisturising mask that brings the heat way back down to lemon and herb level.

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I am not a certified dermatologist or a skin therapist with 30 years of experience and glowing, blemish-free skin. In fact, I’m not even a diligently regular weekly-client with glowing, blemish-free skin. But just like you should never trust a skinny cook, you shouldn’t take your skincare advice from a 17-year-old instagram model who is being paid a small mortgage to promote some nondescript clay mask.

So listen to me instead. I can only draw on my own personal experience with countless product lines, facial treatments, zaps, pokes and intentional chemical burns (that’s right salicylic acid peel, I’m talking to you).

They can be painful, but everyone knows that pain is synonymous with beauty.

They can be expensive, but you should be able to feel, see and smell why.

Most of these treatments are not an immediate fix, and can take several sessions to unlock any kind of visible result, but Rome took far longer than a day to rise up from the ground. So, lie back and have faith in the judgement and expertise of your therapist.

Author: Mia Erickson