Confession: I'm a 27-year-old virgin. That is, when it comes to getting facials. I recently told my co-worker (and the beauty hero of my life, Sara Tan) that I've actually never gone to an esthetician before and she was shocked. After some gentle pushing from her, I decided it was time to take the plunge and see what it's like to get a facial for the first time.
Once I entered the dark side of my 20s, I began to get super invested in my skin care routine, but admittedly had no real clue about the serums and cleansers I was putting on my skin.
Enter the absolutely amazing celebrity skin care expert Kat Rudu, who's based in Los Angeles. Not only is she incredibly skilled in the art of skin care, but she also has created an entire vegan and cruelty-free line of products. With her wisdom, I was able to understand how to take care of my skin better and learn why facials are actually an important part of any beauty routine.
Here are three things I learned when I got my first facial.
1. I Didn't Understand My Own Skin
As soon as I walked into Rudu's studio, she exclaimed, "Wow! You're dehydrated!" Believe me, if someone can see that your skin is dehydrated from 6 feet away, you're doing it all wrong.
I had thought that by adding some hydrating serums to my routine, I'd have basically conquered dry skin forever, but boy was I wrong. I also had no idea that my neck and decolletage require the same attention as my face. My skin was actually drinking in the moisturizing products it had been deprived of for so long, and it needed more.
Also, by waxing and working out before my session, I basically handed Rudu the worst possible palette to work — dry and totally irritated skin. So what should you do to prep your skin for the process?
"Before you get a facial, I'd use Papaya CoCo Honey Cleanser with a Clarisonic — wash your face for at least two minutes," explains Rudu.
That's really it! A simple fresh face that's just been cleansed is ideal. Especially if you're using Rudu's cleanser — it smells so good and fresh you basically have to remind yourself it goes on your face and not in your mouth.
And remember, avoid waxing/shaving/etc., at all costs before a facial — the last thing that irritated skin wants to see is a lactic acid, people.
2. A Facial Isn't Just About Pampering — It's About Your Health
I mean, obviously a facial is luxurious as hell, especially when you have a real life angel like Kat Rudu performing it — but there's actually so much more to the process that lasts beyond the service.
"After a facial, your face can breathe, your products work deeper," says Rudu, "It also makes your skin moisturized, clean, and brighter."'
The facial that Rudu gave me included treatments like an oxygen infusion, an extraction, a crystal-free Diamond Tome microdermabrasion, and many other brightening and hydrating masks and treatments — hey, I don't want to reveal her magic to everyone. So what treatments should you try to get the most out of your facial?
"Oxygen is my favorite treatment — I love the way that it fills in lines and makes your face plump. Your skin just gets better and better and better [afterwards]," Rudu explains.
Personally, my favorite part of the process was the extraction. That alone, made me feel like I've been missing out on something so essential to my beauty routine all this time. Another favorite moment was experiencing the Hydra Cell Bright Citrus Moisturizer — not only does it smell and feel amazing, but the ingredients turn this product into a naturally shimmering light pink color. As someone who will never be over Millennial Pink, this is the product for me forever.
3. It's A Bit Of A Splurge, But It's Worth It
"You can get a facial once a month, every two months, or annually. I think you should get them at least six to eight weeks depending on your means," says Rudu, who understands that many young women and men feel turned off by the investment.
Like all self-care, you should remember that while there's a cost attached, you are investing in yourself and your well-being. And with a little research, you can easily find the right treatment at the right price for you. So what should you be looking for if you're a first timer like me?
"You should start with an enzyme exfoliation and of course a nice mask," Rudu explains to skin care newbies like me.
Some other advice Rudu gives is to always, always, always wear foundation as a shield to your skin. Instead of clogging your pores during hikes, workouts, and general trips outdoors, it actually protects your skin from pollution and bacteria. Leave it to Rudu to not only provide me with the best skin care treatment of my life, but also some life-changing information like that on my way out.
Walking down the sunny street after my treatment, I can honestly say that I have never seen my skin glow like that before.
It was enough of a confidence boost to start taking spontaneous selfies in public. If this is the kind of life Rudu can help me live, sign me up — I'm sold forever.