As an outdoor adventure enthusiast, I’m no fair-weather friend to Mother Nature. Whether it’s the biting winter winds or scorching summer sun, I proudly grit my teeth and expose my skin to the elements year round.
If you’ve read my previous articles on Monet, you know this experience is not always smooth sailing. Just last month, I chronicled my harrowing journey to committing to sunscreen, after a brutal bout of sunburn abruptly ended my beach vacation. Now, I’m far more digilent about lathering up my cheeks for the open sky, though I sometimes hastily miss a spot in my grand impatience.
But even with the best SPF in the world, it’s hard to shield your skin from looking weathered when you spend so much time outside. Back in my 20s, I could rely on my youthful glow to outshine any dryness or flaking – but those days have come to a screeching halt as I edge closer and closer to 40.
If only there were a skin treatment somewhat stronger than creams and serums, but not quite as harsh and drastic as microdermabrasion. As the saying goes, ask and you shall receive. The Goldilocks of skin therapies is the hottest new trend to make the rounds on Instagram, and it’s called a HydraFacial.
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As someone who typically eschews social media, I hadn’t even heard of the HydraFacial before it exploded on the internet, but I was certainly intrigued to learn more. According to the brand’s official website, the non-invasive skin resurfacing treatment leaves you with “the best skin of your life,” in only 3 steps and 30 minutes. But does the procedure live up to the hype, or is this flawless facial too good to be true?
To find out, I spoke to Ghanima Abdullah, a cosmetologist who has worked as a hair and beauty consultant for three decades, about all the ins and outs of HydraFacials.
What Happens During A HydraFacial?
“A HydraFacial uses three passes with the same mechanized water tool. The technician will pass the tool over the areas of the face that aid drainage,” Abdullah explains. “This includes over the eyebrows, in the center of the head, and on the jawline area near the ear. There are different strengths to the suction, and you can add different skincare serums to the mix,” she says.
The first phase of the procedure is to cleanse the skin. “Cleansing is the prep to the exfoliation phase,” notes Abdullah. “The technician uses the tool on low power with a non-sudsing cleanser to remove surface dirt and oil.”
Next, in the exfoliation phase, “The tool is used on a higher strength to cleanse the pores,” Abdullah explains. “So anything that’s blocking them will come out, including facial sebum and bacteria, which are acne precursors.” During this process, the technician may add a chemical like salicylic acid or glycolic acid, depending on skin type.
Finally, during the hydration phase, “Hyaluronic acid will be added to the water, and instead of using suction, the tool will push [moisture] into the skin,” Abdullah says.
What Are The Benefits Of A HydraFacial?
First and foremost, like any spa treatment (sauna blankets, anyone?), the HydraFacial can be relaxing. But the skin-rejuvenating procedure also offers additional benefits over conventional facials when it comes to cleansing, exfoliating, and hydrating.
“HydraFacials are gentle compared to many other skin treatments like microneedling or microdermabrasion,” Abdullah explains. “This is because a HydraFacial only uses water suctioning to cleanse and exfoliate, and water pressure to aid the penetration of serums.”
“It kind of works like a water vacuum cleaner,” she adds. “Instead of adding soap to cleanse the face, non-sudsing cleansers are used, and serums are added to the water during the different phases. The additives are used at low percentages, so they don’t cause flare-ups.”
And perhaps the best benefit? Like HydraFacial’s website advertises, this skin treatment produces results fairly quickly. “It only takes a half hour and there’s no downtime afterwards, so you won’t have to hide at home with a swollen face,” Abdullah points out. “The skin might appear red initially after the process is over, but it tones down and becomes plump, more youthful, glowing, and smooth,” she says.
What Are The Downsides Of A HydraFacial?
Besides the initial redness that most people will experience, Abdullah notes that the treatment isn’t for everyone. “If you’re intolerant to chemical serums, this facial might not work as well for you,” she explains. “The serums are key to producing the best results at the end of the facial. Otherwise, water is just the medium to extract dirt and bacteria and to push the serums into the skin.”
Also, urges Abdullah, it’s important to remember that HydraFacial results are temporary. “It isn’t like investing in a skincare routine that you use every day,” she says. “The results of this facial will fade in three days to a week’s time. Daily skincare is also temporary, but because it’s used regularly, the effects can be more long-lasting.”
So, can’t you just schedule a HydraFacial every week, you ask? Not so fast, warns Abdullah.
“The major drawback is that you can only get a HydraFacial once a month as the skin needs time to recover from the procedure,” she explains. “This means that the procedure is probably more harsh on the skin than it appears.”
How Much Does A HydraFacial Cost?
Despite its convenience and quick results, the HydraFacial comes with a higher monetary investment compared to many other skincare treatments, Abdullah says. You can expect the procedure to cost around $150 to $300 per month.
“I don’t think anyone uses that amount of skincare per month, unless you’re using luxury items,” Abdullah points out. “The average cost of skincare is only going to run you $100 every two or three months – and if you like The Ordinary, it’s even less.”
So, Should I Get A HydraFacial?
Like with most things in life, the answer is that it depends.
“If you already are engaged in a skincare routine that cleanses and exfoliates, and you use serums to inhibit acne, plump the face, and give a youthful look – then no, you don’t need a HydraFacial,” Abdullah explains. “The HydraFacial is for those who want to go in once a month and have all these things done quickly, without investing time in a routine. [In that case], this is the perfect facial to do before a special event, photo shoot, or wedding.”
Quickly, without investing time in a routine? Now you’re speaking my language, girlfriend.
Have you heard about the HydraFacial treatment and its benefits? Share with us in the comments!
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