I was reluctant. I was skeptical. I have seen the light. Yes, I received my first facial.
Why should a (35-year-old) man receive a facial? Great question. My first motivation comes from my wife. After all, it’s my wife who found the place where I get my haircut, and made sure very early in our relationship that I was done with pleated pants. So when she started commenting on my face wrinkles (that’s what they are technically called, right?), I wondered if I should do something about it. You see, she’s the type who actually applies some sort of lotion/sunscreen to her face every single day. If I may speak for all men, we find the idea of sunscreen on your face even on cloudy days, or work days very amusing. If I may speak for all women, they just rolled their eyes at my last comment.
I showed up to milk + honey spa and was ready for my scheduled Signature Facial. That’s right, I didn’t even go with the Men’s Facial for the main reason that it doesn’t include extractions. I’ll get to what that means shortly.
The first thing I was asked to do was change into a robe. I was confused and explained I was getting a facial and not a massage. Perhaps I should back up. Before this treatment, here is what I thought would happen:
1. Get gunk scrubbed into my face.
2. Get heavier gunk stuck on my face.
3. Get gunk peeled off of my face.
4. Eat the cucumbers that were placed over my eyes.
That’s it. That’s what I knew. Needless to say, I was wrong. Facials are from your shoulders and up. Once in my robe, and once in the treatment room I was ready for my facial.
Hayley was my esthetician and did a great job explaining everything to me. My favorite part was that in the beginning she asked if I wanted to know what she was doing, or wanted this to be quiet relaxation. I wanted to know. After examining my skin she commented there was light sun damage and my skin was dehydrated. She was correct, because I just finished nine days of SXSW. She cleansed. During this process she also gave attention to my shoulders, neck, scalp and face. I realize I might be technically wrong to call this a full out massage, but that’s exactly what it felt like. Insanely relaxing. It almost felt like whatever she was doing to my skin was secondary.
Next up were extractions. The polite way to say this is that she removed built up dirt, but we’re all adults here. She was popping zits people (in a very professional way). Hayley explained she doesn’t recommend doing this at home, and one of her key advantages is the angles she is able to take when removing the dirty little problems. I freely admit to having moments in front of the mirror, removing acne. I don’t like it one bit. Especially because I have the type of skin that will remain red with intense pinches. At the end, I fully expected a face dotted with red land mines.
The facial masque was next. In my head, this was going to finally be the boring part. I’d get the masque on, and then sit and wait. While some of you find this relaxing, I get antsy. Guys, don’t worry about being bored during a facial, because this is the best part. After the masque was applied, Hayley started working the arms. That’s right, you receive a full hand/arm massage. At this point I felt like I was discovering a secret world of enjoyment and at any moment a group of women would burst in the room with a cease and desist order. That never happened. Instead I was in a state of perfect relaxation.
After Hayley removed the masque, I received some intense moisture that my skin desperately needed (remember, SXSW). Then Hayley recapped what she did to my skin, and what I could do to my skin going forward. First off, she recommends quarterly facials, and at the most once a month. She also recommended some products. I picked up the Environmental Cleaner since I loved the scent during the treatment.
With everything finished, I looked in the mirror to see the damage. None. There was nothing. I wasn’t filled with red blotches. Hayley did her job quite well. That wasn’t the most amazing part. I felt my face, specifically my nose. Guys, remember the first time you shaved in high school? I could not believe how smooth my face was. This was the same thing. My face was ridiculously smooth.
Every single smell was amazing. Nothing was flowery, or reeked of perfume. Citrus, red wine, and ginger were the main aromas I remember. In fact, nothing seems feminine about the facial. Is getting acne taken care of girly? Is a neck or arm massage something you wouldn’t love right now?
I love to think in absolutes. So I posed this question to myself, “If I could only choose facials or massages for the rest of my life what would I do?” I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think facials. That hour with Hayley was insanely relaxing (OK, I admit extractions don’t feel great), plus I don’t want to spend time taking care of my face everyday. I know I’m not going to do it. If milk + honey spa is willing to take that job on, I’m happy to hand it off.
I was reluctant. I was skeptical. I have seen the light. Yes, I received my first facial, and I loved it.
Disclosure: Jeff Bayer does freelance work for milk + honey.