Confused by facials? Here are five popular types of facials explained by a beauty editor.

This wonderful nugget of beauty wisdom comes courtesy of Mamamia’s beauty show, You BeautyTo ensure you never miss an episode, listen to You Beauty here for free. It’s a blast.

Facials are a lot like snowflakes – no two are the same.

If you’ve always treated yourself to a ‘facial’ at a spa where they lie you down, cleanse your face, give it a scrub and massage and chuck on a face mask, it might be time to try something different.

Mostly because a personalised, targeted facial aimed at addressing your individual skin concerns (hello acne, pigmentation, skin texture, fine lines etc.) is the best way to get bang for your buck and notice real results.

As mentioned above, there are hundreds of thousands of facials in the world, so how the heck are you meant to know which one to ask for?

Don’t stress. Mamamia’s executive editor and beauty editor of 15 years Leigh Campbell broke down a few of the most popular facials on the You Beauty podcast.

Let’s do it. (You can listen to the full episode of You Beauty here, post continues after audio.)

Popular types of facials.


Microdermabrasion was really popular around 10 years ago, but it has people divided in 2018.

“I generally steer clear of microdermabrasion because it’s very abrasive and I think it’s too much for your skin. It’s almost like a little vacuum head that’s lifting off dead skin cells, but also some fresh skin cells,” Leigh said.

“There are two schools of thought when it comes to cell renewal, and microdermabrasion does promote a lot of cell renewal. [One group of] people think if you’ve got a lot of cell turnover, you’ll have fresh, glowy skin. The other thought is that that process [of cell renewal] is not infinite, and if you’re turning over the cells, you’re ageing the skin because you’re not going to continue that process forever.

“I’m definitely in the second school, I think too much cell renewal will make you look older, sooner. That’s using too many retinols or acids in your routine and having abrasive or hardcore facial treatments.”

For that reason, Leigh doesn’t like microdermabrasion, but if you do want to go get it done, make sure they’re very light handed not heavy handed.

Chemical peel

A chemical peel facial involves a solution made from chemicals applied to your face to promote cell turnover for a brighter complexion.

“It’s like a chemical exfoliator… it’s called a peel, but it’s not meant to make your face peel,” Leigh said.

“Some peels can make your skin peel, you might get some mild flakiness and dryness while your cells are turning over before you see your new, fresh skin, or some are quite hardcore where your face will come off in sheets. That’s kind of old school, like Samantha in Sex and the City when she gets the peel and her face is red raw.”


Leigh said while you can still get hardcore chemical peel facials like that, we’ve come so far that there are so many effective, milder forms of the treatment that will get you the same results without doing as much damage to your skin.

Firm facial massage

“Firm facial massages are my favourite kind of indulgent facials,” Leigh said.

Essentially, a firm facial massage involves a therapist firmly massaging your face, which is really good for circulation and overall radiance.

“What it’s doing is lymphatic drainage, so it can make your face look slimmer and detox your face.”

Side note – we tried the Instagram glitter mask everyone’s obsessed with. Here are our (honest) thoughts. Post continues after video.

Video by MMC

Laser facials

Put simply, there’s a laser to treat every type of skin concern.

“I have a laser treatment once a month, but it’s a painless, no down time laser. People think laser is lasering off your face, but not necessarily,” Leigh said.

The pain and down time you’ll experience from a laser facial will depend on what skin concern you’re targeting – always ask a trusted therapist for personalised advice.

Light therapy facials

Light therapy facials like Omniluxe (which Kelly has raved about before) are great for treating skin concerns like acne and pigmentation.

A final note on facials…

“It’s really hard to prescribe what kind of facial you should have [without looking at your skin] because it’s like saying, hey Leigh, what kind of lipstick is there in the world? Someone should be looking at your skin before telling you what to do, it’s a professional diagnosis,” Leigh said.

“I would go to a reputable facial place and tell them your concerns if you acne or pigmentation or oil or dehydration. They will tell you what will work best for you.”


You Beauty Cheat Sheet

Other questions Leigh and Kelly answered, as well as their ‘spendys’ and ‘saveys’ (and where you can buy them).

‘What are the differences between concealer and under eye colour corrector?’

  • Firstly, because of airbrushing and photo editing, we forget most people have dark circles.
  • Dark circles are hereditary and depend on your background and ethnicity – people with European skin and Middle Eastern skin will often have dark, purple circles even if they’ve had heaps of sleep and drink heaps of water.
  • Using colour correctors is a really great way to counteract the blueish purple tone under your eyes before concealing.
  • They come in two tones – yellow based or pinky peachy based – and often come in pots because they’re quite pigmented.
  • Use the tiniest amount on the dark bit in the inner corner area, don’t take it out to the edge of the eye – blend with fingers or a brush for precision then let that set and then go in with your concealer over the top.

Leigh’s Spendy: Revision Skincare Intellishade® TruPhysical™, $96.

Image: Revision Skincare.

Why she loves it:

  • It's a natural mineral tinted moisturiser with an SPF45 physical sunscreen.
  • Gives very sheer coverage, not It Cosmetics CC Cream coverage.
  • Has a dewy finish (especially perfect for dry skin) and is a great product to wear to the beach.

Kelly's Spendy: Tom Ford Beauty Soleil Blanc Shimmering Body Oil, $135.

Image: Tom Ford Beauty.

Why she loves it:

  • Kelly was given this as a birthday gift.
  • It's a beautiful product - comes in a beautiful glass bottle and the scent is beautiful.
  • It's a dry oil with sparkles, if you're not into sparkles, it's not for you.
  • Run it down your limbs and decolletage for an overall glow, and you can get changed straight away and you won't get it on your clothes.

Leigh's Savey: Kristin Ess The One Signature Shampoo and Conditioner, $19 each.

Image: Kristin Ess.

Why she loves it:

  • Created by Kristin Ess, celebrity hairstylist to the likes of Jenna Dewan and Lauren Conrad.
  • $19 a bottle isn't cheap, but it's premium hair care for a reasonable price - they look and feel like they should be more expensive.
  • The range is lightly clarifying, sulphate-free, and makes your hair feel clean and light, and nourished but not moisturised, weighed down and strawy - it's the Goldilocks of hair care.
  • Available in Priceline in mid-late November.

Kelly's Savey: Vaseline Intensive Care Spray & Go Moisturiser, $8.50.

Image: Chemist Warehouse.

Why she loves it:

  • Kelly had forgotten how wonderful and easy it is to use.
  • Not the most nourishing cream, so if you've got dry skin, do what Kelly does and alternate this product with heavier body moisturisers.
  • Spray all over for enough hydration to last until your heavier moisturising, and you can put clothes on straight away.

Until next week, stay lovely.

Love all things beauty? Come join our You Beauty Facebook group for more chit chat about things to put on your face. And body. And hair.

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