A NEWBIE GETS A FACIAL! read all about Kassy's first facial at S&T

First Facial Experience at Skin & Tonic: by kassy snyder

When you step into Skin & Tonic, you’re immediately overtaken by a sense of comfort and welcome. From the welcome mat at the door to the seasonal décor, not a detail is missed in creating the perfect soothing yet approachable ambiance. For a facial newbie like myself, this immediately put me at ease. The receptionist, Samara, greeted me by name with a smile, and asked if I would like a bottle of water. Knowing that dehydrated skin was part of why I was there, I gladly accepted.

In the brief moment of time before my aesthetician brought me back, I got to look around at the waiting area/shop. The area centers around a table, which evokes a feeling of community, as if this is a place to gather for learning and connection. The table is decorated with a mix of seasonal décor and products—the kind that invites you to visually explore the offering. I honestly could have happily spent a few more minutes looking around, but my aesthetician, Bree, arrived promptly to escort me to my room. 

The rooms are clean and minimalistic, with the same soothing grey color scheme as the main space. Confession—I’m a bit partial to grey as I find it quite peaceful, so I love that this color permeates the space. Bree starts off by asking me about my skin and what’s brought me in for my facial. I talk to her about how my skin never seems to retain enough moisture to actually feel hydrated, and about the redness of my cheeks that without makeup makes me look like I just ran a mile. She asked me about the products that I currently use and how I like them, and then let me know that for this facial, we would focus on my number one goal: hydration.

As this was my first facial, I wasn’t really certain of the protocol, but Bree gave me just the detailed instructions I was looking for. Shoes and socks off, sweater off, and bra straps tucked, as your neck and collar bone area are included in your facial. She used a pretty French word (that apparently is quite common, but) that I had never heard, which I committed to memory to share with you all. Décolletage (I told you it was pretty) is a French word used in fashion referring to the upper part of a woman's torso, comprising her neck, shoulders, back and upper chest, that is exposed by the neckline of her clothing. Who knew? Not me, anyway… but I love that I got to learn something new.

So after I had laid down on the table, Bree returned to the room. I had actually been a tad bit nervous about laying on a table for an hour due to a current episode of back pain, but the tables are intuitively curved to your body, making them exceptionally comfortable. This level of comfort lends itself to the general sense of relaxation throughout the entire experience. 

The facial itself began with removing my makeup and cleansing my skin. Bree customizes each facial to the guest’s individual needs, so the steps that I’m about to discuss may vary for your individual service. It’s also important to note that I received a Basic Necessity Facial designed specifically for facial newbies like myself, created with customization in mind in order to provide the best possible first facial.

After the makeup removal, the first step is cleansing the skin. Bree used two different gentle cleansers to achieve the perfect base on which to perform the rest of the facial. Once the skin is totally cleansed, an enzyme exfoliation is done. Bree explained that different enzymes are used based on the amount of exfoliation needed (which, as you can probably guess, varies by person). If you’re imagining a cleansing and exfoliation process like you’re used to at home in the shower (erm, if you’re anything like me), then you might be picturing slapping on some face wash and scrubbing, and then doing about the same with your exfoliant. Well, even cleansing and exfoliation is utterly soothing in a facial. Bree used a gentle touch the entire time, and my skin felt great through each step.

Following the exfoliation comes the only moment of the facial that I could honestly say departs from the relaxation of the rest of it. As you might guess, that’s the extraction portion. While the extractions aren’t necessarily pleasant per se, they’re not super painful either, and for me a bit of “pinching” is absolutely worth my skin being smoother and clearer. And in just a couple of moments, this process was complete. The next couple of steps totally makes up for the momentary discomfort.

Bree’s next step for her facials is a 10 minute shoulder and neck massage. Talk about soothing! The treatment mask comes next and sits on for several minutes. Bree left me to rest while the mask worked its magic, and it felt great to just lay in a quiet room with some soft music in the background. Once the mask is removed Bree layers vitamins A, B, and C onto your skin. Vitamin A is used for anti-oxidant/anti-aging, Vitamin B hydrates and reduces redness, and Vitamin C brightens and smoothes. Each layer is applied with the same gentle touch, which leaves your skin feeling totally pampered.

The final step of the process is the moisturizer and SPF. Bree chose a moisturizer that targeted hydration and redness. She also provided a sample of the same moisturizer for me to take home and try over the next several days. I found its light and almost fluffy consistency to apply smoothly and feel great on my skin. 

At the end of the service, Bree recommended a timeframe to return in order to achieve the best results with my skin. As someone new to the next level skincare game, I found this to be super helpful. I left Skin & Tonic feeling not only as though my skin had just received an amazing treatment, but also more relaxed and less stressed than I had been when I walked in the door. As someone who is passionate about both the beauty industry and self-care, I find that the added value of relaxation for your mind and body in addition to the actual service being performed becomes a priceless addition. 

Needless to say, my experience at Skin & Tonic made me fall immediately in love. My skin looks and feels better than ever, and I already can’t wait for my next appointment with Bree. With the upcoming holiday season, I’m also finding myself thinking of all the women (and men!) in my life who could benefit from a relaxing hour with Bree, Robin, or Lori!