What You've Got To Know Before Your Next Facial

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
For many, like myself, regular facials are a hallmark of a good skin-care regimen. Whether I'm heading to the spa or hunkering down at home for a DIY treatment, a deep-cleaning is always beneficial for the skin. But there is one thing I'm not so clear about when it comes to facials (which I always forget to ask my aestheticians): What do I do to my skin post-treatment? Do I wash my face? Should I slater on my retinol? Guide me, wise one, for I know not what to do.

Today, the wise one with the answers is celebrity facialist and skin-care guru Joanna Vargas. First of all, she says there is no "correct" time to get a facial. "Anytime is fine," she says. "I just wouldn't do it pre-workout." If you enjoy an a.m. facial so that you can glow all day, go for it. If you'd rather bliss out on the table in the evening and then go straight to bed, that's cool too.

But the time of your treatment does affect after-care. If you are getting it done later in the day, then there's absolutely no need to wash your face or do any part of your regular regimen until the next morning. Pretty amazing, right? "If you get it done in the a.m. and then put makeup on over it, then you have to wash the face before bed as normal," Vargas says.

Even more good news: You aren't doing a disservice to your face by putting on makeup immediately post-facial — in fact, Vargas claims it might make your makeup sit better. "After getting a facial, the face is a great palette for makeup," she says. "I do [facials] on clients before big events. So, yes. It's fine."

When you do get back into your skin-care regimen, it should basically stay the same, save for a few adjustments. Vargas says to avoid any treatments or ingredients that might aggravate your skin — especially since so many facials involve intense exfoliation. "I would avoid acid peels until your skin has healed from the exfoliation — about a week," Vargas advises. She recommends avoiding retinol for this amount of time as well.

Be sure to ask your aesthetician what you can do yourself as well. "Following up at home with a great routine designed by your facialist always extends the results of the facial for the month to come," Vargas says. "Use the facial as your chance to take your skin to the next level, not simply bring it back to baseline." And by knowing what to do after you leave your facial appointment, you can all but guarantee a glowing complexion every single time.