Let’s be real: massages are great, aromatherapy is nice, high-tech treatments feel special, but… while a good facial can jumpstart your skincare efforts, the truly impressive results are reserved for those who practice diligent home care. Skin takes about 27 days to totally regenerate, and if you treat yours right for all 27 of ‘em, there’s real potential to end the month with a totally different complexion. That's the why behind an aesthetician's post-facial product recommendations—and maybe it’s the reason you got that facial in the first place. Having an expert assess your skin and put together a routine is the best part of a facial, in this writer’s opinion, and you don’t actually have to step foot into a spa to access it. All the best aestheticians have recently taken to the web, doling out skin wisdom from behind a computer screen. Want to know which of your products to toss? Finally deal with that hyperpigmentation? Clear up an intense breakout? Get your favorite celebrity's glow? An aesthetician can help with all of that, and they’re waiting for your call. Here’s what you’ll get from a digital skin consultation:
The Ones For Free.99
Every/Body is a dermatologist-supervised medical aesthetics clinic, and in their New York studios you can get everything from Botox to IPL and Clear + Brilliant. And if you can’t make it into the office, they offer totally free 30-minute online consultations with a nurse practitioner. You upload photos of your skin and current routine to their website pre-consult, and your NP evaluates what you’re currently using, recommends products, and also talks to you about other influencing factors in skin health like diet. But the best part? Your NP can prescribe things like tretinoin and topical antibiotics to tackle even the trickiest skin concerns.
Glowbar’s innovative subscription-based facials are all work, no frills—they all last 30 minutes, and eschew complex massages and deep cleansing in favor of high-tech, efficacious treatments you need a pro to perform. Currently, they’re offering 20-minute skin consultations with an expert aesthetician where you’ll walk through your current at-home routine, learn tips to optimize your product lineup, and receive recommendations to fill in any gaps. Example: their Environ step-up retinol system is particularly great for affecting long-term change at home.
The Problem Solvers
After training with San Francisco-based Face Reality Acne Clinic, Sofie started offering their unique acne protocol to New York-based clients. COVID has taken the program to the virtual sphere, replacing twice-monthly treatments with an emphasis on homecare. Your initial consultation will cost $100, and you’ll also have to commit to spending $200 on a completely new routine that corresponds with the protocol. The 16-week program features bi-monthly email check-ins to adjust your routine as necessary. For Sofie’s clients who started the program in the spring, the results have been dramatic.
Remember this story, where writer Sam Verdile explained the spreadsheet-tracked skincare system that got rid of her acne? You can actually visit the same clinic Sam went to, AES Acne Clinic, from home. Unlike other consultations, this one comes with extra pre-requisites: you’re required to take a $100 online skincare course and purchase an acne product toolkit before you can schedule your $139 hour-long consultation. It’s a similar protocol as Face Reality (and in fact, AES stocks many Face Reality products) but a lot more hands-on.
Ashley White, the Chicago-based aesthetician behind Skin Class Hero, should be your go-to Twitter skin helpline (if she isn’t already). Her at-home acne program is created with dark skin in mind, which is often more prone to hyperpigmentation from zits or aggressive treatment. A 30-minute regimen critique includes a skin analysis and loads of helpful information about ingredients, what you should actually do for your skin every day, and the lifestyle factors that may be triggering your breakouts. The impressive results are showcased on the Skin Class Hero Instagram page, and well worth the $110 consultation fee.
Maybe, in moments of self-deprecation, you’ve crowned yourself the queen of cystic acne. But that’s actually celebrity facialist Renée Rouleau, whose specialty (from in-person facials to her eponymous skincare line) is balancing breakout-prone skin. A 30-minute virtual consultation with a Renée Rouleau skincare specialist follows a proprietary six-step formula called “My Skin Prescription.” You’ll go over your skin concerns, skin type, diet, and current routine, and focus in on your toughest SPF questions before landing on a specialized treatment plan. The $100 you spend on the consultation is immediately translated to shopping credits to round out your routine.
Kristina Holey is a holistic aesthetician, meaning her protocol is rooted in a belief that what you put on your skin is just one piece in a much larger puzzle. Before your hour-long Zoom consultation, she’ll have you keep a five day food journal and complete a comprehensive intake process to fully understand your health history. Then, during your consultation Kristina will help you figure out a new topical regimen as well as an internal one, encompassing diet tweaks and supplements. Plus, she can also work with your primary care doctor to make sure your new routine supports your overall health. The one-time consult is $300, but you’ll make a shared photo album of your skin progress that Kristina will review weekly, too.
Aesthetician Dija Ayodele founded West Room Aesthetics with the goal of offering comprehensive, accessible skin help particularly to women of color. Her specialty is treating darker skin tones with hyperpigmentation, gently lightning the affected areas without adding further damage. A virtual consultation with the London-based spa costs about $125, and you’ll spend just as much time learning why certain ingredients will work best for your skin as you’ll spend talking products. Following your session, you’ll receive an email with product recommendation links and specific use instructions—perfect to print out and tack on your vanity.
The Celebrity Facial Lite
A facial at Rescue Spa will cost you about $200 minimum (and that’s without all the fancy add-ons), but the best is meeting your master aesthetician at the check-out desk to hear about all the products they think would transform your skincare routine. With $50 and a laptop, you can get the same experience at home—an online consultation with a Rescue Spa includes a virtual skin assessment, a breakdown of your current routine, and, of course, a suite of recommendations from Rescue’s comprehensive retail offerings. Facial or no facial, you’re still going to need someone to help you navigate Biologique Recherche.
The Australian facialist beloved by Victoria Beckham and Cate Blanchett has studios in Sydney, Melbourne, Paris, LA, and now… your couch! Their $150 virtual consults include a 45-minute video call with a Senior Clinical Therapist, and you’ll hit all the bases: what you want, what you use, what you might need a little more of. After your call, you’ll receive a detailed guide to your new routine. The cool part? Completing a consultation means you’ll be eligible for the Melanie Grant Skin Health Dispensary Service, allowing you to purchase professional back-bar treatments for at-home use. A facialist will walk you through digitally, once the treatment is decided.
Georgia Louise is known for both her model clients (Linda Evangelista and Karlie Kloss are regulars) and bespoke facials, combining galvanic current, ultrasound therapy, oxygen, and LED light into a treatment made just for your skin. While the full treatment with Georgia is priced at $850 for a 90-minute facial, her virtual spa offers a uniquely bespoke experience, too, with options available at $100 to $400. At the cheaper end of the spectrum, you’ll get a 30-minute consultation with a Georgia Louise expert—$400 gets you 60-minutes of skincare chat with Georgia Louise herself. After your session, a portion of the cost is credited towards skincare purchases through their site.
True, $550 for an online consultation isn’t thrifty by any means. But when you consider a facial with Joanna Czech will set you back $850, it kind of starts to look like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The online session lasts a full hour, and Joanna will analyze your face, talk through your goals, and figure out what your skin really needs. After you sign off, you’ll receive an email detailing your new, customized skincare routine. You also have the option to speak to a non-Joanna aesthetician for $250. Either way, you'll be relieved to learn that half the cost of the consult becomes a store credit that you can use to purchase your recommended products.
Photo via ITG