Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Getting a Facial is Awkward

I got my first facial* this weekend. I thought a facial was when you sit in a chair and someone slaps some mud or something on your face, lets it dry, and then wipes it off. It turns out that facials are so much more than that, and thus, provide so many more opportunities for awkwardness.

When I got to the spa, the spa attendant handed me a hot towel infused with "chakras." I looked up what chakras are, and while I still couldn't tell you what they are, I can guarantee that these towels are not capable of being infused with them. She then asked me a series of questions about my skin problems, fears, hopes and dreams.

What kind of skin do you have? Uh, normal?
What were you hoping to get out of this session? A novel experience, to be honest.
How do you experience stress? From stress-inducing stimuli, usually.
Do you have acne or fine lines/wrinkles? Aren't you looking at my face right now?

This somehow explains what chakras are.
Image via Wikipedia

When the Q&A was finished, she instructed me to change into a robe and deposit my clothing into a bin. I was confused. What kind of girl did she think I was? What was she playing at?

I couldn't think of a polite way to phrase "Why do you want me to be naked?" so I did as I was told and put the robe on. There's no way they want me to take my pants off, I reasoned with myself. I contemplated asking if she wanted me to take my pants off before deciding I didn't know how to politely phrase that either. I left them on.

With clothes in bin, I exited the changing room and followed the attendant to the spa area. It too was nothing like I expected. The room could only be described as a World War I hospital, with rows of beds with seemingly dead and injured bodies on them, women rubbing them with tinctures and ointments, occasionally whispering soothing nothings. Sheer white curtains cordoned off the rows, giving the suggestion of privacy without providing any actual privacy.

 Photo courtesy of the spa's Facebook page. Just kidding
Photo via Wikipedia

I was told to hop on a bed, and the facialist tucked me under the covers.

"You now begin your sensory journey," she said. "Take a deep breath."

I inhaled deeply, and the smell of chakras or some shit filled my nose. It reminded me of my traumatic experiences with mall kiosk salesmen. The facialist had me inhale two more scents, both of which smelled like a hippie's armpit, and asked which was my favorite. "Um, the third one?" I said.

"You chose tea tree oil," she said. Huh, I didn't know tea grew on trees. This was both a sensory and an educational journey.

She rubbed some random salves on my face and poked and pinched my cheeks a little bit. "You're going to feel a coldness," I thought she said, before she sprayed something cold in my face a few times. Cold mist. It was damn cold. She covered my eyes with a chilled bag and shined a bright light on my face. It was time for the Super Serious Skin Analysis.

Her overseer came by then to check her Analysis before she went any further. "Hi, Karisa, how are you?" she said.

I was still lying on a bed, half naked, with my eyes covered, don't forget. "Hi! I'm good, you?" We exchanged pleasantries, though I had no idea who I was talking to.

"I surmise that she has normal skin," the facialist said. "I was going to use the Overpriced Frou Frou Skin Crap but wasn't sure if it was right for her skin."

The overseer pinched my cheek gently, lovingly. "I think she could really benefit from it, actually," she said. "It's great for normal skin types." Another learning opportunity--who knew that "normal" skin needed...anything at all?

The cold bags stayed over my eyes for the remainder of the session, and I started dozing. The smooth sensation of a paintbrush spreading goo across my face and the copyright-free spa music--reminiscent of an 800% slower Justin Bieber--set my mind right to sleep. I felt like I was in da club, high on purp. [Note: I just now learned that "purp" is not the same thing as "Purple Drank."]

Just as I was drifting off, the hands of the facialist became the hands of a shoulderist, and then an upper-arm-ist. She'd moved on from my face and was rubbing tea tree oil on my decolletage. My word. I almost started laughing at the inappropriateness, the absurdity of it all, but then I remembered the last time I laughed alone in a chair and stifled my titters.

After a few more lotions and savs, she said the facial was over and I could sit up. "Alright, you're all set!"

As I swung my legs over the side of the bed, my towel slipped and I scrambled to cover my womanly goods. And it wasn't all cute like when Jessica Alba's clothes fall off on accident.

In the end, the facial did provide a novel experience, and afterward my skin looked like a baby's behind, fresh peaches, the fire of a thousand suns, and Aaron Neville's voice in skin form. Thus, my chakras are telling me I should go back and get another one some time. According to my "prescription card," that should be in approximately four to six weeks.

*It saddens me that I have to say this, but given some of the things people Google to find this blog, I feel it's necessary to add: Not that kind of facial. Ugh as if.


  1. I am totally wondering what OTHER kind of facial there is... omg!

  2. I find everything about spa/salons to be awkward because they are so unfamiliar to me, but I too want my face to be as smooth as a baby's butt, so maybe I'll just have to get over it.

  3. “I thought a facial was when you sit in a chair and someone slaps some mud or something on your face, lets it dry, and then wipes it off.” – That cracked me up! I see your first facial had been a unique experience to you. It's true that it could be pretty awkward when you don’t know what expect. Keep going back, and the awkwardness will pass. Lilia, La Fleur de Beaute


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