I’ve just had my first facial.
Goodness gracious. In your middish 40s! Yes, I did. I went into Azure Skin Care with a bucketful of hopium that what goes on this face will not come out red, botchy and bumpy. This was so undeniably “not-me”. I’m never lured by advertising (I was in advertising before so I know the shenanigans that go on behind closed boardroom doors), I am skittish with steaming open anything (billetdoux are fine, but least of all, one’s pores) and the cost of disambiguating the term “exfoliate” would be better served on someone who has thickish, leathery skin. An elephant leaps to mind.
I am not a gambling woman even though the first and last time I went into a Las Vegas casino I lost a quarter to a one-arm bandit only to gain $50 in dirty quarters. The reason why I found myself in Clayton Heights was because of my iPhone. It’s one of those things that seem to hit you at happier, more whimsical moments in your life when you decide a Groupon App is good for a chuckle. Then you click on it “just to see” and some startling discount catches your eye and the Christmas season coupled with no-homework-assignment completely pull all your No-More-Spending guards down. Before you know it…POOF! you have made an appointment and you are standing before a white-robed beautician.
So, there was Brittany- punctilious and professional. I was looking at my face doctor.
There’s something very soothing about having someone who looks nice work on one’s face. I’ll never get over the odd feeling that I’ve just met a stranger and the next minute I’m taking nearly all my clothes off. At least until down to the bottom half of my skivvies. I found out later that a bra strap is a horrible obstacle when one’s neck and shoulders are being massaged but I’m getting ahead of myself here…
It is mandatory that anyone in the aesthetics industry must be good at conversational fluff. The reason is because there are awkward long pauses that should be filled either by a) Classical (nothing Beethovanesque thank you very much) b) Barry Manilow instrumentals (surprisingly relaxing), c) some kind of shiatsu Japanesey bone-melting massage sursuration or d) intelligent confabulation.
Back to my face.
First the cleanser. I told Brittany that I came out with no makeup at all thinking I’d spare her having to wipe it all away again. I pulled a 404 on her. (completely clueless- File Not Found) Luckily for the cotton pads covering my eyes, I’m sure I couldn’t see her face showing mild mortification that a woman my age would dare step into the world without her face armour. Suffice to say, the cleanser came on and my face was just beginning to enjoy the effects of being treated like royalty.
I called the thing with the long arm connected to the bottled distilled water and minerals a Face Humidifier. It isn’t, of course, but that never stopped me from calling anything what I fancy. It steams open one’s pores causing the breathable craters (euphemistically called “large pores”) on my face to release every smidgen of toxin it has accumulated since blackheads and hormones were first introduced. It had a profound effect on my respiratory system as it was steaming open the alveoli sacs in the pit of my lungs giving it a tingly eucalypty fragrance. It might be the only time my lungs smelled this good.
Next were extractions. We all know about addition and subtractions but extractions are only to remove the debris (face gunk) from the capacious pores the same way I suppose one extracts juice from an orange. To spare you the details, I’ll just say it involved a healthy dose of squeezing.
Imagine me on my back, white flourescent magnifying every square millimeter of my face and Brittany doing a face map. For a scant nanosecond I felt like the earth being scoured over by the google camera to map out an accurate GPS of my features. It took a lot more vulnerability than I thought I had. It was a good thing Brittany was a fount of much aesthethical knowledge for she clued me in on what massage she was going to do, what booster she was going to apply, what masque she was going to paint on and finally, what moisturizer she was going to slather over my over-dehydated mug.
By the end of nearly 90 minutes, my face freshly toweled for the fifth time, moisturized and lovingly massaged emerged more youthful than ever. Alright, it didn’t obliterate the crows feet. I had told Brittany I had earned every single one of my wrinkles, barring the few that were caused by raising my teen. He caused most of the laugh lines, so I’ll close one eye for the worry wrinkles. The liver spots will need more than an exfoliation to rid. I don’t know why they call it a chemical peel because as a wordmonger, it screams “acid burn” to me.
I liked the way my face smelled at the end of the session. I liked the squeaky cleanliness of a rehydrated, remoisturized, post-extraction-of-blackheads-lurking-since-two-decades face. Sorry…TMI. Cucumbers on one’s eyelids are beneficial (officially Brittany- approved) to remove puffiness and one of the reasons for puffy eyelids is because one eats before sleeping. For those of you reading this entry and having an A-Ha moment, I’ll just wish you stronger disciplinary measures for yourself this Christmas.
Some people have facials once a month. It’s a complete luxury of course. I’m intrigued by this practice and am now certain which ones of my girlfriends go through this millennium old tradition of beautifying oneself. I probably can’t afford to go every month, but when spring comes around, I’ll go for round two with a girlfriend who’s got $60 sitting in her purse. Any takers?