Skip to main content

Facial treatment for men: A comprehensive guide on exactly what to expect

Do men get facials? They sure do. Here's what to know about facial treatments for men

While we try to maintain perfectly healthy looks by doing routines like skincare for men, there are some things — automotive repairs, taxes, and medicine — that are just best left to the professionals. A facial fits that bill. The spa treatment feels luxe but can also be found at accessible prices.

Cindy Kim is the co-founder of Silver Mirror, a New York City facial “bar” that specializes in customized facial treatments. Facial treatments for men is absolutely a part of her business. After completing a degree from a business school, Kim founded Korean beauty e-commerce site Peach and Lily. Though she has access to the world’s best skincare products, Kim had finicky skin and began to seek out a more effective solution. Before long, she realized that frequent treatments in the form of fast (affordable) facials (like she could get when she lived in Korea) were important, and Silver Mirror was born.

Wait — do men get facials, too?

Kim says yes. We asked her for some of her thoughts on facial treatments for men and how to make a guy’s first one a little more gentle and a lot less awkward.

a man receiving a facial with a clay mask

Benefits of men’s facial treatments

While facials for men make up a relatively small percentage of Kim’s business, she is seeing an increase in the demographic. “When I speak on industry panels,” says Kim, “it’s always the men who have questions about skincare. They want to do the right thing … they just don’t know how to or where to turn.”

Benefits of facials for men include:

It’s also relaxing. Silver Mirror offers a more gender-neutral space and experience, so you won’t feel like you’re walking in on your sister’s Sweet 16 or your Mom’s bridge club. Like a good barbershop visit, going to a facial bar means sitting down while the facialist or esthetician gets right down to work.

Before you show up for your first facial, don’t worry. There’s not a lot you have to do.

Some businesses offer more of a pampered, European spa-like experience, where you’ll be placed in a chair and covered by a blanket, almost like a massage. You’ll be invited to remove your clothes and make yourself comfortable because the facialist may also massage your neck, shoulders — even your feet — as part of a holistic, relaxing experience. It all depends on what you’re into and how much time you have.

Man grooming and trimming his facial hair with a beard trimmer

What to know before you get a facial

Before you show up for your first facial, don’t worry. There’s not a lot you have to do to prepare when it comes to facial treatments for men. For example, should men shave before a facial? No, says Kim.

“When you shave in the morning, you’re already exfoliating, so it makes the skin too sensitive for our treatments. We use light chemical peels and stimulate the skin a lot. Shave the day before … stubble is okay,” says Kim. “Unfortunately, there’s not a lot we can do if you have a beard, but if you’ve got to keep it, you’ve got to keep it. In that case, we can work on the skin around the beard—the T-zone (your forehead and nose) and eye area, which are just as important. Other than that, just show up. I get guys that come in, and say ‘I don’t know why I’m here, my girlfriend sent me.’ Then they get their first facial and they’re sold.”

Other pre-facial to-dos include:

  • Ceasing use of any topical medications from a dermatologist about two days before the facial (Discuss any potential issues with your provider first)
  • Check your products to see if they contain hyaluronic acid for moisturizing or glycolic and alpha-hydroxy acids for exfoliation.
  • Stop using acid products about two days before the facial

What to expect during a facial treatment for men

Because Kim’s company is very results-driven, they pack a facial with anything and everything your skin needs. Her process involves:

  • A deep cleanse in a way that you won’t be able to do at home. “We use a steamer to soften the skin and open the pores,” explains Kim. “We use professional-grade products to cleanse and exfoliate.”
  • Two rounds of exfoliation. “We may use enzymes or a light chemical peel … even microdermabrasion (think of it as using an orbital sander on your skin, but a lot smaller and gentler) … to get the dead skin cells off your face. Exfoliation is probably one of the most important parts of a facial. It cleans and preps your skin for what’s to come.”
  • Extraction and infusing the skin with “hydration, oxygen therapy, LED therapy … whatever your skin needs,” Kim says.

Further Reading

Of course, “no pain, no gain,” so the worst part of your experience will probably be the extractions — but don’t worry, it’s nothing like the kind you get at the dentist.

“Extractions (removing dirt and gunk from the pores) are never that comfortable. It’s probably more so for men because they’ve never had them. There is a lot of stuff in there that the aesthetician needs to get out,” says Kim. “They’ll need to work harder and apply more pressure to clean properly, but you shouldn’t really be in pain … just uncomfortable. In this case, the discomfort will pay off.” Kim also points out that sometimes a men’s facial will focus on folliculitis, removing ingrown hairs, etc.

One note of caution on facials for men (or anyone, really): Don’t do your first facial, a new kind of facial, or a facial at a new facility before any kind of a big occasion (your wedding, a media appearance, your TED talk). “Depending on the person and the type of facial you get, you may break out,” says Kim. “It’s a purging … but it’s a good thing. Your skin is pushing all the bad stuff out. If it’s a concern, let us know and we can go a little lighter.”

One note of caution: Don’t do your first facial, a new kind of facial, or a facial at a new facility before any kind of a big occasion.

Post-facial, for a couple of days afterward, Kim recommends not using anything with acids in it (just like your prep period). Try not to stress your face in any way. “You should also definitely wear sunscreen,” emphasizes Kim. “You should anyway, but especially following a facial because we’ve removed a few layers of skin. Hopefully, you also have a good skincare routine at home to pick up from there. Then, depending on your skincare goals, we recommend you come back in.”

man facial beard
Martinedoucet/Getty Images

How often you should get a facial

Now that you know that the answer to the question, “Do men get facials?” is yes, you may also want to know how often you should get one. Kim says that of course, it depends, but if you have decent, normal skin, probably once a quarter is good for a follow-up. Those who are more interested in skincare should stop by once a month. “If you have problem skin, though, probably every two to three weeks is good,” says Kim, “until we can get it under control.”

Editors' Recommendations

John Jones
John Jones is a Jersey City, New Jersey-based writer who enjoys covering design in all its forms, from fashion to…
How to get rid of acne once for all
Adult acne happens — this is what to do about it
man with green acne cream

Acne is one of the last conditions an adult wants to or expects to deal with. It’s seen as a teenage problem. Though adult acne is more common in women, research shows that men can also experience it.

Again, likely not the news you wanted to hear. However, knowledge is power. Knowing men can get adult acne allows you to take steps to prevent acne so that the condition won’t rear its ugly white or black head the day before a majorly photographed event.

Read more
Good hair doesn’t have to break the bank: These are the best Walmart shampoos
Here are some fantastic drugstore shampoos you can find at Walmart
A man lathering shampoo on his head in the shower, suds building up on the back of his neck.

This may be the most wonderful time of the year for skiers, snowboarders, and everyone who loves to cozy up to a warm fireplace while watching the snow fall outside. But for our hair, the drier cold air outside can be anything but wonderful.

Thankfully, in today’s market, high-quality shampoos aren't limited to high-end luxury items. Believe it or not, you can find also find shampoos with safe ingredients in your local drug store for a fraction of the cost! To help you get a good deal on a great shampoo to help your hair survive the winter, we've put together a list of the best drugstore shampoos to buy from Walmart to keep your hair looking great and healthy no matter how low the temperature drops outside when that next Arctic Blast storm rolls into town.

Read more
How to take care of your scalp for healthier hair
healthy scalp product roundup best products for

When they say "out of sight, out of mind," they are NOT talking about your scalp! Just because you may not be able to see the skin under your hair doesn't mean it isn't there. Scalp care is just as important as the rest of your skincare routine if you want to maintain healthy, happy hair throughout your lifetime. Everyone has at least heard of hair oils, but here's what else you need to know to keep a healthy scalp.

Hair, obviously, starts at the root. Think of your hair like a house plant: it can look healthy above ground, but if the roots are wilted and broken underneath, that plant will soon start to die off. Adding hormones or otherwise taking care of the roots will grow them back stronger and sturdier -- and your hair roots are no different.

Read more