How to know if you’re getting a bad facial

Monday, 5 October 2015


You fork out a small fortune for your facial, but leave the salon feeling disappointed – most us of have experienced this at least once. But how do you know where it’s all gone wrong?

There are couple of things your therapist should and shouldn’t do, and if they neglect these simple rules, you are entitled to complain. Here’s how to know if you’re getting a bad facial:

1. You didn’t fill out a detailed form. That long form you fill out at reception may seem pointless, but your answers give the therapist valuable information about your skin, plus it informs her about possible underlying conditions. If you’re not expected to fill out a detailed form, it’s a red light.

2. Your therapist doesn’t examine your skin. Before any cleansing or exfoliation takes place, your therapist should do a close-up examination of your skin to identify and problematic areas and concerns. And while doing this, she should be chatting to you about the products you use, treatments you’ve had and what you want to achieve from the facial.

3. Her extractions leave you bruised or scarred. When done correctly, extractions will leave you blackhead-free without any evidence that they were done (except for a little bit of redness on the day). However, when done incorrectly, they can form sores, scabs, and even leave you with some bruising and a scar. If your skin looks worse after extractions than it did pre-extractions, they were done incorrectly.

4. She leaves you alone for too long. Ever notice that your therapist leaves the room after she’s applied your mask? A quick trip to the bathroom is acceptable, but if she stays away for more than five minutes it’s a problem. She should be there for you to chat to, and also in case of any reaction to the mask.

5. She didn’t talk you through the procedure. We understand that some people prefer peace and quiet during their treatment, but your therapist should be telling you what she’s doing, and which products she’s using. If you’re in and out without really understanding what the process entailed and what types of products were used on your skin, it’s a problem.

Have you ever had a bad facial experience? Tell us in the comments section below.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Yes, you can perfect an at-home facial!
We’ve discovered an unusual new facial
Are facials really necessary?
Our top five skin-saving facials
Treatment of the month: Optiphi peel

Written by

Anien studied English and journalism before heading off into the world of beauty. An undercover "tree hugger" and fashion lover, she's usually found with her nose in a magazine. She has far too many bottles of nail polish and is completely lost without her lip balm. Anien on Google+

Want to write a comment? Sign in here sign up now
Tell your friends
  1. Cookie Nandlall

    I have had a few facials done in the past. I had no issues with therapist, they were all friendly and explained in detail about the process. I was not impressed with the end results. I have mastered the art of doing my own facials.

    6 months ago •

  1. Tanya Lawrence

    Very informative article, thanks BSA. Stay away from the “cheaper” beauty salons rather go with popular ones and don’t be afraid to ask, you are paying for this.

    10 months ago •

  1. Patience Tonhoro

    i have just booked my first facial,looking forward to it but i didnt know what to expect,now i havr this article i know what to expect

    1 year ago •

  1. Razia Hosain

    My previous facials were a bliss, however I have had a bad experience before that left me with major extraction scars. This article is very helpful and a must read before going for any facials :)

    1 year ago •

  1. Sarah-Jane Van Heerden

    We are very limited to good facials in and around our area, our nearest great spa would be in east london or even port elizabeth, I have had one to many facial done in my area that I was not happy with and didn’t see any results other that a breakout a few days later.

    1 year ago •

  1. Sarah-Jane Van Heerden

    I love a good facial but always worry about the breakouts that come after the facial.

    1 year ago •

  1. Esme Van Jaarsveld

    I have never been for a facial and I am a little stressed that I might have reactions to some of the products :(

    1 year ago •

  1. Afsana Chhipa

    Great article. I have booked a groupon massage for my entire family and facial for my daughter and I early next year. I was really looking forward to it as it would be my first facial. Now I’m scared. I never done a facial as I have sensitive skin and don’t like to take a chance. Now I’m wondering whether I’ve done the right thing. Fingers crossed.

    1 year ago •


    never actually been for a facial before, but i’m planning on going soon, so these tips will prove to be handy. thank you.

    1 year ago •

  1. Sashnee Rambaly

    Really love this article , it has been such a godsend.

    1 year ago •

  1. Nawahl Jaffer

    This article has been extremely helpful as I have avoided booking facials for the exact reasons mentioned above.

    A little over a year ago, I bought a Groupon voucher for my husband and I to celebrate our wedding anniversary, it was at a very fancy 5 star Hotel on the Atlantic Seaboard and we were both very excited. We were not asked any questions about our skin types, skin care regimes nor were we told what was being done. I had been in contact with the Manager previously and on numerous occasions reminded him that I would be 5 months pregnant on the day of the treatments.

    The therapists obviously did not read any of the forms we were made to fill in prior to our treatment.

    I think the fact that we were Groupon clients made them think they didnt need to put in much effort as we were paying discounted rates!

    1 year ago •

  1. emmysemmy

    Those awkward silence facials are the worst. I want to know what you are putting on my face, why you chose that product and what that product does to help my face?
    I will never go for a Groupon facial. No enthusiasm and they just do the bare minimum.

    1 year ago •

    1. Mark Parr

      I agree with you there, those Groupon Facials were a joke!!

      1 year ago •

  1. Ashmitha Ramgathi

    Great article, will keep a lookout the next time I go for a facial

    1 year ago •


    My work sent me for a facial at some expensive spa for christmas 2014. A lady showed me to a bed on a veranda overlooking Hartbeespoort dam. A therapist started cleaning my face and doing all kinds of things. I had no idea what products they were using and it all felt very watery. When they offered a pedicure -the lady didn’t know how to cut my nails and I immediately stopped her in her tracks. The cutex was a total mess all over my toes. I thanked her and left. When I woke the next morning at home my face was covered in little red pimple like dots. It took more than a week before it disappeared. I will never go to any spa or salon again where I’m not informed of the products and who will be tending to me. It was a horrible experience .

    1 year ago •

  1. Salmaa Moosa

    I think the above describes why I’m so terrified about going for facials. I hardly ever go for facials!

    1 year ago •

  1. Nixxi

    My husband received a R500 Go Beauty from work and he gave it to me so I found a very fancy spa nearby and booked a Dermalogica Luxury Facial, well it wasn’t luxurious at all! The therapist was very nice but she didn’t do any extractions and I didn’t receive my shoulder massage, only a not so good scalp massage! I was so disappointed but didnt say anything, still a waste of money! I worked in a spa and the facials we gave the clienta there were super luxurious, they were treated to an introductory back and neck massage, scalp, facial, shoulder, hand and foot massage! Im a tired mommy so all I really wanted was a bit of pamering!

    1 year ago •

  1. Geraldine Fynn-Green

    I have never had a reaction or breakout post facial but there are certain things that annoy me during a facial.It is usually the after sales pitch of products used that is a tad uncomfortable- if the beautician paid attention to my answers when asking the stock questions during the facial. All the “extras” leave one feeling truly pampered and more likely to return.

    1 year ago •

  1. Kate Naudé

    I have been for facials which have left me sorely disappointed and a lot lighter in my pocket.
    The thing is that I really don’t mind paying for a quality facial but when I pay for a service and the “treatment” I give myself at home is as good, if not better, than the service at the salon warning bells start ringing.
    It’s the added extras like cooling eyes masks and heated socks and a hand massage while one’s mask is on that take an ordinary facial to the next level – for which I am prepared to pay more for.

    1 year ago •

  1. Mark Parr

    I have indeed experienced some bad behavior from some therapists. I remain with the same Salon and Therapist as she will know what treatments are required.

    1 year ago •

BeautySouthAfrica - your pre-shop stop for all things beauty is South Africa’s most comprehensive online beauty magazine and your pre-shop stop for product information and reviews. From the latest international make-up trends to the hottest new products on the market, we offer insights into the glamorous world of beauty. Join like-minded beauty fanatics in our loyalty program and earn points, trial beauty products and share your experiences.

Become a beauty addict!

Get great deals and climb the ladder to a Gold Star!


Sign In