Everyone likes to be pampered, and sometimes nothing seems better than reclining on a spa table with cucumbers over your eyes and a face-full of nourishing goo, just like chick-flick heroines do when they need to relax. But with chronically oily skin comes a special brand of complexion-related paranoia. When you’re fighting the greasies, any so-called “moisturizer” whose ingredients you haven’t thoroughly vetted can cause low-level anxiety and ruin even the zen-like image of a facial. But don’t be scared, dewy-faced readers! If you know what to ask for, at a salon, or what to use, if you’re whipping a facial up DIY-style, there’s nothing to worry about. In fact, don’t be fooled by the creamy texture of most masques–the right facial can even help calm down your overactive oil glands.
At the Spa: If you’re concerned about the facialist putting just the right stuff on your skin, the first step to satisfaction is doing your homework. Google spas and salons in your area, checking for good or bad reviews that mention the skincare services (if any reviewers mention that they have oily skin, so much the better!). Ask any friends who have fabulous skin where they get their facials. Even if they don’t have especially oily skin, chances are their go-to girl is equipped to deal with all skin types or can even recommend someone who specializes in skin like yours. Call ahead and ask if you can have a consultation with a facialist before committing to an appointment, or just inquire about the different types of facials available and which might be best for excessive oil and any other skin problems you have. If the information you get is super-vague or the person answering your questions seems not to know what you’re talking about, cross that spa right off your list. If you like what you’re hearing, though, proceed! At the appointment, clearly tell your facialist what you’re hoping to improve about your skin and what your concerns are. Ask about the products she’s going to use and what each is for. Arm yourself with knowledge and make sure your facialist is just as knowledgeable!
At Home: You may want to mix up a treatment in your own kitchen, either because a spa facial’s not in your budget right now or because there are no facialists you trust in the area. It’s a great option — you can do some wonderful things with affordable, natural products from the grocery store. The key to success here is to zero in on a skincare goal you want your facial to achieve — like, “reduce shine” or “moisturize without causing a breakout”–then carefully research ingredients and match them to your desired outcome. If you’re looking for natural astringents, you’ll want to include something mildly acidic, like tomato juice. To give your facial a nice, creamy consistency, choose a neutral, drier base like flour or oatmeal mixed with water (rather than other, traditional, oil-rich facial ingredients like avocado). These picks will let your facial masque glide on easily over your complexion, but actually soak up some oil rather than depositing it. If you’re looking for oil-free moisture, try ingredients like honey or home-ground almond paste (NOT the heavily-sweetened stuff you buy in the baking aisle).