August 23 2014

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Beauty Etiquetter: The Rules Of The Waiting Game When A Facial Mask Takes Forever


Beauty Etiquetter is a new column on Beauty Counter in which we address your beauty protocol predicaments with candid advice from industry experts and those in-the-know. To submit a question, e-mail celia

The Quandary: During a facial, I’m often left waiting with a mask on for what feels like an eternity during my appointment. What’s the normal time frame I should expect to be left in the room alone? When is it appropriate to speak up?

The Expert in Residence: Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Skincare in New York

The Advice: “A mask should be on the face for an average of ten minutes. A facialist may want it to sit for longer if you had lots of extractions or if your skin is sensitive and red; however, for an hour-long facial, it shouldn’t be applied for any longer than that. Being left alone for five minutes is relaxing, but being left alone for longer is not OK. Some facialists think that if they leave you, you will relax better or will fall asleep. But at my salon, no one is left alone while a mask is on the face. Instead, we do hand and neck massages as a way to show we’re caring for you. At the very least, a facialist should monitor your progress and pop in to check on you. Any prep she does for the next part of the facial should be done quietly in the room. If the thought of being left alone makes you uncomfortable, tell your esthetician at the beginning of the service or when you hear the mask being prepared. It’s entirely appropriate to ask, “I’ve always wanted to know how long a mask should sit on the skin?” If she was planning on leaving, you can ask her not to, or have her clarify why she is doing so. I always ask a first-time client what she wants and what hasn’t worked for her in prior services. Also you can request to have your preferences noted in your file so you always get what you want.”

Photo: Courtesy of Joanna Vargas Skincare

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