A few years ago I stumbled across the name of First Lady Michelle Obama’s esthetician, JoElle Lee. And when I started to outline this blog with the intentions of including professional voices in the conversation, she was the first person on my radar. Within a few hours of reaching out to JoElle, she happily obliged to share her knowledge and support for this space.
For a month I struggled to decide what kind of questions I wanted to ask. Do I ask her about the First Lady’s glow up? Is that confidential? What am I doing? Will the Secret Service come snatch me? Lawd, don’t let me shoot myself in the foot.
After talking to a few of my girlfriends who’ve had facials, I realized that most walked blindly into their appointments with expectations ranging from pampering, treatments, and overnight miracles. Then it dawned on me. Many are unaware that it takes multiple visits and ongoing conversations with their esthetician to align their expectations with their results, so let’s talk facials 101 and regimen essentials.
What is the value in facials and when should someone expect to see results?
The value of facials is prevention. By incorporating facials on a consistent basis into your beauty lifestyle regimen you not only prevent unwanted skin eruptions from occurring, but you can also address common skin concerns that you are experiencing at that time while achieving healthy, glowing skin.
Describe a basic/standard facial from start to finish.
- Exfoliation process
- Extractions to remove unwanted skin eruptions and blackheads
- Correcting serums
- Finishing mask
- Eye treatment
- Finishing moisturizer
- Lip balm
How do you advise choosing a great esthetician and how often should you schedule an appointment?
I recommend choosing an esthetician through a referral. However, if you do not have someone to refer to an esthetician, try scheduling skin consultations with select estheticians in your area. A great esthetician will be well educated in the skin care industry and share her knowledge along with recommending a treatment plan and home care regimen that will ultimately address your skin concerns and achieve results. But most importantly, once you have completed your consultation, you should feel comfortable and confident with the esthetician’s abilities and want to move forward and book an appointment.
What conditions warrant more than monthly visits?
Uneven skin, dark spots, sun damage, excessively oily skin with clogged pores, and wrinkles. All these concerns can be addressed with a series of treatments on a temporary bi-weekly basis. Treatments could include enzyme/chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and/or laser treatments. Also, depending upon the concern, a combination of these treatments could be incorporated in the treatment series.
What are the most common skin care concerns that you treat on brown women?
Whether the skin is dry or oily, the most common skin concerns of women of color are breakouts on face and body, uneven skin tone and dark spots.
What treatments do you think are better suited for brown skin tones?
In my experience, chemical peels have been the most effective in treating skin concerns of brown skin tones.
What at-home remedies are damaging to the skin and which are effective?
Continued use of benzoyl peroxide, lightening agents like hydroquinone, or excessive exfoliation can all lead to damaging the skin. The most effective approach is to keep the skin care regimen simple.
- Correcting serum and/or spot treatment over blemishes or dark spots
- Moisturize as needed
- Rinse with water
- Use mask suitable for your skin type and a manual exfoliant, like a facial scrub, twice a week.
At any point should your skin be burning or tingling during an appointment?
If a client is receiving any type of peel, their should be a tingling or itching sensation for no more than a few minutes; it should be most intense during the first minute. A client should feel concerned if they experience a severe burning sensation during the appointment or even if the skin is still burning throughout the day. There should be no discomfort when the treatment is done, and if you are experiencing extreme discomfort at any time during the treatment, communicate that to the esthetician immediately.
What would you describe as a robust vs. a basic skin care regimen?
A robust skincare regimen would be 5-9 skincare steps, however, a basic skin care regimen is like the one described above.
Which ingredients do you think should be in every woman’s regimen?
- Tea tree oil
- Glycolic or salicylic acid
- Clay based masks
What SPF ingredient should women of color look for that won’t leave a white cast?
Look for SPF products that state they are oil-free and/or ultra sheer in their description.
What are the top ingredients we should look for in products to combat hyperpigmentation?
Prescription based hydroquinone is the most effective in treating hyperpigmentation. However, if you want to go the natural route, glycolic, kojic, and citrus acids all help to lighten dark marks.
What products and brands do you highly recommend?
Right now, one of my favorite skincare lines for all skin types is Acure Organics.
Do you have an esthetician? Are you skeptical about facials?