In a world of mass media that often provides conflicting beauty advice, choosing the right products and services for your skin can be a challenge. In a big city like NYC, facial and skin care services seem to be everywhere, so it’s no small undertaking deciding where to invest your money and who to trust with something as valuable as your face.

The key to choosing the best facial treatment is to understand your skin, understand your treatment options and to be honest with yourself – and your esthetician – about exactly what your skin is up against.

Let’s take a look at just what goes into making an informed choice about your facial treatment:

Understand your skin

Skin, much like body shapes and hair colors, comes in many different forms. Some people have naturally dry skin, which can benefit from deep hydration and nourishment. Some people have oily skin, which is prone to acne, congestion and shine throughout the day. Some people have sensitive skin, which is often irritated by things like pollution, heat or certain products. And some people have a combination of these types, which can make diagnosing skincare problems a bit tricky.

Knowing your skin’s strengths and weaknesses will help you find the best facial NYC has to offer. Not only will this allow your treatment provider to customize your experience, but it gives you a better understanding of which products and ingredients you might benefit from on a regular basis.

Most Manhattan facial experts will offer a consultation before treatment, and this is usually free of charge or paid for in a small deposit put towards your eventual session. In a consultation, your specialist will ask you about your daily habits, products and potentially do a physical assessment of your skin as well. Determining your skin type is a crucial first step in choosing what kind of facial is best for you.

Keep in mind that skin can also change over time. Things like diet, supplement intake, hormone changes, climate and even just the natural progression of aging can cause your skin’s needs to shift. For this reason, it’s not a bad idea to have a “check-in” consultation every once in a while, to ensure you’re still getting the best facial treatment for your skin type.

Put your needs before the trends

Trends come and go. Sometimes they’re worth experimenting with, but other times (sorry, 90’s eyebrows), they’re not. This is especially true when it comes to a permanent part of your body such as, well, your face. To be concise, it’s always best to choose a facial treatment based on your skin’s needs, rather than what’s all the rage with industry influencers.

For example, that great new microdermabrasion tool everyone’s excited about might not be a great choice if you have sensitive skin, no matter how amazing that Elle columnist found it. Likewise, the new face oil that everybody’s asking for as an add-on might be very in vogue, but it also might be a nightmare for someone prone to acne or congestion.

That being said, it’s important to differentiate between facial trends and facial innovations. Trends are things that gain popularity for a short period of time and may or may not have any benefits. While it’s always good to be wary of these, innovations in facial treatments can be worth looking into. These are often science-based advances in skin care that can make a big difference with things like aging, sensitivity and hydration. So it’s not a bad idea to ask your esthetician about new products or innovations, as long as you’re prioritizing your skin’s needs.

Be honest with your esthetician

If you choose the right skin care specialist, he or she isn’t there to judge you or your lifestyle. They only want you to look and feel as great as possible, while addressing the specific needs of your skin type.

Are you too tired to take your makeup off some nights? Is your wine or coffee intake a little more excessive than your water intake? Do you never say no to fries when you’re at a restaurant and the server asks which side you would like with your meal? Do you forget sunscreen? We’ve all been there. Make sure your skin care specialist knows what your skin is up against, so that he or she can recommend the best kind of treatment possible.

We all know that living in New York brings some specific lifestyle concerns with it, whether that’s long office hours, cold, dry winters or the daily pollution of urban life. The best way to combat the effect of these on your skin is to seek out quality treatment, but you’ll always get the best treatment if you’re upfront about your concerns. Don’t be shy! The look and feel of your skin is at stake here.

At the end of the day, there is no single answer to the question “what kind of facial is the best?” because everyone’s skin has different strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes these are based on biology or lifestyle, and other times they’re based on where you live or what you do for a living. Make sure you take these into consideration and consult with a quality facial specialist, so you know exactly what kind of treatment will leave you looking and feeling your best.

By tbb