It’s a common refrain among urbanites that they simply don’t have enough time to spare on indulgences and non-essential activities. Like high tea and day spas. Or facials, because self-care and beauty maintenance are often the first to go when we’re strapped for time.
To serve this large swathe of consumers and address their need for speed, a growing number of facial salons and med-spas are offering express facials that can typically be done in 30 minutes or less.
Dr Michelle Wong of IDS Clinic says: “Express facials are a quick lunchtime solution for busy individuals looking to refresh their skin with a deep cleanse and exfoliation, and a great way for them to sneak in some ‘me-time’ for relaxation.”Such treatments are also useful for those who need a quick rejuvenation before an important event, as they can expect to leave with more supple and radiant skin after a quick hydrating face mask or an oxygen infusion treatment.”
A quick and easy fix for the busy individual
While express facials are not a new thing, they are increasingly common, with some salons even making fast treatments their entire selling point. At Kskin and Skingo!, for instance, two salon chains with multiple outlets across Singapore, facials take just 15 minutes, maxing out at 30 minutes if you opt for combo treatments or add-ons like ampoule and mask. Tricia Yap, general manager of Skingo!, says: “We understand that time is a concern for many people. Therefore, our facials are administered using state- of-the-art Korean technology, combined with medical-grade solutions to combat all types of skin problems. Compared to traditional facials, they deliver effects much faster because of the improved machine technology and quick facial techniques used on targeted skin areas.”
Both Skingo! and Kskin make use of a Korean facial technology called hydro-dermabrasion – a method that uses serums or chemical exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids to cleanse, and ultrasonic devices to exfoliate and drive nutrients into skin. “Hydro-dermabrasion is painless and non-invasive. Together with specially formulated solutions for different skin types, it works to improve skin texture, reduce the look of wrinkles, hydrate skin and minimise pores,” says Brian Ng, founder of KC Group of Companies, which owns and operates Kskin.
Traditional vs Express Facials
The key difference between traditional and express facials is that the latter usually does not include extraction, which requires more time. Brian says extraction also comes with the risk of inflammation and irritation, as it is often traumatic to skin. Tricia shares the same view. “At Skingo!, we do not have extraction as we believe excessively vigorous extractions can lead to cuts and bleeding. A therapist who is unskilled or improperly trained can damage a customer’s skin to the point of making it susceptible to infection or, in extreme cases, even scarring,” she says.
Cost is another differentiating factor – express facials are generally more wallet-friendly than regular facials. However, prices can vary significantly between salons. At Kskin and Skingo!, basic 15-minute treatments are priced at $28; whereas at other establishments that don’t specialise in express facials, even quickie treatments can cost upwards of one or two hundred dollars. As with anything that is condensed or pared down, however, some facets and elements will inevitably be lost. “Don’t expect your blackheads or whiteheads to disappear, as that will require comedone extraction,” says Dr Wong. “Also, express facials often don’t have the luxury of time to indulge in anti-ageing facial massages and skin-tightening treatments.”
Although Brian says express facials can be done four to eight times a month to achieve or maintain your optimal skin condition and there is no need to follow up with a regular facial, Dr Wong still advises going for a longer session once a month. “Good, thorough facials are relaxing and help to ensure that pores are cleansed and comedones are extracted. They also tend to include skincare infusions containing antioxidants and peptides that help prevent pigmentation and wrinkles, and improve overall skin quality,” she says.
We road-test a couple of treatments to find out what a quickie session can do.