The Black Facial Guide- 7 Tips for getting a facial when you have darker skin tones

Getting a facial when you have Black skin has its own set of rules. Black women historically tend to shy away from getting facials because for one, we are discouraged by the lack of professionals that know how to effectively care for darker skin tones and also, partly because as Black women we tend to think that we won’t benefit from facials. Well, the good news is that we can see great results with facials, so you absolutely should get one. Whether it’s your first facial or you’ve had one before, these 7 tips can help you get the most out of your facial experience.


1.      Evaluate your skin and identify your skin’s condition.

 Make a note of any issues you are having with your skin. Are you suffering from acne, do you have dry skin or oily skin? What about things like eczema and keloids which are more prevalent in darker skin. One of the most common concerns for dark skin is hyperpigmentation and melasma. Make a note of these if you plan to get a facial as these will help determine the best course of action for your facial. When it comes to facials for Black skin, it’s not a one size fits all. If you’re not sure what your skin concerns are, talk to a qualified esthetician or visit a board-certified dermatologist for an evaluation.

Black woman looking at skin in mirror

2.      Set your facial goals.

 Are you trying to improve skin texture, skin tone, curb breakouts, and reduce signs of aging? These are the kinds of questions you should ask yourself before you get a facial. This will help both you and your esthetician decide on the right tools and treatments. Facials are not cheap and the last thing you want is to spend money getting a facial and not see the improvements you desired because the treatments used were not appropriate.

3.      Find the right person.

 The right person is key. When you have dark skin, the success of your facial is just as much about the person doing your facial as it is the products used. Make sure it’s someone who understands darker skin tones and understands how different treatments help or impact dark skin. For example, scarring and hyperpigmentation tend to occur more with dark skin and are usually hardest to address in darker skin tones. If the person providing your facial understands dark skin, they’ll know which treatments to use and which to avoid. For example, sometimes a pimple extraction may not be the best course of action and a steroid shot in the pimple (by a dermatologist) may be administered to avoid scarring. A professional that is well-experienced in Black skincare will know these things. Don’t be afraid to ask about their experience with darker skin before getting on the facial table. Read any reviews from current and previous clients and ask around for referrals if you’re having trouble finding someone qualified.

 Esthetician giving Black woman a facial.

4.      Do a consult first.

 A consultation with the esthetician is highly recommend, rather than just walking in for a facial. Especially if it’s the first time you’re doing a facial or working with this particular person. If you’re using certain products for acne treatment you may need to alter those before getting a facial. For instance, products containing retinol can be drying on your skin and it is typically recommended that you stop use a few days before getting treatments like chemical peels. You likely wouldn’t know this offhand, but a consultation with your esthetician can help answer these types of questions beforehand. Since Black skin is more prone to hyperpigmentation and scarring, having a consult with your esthetician will help them to understand what to expect and give you proper guidance before the facial.

 Black woman getting a facial massage

5.      Don’t be afraid to try different treatments.

 A lot of black women tend to shy away from professionally done facials and if they do, they tend to avoid treatments like chemical peels, laser therapy and hydrafacials even though they work really well on dark skin.  Also, Black Women tend to avoid anti-aging treatments such as Botox and cosmetic fillers partly due to stigma and belief in Black culture that Black skin doesn’t age. Remember the goals you initially set for getting a facial and be open to trying different treatments that can meet those goals and be beneficial for your skin.

Black woman getting facial treatment 

6.      Commit long term.

 Getting even one good facial can reap lots of benefits for melanin-rich skin but a facial shouldn’t just be a one-time thing. Regular facials can help your skin look better long-term and can complement any additional at-home skincare routine you have. You don’t have to get the same type of facial each time. You can mix it up. Work with your esthetician to create a facial regimen that will help you meet your skincare goals.

Black woman getting facial

7.      Wear Sunscreen

 Black skin needs sunscreen too. In fact, it’s one of our best antidotes to aging and hyperpigmentation. Don’t negate the hard work and money you spent getting a facial by not wearing sunscreen. Two of our favorite sunscreens for dark skin are Black Girl Sunscreen and SuperGoop. We love and recommend these as they do not leave a white film which is typical of other sunscreens on the market.

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 Zen + Ether is a Black, woman-owned beauty and wellness brand empowering women to find relaxation in their everyday beauty and self-care routines.


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